Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Wide Receivers

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Don't just rely on one marquee WR. Read below to find out why!

You think you have it bad when it comes to RB draft strategy, then welcome to the screwed up world of WR draft strategy!

First thought from the top of your head, now, should be this isn’t as complicated as it appears to be, Ray! We’re in a “pass-first league, dude!”

Pass-first equals WR gold, right?

Absolutely not!

For the seasoned fantasy football veteran your draft strategy isn’t that complicated. Those individuals already have systems in place and counter rankings to the base rankings posted all over the web—in essence, they already have a plan!

And that, my friends, is what it all comes down to: The Plan!

The WR pool is deeper than ever, yes, but this doesn’t mean you can take an indolent approach when it comes down to draft day.

But let’s digress a bit.

If we look at the term “pass-first” in regard to the NFL, it DOES NOT mean a guarantee that your receivers will flourish. More passes are being afforded to running backs in the recent years and the rise of the TE position has significantly cut into the old days of over-the-top WR production.

Add in factors such as who is passing the ball, how many other “quality” receivers are on the team and changing offensive schemes, and suddenly who to pick when becomes a feverish decision—many newbies especially—didn’t take into consideration.

But don’t worry, with a little understanding and patience picking a WR during the draft can be easier than you think.

When to Draft Where:

One needs to remember that every team needs to be somewhat built around a “Number One” WR. You can take your chances taking one early, or you can be safer trying to secure two before the 80th pick.

The latter is far more recommended.

Some folks believe they can wait on WRs because of several factors:

  1. The pool is deep enough, I can find talent way later than the 80th pick.
  2. Ray, I have a full notebook of sleepers and breakout candidates. I believe I can roll the dice here.
  3. If I get the “best guy in the draft early” I can build the rest of my WR roster with potentials…right?

OK. The pool is deep enough but remember that everyone who knows what they are doing will target “safe” candidates earlier rather than later.

Sleeper candidates and breakout candidates are great considerations, but NOT guys you necessarily want to rely on solely. Remember, their candidacy for sleeper or breakout player relies heavily on the team itself, the scheme, the quarterback and health…all of which are aspects that do not give anyone any sort of guarantee.

Getting the best guy in the draft is great, but one guy isn’t going to cut it, especially in PPR leagues that almost always require three starting WRs each week.

A Quick Conclusion:

Why so quick? Because it is easier than you think! The league as a whole has learned that spreading the ball around equates to better, more consistent, success.

[colored_box color="green"]While TEs and RBs will catch more balls than ever before, ultimately digging into most receiver production, the main receivers will always remain who they are in regard to fantasy consistency.[/colored_box]


Consistency! Remember that word when looking at stats!

When we look at mock drafts and overall fantasy rankings we see more RBs in the mix atop the charts. But, again, if we remove Calvin Johnson from the mix, who here can safely say will consistently produce as a “safe” every week starter?

Jordy Nelson, Dez Bryant, Wes Welker, Victor Cruz and even Andre Johnson are the first to come in mind, but are you willing to wait for any of these receivers to be your best No. 2 AFTER, say, Calvin Johnson or even A.J. Green?

I wouldn’t take the chance.

The idea is simple: draft early on at least two “safe, every week starters” with non-conflicting bye weeks, and try to round out the roster with “near-safe” bets such as Steve Smith, DeSean Jackson and perhaps one or two guys on your radar that you are completely confident WILL BE that coveted sleeper and/or breakout candidate.

Don’t hesitate, pull the trigger before someone else and look for consistency when creating your cheat sheet tiers.

Any other approach is a high risk/high reward method.


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