Fantasy Football: These 3 Wide Receivers Are Being Drafted All Over the Place
When preparing for fantasy football drafts, average draft position (ADP) is a great way to gauge a player's value. But ADP is just that -- an average. This is why ADP sometimes doesn't tell the whole story. If a player is drafted as early as the third round and as late as the seventh, his ADP will be somewhere in the middle.
With that, we’re going to take a look at a trio of wide receivers being taken in the late-ish rounds who have a wide variance between their high and low spots, per Fantasy Football Calculator. It should be noted that we're focusing on legitimate variance. There are players like Allen Hurns, who has been selected as high as 3.04 and as low as 15.07, but his ADP is 14.03, which indicates that third-round pick is one heck of an outlier.
So, who has seen their ADP fluctuate a ton lately?
Josh Doctson, Washington Redskins
ADP: 13.03 (WR56)
High: 7.11, Low: 15.04
There’s a lot to like about Josh Doctson, but there’re a lot of unknowns surrounding the passing game of the Washington Redskins. Jamison Crowder is likely to have a bigger role in the offense and Terrelle Pryor appears to be the top target in the absence of Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. But the team spent a first-round pick on Doctson last season before he missed the year due to an Achilles injury.
If healthy, Doctson could be the most talented wide receiver on this team. (There are many who believed he was the top receiver in the 2016 draft class.) Last year’s trio of receivers in Washington finished the season as WRs 31, 32, and 33 on the fifth-best passing offense in the league by Adjusted Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play.
It’s possible the offense as a whole could take a step back, but there might be enough there to support three fantasy relevant wide receivers, especially if Jordan Reed's injury concerns continue.
Our 2017 projections are currently down on Doctson, due to the missed season last year. He’s projected as just WR82, with 25 receptions and 398 yards. A healthy season from the TCU product should easily eclipse those numbers.
Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys
ADP: 14.01 (WR62)
High: 8.02, Low: 15.12
Last year, Cole Beasley was secretly the magic piece that kept the Dallas Cowboys offense running. He led the Cowboys in targets and receiving yards in 2016, while also being one of the most efficient receivers in the league, ranking 10th in Reception NEP per target among 92 receivers thrown at 50 or more times.
There’s not much in the passing game that’s changed from last season -- Beasley will still be the main slot receiver with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten as the main targets. His 2016 production was enough to have him finish as WR41 on the season, much higher than his current ADP.
With Witten getting older, no consistently reliable second outside option at receiver, and a possible suspension of Ezekiel Elliott, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Beasley cash in on the upper limits of his draft position.
Our projections have Beasley as WR55 with 57 receptions, 698 yards, and 3.91 touchdowns, numbers well above his current ADP.
Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans
ADP: 12.08 (WR55)
High: 8.02, Low: 14.11
Over the past few seasons, Rishard Matthews has been one of the most efficient wide receivers in football. In 2015, his final season with the Miami Dolphins, he was fifth in Reception NEP per target among receivers with 50-plus targets, though he collected just 61 targets.
Then, he signed with the Tennessee Titans in 2016 and finished 13th among receivers at that same threshold, even more impressive because he had the volume to go along with the efficiency (108 targets). He was clearly the top receiving option on the Titans last year, and he finished as WR13 in fantasy points scored.
However, in the offseason, Tennessee made a major effort to improve the position by signing Eric Decker and drafting Corey Davis with the fifth overall pick. These moves cloud how much volume Matthews could see in 2017. The Titans are still likely to be a run-heavy offense, but it appears they want to open things up for Marcus Mariota.
While at least one Tennessee receiver is going to be worth owning on your roster, it’s still too early to tell which one that might be. Looks like we'll need plenty of training camp reports and preseason depth charts to figure this one out.