Draft season is upon us, and Fake Teams has you covered with our positional weeks. Quarterbacks and running backs are in the books, wide receivers are upon us, and tight ends are on the docket for next week. If you need kicker or team defense coverage, well...change your league settings. Kidding. I’m sure that coverage will trickle down the pipe as well.
So far this draft season, yours truly has studied what makes a TE1, made a case for Alex Smith, and made a case against Kareem Hunt. I’ll take Run-CMC over Hunt all day. But I digress...
For this week I’m choosing a broader approach, simply listing some of the receivers I’ve been targeting in my own drafts. Mining for late(r) wideout production aligns with my primary drafting strategy this year. Sure, you have to be flexible. And sure, your league’s settings may dictate that spending early at wide receiver. But in general I am content to head into the season if I can fill out my receiving corps with some of the following names...
Josh Doctson, Redskins
Red zone looks pay the bills (at least in standard formats) and Doctson should be relevant in that area whether Jordan Reed remains healthy or not. You don’t even have to leave SB Nation to read some Doctson hype. Doctson’s ability to high point the ball, coupled with new quarterback Alex Smith’s newfound downfield ability last year have me very excited for Doctson (and Smith) in 2018. He could pay off his ECR of WR52 even if this receiving corps stays healthy all year. But if Reed misses significant time, I like Doctson even more.
Mike Williams, Chargers
The Chargers spent a seventh overall pick on him in the 2017 NFL Draft, but Williams totaled only 11 receptions that season due to a herniated disc early in the season and a knee injury later in the season. It’s crazy to me that a guy gets a “bust” label after one injured year in the league. Gone are Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates, which is a combined 116 targets missing from last year’s offense. Henry and Gates were second and third on the team in red zone looks, too (a combined 25 targets). Mike Williams is going to EAT as the second option for Philip Rivers this year.
Cameron Meredith, Saints
You can draft the second receiver in a Drew Brees offense in Round 10, maybe even Round 11 or 12 in some cases. Sign me up for that goodness. Mark Ingram’s absence for four games (suspension) and last year’s ridiculous efficiency from the running game point towards more Drew Brees passing attempts this season. The 37-year-old spectre of Benjamin Watson is definitely relevant in fantasy, but only because he plays at such a thin position—not because the production he offers will take away from the potential of Meredith. Cam is definitely capable of WR3 production, if not WR2. And Brees has shown an ability to support more than one top flight receiver in the past. At an ECR of WR55 on FantasyPros, he’s an absolute steal.
John Ross, Bengals
It was nearly Taywan Taylor for me in this space, but I like Ross’ path to opportunity slightly more than Taylor’s. The Titans are stacked in the receiving game with Corey Davis, Dion Lewis, Delanie Walker, and Rishard Matthews. At best, Taylor would be the fourth option (ahead of Matthews). Ross, meanwhile, could be the second or third option for Andy Dalton and the Bengals, given the injury history of Tyler Eifert and the thin nature of this receiving corps. Like Williams, Ross was an early pick in the 2017 NFL Draft (No. 9 overall) and failed to meet expectations immediately. Like Williams, Ross is primed to seize a larger role in his team’s offense and the camp reports have been positive.
Jaron Brown, Seahawks
Russell Wilson has to throw to someone...right? 45 red zone targets are gone from Seattle (Graham, Richardson, Willson) and those aren’t all going to Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. That’s 203 total targets missing from Seattle from those three, by the way. Perhaps more go to running backs, but I made hay fading that untrustworthy running game last year and am inclined to do the same this year (especially given the state of the Seattle defense). Baldwin already had 125 looks in 2017, and Lockett had 78. How much more of a workload can we realistically expect the oft-injured Lockett to handle? I think Russ could support Brown as a quality bench player, someone you could plug into your lineups into a pinch—a WR4/5 type. He could be far more than that if Lockett were to go down, too. Brown’s physical tools (6-3, 204 lbs, 4.40 speed) and attachment to Wilson offer too much upside for me to ignore.