By The Commish
I’ve heard a lot of concerns about wide receiver depth in drafts this year. Team managers worry that everyone’s going to grab all the best wide receivers early and there’ll be nothing but scraps left in the middle rounds. On the surface this seems legitimate, but when you dig deeper you find gold, Jerry. Gold. In nearly every mock draft I’ve done I’ve found incredible wide receiver value during the middle rounds.
Before I give you three specific examples of said value, allow me to define “middle rounds.” Because of different league sizes and scoring settings “middle rounds” can be ambiguous. For this post we’ll consider rounds 5-10 to be the middle rounds in the draft of a non-keeper, ten team PPR league. In parentheses next to each player’s name is his ADP, or average draft position in fantasy leagues that have already conducted drafts for the 2016 season.
Golden Tate (ADP: 57.2)
People forget that Golden Tate filled in rather nicely when Calvin Johnson missed 3 games in 2014 with an ankle injury. During that season Tate caught 99 passes for 1331 yards and snagged four touchdowns. Last year, Calvin Johnson played in all 16 games and Tate still had more total receptions than him (90 to 88). With Johnson’s retirement this offseason Tate becomes the lead receiver in Detroit and if he stays healthy he should catch at least 85 passes for the third consecutive season. Marvin Jones will certainly command attention from quarterback Matthew Stafford but that may help Tate’s numbers as defenses must respect Jones’ abilities. Tate’s current ADP provides tremendous value as a late 5th round pick. You may find better options than Tate for your WR2 but you should take him as your number three in a heartbeat knowing that he’s got mid-range WR2 upside.
Larry Fitzgerald (ADP: 64.7)
In addition to being a tremendous ambassador for the game of football, Larry Fitzgerald is one of the best wide receivers of his generation. He runs crisp routes, catches nearly everything thrown to him, and is both a red zone and between-the-chains threat. His ADP of 64 is a slap in the face and I think my personal #46 overall ranking for Fitz will be too low come December. Naysayers will point to his age, health, and competition at the position as reasons to lessen Fitz’s value. Ignore those fools. While no one is predicting the same success he had last year, it’s foolish not to consider Fitz a low-end WR2 with high-end WR2 upside. Pounce on this former Pittsburgh Panther if you can get him in the sixth round.
Allen Hurns (ADP: 89.6)
Jacksonville’s improved defense means fewer shootouts and less garbage time. That said, I challenge you to find me better value for a WR3 right now than Allen Hurns at 89.6. Last year, Hurns only dropped one pass and increased his average yards per catch from his 2014 rookie season by nearly three yards from 13.3 to 16.1! Blake Bortles loves throwing to this dude and with Allen Robinson emerging as a top 10 wide receiver, Hurns will largely be fighting one-on-one battles and seems likely to surpass 15 yards per catch again.
That’s just a small sample of wide receivers you can confidently draft in the middle rounds. Below are a few more, sans explanation. Gotta keep this word count below 600. Happy drafting!
Donte Moncrief (62.9)
Jordan Matthews (84.2)
Marvin Jones (89.4)
Sterling Shepard (100.5)