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Best Ball Strategy: Value WR Stacks for 2021

This is my favorite time of year to complete Best Ball drafts. We know all of the rookie landing spots and when they were drafted, but it’s still before the training camp hype videos and beat reporters begin to push up the ADP of our favorite sleepers. There is tremendous value to be had for those that have done their research on team rosters and incoming rookies. This is also a great time to try different draft strategies to build unique teams. One such strategy is called stacking, which simply means drafting two players from the same team. The term “stacking” is referenced a lot when talking about Best Ball and the most common stacks are combining a QB with a pass-catcher from his own team, either at RB, WR, or TE. We’ll be looking at something less common today.

Why Stack Wide Receivers?

Stacking WRs is beneficial because the best NFL offenses all have multiple elite fantasy options. As opposed to running backs, who usually have to trade off snaps with other backs, it’s common for teams to play with three or more receivers on the field simultaneously. If you stack the right receivers in a Best Ball, you will benefit from both a high floor AND high ceiling. The down weeks for one player should mean that the other picked up the slack that game and when the offense as a whole blows up, you will be able to soak up a large portion of the team’s overall production. This is why it’s great stacking WR/WR from the same team, but even better when both players are being drafted as a WR3 or later. This lets you easily attain any of these stacks regardless of your draft position.

Here are three pairs of wideouts that are being undervalued right now. Each offense has the potential to take off in 2021, so grabbing two of their best weapons at a discount will be a huge advantage for your roster.

Jacksonville Jaguars

D.J. Chark: ADP WR29
Laviska Shenault: ADP WR41

For most of 2020, everyone speculated that the New York Jets would win the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes, as they were firmly the league’s worst team for the majority of the year. That was up until a both shocking and completely unnecessary victory against the Rams in Week 15 allowed Jacksonville to slide into the 2021 top draft slot. Lawrence is supposedly the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck, but it doesn’t seem like his top two receivers for 2021 are getting much love.

Atop the depth chart is 2018’s 2nd Round pick, D.J. Chark. After a quiet rookie season, Chark broke out in 2019, posting a top-20 wide receiver fantasy season with Gardner Minshew at QB. He saw 118 targets and put up 1,008 yards while scoring eight touchdowns on the season.  Everyone was excited about his potential going into 2020, his second season with Minshew, but nothing went Jacksonville’s way (outside of attaining the ’21 first overall pick). Chark dealt with nagging injuries throughout the season and Minshew badly regressed. This led to a QB carousel of subpar play in Jacksonville. Even though Chark was Top 15 in Team Air Yards share, Average Target Distance, and Deep Targets (Credit: PlayerProfiler), only 70.2% of his targets were deemed as catchable (91st among WRs). The poor quality of targets did not allow for much fantasy production, but Lawrence should fix that quickly.

The Jaguars signed Marvin Jones to a two-year, $15 million deal this off-season, which some view as a threat to their 2020 2nd rounder, Laviska Shenault — I don’t buy that though. Jacksonville needed a veteran presence in the locker room after losing both Chris Conley and Keelan Cole in free agency, players that also vacate over 150 targets combined. The salary seems steep, but this was a team with the second-most cap space going into the off-season, so there was plenty of cash to throw around to ensure they landed the veteran presence they wanted in Jones. Laviska is the type of versatile athlete that new head coach Urban Meyer likes to make a focal point in his offenses. Over the final four weeks of his rookie season, he averaged a healthy 8.25 targets-per-game and would often have at least 1-2 rushing attempts as well. His role should grow in his first season under Meyer.

Many will suggest staying away from rookie quarterbacks’ weapons for fantasy purposes, but we’ve recently seen both Andrew Luck and Joe Burrow support top-tier fantasy WRs in their first year. Trevor Lawrence is in that same elite tier of QB prospects, if not better.

Indianapolis Colts 

Michael Pittman Jr.: ADP WR45
Parris Campbell: ADP WR72

Indianapolis was one of the first teams to make a major splash this off-season by trading for Carson Wentz back in March. With their new franchise quarterback aboard, many expected the Colts to be active in the wide receiver and tight end free agency market. Instead, all they did was bring back team veteran and fan-favorite, T.Y. Hilton, on a one-year deal. While Hilton is still a respectable receiving option, his best days are behind him. He hasn’t played a full season since 2017 and only surpassed 100 receiving yards in one single game last season. It’s time for the young guns to step up and take over this offense.

Michael Pittman Jr. should be the top wide receiver for Wentz in 2021. None of the other starting receivers have his size (6’4″ 220 lbs) and he profiles as a bigger, more athletic Alshon Jeffrey, who was Wentz’s favorite target for a long time in Philadelphia. Pittman’s debut season started slow, as he dealt with compartment leg syndrome during the first half of the season. This is an injury that can potentially be life-threatening, so it’s impressive that he even played later in the year. Down the stretch, his role in the offense continued to grow. In the final nine games of the regular season, Pittman saw five or more targets six times. Even more impressive, when everything was on the line during their lone playoff game, he led the team with ten targets.

Parris Campbell is often forgotten about, mostly due to the several injuries sustained over his first two seasons. After avoiding major injury throughout his college career at Ohio State, Campbell has only been able to play in nine out of 32 possible games so far in his young career. None of his previous injuries indicate long-term issues and all signs are pointing to a 100% recovery from the MCL/PCL sprain suffered in Week 2 of 2020. He saw nine targets in his only full game last season, so you better believe that he will be a major part of the offense, as long as he can stay on the field in 2021.

Los Angeles Chargers

Mike Williams: ADP WR52
Josh Palmer: ADP WR??

Justin Herbert took the fantasy world by storm in his rookie season, putting up 4,336 passing yards with 31 touchdowns and only ten interceptions. We know that Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler will command the highest target share for 2021, but who else will be productive in this offense? If we expect Herbert to develop as a second-year player, he should be able to produce at least three fantasy-viable receivers. Hunter Henry, and his 93 targets from 2020, are now in New England, so let’s take a look at the two most likely candidates to step into the role as the third receiving option.

Mike Williams is the definition of an “up and down” fantasy player. For most weeks, he tends to finish as either a WR1 or outside of the Top 40. It’s tough to rely on him week-to-week, which is why he is a perfect Best Ball selection. In 2020, when he was targeted more than five times, he averaged 16.3 PPR fantasy points-per-game. The talent is clearly there, as he always produces when they choose to involve him. It’s just difficult to predict which games he will be a major part of, combined with the injury concerns. Best Ball removes the need to guess every week, so feel free to take advantage of his current dip in value and add him to your 2021 lineups.

Not a lot is known about Josh Palmer, other than he was the Chargers’ 3rd Round draft pick out of the University of Tennessee. Keep in mind that Mike Williams will be playing on his fifth-year option for 2021 and is set to be a free agent after the season. A 3rd Round pick is pretty significant draft capital to spend, especially on a position that many would not consider a need in LA. The Chargers appear to be ready to move on from Williams in 2022, possibly even this year if he attracts trade interest. Palmer is the perfect big-bodied receiver to replace him. This is a player that will likely be available at the very end of your draft, so you don’t have to invest much.

Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen both have well-documented injury histories, although Allen has avoided the injury bug for the past few years. If either one were to go down, securing LA’s best secondary receivers in Williams and Palmer at their low ADP could end up being a league-winning move!