In the fifth of a six-part fantasy draft preview series leading up to the NFL season, Fantasy Insanity discusses which running backs to draft when. Next week: recap.
Deep pools are nice. Lots of room to swim around. Takes a bit longer to get to the bottom. But normally most of the fun is still at the surface, near the top of the water.
Maybe it’s water polo, chatting with fellow waders or sipping on a summer beverage. There’s more fun to be had at the top than at the bottom.
Keep this in mind when approaching wide receivers in fantasy drafts. Sure, the talent pool is deeper, but most of the fun is near the surface.
First, let’s skim the surface. Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins from the middle of the first round to normally early in the second. Poke your head just underneath the water and there are Calvin Ridley and DK Metcalf, a step below in projected production.
Duck your whole head in the water and you’ll find Terry McLaurin, Cooper Kupp, A.J. Brown, Allen Robinson, Robert Woods, Justin Jefferson, Keenan Allen and Amari Cooper.
Deeper still, there are solid, startable options — D.J. Moore, CeeDee Lamb, Buccaneers receivers, Steelers receivers, Adam Thielen, to name just a few. And when you get near the bottom of the pool, there is still fantasy air to be found with undervalued names such as Corey Davis, Marquez Callaway and Curtis Samuel.
When scraping the floor, you can perhaps find a hidden gem in Jalen Guyton, Emmanuel Sanders, Terrace Marshall Jr.
There are plenty of names from top to bottom to wade through. So let’s focus on some individual choices, or more specifically, a few situations in which we prefer one NFL player to a teammate of his who is being drafted earlier.
Let’s start with Big D. Young Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb certainly has a high ceiling. But are we ready to take him a round earlier than Amari Cooper in the first third of the draft? Certainly not. It would be no surprise if one or the other were the largest fantasy producer among Dallas WRs. If similar production projected, go with the cheaper option.
The same holds true with the Rams. We expect Matthew Stafford to energize the offense. Hence, we are looking for big seasons from Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. Woods often is drafted in the fourth, with Kupp soon thereafter. We’re happy with either, but if it works out, the Madman likes cheaper better.
The is a similar situation for Carolina. D.J. Moore is often picked in rounds 5-6, but teammate Robby Anderson lasts until rounds 7-8. Anderson outscored Moore last season. The Panthers have a new quarterback in Sam Darnold, who has a previous connection with Anderson from their time with the Jets. If Moore overtakes and dramatically outperforms Anderson, that would be a much bigger surprise than if Anderson once again led the way.
We have them with similar projected points, which makes Anderson much more valuable at a draft cost that is two rounds cheaper.
Apply this same logic to San Francisco’s Brandon Aiyuk (rounds 5-6) and Deebo Samuel (eighth).
When exploring these options, go deeper and cheaper.
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