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Like all things, change is inevitable and your draft strategy is no different. The days of loading up on running backs has long past. I have been a proponent of drafting stud wide outs for years now for a number of factors. First off, many teams are using running back by committee and secondly the NFL has evolved into a passing league.
My case in point as far as fantasy football in 2014, the fact there are so many outstanding wide receivers that are going to go off this year in fantasy football. Most teams like the Eagles are switching to an up-tempo offensive attack in a passing-dominated league, and the addition of cushy rules benefitting wide receivers are making wideouts look more like studs.
While I don’t believe the NFL will be as strict with calling illegal contact and holding penalties once the regular season starts, im betting that many corners and safeties will be hesitant hold and contact receivers.
So why do I like wide receivers so much? Wide receivers are scoring more points than ever. Look how many receivers were around the 200 fantasy point make last year. Remember when only running backs were hitting that level?.
So what does this mean as your fantasy draft strategy? Well much of your strategy should be based on your leagues own scoring system as well as by its starting roster. For example, do you have to start 3 WR’s or just 2 WR’s? Is it a PPR league? These factors will dictate which strategy will work the best. In any case I believe in drafting Studs/ Home Run hitters first before filling needs. Yesterday, a friend of mine was drafting late in the first round. If you’re drafting in the first five picks getting a stud running back is easily accomplished. But we really consider Alfred Morris, Le’Veon Bell or Montee Ball as true studs worthy of a first-round pick? I sure don’t. That’s why if you’re picking at the end of the first round, I think it’s smart to target stud pass-catchers instead. If you cant get a stud running back, get a stud wide receiver or tight end and pick up running backs later. Running backs are prone to injury and if you get a goal line back you’r e in good shape. Another thing to consider is the drop off in consistent receivers after the first 3 rounds. Let’s dive into which wide receivers are worthy of your first two picks.
If you cant get one of the top 4 running backs, Calvin Johnson is the best wide out to take in the first round of your fantasy draft. He’s a proven stud year after year, and now the Lions finally paired him with a suitable No. 2 wide receiver in Golden Tate. He’s the most consistent wide receiver in fantasy averaging in the neighborhood of 15 fantasy points per game the last 3 years and leads his position in scoring every year. He’s the only no-brainer first-round pick.
Sifting through the rest of the crop becomes difficult, but only because there are so many players worth drafting in the next two rounds. In many of my recent NFL Fantasy drafts, the next five wide receivers selected are. Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas,Julio Jones, A.J. Green and Brandon Marshall. All of these receivers have scored in the areas of 200 fantasy points over the last few years.
The next tier of WR’s drops off a bit, but they include Jordy Nelson, Antonio Brown, Alshon Jeffery,Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson and Keenan Allen.
While all of these guys look like studs while you’ve watching the games, not all are top teir fantasy football studs.
So how should you proceed with your wide receivers come draft day?
1) Draft a stud top tier
2) Draft another top tier stud if available
3) Draft a tier 2 or 3 WR, if none available grab an RB
4) Take long shot WR’s in the later rounds
Don’t be afraid to draft deep at wide receiver spot especially if you are starting 3 WR’s. The number of consistant double digit wide outs is less than that of RB’s. With that said the idea that it’s better to use a running back at the flex isn’t without merit, but it also isn’t the only way to win, especially if you have 4 good wide receivers
The middle rounds are the hard part.. If your left with a number of backs used in a committee, or a wide out like Michael Floyd, Cordarrelle Patterson or T.Y. Hilton, it’s a no brainers, take the wide receiver! If these guys will fill your WR3 or Flex spot, you’re in really good shape.
Now the real question,
Who should you pick late in drafts?
Here are some names to look for as a WR4 or WR5 with loads of upside (all currently have an NFL.com ADP of Round 13 or later):
In closing, when it comes to drafting wide receivers, try your best to get two studs. Then fill out your roster with home run hitters, guys with upside in 2014. Don’t waste roster space on big names like Steve Smith or Greg Jennings. Invest in the fantasy players who have a chance to explode this season.
Most importantly have fun, learn and get improve your team!.