2015 Fantasy Football – Wide Receiver Values

By Chet Gresham – @ChetGresham
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Below I have a few wide receivers who I am targeting in the mid- to late rounds. Hitting on these picks are key in winning your division. We still have a ways to go before the majority of us will be drafting in earnest, so these ADPs will fluctuate, but the situations below are ripe for production no matter where they are drafted.

The Average Draft Position here is based on Fantasy Pros ADP Aggregator. ADP is always going to be a little different based on the site you use, so I recommend the aggregate numbers to help give us an overall view.

Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars, ADP WR 34, Overall 91
Allen Robinson had 81 targets in 10 games last season, which would have put him at 130 overall, and it was just his rookie season. That 130 number should be his baseline target projection for 2015, but now we can factor in the loss of Cecil Shorts and his 110 targets in 13 games. With the No. 1 receiver for the Jaguars gone, Robinson will take over the No. 1 slot and should see closer to 150 targets this year. And, last but not least, he’s really good. His Pro Day numbers coming out of college were comparable to players like Julio Jones and Jordy Nelson. And according to Pro Football Focus, Robinson had 49 “catchable” targets last season and caught 48 of them. A slight bump in Blake Bortles’ ability and a big bump in usage, and Robinson could destroy his ADP this year.

Charles Johnson, WR, Vikings, ADP WR 41, Overall 107
Charles Johnson was on the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad just a year ago, and not until Week 11 last season was he on fantasy redraft radars. At 6-foot-2, 225 pounds and with an amazing 4.38-second 40-yard dash, he has the physical attributes to dominate, and with Teddy Bridgewater continuing to improve seemingly every game and Adrian Peterson back to keep defenses honest, Johnson’ll be even harder to contain. Also, and I love this, he worked with Rischad Whitfield, “the footwork king” on his route-running this offseason. Whitfield has also worked with noted route-runners Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins. You can check out some of Hopkins’ footwork here as he destroys Mr. DeAngelo Hall.

If Johnson hones his craft to go along with his unbelievable physical abilities, he could be unstoppable.

Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers, ADP WR 27, Overall 72
Martavis Bryant fell right off the hype train after needing surgery on his elbow and Ben Roethlisberger calling Markus Wheaton the No. 2 receiver, but Bryant’s already back from surgery and has shown that he is just a better player than Wheaton. If Bryant gets No. 2 receiver snaps, and I believe he will, his upside in this Steelers’ offense is through the roof. Last season, he just didn’t have the offense down and had to run go-routes, yet he still managed an amazing 2.75 yards per route run, which ranked him third in the league, just behind A.J. Green and Demaryius Thomas and also led the league in fantasy points per opportunity. Of course, those numbers will lower as Bryant gets more snaps, but that elite potential is there, and now that he has more of the offense under control, his upside is just too good to pass on at his ADP.

Nick Toon, ADP Undrafted and Brandon Coleman, ADP Undrafted; WRs; Saints
Nick Toon and Brandon Coleman look to be in a battle for the No. 3 receiver job in New Orleans, and whoever wins that battle should make for a nice sleeper going into this season. With Jimmy Graham (125 targets) and Kenny Stills (83 targets) gone, there will be plenty of targets for the No. 3 receiver, and with Marques Colston on his way to playing with a Hoveround, the chances of one of these two having a big year are better than with many No. 3 receivers.

It is true that the Saints will look to run the ball more this season, but they’ve always ran the ball well and still put up good passing numbers. Since Drew Brees was signed by the Saints, he has never dipped below 4,300 yards passing, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be right up there over 4,000 again.

Eddie Royal, WR, Bears, ADP WR 74, Overall 229
Eddie Royal has been able put up good numbers when given a chance, and it looks like he’ll get a chance this season with the Bears. Kevin White is still not practicing due to a shin injury, and John Fox’s proclivity for veterans means White has a ways to go to overtake Royal when he does get back to practicing. Also, new offensive coordinator Adam Gase is who helped Royal to his best season ever, which was his rookie year in Denver when Royal caught 91 of his 129 targets for 980 yards and 5 touchdowns. Gase’s offense is quick-hitting and works perfectly for Royal’s skill set, and should help Jay Cutler, who has a proclivity for chucking the ball downfield with little thought. Short, controlled patterns should help him make better decisions.

Brian Quick, WR, Rams, ADP WR 55, Overall 181
In his first four games last season, Brian Quick averaged 7.75 targets, 5.25 receptions for 80 yards and .75 touchdowns before his shoulder was torn asunder. Now, he’s back and being drafted as the 55th receiver off the board. Quick still has some work to do to get back to his early 2014 form, but all signs are pointed to him playing in preseason games and being a full go for the season.

Stevie Johnson, WR, Chargers, ADP WR 66, Overall 206
Stevie Johnson went from being a solid receiver who put up three seasons of 76+ receptions, 1,004+ yards, and 6+ touchdowns for the Buffalo Bills with Ryan Fitzpatrick as his quarterback to Steve Johnson, the No. 3 wide receiver on the reeling San Francisco 49ers. But now, it looks like the old Stevie Johnson might be back and with the best quarterback he’s ever played with, Phillip Rivers. All reports this training camp have been positive for Johnson, including Phillip Rivers, who said, “If you asked me one guy who I was most excited about, I’d probably single out [Johnson].” And with Antonio Gates out for the first four games of the season, Johnson could really gain a head of steam for the rest of the year.

Anquan Boldin, WR, 49ers. ADP WR 45, Overall 123
Last season, Anquan Boldin finished as the 22nd-best fantasy receiver after catching 83 of 130 targets for 1,062 yards and five touchdowns. The question is, will Boldin be able to repeat those numbers, which would put him much better than his current ADP. First off, we know Colin Kaepernick will use Boldin as his go-to receiver. Boldin’s not going to blow anyone away, but his hands and toughness are still there. Free agent acquisition Torrey Smith could cut into Boldin’s targets, but with Michael Crabtree’s 103 targets now in Oakland, there’s a good chance we’ll see a similar target breakdown as last season. Boldin isn’t a sexy pick by any means, but he is a nice anchor for your receivers while you go after higher upside picks.

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Chet Gresham's Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings - 9/4 (Chet)
2015 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers - 9/10 (Walt)
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2015 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets:
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2015 NFL Preseason Recap, Fantasy Football Notes - 9/4 (Walt)
2015 Fantasy Football Preseason Stock - 9/4 (Walt)
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2015 Fantasy Football Goal-Line Running Backs - 9/3 (Chet)
2015 Fantasy Football News - 9/1 (Chet)
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