If the fantasy football draft works the way I desire in 2017, I will once again pick my wide receivers later than other owners. That makes it even more imperative that I find players who will be much better than their anticipated average draft position.

It’s no secret that I value running backs more than wide receivers. Running backs have more opportunities to score points in fantasy football and there’s not really a luck factor with running backs. If you can’t field a regular starter in your RB1 and RB2 positions, then you’re in real trouble. There’s a little more luck with wide receivers, that even if the targets aren’t as plentiful as other wide receivers, there’s still an opportunity to score based on touchdowns. Green Bay receivers Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams were solid fantasy plays, despite not having the big yardage, and instead being top-10 options because of touchdowns.

Here’s three wide receivers you should target in the upcoming draft based on their potential for exceeding their ADP. Since drafts haven’t happened yet, these ADPs are anticipated based on several experts on FantasyPros.

Sammy Watkins should have an even better season this year. Flickr/Keith Allison

Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills, ADP: 32

Watkins is going to be better than last year. It’s hard to be any more of a disappointment, but the opportunities will be there for Watkins. The quarterback is the same, with Tyrod Taylor not going to be an accurate, deep-threat passer. However, there’s really no competition for Watkins to earn targets.

And when Watkins returned from an injury last season, he was earning WR1 level targets. He had at least nine targets in three of his final five games. Those numbers shouldn’t be out of his reach for 2017, making him a solid value as a WR1, despite having an ADP 16th among wide receivers.

The lack of competition for Watkins earning targets makes him a valuable pick in the late stages of the third round.

Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings, ADP: 67

When Diggs was at his best last year, he was a top-level WR1. The only issue with Diggs’ performance last season was the inconsistent nature in not only him, but the Vikings offense. From weeks 8 to 10 last year, he had 42 combined targets. From weeks 14 to 16, he didn’t register more than six targets.

Some of the problem rested with Diggs. But some had to do with the offensive line’s troubles and issues with the passing game. That should be partly solved this year with more security at the quarterback position and seemingly a better offensive line.

Diggs is still the No. 1 option for the Vikings passing attack, and he showed last year that he could be productive when the ball came his way. Targets are a great barometer of success, and he had at least seven targets in nine games in an injury-shortened season. He’s still young, so he should be getting better, too. That bodes well for fantasy teams still looking for that high-end WR2 in the fifth to sixth round.

 Eric Decker, Tennessee Titans, ADP: 95

At this level, Decker is projected to be outside the WR3 discussion. That shouldn’t be the case in 2017.

Decker is getting a new opportunity in Tennessee after battling injuries last year for the New York Jets. He’s coming into a situation with Tennessee that is wide open for the incoming wide receivers. Quarterback Marcus Mariota should be even better than his previous two seasons, and that means more targets available to wide receivers.

Decker will have to compete with Rishard Matthews, Delanie Walker and rookie Corey Davis, but I like his chances. There’s still something left in Deckers’ tank, and when he wasn’t injured last year, he still averaged seven targets per outing in three games last year.

There should be more passes in Tennessee, so even if Decker has to compete for some looks, I still like his experience and ability to score touchdowns. He owns the 38th-highest ADP among wide receivers. He’s better than that and should be considered at least a WR3.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *