Tiers of Confidence- WR Edition
The best Fantasy Analysts always show you their list of players in tiers. Sometimes the difference between 2nd and 4th place is minuscule and other times, its as wide as the Grand Canyon. The other great tool when it comes to Fantasy drafts is the Average Draft Position (ADP). Your stud wide receiver might project to be the fourth best in the draft, but if his ADP says he won’t go until the 5th round it doesn’t make any sense to pick him with the 4th pick in the draft! Accumulating the most talent is the key to Fantasy Football success. But since Fantasy Football is a weekly game, why does anyone care about year end point differences anyway? Today, I present a different way to look at draft value. I call it tiers of confidence with the Point per Reception (PPR) format. Let’s take a look at the best wide receiver choices by round.
DeAndre Hopkins (96.8%) – DeAndre is worth drafting earlier than any other wide receiver in Fantasy Football. His Consistency rating is at the top of the chart and his Best 10 rating is third best. The only two guys ahead of him in Best 10 are Antonio Brown, who changed teams and Tyreek Hill whose Consistency Rating is over 19% worse than Hopkins.
Julio Jones (93.3%) – is second on the Consistency Ratings and 4th in Best 10 Ratings. The rap against Julio was that he never scored touchdowns. Nobody scored more touchdowns than Julio in the second half of last season, as Matt Ryan settled back into a better offense.
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Davante Adams (85.7%)- When Aaron Rodgers is at quarterback, the statistics of Davante Adams are amazing. Last season, the average NFL wide receiver scored 10 or more PPR Fantasy points only 55% of the time. Adams scored 20 or more points in 60% of his games!
Michael Thomas (81.3%) – The last of the “Sure Thing” wide receivers worth taking in the first round is Thomas. He has averaged 107 receptions in his three year NFL career. His Best 10 rating, which shows his upside potential on a weekly basis, is 5th best.
Antonio Brown (89.3%) – There is a big drop off in offensive ability between the Steelers and the Raiders. AB is a wacky guy, but he is also a big time Fantasy Football producer. His Best 10 Rating is higher than any other wide receiver and his Consistency Rating is 4th best. AB’s ceiling will be lower, but his Consistency will stay the same IF he can stay healthy.
Keenan Allen (87.1%) – How do Fantasy Football players not draft Allen in the first round every season? In PPR format he is as close to a sure thing as it gets. He has great consistency and a great upside on a weekly basis as shown by his Best 10 score, which is 6th best at the position.
Tyreek Hill (77.4%) – You get lots of baggage when you draft the Cheetah. His potential to win your week for you is always there, but so is the threat of a suspension. If the other shoe drops during the season on his off the field issues, look out.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (75.9%) – Just how good JuJu can be as the main WR in Pittsburgh is the only thing keeping him from being a first round pick. He is tied for 8th best in Best 10 rating, and his consistency over the past two seasons has been elite.
Mike Evans (74.2%) – Ever have that player you owned in the past who let you down in the playoffs? Did that make him a “don’t draft guy” the next year? Evans was one of those guys for me after letting me down several seasons ago, but the data doesn’t lie. He is a great value in the second round.
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Julian Edelman (91.7%) – In PPR format when he plays, you can guarantee yourself a solid game with Edelman. He does lack the upside of some of the other elite wide receivers since he doesn’t find the end zone as often. But the Gronk era is over.
Stefon Diggs (79.3%) – Some players have a hard time getting over the injury prone label. Last season, Diggs played 15 games and topped 1,000 yards and 100 receptions for the first time. Since he averaged a round later, he is also a better value than his equally talented teammate Adam Thielan.
Robert Woods (78.6%) – Whenever you have three solid options at wide receiver on the same team, that is great for real football. Unfortunately, it can negatively affect the value of those players in fantasy football. Woods has a better consistency rating than the other two.
Brandin Cooks (71%) – Cooks has been remarkably consistent no matter who is throwing him the ball or which kind of offensive system is used. Since his second season, he has not been targeted fewer than 114 times and his fantasy production has a great upside too.
Jarvis Landry (81.3%) – Lots of changes in the Browns offense with the addition of Odell Bekcham Jr., but the role of Landry probably won’t change much. In PPR format, I expect the same level of fantasy football production. This makes him an excellent value in the fifth or sixth round.
DJ Moore (72.7%) – There is only a small sample size with Moore, and there’s some concern about the health of his starting quarterback too. But that is baked into his value here in the fifth round. In just his second year, he could emerge as a 90 catch guy and his weekly consistency was already excellent.
Will Fuller (60%) – If you look up the phrase “Injury Prone” in the glossary of any Fantasy Football Guide, it will show a picture of Fuller. He has put together some big games with quarterback Deshaun Watson, but that is a small sample size. The hard part is to ignore his upside this late in the draft.
Curtis Samuel (72.7%) – This is the other half of the young tandem of wide receivers in Carolina. Plus, he might be the best guy to own in fantasy football. Samuel has been slower to adapt to the NFL game than DJ Moore, but if Newton stays healthy, Samuel could be the top producing receiver for the Panthers.
Sammy Watkins (60.9%) – When you are the second best option on one of the most powerful passing offenses in the league, you are going to have value in fantasy football. But unlike other teams, the Chiefs use their tight end like a wide receiver. Fortunately, Sammy Watkins upside is tempting this late in the draft.
Tenth Round and Later
Keke Coutee (75%) – We had a very small sample size to look at with Coutee due to injuries. But that second wide receiver slot with the Texans will have some great weekly value in fantasy football. Will it be Fuller or Coutee? That is the question that drops both players ADP making both attractive upside picks.
DeSean Jackson (65.2%) – The passing offense for the Eagles should be very solid this year. The guy who will stretch the field will be Jackson. His weekly consistency has been pretty good when he plays, and this late in the draft he offers great upside value.
Fantasy Football players have a warped view of how often a wide receiver can post a week of 10 or more points. While running backs hit that value over 67% of the time, the average wide receiver is far behind at around 55%. And to be clear, this is in a PPR format scoring system. Only a few elite wide receivers can be counted on more than 85% of the time. Once established, that Consistency Rating stays very constant for a player. The elite wide receivers in Consistency Rating that are being drafted in the first round of most drafts also are toward the top of the charts in Best 10 score. This will show you their weekly upside. Because those wide receivers are so few and far between, you need to exit round 2 of your draft with at least one of the elite wide receivers. As the data shows, the farther you go in the draft the fewer real consistent wide receivers remain. This is what makes them the value picks in the later rounds.