Value Wide Receivers to Target in Dynasty Startup Drafts (Fantasy Football)
Now that the NFL Draft is in the rearview mirror, it’s time to start those new dynasty leagues and that means diving headfirst into a dynasty startup draft. If you’re new to dynasty, first of all, welcome to the dark side. It’s my personal preference in terms of format to play because you can make trades, free-agent pickups, and interact with your league mates 365 days a year. If you’ve never played in a dynasty league, be sure to read this introduction to dynasty article first.
In dynasty, you can’t just win with a few studs on the top of your roster and hope the rest works out. Roster sizes can push up to 30 players, and therefore, the waiver wire is almost nonexistent. That’s why it’s important to find value later in your dynasty startup draft or trade for cheap production to fill out your roster. Sure, it’d be great to own Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, and Tyreek Hill all on the same roster, but it usually doesn’t work out like that in dynasty. You’ve got to find those WR2 or WR3 type players to plug into your starting lineup, especially when you consider that it takes depth to battle injuries and bye weeks to bring home that elusive #FootClanTitle.
So, who should you be targeting later in your dynasty draft? Let’s dive in. The average draft position (ADP) data used in this article is compliments of Fantasy Football Calculator. Assume a 12-team format.
Jamison Crowder, New York Jets
Dynasty ADP: 12th round, WR60
Jamison Crowder is one of my favorite value wide receivers in dynasty leagues. While it’s important to target the best offenses in the NFL for fantasy assets, we can’t just throw away the bad offenses and ignore their skill position players. Jamison Crowder plays on one of those teams, the New York Jets, who finished 31st in the league in scoring offense. This alone makes him a value in dynasty leagues because owning a Jets player seems to leave a sour taste in your mouth, but don’t pass on Crowder in the 12th round.
In 2019, in Crowder’s first year with New York, he saw 122 targets while playing the slot receiver position for Adam Gase. He had more targets than Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay, D.J. Chark, and Tyler Lockett. Are these targets repeatable in 2020? The Jets lost Robby Anderson in free agency then signed Breshad Perriman and drafted Denzel Mims, but these wideouts will line up on the outside, leaving Crowder to man the slot again in 2020. While Adam Gase gets a bad rap for his coaching (probably deservedly so), he does a great job of involving the slot receiver in his offense. Adam Gase coached Jarvis Landry in 2016 and 2017, and in those two seasons, Landry saw 133 targets and 161 targets, respectively.
Crowder finished 2019 with 78 receptions, 833 yards, and six TDs, good for WR33 in half PPR formats. After seeing a 24.8% market share in 2019 and Adam Gase’s history of supporting slot wide receivers, there’s reason to buy into Crowder as a WR3 or WR4 on your dynasty roster, and you don’t have to draft him until the 12th round.
Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns
Dynasty ADP: 7th round, WR36
Speaking of Jarvis Landry, he’s almost going in round 8 and is being treated as a flex level player in dynasty drafts. Don’t make the same mistake as other drafters and scoop up Landry and reap the benefits. Jarvis Landry is still just 27 years old and is now in his prime. Landry made his hay in Miami on volume (as discussed above), and there were concerns he may not translate to the Browns offense. In 2018, Landry was the focal point of the Browns’ offense, seeing 149 targets (7th most at the WR position), and in 2019, he saw 138 targets (9th most). Sure, you could argue that Odell Beckham will bounce back from injury and reclaim the ‘WR1’ role in Cleveland, but even if that happens, there’s plenty of volume for Jarvis to continue to be a rock-solid WR2 for fantasy.
Kevin Stefanski brings his new offensive scheme to Cleveland from Minnesota, a scheme that ran a lot of 12 personnel (two TE sets) with two wide receivers out wide. Per Pro Football Focus (PFF), Kirk Cousins threw out of play action at the 11th highest rate in the league. Baker Mayfield, who struggled in general in 2019, actually excelled in play-action passing. According to PFF, Baker Mayfield benefitted the most in the NFL when passing out of play action. His completion percentage improved from by 10.1% when passing out of play-action in 2019. If Baker continues to excel out of play action, and this offense utilizes more play-action in 2020, fantasy owners should be able to expect good things for the entire offense, not just Baker and Jarvis.
So, we’ve touched on volume and opportunity for Jarvis, but how bout his history of production? Since 2015, here are his finishes at the WR position in fantasy: WR9, WR13, WR4, WR18, WR12. Jarvis Landry is being drafted as if he’s barely startable in fantasy football as a fringe WR3. Add Landry to your dynasty roster for high-end WR2 production at a WR3 price.
Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
Dynasty ADP: 5th round, WR26
The most expensive of the ‘value’ WRs in dynasty, Allen Robinson provides dynasty owners top-10 upside at a WR3 price. Sure, to this point in his career, Allen Robinson has been up and down from a fantasy value standpoint, but we’re talking about a player who finished as fantasy’s WR10 last season…with Mitch Trubisky at QB. We’ve also seen the ceiling that he is capable of achieving with a 1,400 yard, 14 TD season in Jacksonville in 2015. Will he get those numbers in Chicago? Probably not, but another 1,000-yard season seems likely given the depth chart in Chicago.
The current pass catchers in Chicago behind Allen Robinson: Anthony Miller, Cordarrelle Patterson, Javon Wims, and 33-year-old Jimmy Graham. Allen Robinson should be an absolute target hog once again in 2020 after seeing a whopping 154 targets in 2019, 3rd most at the WR position behind only Michael Thomas and Julio Jones. And, there’s a chance his QB play either improves this year if Nick Foles wins the job or remains stagnant with Mitch Trubisky at the helm.
While Robinson hasn’t been the model of consistency in fantasy football throughout his career, there’s reason to believe last year is his new ‘normal.’ He’s now multiple seasons removed from his 2017 ACL tear, still only 26 years old, and he’s the focal point of a passing game without weapons to challenge him for his alpha dog role. Look for ARob to once again push for a top tier market share again in 2020 and finish inside the top 15 at the WR position.