Home Sports Fantasy football: The best wide-receiver draft strategy

Fantasy football: The best wide-receiver draft strategy

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Normally, if you can get a really good car at a reasonable price, you’re not going to pay a significant higher cost for a minor upgrade. Heated seats might be nice, but if it raises the expense by 30 percent, it probably isn’t worth it.

This is sort of how the Madman often addresses the wide receiver position in this year’s fantasy drafts. The position is deep, so though you would like to grab at least one near the top tier, you don’t have to make an early run on the position.

This depth opens up the freedom to potentially target a quarterback or tight end early instead. In a COVID season with limited preparation time, we are emphasizing player floors more than we are their ceilings. So we are open to jumping early on QBs or TEs, who we don’t normally target that quickly.

This pushes wide receivers down our draft board. Mainly because we think we can get two good ones in the early-ish rounds. For example, you get your anchor running back in the first round, then opt for either one of the top two quarterbacks (Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson) or the two top tight end (Travis Kelce), the third round remains a comfortable spot to grab your first wide receiver.

Depending on availability of startable running backs, you could opt to go with Kenny Golladay, Mike Evans or Allen Robinson in the third round — when they often are available in 12-team leagues. Or, we’re even OK waiting one more round then grabbing one of our two favorite wide receiver targets this season, based on value: JuJu Smith-Schuster or Odell Beckham Jr.

JuJu Smith-Schuster
JuJu Smith-SchusterAP

Smith-Schuster gets Ben Roethlisberger back this season. Barring yet another Big Ben injury, JuJu should go-go wild. And because we think Browns QB Baker Mayfield will progress forward toward a mean between his impressive rookie season and last year’s disaster, we also believe that will buoy a Beckham rebound.

Then it could be possible to nab Amari Cooper, Adam Thielen, Cooper Kupp or A.J. Brown in the fifth round. So imagine at that point you have some combination of those listed as your top two WRs. It might not be the most dominating fleet, but it probably allowed you to build a strong RB core and land an elite QB or TE.

Worried about depth? Don’t be. There are plenty of playable names that routinely remain available in the rounds ahead: D.J. Chark, DeVante Parker, Stefon Diggs, Marquise Brown, Julian Edelman.

And don’t forget about Deebo Samuel. He broke his foot in June, driving his price point into the ground. But there is chatter he could be ready for Week 1. You shouldn’t count on that, but it does hint that he won’t be out deep into the season, giving him much better value than his current draft status as an eight- or ninth-rounder.

Reminder: Others will read that news, too, so be aware his value is likely already rising. We would pay as high as a seventh-rounder if our other preferred options are off the table or we have multiple bye-week conflicts.

The receiver positions gives you plenty of options this season. So don’t panic and think you have to load up early.

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