8.19 – Preseason WR Update Pt2

Ok, I put the wizard poker away and now I’ll get back to my WR Ranks/Tiers 😀 Some slight changes to my ranks since the last post. The top is pretty much untouched, but I rearranged the middle of my ranks. The groupings in the middle of my ranks are very nebulous and I think that’s a good way of describing WR this year. There’s a large group of guys Id be ok with as my WR2 and an equally large group of guys that I think make solid WR3 and even WR4. WR is deep!

These next names are receivers that I like a lot better as WR3’s if you can draft them as such, but make fine WR2’s where you’ll more likely find them. I left off with Keenan Allen/Amari Cooper. I think Amari may be more talented/skilled, but Allen plays on the better offense. Allen’s production is probably going to come down to how much better you think he is than the other WRs on SD. I kind of see him as a B receiver among other B-/C+ WRs. If you think he is like a B+ WR, I think he will separate himself enough to be a high-end WR2. There is also the third-year WR thing if you buy into that. I think Allen will have a hot start to the season while Gates is out, if you want to trade him after that, I think his value takes a hit when Gates returns.

I was already down on Kelvin Benjamin and after hearing he came into camp fat and a little gimpy, he dropped in my ranks, but now he is rising again. In Benjamin, I saw a guy that isnt particularly skilled as a receiver or route-runner. He has his size going for him, but he doesnt even use that to it’s full potential in my opinion… but his connection with Cam is undeniable. It’s kind of amusing, that a QB that isnt the best passer and a WR that isnt the best receiver make such a good pair, but they complement each other well enough. I dont think Funchess takes away much from Kelvin, even if they play similar roles. Kelvin will probably end up at WR2 again, just from sheer volume alone. Another perk of Kelvin and CAR is that they will keep throwing in garbage time. An injured Cam continually hooking up with Kelvin in garbage time vs PHL probably left some owners either very happy or very bitter last year.

Next up is Allen Robinson. Not as hyped as Ameer Abdullah or Travis Kelce, but still pretty universally liked by most. Last year ended a bit early due to injury but when he was playing, he was able to consistently hook up with Bortles. Admittedly, I dont really know the technical nuances of route-running, but Robinson’s routes are constantly discussed as a strength. Since not many people actually watch JAX, they may not realize that Robinson is a big dude’ 6’3”, 210 lbs, up there with Alshon, Jordy, and Dez. If you believe Bortles and the JAX offense as a whole with all their offseason additions will take a step forward, Robinson will definitely be a big beneficiary.

Charles Johnson is also another hyped WR this year. He doesnt have the track record that new teammate, Mike Wallace does, but what he does have is the trust of OC Norv Turner. The WR1 in a Norv Turner offense has historically been very fruitful for fantasy owners. With the return of Adrian Peterson preventing defenses from just dropping back into coverage and Bridgewater’s steady hand at QB, Johnson just oozes potential. I think Wright in the slot and Wallace on the opposite side actually help give Johnson the space to operate.

In all honesty, Desean Jackson deserves more respect than to be ranked outside anyone’s top-24 WRs, but fantasy is about winning with the guys you love and Desean has never been a guy I wanted to root for. Maybe it’s because Im adverse to such a boom/bust player as my WR2 or maybe Im just bitter about that punt return TD that he scored vs NYG all those seasons ago…but Im just not a fan. You know he’s good for big plays more weeks than not regardless of his QB situation. Fairly durable mostly due to the fact that he doesnt particularly operate in the middle of the field, if Desean is your WR2, you’re probably pretty happy and I wont fault anyone who drafts him as such. He’s proven year after year what he is capable of.

If yor’re a believer in drafting talent over situation, you’ll love Sammy Watkins. Capable of beating defenses anywhere on the field, there’s a reason BUF gave up a king’s ransom for the right to draft him. Last year was a bit up and down for the young WR, but he did flash brilliance at times. Like last year, his performance is going to be dictated by whoever is throwing him the ball. BUF’s QB situation has been lambasted as one of the worst in the league and Im not entirely sure which one of Manuel/Cassel/Taylor would actually benefit Watkins the most. The addition of Harvin and Clay to BUF’s passing game is non-factor in my eyes to Watkin’s outlook.

Reports out of camp so far have been nothing short of glowing for Landry, but he may be over-hyped this year, even in PPR. The addition of Cameron could cut into his targets in the middle of the field and it’s not like he can easily slide over to the outside where Stills, Parker, and Jennings already operate. I do like Landry’s hands and acceleration, plus he has Tannehill’s trust opening up the possibility for a role in the red zone, but he wasnt used that way last year. He did have a problem with fumbles last year so I hope he makes ball security more of a priority this season. If you think Tannehill and the MIA offense continue to grow, Landry may play a Welker-esq role for this team.

Martavius Bryant is another hyped receiver, though the hype train definitely has slowed down recently. News that Marcus Wheaton will be the starter opposite Antonio Brown suggests that Bryant’s role wont change much from what it was last year. Bryant showed that he has the talent to come up with big plays in that limited capacity, but without regular snaps, he will be inconsistent week to week. As a WR3 behind two other solid WRs, Bryant could be that X factor some weeks that puts your team over the top.

The next group of players are the boring, but effective veterans. Names in this group include Larry Fitzgerald, Vincent Jackson, Steve Smith, etc. Mixed in with them are some breakout candidates. Following them are a group of WRs I like are real life WR2, but are more like WR4’s for fantasy. After them are a group of situationally good WRs followed by a group of WRs that essentially comprise my WR watch list. I’ll make another post detailing these WRs starting with those vets in the future.

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