10 Wide Receivers to Target in Rounds 4-7 for Fantasy Football 2013
Fantasy Football 2013: 10 Wide Receivers to Target in Rounds 4-7
This year everyone wants to go running backs early. It makes sense. With lots of new young quarterbacks who have shown they have the talent, fantasy players know they can wait on quarterback. Wide receiver has a few top guys, but for the most part it is hard to see who will do well and who will bust.
However, this dynamic creates a problem. Players take two running backs early miss on a quarterback and then reach because they feel they need it, or take a tight end like Jimmy Graham. Then going into the fourth round they don't have a single wide receiver. While it might feel like those teams will go nowhere, they actually have a lot of potential.
Wide receivers are extremely high variance in their fantasy production, so drafting three or four good ones for two spots is usually the best option. If you want to get two running backs early, that is almost certainly how you should play it. Here we will look at 10 guys that can be drafted from rounds four through seven that all have top 20 potential, with most even having top 10 potential. By drafting two or three of these guys a team can go from very thin at wide out to solid and even have some trading options when one of their guys has a big first few games.
Wide receivers should go late and often. The key and surprising word there is often. Having five wide receivers on a team is good. Many will be surprises, but it is hard to predict who will be great. These ten guys all have a great chance, though, and are players to target.
Randall Cobb has a top 3 ceiling. Playing with Aaron Rodgers adds any receiver a ton of value, but Cobb is young and extremely talented. He was a top 20 wide receiver last year in fantasy, and most think he can be top 10 this year.
Cobb is going into his third year, which is often when receivers make a big jump in their production. Cobb is also a great player for fantasy because most of his routes revolve around deep throws and getting yardage, not just short throws for first downs. Without Greg Jennings Cobb will get more targets and more touchdowns. He is a solid number one wide out; target him in the fourth round.
Wes Welker was very productive last year, but many seem down on him this year. The truth is he should easily eclipse what he did last year with Peyton Manning’s offense. The New England Patriots built themselves around two tight end sets, which meant that Welker was already essentially playing with two top wide receivers, so the worries about his targets for the Denver Broncos are unwarranted. Further, those two tight end sets often forced him outside and out of what he is used to. Under Peyton Manning Welker can be in the slot again. Manning loves slot receivers, so expect Welker to get his targets and be a top ten guy. He is great value in the fifth and a good pick in the fourth.
A boring pick. People know what he is, but his consistency is valuable. Marques Colston has been a top 20 guy for four years in a row and a top 15 guy for three of those years. If you have already drafted a wide receiver Colston is a great number two. For a team with two top tier running backs and a good quarterback he can also be a number one. Colston will not be a top five guy but he also will not be out of the top 20, and that consistency has major value. Target him in the fifth, but picking him in the fourth is good too.
Reggie Wayne is a lot like Colston in his consistency. He dropped a little last year with a new quarterback but was still a top 15 guy. He has top 10 potential as Luck develops. Wayne is an extremely safe pick, and that is ultimately where his value comes from. Wayne is great for teams that have another wide out who might boom or bust. He will be consistent and not derail your team if your other wide receiver is underwhelming. Target him in the fifth for solid value, but taking him in the late fourth is good too.
Hakeem Nicks is often injured, but when he isn’t, he is a top 10 guy. In 2012 he had a disappointing year where he was never really 100 percent, but in 2011 and 2010 he was a solid number one fantasy wide receiver. Nicks is going in the late fifth round of many drafts, and there he has immense value because he can be a number two wide receiver. He may get injured, so draft Rueben Randle late as a good handcuff. You definitely need strong backups, but Nicks has lots of upside and is easily worth a fifth round pick.
Danny Amendola just got Tom Brady as his quarterback, and his fantasy stock has spiked because of it. Not only that, but every productive target of Brady’s from last year is gone. Amendola is going to get targeted early and often. Playing in a supercharged offense like the Patriots should amp up Amendola’s touchdown potential as well.
The one concern for Amendola is injuries. But while Amendola has a long injury history many of the injuries are the freakish, unusual kind, not reoccurring issues. None of his injuries have been on the same body part, and his worst one, a torn triceps, is not the kind of injury that keeps popping up the way knee injuries do. Amendola may miss a game or two, but he still should have great value in the fifth or even late fourth round.
Many forget that a few years ago Dwayne Bowe was second in fantasy points. Sure, last year he was not the same, but that was in many ways because he had awful quarterbacks, whether it was Brady Quinn or Matt Cassel. Bowe is talented, and with Alex Smith now for the Kansas City Chiefs he should get more yards and touchdowns. In addition, Andy Reid is there, a coach who loves to throw and has a good record making quarterbacks excel. Bowe has less upside than Amendola or Nicks because his offense is not high-powered, but in the sixth round, as a number two wide receiver, Bowe has value.
Eric Decker had a great fantasy season last year, coming seventh in fantasy points, yet now he his value has dropped like a rock and he's being drafted in the sixth round. Sure, Welker has come and that mitigates his potential, but for a top ten guy last year to drop this much is unwarranted. Demaryius Thomas is considered third round value for most analysts, when he was less than a point better last year than Decker. Manning spreads the ball around to all his receivers well, so Thomas is probably overrated with Welker and Decker being underrated. Target Decker in the sixth as a second wide out. He is a solid number two, but if Welker or Thomas miss any time Decker’s ceiling rises immensely.
Jordy Nelson is on the Green Bay Packers, and anyone on the Packers has potential. Fantasy gurus seem to have decided that Cobb will be the only major benefactor of Jennings leaving, but in truth targets for all Packers receivers will go up. Cobb is younger with much more potential, but Nelson has good value too. He will get his fair share of touchdowns and is a lock to have a few long touchdowns as well. There is an argument to be made that James Jones belongs on this list rather than Nelson and drafting him is a strong choice too, but Jones is going a round earlier. Both are steals in the seventh, but still solid choices in the sixth. It is just more likely to find Nelson there.
With Mike Wallace gone, Ben Roethlisberger has to throw to someone and Antonio Brown is a good target. Brown showed that he can be a great deep threat in 2011 averaging over 16 yards a catch. In 2012 his yards per catch dropped slightly, but without Wallace going deep Brown could be running more deep routes. Brown had only eight targets per game last year, but that number should spike without Wallace in the mix. Brown has immense potential and could honestly end up as a top ten wide receiver. He is a great number two receiver and a good player to target in the sixth round or early seventh.
Jay Cullen is a New York Giants writer for RantSports.com. Like him on Facebook at Jay Cullen-Rant Sports, or add him on Google.