Fantasy Sports Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football 2014: Undervalued WRs On Draft Day

Brandon Marshall

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

 

It becomes so, so annoying when a player that you absolutely love isn’t receiving nearly enough love in fantasy circles. People aren’t talking about them as much, and as a result, their draft spots don’t match their pedigree. But then I realize I can get some of these guys on the cheap, thus, becoming less annoyed.

So thanks, I guess.

Anyway, today, we will be looking at some wide receivers that aren’t being valued quite correctly in fantasy football. Guys who are being drafted lower than I personally believe they should be. Guys who warrant a bit more attention in fantasy leagues.

Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears (WR6)

Yes, Marshall, one of the game’s best talents, is undervalued in fantasy. I didn’t believe it when I saw it, but Marshall, fantasy’s number five and number two wideout since joining the Bears, is coming off the board as the 6th receiver in drafts right now. Excuse me? How much sense does that make? Sure, everyone loves Julio Jones’ upside, but there is no possible reason for him to be going ahead of a proven guy like Marshall, who may be the most consistent receiver in fantasy football. Since 2010, Marshall has finished as a WR1 68.8 percent of the time, tied with Megatron for the highest percentage among receivers. It’s also the 7th-highest consistency rating in football. Meanwhile, no receiver has accumulated more targets over the last two years than Marshall’s 335. During that span, he’s also third in standard and second in PPR scoring.

It makes zero sense to me.

Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts (WR33)

I understand why fantasy owners are shying away from a 36-year old wideout coming off an ACL tear.

I just don’t agree with it.

Wayne was off to a terrific start before ultimately tearing his ACL, and was on pace for nearly 90 catches for 1,200 yards and five touchdowns. And according to Raymond Summerlin of Rotoworld, in 2012, Wayne saw a whopping 31.7 percent of Andrew Luck’s targets, the second-highest rate in football. Last year, before he got hurt, Wayne was seeing about 26 percent of Luck’s targets. He’s looking tremendous in camp and Luck is going to force-feed him the football. Since Luck entered the league, Wayne has been targeted on 30.6 percent of his routes run, good for a top-10 ranking in the NFL.

Eric Decker, New York Jets (WR37)

No one seems to want Decker, but if I can have him as my third wide receiver in the back end of the 8th round, you won’t hear me complaining. Of course, going from Denver to the Jets isn’t very appealing for fantasy purposes. But this is a guy who, for the first time, will see WR1 targets as the number one option in the passing game. I think he should still do more than enough in the reception and yardage categories, but the touchdowns should regress. During the last two seasons with Denver, Decker has hauled in a whopping 24 touchdowns. The reason? Well, along with having Peyton Manning, Decker has been targeted an insane 49 times in the red zone during that span, good for a top-three rank among receivers. The Jets won’t get into the red zone nearly as much as Denver, but a WR1 in an improving offense needs to be drafted a bit higher than 37th among pass-catchers.

DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (WR43)

I’ve already made the case for Hopkins, and am extremely bullish on him, pegging him in at WR33, ton whole spots higher than his ADP. I love second-year wide receivers, as they see an 65 percent increase in fantasy points from their rookie season, and Hopkins has already been impressing at camp, as people have said he’s been catching everything. And, despite his mediocre rookie stat line of 52 catches for 802 yards and two scores, Hopkins still played a whopping 970 offensive snaps during his rookie campaign, the 7th-most among not just rookie wideouts, but all wideouts in the NFL. He and new quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick have been developing a nice rapport, and I think Hopkins is in store for a breakout season.

Adam Pfeifer is a lead fantasy sports writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.