This year, more so than any in the past 10 years, millions of fantasy football participants will lay witness to supreme depth at every major position from QB to Defense. The new NFL rules that prohibit pretty much any defensive contact or hard hitting has defenders more restricted than ever. Combine that with more teams implementing spread offenses including 3 or 4 WR sets and 2 TE sets, and the end result is higher scoring. So don’t be fooled by fantasy analysts on reputable sites that claim you need to draft certain positions in a particular round. The truth is, this year one of many draft strategies could earn you the championship belt. So draft whoever you want in the first few rounds, and don’t hesitate to stretch or overpay for the player your heart desires. This is the year you can totally make up for it in the 5th through 13th rounds. The upcoming season is only a couple of weeks away, and the numbers support that implementing a strategy that loads your team up on #2 wide receivers could statistically position you to make a run at playoff time.
Implementation of this strategy implies that you still can “kill” it with your first 3-4 picks, but once you’ve written off the Calvin Johnsons, Dez Bryants, and Brandon Marshalls of the world you are free to draft a big time QB, RB, and TE. Not thinking about a WR, gives you a choice of 6-7 feature backs who are also active in the passing game. You can pick up Brees, Manning or Rodgers and you can pick up a less flashy but valuable RB like Alfred Morris or Le’veon Bell. Please don’t make the mistake of ignoring the TE position if one of the top 3 TEs falls to you because you’ll be ignoring double digit TDs and over 1000 yards by Jimmy Graham, Julius Thomas, and Gronk. Think about it you come out of the first round with a premier back, a top 4 QB, and either a solid RB or a top 3 TE and now you’re rolling. Your opponents have Julio Jones, Jordy Nelson and A.J. Green but you have pieces too, and it’s going to be much easier this year finding late WR value than late RB value so let the over analytic goober in your accounting department fight that battle.
This list may change your life, but it’s important to understand why these #2s can work for you. The second or third receiver will always draw man coverage and usually work out of the slot, but a good WR will be able to go deep as well. This dual threat makes them fantasy gold especially in PPR leagues. Take a look the top 5 wide receivers that are the 2nd or 3rd look on their team.
Now, the top 3 may not make it to the 4th round, but if they do, these are no brainer grabs, as all 3 will give you top WR value. All 3 will see man coverage, work in the slot and can catch the deep ball. Let your opponents overpay for Jordy Nelson’s stat from last year, which are grossly inflated. Cobb was on pace for over 90 catches and 1200 yards before he got injured. Alshon Jefferies is virtually uncoverable which isn’t even a word, but should be when talking about the matchup nightmares both Chicago WRs will be. Roddy White is a lock for 1200 yards. Julio Jones is as well, but why pay more for Julio if you can lock down another position. Golden Tate has been lights out since coming into the league, and joins an offense that projects him to get 35% more targets than he did in Seattle. He has a QB that will put the ball up 35 times a game and Tate could have the best hands in the NFL. It would be shocking to see him catch less than 85 balls this year and he knows how to score the football. Get him late, but not too late, as he is on fantasy radars across the board. Floyd out produced Larry Fitzgerald last year, and should do the same in Bruce Arians offense again this year.
There is no reason you shouldn’t be able to get at least two of these guys but if you don’t check out this next tier of WR that should see a high volume of targets while seeing one on one coverage.
Do yourself a favor – If you implement this strategy and Josh Gordon is going to play 8 or more games this season –pick him up at the discount as well and when you ask the question “who does #2 work for?” The rest of your league will know it’s you.