Fantasy Football has grown on many levels and can be played in a variety of ways. Whether it’s in a standard format or one with many dunks and diversions, they all will command a decent draft strategy. Furthermore, this strategy will deeply involve reading between the lines and looking beyond the numbers.
Speaking on different fantasy formats brings me to the PPR discussion. Points Per Reception leagues look to have finally eclipsed the standard numbers and have evolved in the same facet as the league. More passing and more wide receiver sets equal more fantasy points. Is there any other reason why WRs are so valuable?
Even with the rise of PPR, running back love is still running rampant throughout the fantasy world. Some believe they have to have those top tier backs and would rather wait on the wide receiver position. I still think it depends on what way your league is designed.
Are you still buying into the ZERO running back theory? Is your focus set on the top pass catchers in the league? If it is you will have plenty of options to help you grab your trophy at the end of the year. However, after those top guys are gone, who do you turn to?
Below are my WR Sleepers 2017:
• Kenny Britt, Cleveland Browns
As the news of DeShone Kizer officially as the Browns’ starting quarterback broke this weekend, the value of Britt will begin to rise. Britt’s talent has never been in question, but his ethic and attitude seem to always be up for debate. However, with the new culture Hue Jackson has inserted into Cleveland, Britt is the veteran Kizer could learn to lean on.
If you look at his states from last year, his 111 targets are indicative of the trust he commands from his QB. Every young QB looks for that safety valve to plug into the offense and that is what Britt is ready to do.
• DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins
As soon as Ryan Tannehill went down with an unfortunate season ending knee injury, everyone seemed to lose hope to the early talks of Parker’s rise. That was until Jay Cutler was flown from the private islands to the city of Miami. Cutler was never known for his accuracy, but he was never afraid to sling it downfield.
Parker looks to finally be up to speed with an NFL playbook and a starting caliber defense. He will look to be a part of what Cutler and Miami head coach Adam Gase had in Chicago, which is a Brandon Marshall and an Alshon Jeffery. Parker and Jarvis Landry will look to play off each other, with Landry commanding possession and Parker scoring touchdowns. It sounds like poetry in motion. Let’s just hope that it rhymes!
• Zay Jones, Buffalo Bills
This one seems too easy, doesn’t it? Sammy Watkins is gone and Jordan Matthews, fresh off a trade from Philadelphia, injures his chest with no timetable for 100% clearance. Who is left to catch the ball in Buffalo?
Sure, Matthews should be ready to go in Week 1 on paper, but what about the time needed to mesh with Tyrod Taylor? Establishing chemistry with your quarterback cannot be underestimated and could be an advantage for Jones heading into the season. On a team whose focus will be on the future, garbage points could become abundant. By the way, having a Pro Bowl running back lining up in the backfield to take the focus away from you doesn’t hurt, either.
• Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans
Rishard Matthews was a revelation in 2016 with nine touchdowns and close to 1,000 yards. Why is he getting disrespected in this year’s drafts? Sure, the Titans signed Eric Decker and drafted Corey Davis, but neither have shown the ability to stay on the field up to this point. The Titans may have a run first offense, but getting the ball down field will be a key to their success. For a fantasy WR being drafted as a #3, there may be no better value this year!
• Cooper Kupp, Rams
While I keep hearing words like “steal” associated with Cooper Kupp, I can’t help but throw some shade in that direction. That being said, I do think he could be a fantasy asset given the situation he is walking into, but not as a sure-fire lock in your starting five. The third-round pick from Eastern Washington is already showing the ability to create separation consistently and has shown the poise throughout the preseason needed to be productive in the NFL. Whether it’s in the slot or on a deep post, Kupp has shown the willingness to get to his spot often. In an offense that struggled to find a consistent performer last season, Kupp is looking to put that to rest in 2017.
• Ted Ginn Jr., Saints
This is a perfect example of a low risk, high reward pick. Ginn Jr. was a productive receiver for the Panthers last year, catching 54 passes for 752 yards and four touchdowns. As a player in his early 30s, he showed no signs of slowing down. He now comes to New Orleans to try and recoup the loss of 117 targets thrown in the direction of Brandin Cooks. If you consider he had 95 targets last year and now is playing in offense directed by Drew Brees, taking a flier on him somewhere in rounds 14-16 can’t hurt.
As always you can stop by my Facebook page (FantasySportsAddiction) or tweet me (@TCutillo23) for questions or some nice fantasy debates. I can also be heard weekly via the internet stream live at WengRadio every Monday at 4:00pm EST for a weekend sports wrap. But most importantly, you can catch me here at Pi!
For fantasy purposes, all my articles are predicated upon a PPR-based system.