By: Kyle Richardson (Twitter: @krich1532)
Updated: 6/12/2017

Winning The Off-Season:
Dynamic Wide Receivers

Winning the Offseason

Fantasy dreams are potentially made or broken with every offseason move. Whether you are acquiring players via trade, draft or free agency, everyone has game plan when piecing together a potential championship team. This series of articles will give my take on each position and what I look for when acquiring players in the offseason. You can use a majority of this information for dynasty or redraft. I have been happy with my formula so far, and I hope you will be able to gain somethings from this as well.

Dynamic Wide Receivers
People seem to be fixated with the wide receiver position these days, and rightly so. The NFL has turned into a pass happy, point scoring league and wide outs create some of the most dramatic plays in the game. With that, fantasy football as seen a shift in recent years, especially in PPR leagues, to wide receivers being the first players off the board. You really can make a case for guys like OBJ and Mike Evans to be the first overall pick in a startup. However, I still run with the old school mentality. I like my running backs and I like to get them early. I will cover running backs in a different article, so I won’t worry about explaining why here.

The important reason to note, is that I am the guy looking for value in later rounds at WR. I can see why people make the argument to go big early at receiver. Bigger points means bigger wins. I counter, however, and argue that more passing means great value later in the draft when guys are scrambling to grab running’s backs. While a league mate is grabbing a team’s #2 running back to have a handcuff, you’re grabbing a team’s #2 receiver which will typically outscore a backup running back. How you find that value is critical.

YAC Per Reception
I think Yards After the Catch (YAC) is a very underrated stat when it comes to researching receivers. I want guys on my team that have a chance to pick up those extra yards. Get the ball in their hands and get them out in the open. Guys like Randall Cobb and Golden Tate can provide an excellent boost when you are putting together a team of underrated receivers. To take it a step further, I look at YAC per reception. Every time my guys touch the ball, how many additional yards are they going to grab? Depending on your league settings, an extra five yards could be 1 point and the difference between a win and loss.

Let’s take a look at the top 20 receivers in 2016 based on YAC Per Reception (minimum of 30 receptions):

If you were an early first round pick and decided to get a workhorse like Le’Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliot or David Johnson, there is plenty of value on this list to get good receivers later. I recently did a mock draft from the 1.03 spot and grabbed David Johnson with my first pick and Jordan Howard with my second pick. Two workhorse, clear cut, starting running backs with handcuffs I can grab at the very end of the draft or in free agency. Know who I grabbed in round 3? Jarvis Landry, who is #5 on this list.

Based on our Average Draft Position (ADP) stats on FFDynsaty260.com, players like Tate, Cobb and Willie Snead are going between picks 70 and 77. Based on those same rankings, you could have running backs Spencer Ware and Ameer Abdullah. I believe Abdullah should be higher than that, but those are not the running backs most teams want to hinge their fantasy season on. Looking for more value? Players like Allen Hurns, Quincy Enunwa, Tyler Gabriel and Tyler Lockett are all going outside the top 150 players taken as of our last update. Depending on what happens with Jeremy Maclin and Eric Decker, I have seen lots of chatter regarding Breshad Perriman and his potential for a breakout year. He comes in with an ADP of 95.5 but was within the top 20 receivers last year in YPC per Reception at 5.3. You could take Eddie Lacy in this same region at 92.5 if you decided to wait on running backs and go receivers early. In a dynasty format, I’ll take Perriman at his ADP over Lacy any day.

I want to use Perriman as an example, because he barely broke this list with only 33 receptions last year. Lets say he stays healthy and doubles his reception total to 66 catches, but maintains the same 5.3 YPC per Reception. That’s at least another 175 yards on the season. You could be looking at almost a 1,000 yard season from Perriman if he is able to keep the same kind of production over the course of 66 catches.

What you didn’t see
Here are where some of the top fantasy receivers ended up with YPC per Reception. Each one can be argued as a WR1 or at minimum a WR2 on your team and most of these guys will be gone very early. The difference is that you may only get 1 or 2 of these players, while you could get between 3 and 4 of the receivers from the first list. Paring that value with the running backs you went with early on could be a huge win for you during the season.

In the mock draft where I took Johnson 3rd overall, the 1st overall pick was Mike Evans. If you look at comparable ADPs, Lacy typically goes in the same round as Perrimen. So, would you rather have Evans and Lacy or Johnson and Perrimen?

Final Thoughts

You could argue that there is a huge discrepancy between the groups in receptions. The second group has 8 players with 80+ receptions and the first group has 3 players with 80+ receptions. You have to keep in mind though, when using this data, we are looking for value. We know if we go RB/RB in the first couple of rounds, more than likely we won’t be getting a tier 1 receiver. When we play the waiting game, we have to find players where we think the ceiling is higher than what their ADP shows. We need to pinpoint which players we believe to have a breakout or rebound season. When I was finished with my latest mock draft, several people made the comment that my running backs looked good, but my receivers looked less than average. To you, yes, they may not look like much. But I believe I was able to grab a lot of value late that others did not recognize.

This article is not to talk you out of taking a WR in round one or two. Depending on your league settings, it may be best to take a receiver early on. If the top three running backs go in the top three picks, and you have the fourth pick, take OBJ or Evans or Brown or whoever. Use this information as a guide to gain a leg up on your league mates. That little extra edge is what separates you at the end of the season.