Every year there are a handful of wide receivers that really over perform their draft position for whatever reason. Sometimes they get more playing time because of an injury or maybe they emerge because their quarterback or offensive coordinator gets them more involved in the game plan than expected. Whatever the reason is, if you can find one of these guys for your fantasy team you can often reap the rewards of spending less money and still get great production.
I know that it is very early in the fantasy football year, and once we start getting a better idea of ADP’s and really deep auction values, very cheap wide receiver candidates will emerge. These will be the guys that will earn a spot to start heading into training camps or don’t get a rookie drafted or free agent signed to take over their spot. Until we get to that point, here are a few names of some middle-level values that you should be targeting on draft day.
Percy Harvin ‘12 Stats – Fantasy Pts – 106, Rec/Targets – 62/85, Yards – 677, TD’s – 5 (3 rec/1 rush/1 ret)
Believe it or not, I still think Percy Harvin will be undervalued heading into auction draft this upcoming fantasy season. Right now I have him as my #11 WR at $29. Now a lot is going to depend on what the Vikings decide to do with him this offseason. If he is traded then you may have to adjust his value accordingly. I do not see him going any lower than where I have him however. He is playing in one of the worst passing offenses in the NFL so if he does leave he can’t really go anywhere worse. He only played in 9 games in 2012. If you extrapolate his stats to a full 16 games they would look something like 151 targets (8th), 110 receptions (5th) and 1203 yards (11th). Statistically he can easily be a top 10 WR and that’s with Christian Ponder throwing the ball. This year I think is going to be a huge year for Harvin because he wants a big contract from someone. He has already said he wants Calvin Johnson money, so he has to back it up. He has all the tools to produce and now if he is really motivated, which I don’t think he was last season, he could explode. If he stays healthy I see him as a top 5 WR in ‘13. Also you have to consider the things that he does rushing the ball. I think he easily gets 12 total TD’s which would put him in the Top 5 in that category as well. If you can get Harvin for under $30 in 2013 I think you are getting some very good value with that pick.
Pierre Garcon ‘12 Stats – Fantasy Pts – 94, Rec/Targets – 44/67, Yards – 633, TD’s – 4
Here’s a guy that probably could have been had in your 2012 draft for around $10 and if he stayed healthy would have been an absolute steal. Just like Harvin, if you project Garcon for a full 16 games based on 2012 stats he would finish somewhere in the ballpark of 107 targets, 70 receptions and 1013 yards. Figure in he doubles his TD output to 8 and he’s a pretty nice option at WR. I believe that this would be his absolute floor, that’s why I have him as a draft day steal. He was clearly RGIII’s main target when both were healthy and I don’t see the Redskins spending any high draft picks on a WR so Garcon shouldn’t have much competition again in 2013. I think that if you give Garcon and RGIII another full training camp together then you could actually expect to something closer to 1200-1300 yards from Garcon. Factor in the potential for RGIII to scramble less coming off a knee injury so he might stay in the pocket and pass more. That only helps Garcon further. Now injury issues are also a concern for Garcon, but that can actually work in your favour because I think that will keep some owners you will draft against from having him too high on their rankings heading into drafts. 1200 yards and 8 TD’s puts him in the same company as guys like Wes Welker and Vincent Jackson from 2012 in terms of fantasy points, not bad. Right now I have Garcon at $21 which is the 22nd WR. Do I think this low for him….absolutely. But this is where I think the majority of people have him slated as of right now. I think that Garcon could be the 2013 version of Demaryius Thomas, a guy you can get for around $20 that will has the ceiling to hang with the big boys near the Top 5. That’s exceptional value.
Antonio Brown ‘12 Stats – Fantasy Pts – 108, Rec/Targets – 66/105, Yards – 787, TD’s – 5
When I look at Antonio Brown I see all the talent in the world but he just can’t seem to breakout in the big way many fantasy owners are hoping for. I think this year could be that year however and I’ll explain why. Todd Haley has to do something to shake things up with this offense or he won’t have a job next year. I think the Steelers will implement more no huddle, take more shots down field and really try to upgrade the running backs and offensive line this offseason. The Steelers offense, for many reason, was pretty vanilla in 2012. Obviously Ben being hurt hampered the production and rhythm of the offense. With a better supporting cast that keeps Ben from taking as much punishment as he has in the past, it can only help the entire offense. It will give Ben more time to throw it deep and allow for a better run game which will add balance. However, the biggest factor for Brown to emerge in my opinion is the fact that Mike Wallace will most likely not be a Steeler in 2013. That frees up more looks for Brown and makes him the primary deep target. Brown only played 13 games in ‘12 as well. Add in another 3 and he’s around 80 catches for 970 yards. Now factor in more big plays and he could be around 1200 yards in 2013. Right now I have Brown valued around $19 and the 26th WR on the board. If you can get him as a WR3 ,at less than $20, with his potential to produce like a Top 8-12 WR then that’s a draft gamble I want to take.
Josh Gordon ‘12 Stats – Fantasy Pts – 110, Rec/Targets – 50/96, Yards – 805, TD’s – 5
I love Josh Gordon heading into 2013. Why you ask, two words, Norv Turner. One of the worst head coaches in the NFL is actually thought of as one of the best offensive coordinators. He’s helped develop guys like Troy Aikman and Philip Rivers into once elite fantasy quarterbacks. He also led LaDanian Tomlinson, Ricky Williams and Emmitt Smith to rushing titles. I think that he can really improve the efficiency of this offense and find ways to utilize the weapons they do have more effectively. The Browns have one of the best offensive lines on paper which should give Weeden time to use that big arm to go deep. And Rob Chudzinski, Norv’s boss and new Browns head coach is known for his aggressive and fearless play calling. This means more shots deep down the field. Who was better at catching deep passes in ‘12? (If you say Jacoby Jones I may puke) I have a hard time believing that Gordon can’t quite easily get over 1000 yards in his second year. The jump between a rookie to a second year WR is typically quite good. At this stage it’s hard to tell where Gordon is slotted but I figure he should be able to be had for less than $20 on draft day. Now this could increase depending on the hype that Gordon may generate as we get closer to drafts. I’m willing to bet that a lot of owners won’t be able to put Gordon inside their top 25 WR’s so that opens the door for you to swoop in a grab a player with immense upside for a good price.
Go to http://www.thefantasyfootballauction.com/auctionvalues/ and you can see my auction values at all the other positions. Feel free to leave comments or your opinions.
Next post I’ll look at the tight end position.
All Auction All The Time!!