As we get closer to the heart of Fantasy Football draft season, you're going to need all the help you can get to keep track of everything going on during an unprecedented preseason. Training camps are being conducted largely outside of the public eye, and there won't be any preseason action, so monitoring the news is going to be as important as ever — along with knowing what that news means.
We're re-launching the Fantasy Football Today Newsletter this week, and we're going to make sure everything you need to know is covered every single day. That will include unique analysis of the latest news, as well as the latest content from Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard, Heath Cummings, Ben Gretch and the whole Fantasy Football Today team, subscriber mailbags, and more, delivered right to you every morning.
The goal here is simple: If you do nothing else but read this newsletter every morning, you're going to be ahead of the competition. Subscribe here and check out Tuesday's newsletter here. We started our wide receiver preview week on Monday, so let's dive in deep to the deepest position in the game.
2020 Wide Receiver Preview
Most players' team-building strategy revolves around running backs — either locking them up early or intentionally avoiding them. But maybe you should think more about making wide receivers the centerpiece of your Draft Day strategy. After all, while running back is full of land mines and waiver-wire studs every year, wide receiver tends to be a little more predictable. They're the more secure investment early on.
The ideal draft might start with a first-round running back, but I'm looking to have three of the top-15 wide receivers on my side to lock in that elite group. I asked Jamey, Dave, Heath, and Ben seven big questions about the wide receiver position for 2020, and when it came down to how important it is to make sure they end up with an elite WR, they ... weren't exactly in line with my thoughts:
- Jamey: "I don't put a priority on it."
- Dave: "I'd rather go for the crown and draft elite running backs."
- Heath: "It's not important enough for me to take Michael Thomas as a top four pick and it's not important at all in a non-PPR league."
- Ben: "Considering how small that elite tier is for me, it can't be particularly important."
Welp, I guess I'm on my own on this one. To see the rest of the group's answers, check out our State of the Position survey to kick off our preview.
Five best values in CBS Fantasy drafts so far, according to Jamey:
- D.J. Moore (WR13) - 43.2 overall
- Calvin Ridley (WR16) - 50.5 overall
- Allen Robinson (WR18) - 54.5 overall
- Michael Gallup (WR32) - 91.4 overall
- Will Fuller (WR36) - 103.3 overall
I know it's hard to trust Fuller, who hasn't played more than 11 games since 2017, but that price is hard to ignore. If you can get Fuller as your flex in a four-wide receiver league, you're going to be impossible to beat when he does go off, and you should still have enough firepower to live with the duds. Hopefully, those duds will be fewer and farther between with Fully staring at an opportunity to emerge as the No. 1 option in this offense.
Jamey breaks down the other 10 best WR values in early Average Draft Position, plus the 15 he likes the least — and Jamey is on my side about Woods over Kupp, at least at their current costs.
Here are some numbers to know as you begin your WR research:
- 149 - Michael Thomas had never seen more than 149 targets in a season before he broke an NFL record with 185 in 2019.
- 10.96 - Davante Adams has averaged nearly 11 targets per game over the past three season.
- 9.9 - Tyreek Hill and Tyler Lockett have both averaged 9.9 yards per target over their career, the best ever tracked.
- 61% - Cooper Kupp's snap rate was 61% or lower in three of the final four games for the Rams.
Somewhat ominous stuff for Thomas and especially Kupp — are we sure Kupp is better than Robert Woods this year? Heath dives deep into the numbers to build his projections, and his in-depth preview of the position contains plenty of nuggets that can set you apart from your competition.
Quote of the Day
A 1,000-yard receiving trio has happened just five times in NFL history, most recently in 2008 when Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston managed the feat. Dak Prescott passed for nearly 5,000 yards last season in Kellen Moore's vertical passing attack in 2019, and Randall Cobb actually topped 800 yards in 15 games last season very quietly. And Lamb has a lot more potential than Cobb. Even if he is the No. 3 option in Dallas, there's still enough room there for Lamb to be a viable starting Fantasy option.
The Cowboys aren't the only team with the potential for three 1,000-yard receivers, either. Obviously, you've gotta throw the Chiefs in there, especially if Mecole Hardman emerges as the No. 2 WR over Sammy Watkins. And I'll give the Falcons an outside shot — if Hayden Hurst can replicate Austin Hooper's 60.5 yards per game over 16 games, he'd be almost there.
📰 News and Notes
The biggest news from around the NFL Monday was the Patriots' signing of Lamar Miller, though I'm not exactly sure that says much about Miller himself. It's probably just a bad sign for Sony Michel's recovery from a foot injury and Damien Harris' chances of making up for a lost rookie season. As Jamey wrote Monday, this is likely a backfield to avoid besides of James White, and even then, he's only worthwhile in in PPR.
With full-pad practices not set to start around the league until Aug. 17, we're still waiting for position battles to heat really up, but there's still news coming out of camps. Here's a quick recap of Monday's key stories:
- The lack of contact at practice means the rookie running backs especially are sort of a mystery box all around. Lions coaches "quietly cautioned that D'Andre Swift faces a steep learning curve one practices begin," per The Athletic.
- Sean McVay is teasing the possibility of a Wildcat package for Cam Akers, a former top QB prospect in high school. In what looks like a three-way committee situation in L.A., that's one way for Akers to get some extra opportunities.
- Alex Smith is going to have a chance to compete to start for Washington if he's cleared to play. This probably raises the floor of the Washington offense considerably, though Dwayne Haskins has more upside, at least theoretically.
- Bryan Edwards could start for the Raiders. Edwards was a better college receiver than his numbers might appear at first glance, as I noted in my writeup of the Raiders' draft back in April, and Derek Carr compared him to former college teammate Davante Adams in camp. Add him to your deep sleepers.
- If you're wondering why Alvin Kamara wasn't his usually explosive self in 2019, this could explain it: "I tore up my knee basically." That'll do it.
- The Athletic's Nick Kosmider referred to a "competition" in the Broncos backfield, indicating Melvin Gordon may not be handed the job over Phillip Lindsay after signing as a free agent. That's surprising, actually, and could make this more of a mess than expected. One to watch in camp.
The Fantasy Football Today Draft Guide is here, and I promise, you'll want to have it by your side. We've boiled down everything you need to draft in one place, with consensus expert rankings and auction values, tiers, a round-by-round walkthrough, and Draft Day strategies and rules from Jamey, Dave, Heath, and Ben. It's the next best thing to having them next to you while you draft. Head here to sign up for it, because it's absolutely free — which seems like a good value to me.
On the Fantasy Football Today podcast Tuesday, you've got the second part of the running back preview to check out, as Adam Aizer and the guys show how to approach the position from various spots in the draft. Check out Part One from Monday here. Plus, FFT is back on CBS Spots HQ every Monday through Friday at noon, from now until the end of the Fantasy season, so make sure that's part of your daily routine. And, we'll be doing a PPR mock draft live on our Twitch channel at 7 p.m. EST with some special guests:
A parting thought
Antonio Gibson has been a hot topic of debate on Fantasy Football twitter the last few days, and a lot of it has centered around his readiness to play from Day One. I'm skeptical he'll be much of a Fantasy contributor right away, given his lack of experience working as a true running back. He's splitting time in meetings between the receivers and running backs, so that sort of tells you at least a little bit about how Washington views him.
Gibson's blend of size and speed is obviously intriguing, and if his price remains in the 10th round or later range, there's no problem taking a chance. However, I'm a little worried Gibson's price is going to keep rising — he was pick 126.15 on averaged in NFC drafts from Saturday through Monday. I'm much more likely to roll the dice on Bryce Love winning the primary rushing role, especially since his price is still way cheaper than Gibson's.