Hello everyone -- Dan Schneier (@DanSchneierNFL) here and we're inching closer to the start of the 2021 NFL regular season and even closer to your Fantasy Football draft days. The Hall of Fame game has passed and very soon we'll be diving too deep into analyzing preseason football. We're in the stretch run of Fantasy Football 2021 draft preparation. We want to get you caught up with everything here and so we'll be dedicating each of the following weeks to one position group with an offshoot of content specific to that position. This week will be the wide receivers.
At the start of each week from now until the end of the Fantasy season, I'll be organizing a panel of sorts asking questions of our FFT team and they will be delivering answers. We'll hear from Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg, Chris Towers, Heath Cummings and Adam Aizer. If you have any burning questions you want answered, reach out to me on Twitter @DanSchneierNFL. If the questions are good, I'll work them into the weekly panel.
Without further ado, let's dive into this week's questions:
1. Which WR has an ADP that makes the least sense to you?
Adam: Odell Beckham in Round 6 (WR26) doesn't make sense to me. This is too early for Beckham, who has been injured in four straight seasons (he played through a sports hernia in 2019) and has basically only been worth starting in good matchups since arriving in Cleveland. Exciting youngsters like Tee Higgins and Chase Claypool should be drafted ahead of Beckham.
Dave: Michael Thomas at 52.5. The guy might miss as many as eight weeks, might need a couple of weeks to round into form whenever he does come back, won't have his Hall of Fame quarterback throwing to him anymore and, candidly, wasn't the unstoppable receiver we were hoping for last year. People are drafting him solely on reputation, barely considering his circumstances.
Jamey: I'm using the CBS Sports ADP, and it's Diontae Johnson as the No. 26 receiver off the board at 73.46. I'm looking for Johnson as early as Round 4, and he should continue to be a PPR star this season. Even with JuJu Smith-Schuster still on the Steelers roster, as well as the upside of second-year standout Chase Claypool, Johnson is the best receiver in Pittsburgh -- maybe by a wide margin.
Chris: I understand that the hype machine can kick into overdrive during training camp, but the way CeeDee Lamb's ADP has taken off like a rocket ship just feels like bad process to me. Maybe if we were a week away from the start of the season and Amari Cooper still wasn't practicing you could justify a pick in the middle of the third round for Lamb, but we have every reason to believe Cooper is going to be there to start the season. And yes, I know Lamb was on an incredible pace (93-1,386-6) with Dak Prescott healthy, but but he also had a target share in the 16% range during that time; if you don't think Prescott is going to keep up that 6,000-yard pace, Lamb's numbers with him don't mean all that much. Lamb is an excellent prospect in a good offense, but taking Lamb a full round ahead of Cooper -- who was the much better player in 2020 -- just doesn't make any sense to me.
Heath: I love CeeDee Lamb and I recently joined the crowd and moved him one spot ahead of Amari Cooper, but I cannot get behind Lamb as WR11 in full PPR. Lamb now has a third-round ADP, which is pretty remarkable considering he wasn't a top-24 WR last year on a per-game basis and the Cowboys are bringing everyone back. Dak Prescott should help, and Lamb should be better, but his ADP is out of control.
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2. Which WR (outside the first two rounds*) has an ADP that makes the most sense to you?
Adam: Allen Robinson in late Round 3 (WR12) makes perfect sense. He should not be taken ahead of younger and more exciting players like Terry McLaurin and A.J. Brown, but as soon as you start having doubts about the WRs on the board, it's Allen Robinson time. He feels like a lock for 150+ targets and 100 catches, but he won't be a true standout in yards or TDs and therefore does not have top-five upside.
Dave: Cooper Kupp at 46th overall, just inside the first four rounds in PPR, makes sense to me. Anyone who doubts Kupp solely off of last year's final stat line needs to remember that he finished top-12 among receivers in targets per game. He just went through some serious regression on a team with a shy quarterback and a rookie quarterback who hit his stride late. The Rams figure to throw more this year than last.
Jamey: I'm going with the order of two receivers, and that's CeeDee Lamb being drafted ahead of Amari Cooper. We'll see if the second-year receiver can prove that he's better than Cooper, but I'm willing to take that chance, especially with Cooper out for the start of the training camp following offseason ankle surgery. Now, this isn't to suggest you avoid Cooper this season, and he's becoming a solid value pick in late Round 4 on CBS. But if given the choice, I'd rather have Lamb this year.
Chris: I think D.J. Moore is being valued perfectly. He's a rock-solid No. 2 Fantasy WR being drafted as WR19, who has proven he can overcome poor QB play to be a must-start player. And there is enough upside there to make him arguably the last player I'd be comfortable with as my No. 1 if I waited. He's not enough of a sure thing to be in the WR1 conversation, but he's better than the Diontae Johnson/Adam Thielen types who go after him. This porridge is just right.
Heath: Kenny Golladay at WR27 in Round 6, is almost exactly where I have him. Which is kind of odd, because Golladay is a hard guy to rank. He has elite weekly upside and should have a path to all the targets he wants, but he's never really been a true alpha receiver and there are serious questions about his quarterback and his offense. Add in the hamstring injury and you certainly can't take Golladay as a top-24 guy. But he has too much upside to go much later than this.
3. Which WR have you been drafting the most?
Adam: Brandin Cooks is going to dominate targets on an awful Texans team that should need to throw frequently. I'm expecting Tyrod Taylor to be his QB, but I still think Cooks can finish as a top-24 WR. If Deshaun Watson is his QB, Cooks should be a Round 3 pick.
Dave: Robert Woods keeps falling to me in Rounds 3 and 4, and I keep drafting him. His floor is pretty much set: 90 catches, 1,000 yards, six touchdowns. But the bet is he will improve on his efficiency in an offense captained by Matthew Stafford. I expect Woods to flirt with a career year.
Jamey: Lamb is definitely on that list, but so is Terry McLaurin. I love the addition of Ryan Fitzpatrick for McLaurin, and Curtis Samuel (groin) being out should only help McLaurin and Fitzpatrick establish their rapport. McLaurin has top-five upside this season, and he's someone to target in early Round 3 in all leagues.
Chris: Robert Woods. I love wide receivers who can score in a bunch of different ways, and Woods is one of the most versatile out there. He's an excellent playmaker with the ball in his hands, and the Rams love to scheme stuff up for him in the rushing game and in the short areas of the field, but he also figures to be a better deep-ball receiver with Matthew Stafford under center. I usually snag him as my No. 2 WR, but he's a top-12 guy for me.
Heath: The answer was T.Y. Hilton in the double-digit rounds, but the Carson Wentz injury makes me want to back off Hilton a little. Second would be Terrace Marshall. I loved the fit for Marshal when Carolina took him and the Panthers have been raving at him since he arrived. Marshall looks like a big slot in Year 1 with the ability to move outside if the Panthers ask him to. He could play Curtis Samuel's role from last year with more red zone targets. And he's available after Round 10 in most drafts.
4. Which WR have you been drafting the least?
Adam: Deebo Samuel doesn't even make it into my queue. I simply do not think the 49ers passing game can sustain three options, especially since no 49ers player has had more than five TD catches under Kyle Shanahan. More like Dee-NO Samuel (sorry)
Dave: I've been missing out on D.J. Moore. Has it been on purpose? Eh, not really. I think he's a great player who's had to make his own luck so far in his career. Through three seasons, Moore has 28 red-zone targets, 12 red-zone receptions and THREE (3) catches inside of 10 yards. WHAT THE HECK?! I'd love to see the Panthers step up targets to their premier receiver, but they just added power forwards in Terrance Marshall and Dan Arnold and will get Christian McCaffrey back on the field. I doubt Moore scores a ton, and he actually fared better in Non-PPR (WR19) than PPR (WR27) on a per-game basis.
Jamey: I plan to avoid Kenny Golladay this season, and I felt that way prior to his hamstring injury last week. I don't expect Daniel Jones to maximize Golladay's upside, and now you have to worry about his health. Golladay's ADP on CBS is the No. 25 wide receiver off the board, and I'd rather have Diontae Johnson instead, as well as several other receivers instead of Golladay in that range.
Chris: Besides Lamb, you mean? I'll say it's Thielen, who seems like he could be on the verge of falling off the cliff here. He turns 31 in a few weeks and has seen a significant dip in his production, going from 85.8 yards per game in 2018 to 41.8 in 2019 and just 61.7 in his bounceback 2020. You might not have noticed because he scored 14 touchdowns, but that's a pace he definitely won't be able to sustain, and he's now clearly the No. 2 WR on his own (low-volume) team. I wouldn't be surprised if Thielen doesn't break 900 yards this season, and I can't go into the season with him as my WR2.
Heath: I don't believe I've drafted Odell Beckham once and that won't change with a sixth-round ADP. Beckham's injury history is certainly a concern, as is the Browns low-volume pass attack, but the truth is Beckham hasn't been that good since he left New York. His targets per game have dropped to 7.6, which oddly mirrors his yards per target with the Browns. Those numbers are mere shadows of what the elite receivers produce and who Beckham himself used to be.
5. Which WRs worry you most in terms of target volume?
Adam: It would have to be all of the Bucs WRs. With Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both being drafted in Round 4, perhaps waiting for Antonio Brown is the best way to go if you want a piece of the passing game. In the first seven regular season games they played together (not counting Week 17 as Evans left early with an injury), Evans had 59 targets, Godwin had 48 targets and Brown had 47.
Dave: JuJu Smith-Schuster. I'm not saying his targets are going to shrivel to 3.7 or something like that, but I am saying Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool aren't going to go away. Both of those guys offer the Steelers offense more in terms of creating after the catch, and Claypool in particular could evolve into a near-unstoppable receiver. Both have more upside than Smith-Schuster and could further diminish Smith-Schuster's target volume, which is already headed south given the Steelers' rededication to the run.
Jamey: It's more like a team, and that's the Tampa Bay receiving corps. It's a crowded bunch with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, as well as the tight ends and running backs Tom Brady will use in the passing game. All three have the chance to be successful in Bruce Arians' offense and with Brady, but Evans and Godwin could be too expensive if they're going in Round 4 or earlier. Brown is a great value pick in the Round 8 range, but it could be frustrating this season if all of the Buccaneers receivers stay healthy and have to share targets.
Chris: Saquon Barkley, at least early on. All this hemming and hawing about his Week 1 status seems like a lot of noise right now, but it seems clear to me that Barkley isn't where he wanted to be by this point in the preseason. He's an incredible talent, but the Giants are a pretty mediocre offense, and his usage in the passing game has not been great when he has played next to Daniel Jones. What if he's just stuck in a bad offense with a middling receiving role? And what if he isn't up to full strength until October on top of that?
Heath: The Cowboys...and the Buccaneers...and maybe the Steelers. My biggest concern is getting right who the No. 1 is, but also, if there will be enough targets to go around. The most likely scenario is that someone gets hurt and then everyone else gets the volume they need. But if everyone stays healthy in those three offenses then there's likely to be multiple busts at their current ADP. I feel more comfortable taking the cheapest receiver in those offenses, namely JuJu Smith-Schuster, Antonio Brown, and Michael Gallup.
So which sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen's huge season, and find out.