Perhaps as deep as ever, there are a number of wide receivers that are nice values for fantasy owners.
Given the question marks at running back after the top tier, I prefer to start with at least one running back, if not two, within the first two rounds and then take advantage of the depth at receiver.
With that said, here are seven wide receivers that are currently undervalued compared to their average draft position (ADP):
WR - Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (ADP via FantasyPros: 33, WR14)
Thomas set five-year lows across the board: 90 receptions, 1,083 yards and five touchdowns; not bad for "five-year lows." Before last season, however, he had averaged 100/1,447/10 in his previous four seasons. Granted, those four seasons coincided with Peyton Manning's four seasons in Denver, but Thomas was also slowed by a hip ailment last season.
Now healthy again, it's reasonable to expect an improvement over last year's numbers even if he doesn't return to a 100/1,400/10 level of production. The 14th receiver off the board (on average), DT currently sits at WR10 in my rankings.
WR - Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos (ADP: 65, WR29)
After a career year in 2014 (101/1,404/9), Sanders has at least 75 catches and 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons. In those three seasons, here are Manny's fantasy finishes: WR7 (2014), WR18 (2015) and WR23 (2016).
A 75-catch, 1,000-yard season seems to be a reasonable floor for Sanders, but there is some upside for improvement over the past two seasons with Mike McCoy returning to run Denver's offense. Granted, nobody would confuse the current quarterback situation to (the 2014 version of) Manning, but Sanders will outperform his draft-day cost as long as he just repeats his worst performance over the past three seasons.
WR - Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (ADP: 60, WR28)
Back for (at least) one more season, Fitzgerald has finished as a top-20 fantasy wide receiver in standard-scoring formats and a top-12 receiver in PPR formats in back-to-back seasons. Fitz has at least 107 catches and 1,023 yards in both of those seasons with a total of 15 touchdowns.
While he may not have many (or any) games where he blows up with a 10/150/2 line, Fitzgerald has at least four catches in 29 of 32 games over the past two seasons. Only Odell Beckham (30) and Thomas (29) have as many such games.
Going into his age-34 season, Fitzgerald is a safe WR2 for fantasy owners and he's currently being drafted as a mid-WR3 (WR28).
WR - Cameron Meredith, Chicago Bears (ADP: 102, WR41)
When given an opportunity, Meredith had several productive outings including four 100-yard games last season. Over the final five weeks of the season, Meredith had either 60-plus yards and/or a touchdown every week. During that span, the only wide receivers to score more fantasy points than Meredith (53.28) were Jordy Nelson (62.5) and J.J. Nelson (54.9).
With Alshon Jeffery now in Philadelphia and given the poor durability track record of former first-rounder Kevin White, Meredith should lead the Bears receiving corps in both targets and fantasy production. Meanwhile, new starter Mike Glennon has said the following of Meredith: "He's going to have a big year. Smooth is probably the best word to describe him."
[Note: Meredith suffered a torn ACL in Sunday's preseason game.]
WR - Josh Doctson, Washington Redskins (ADP: 177, WR61)
Playing only two games due to an Achilles injury, Washington should expect to get much more out of last year's first-round pick. Terrelle Pryor (6-4, 228) replaces DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, but the turnover in their receiving corps also helps to open up more targets for Doctson. In addition, only Drew Brees (5,208) and Matt Ryan (4,944) threw for more yards than Kirk Cousins (4,917) last season.
Even though Pryor is a big(ger) receiver, Doctson (6-2, 206) should get his fair share of red-zone targets as he can win in contested situations and jump balls. There are more than 60 receivers going off the board before Doctson, but I don't expect more than 60 receivers to outperform him.
WR - Mike Wallace, Baltimore Ravens (ADP: 128, WR47)
Even though Wallace had his first 1,000-yard season since 2011, he has finished as a top-30 fantasy wide receiver (standard scoring) in seven of eight seasons since entering the league in 2009. The Ravens have added Jeremy Maclin and Danny Woodhead, but they have lost a lot of targets with Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken and Dennis Pitta no longer in the mix.
While I'm not necessarily targeting Wallace, I'm more than willing to draft him in the later rounds of drafts as he slips.
WR - Robby Anderson, New York Jets (ADP: 180, WR62)
Productive last year (42/587/2), Anderson had a five-game stretch where he exceeded 60 receiving yards four times. There are a lot of reasons to worry about the offense in general, but volume for Anderson shouldn't be a concern.
By default, Anderson moves into the No. 1 role due to the release of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker and the injury to Quincy Enunwa. And even though the quarterback situation is a mess, the Jets should be trailing early and often, leading to plenty of garbage-time production for Anderson and their pass-catchers.
It wouldn't be too surprising if Anderson ends the year as a top-40 fantasy wide receiver at a much reduced cost.
Continue: Undervalued Fantasy QBs/TEs | Undervalued Fantasy RBs
Our 2017 Fantasy Football Rankings:
- 2017 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings
- 2017 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings
- 2017 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings
- 2017 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings
- 2017 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet (Standard scoring)
- 2017 Fantasy Football PPR Cheat Sheet