Fantasy football draft strategy: Wide receivers to avoid
Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams, Average Draft Position (FF Calculator): 78.8
It's fun to take rookies and all, but they always come at a high price. Austin is no different. While he's an explosive playmaker, it's unlikely that rookies come out hot in their first year. In fact, the only receiver that has topped 1,000 receiving yards in his first season has been A.J. Green with the Bengals in the past five years.
The Rams do have a more formidable offense than we're accustomed to, but it's not like they have a dearth of receivers. Chris Givens -- a nice player to target -- along with Jared Cook seem to be developing a nice rapport with quarterback Sam Bradford, so the targets might not be there for the West Virginia product. Josh Gordon is going a round later and has tremendous upside, even with his two-game suspension.
Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens, Average Draft Position (FF Calculator): 49.7
The Ravens have lost a lot of weapons this offseason. Anquan Boldin is in San Francisco and Dennis Pitta dislocated his hip to cost him the season, so Joe Flacco is going to need to need some options in the passing game. On the surface, Torrey Smith could be that guy, but there just isn't enough evidence to think he can be the go-to option.
Smith just isn't a great route runner and he is just a deep threat. If you're in a PPR league, he's hardly a WR2 and he's going off the board at almost a WR1 price.
Vincent Brown, San Diego Chargers, Average Draft Position (FF Calculator): 111.5
The Chargers are going to be bad. Like really bad. Their offensive line is in shambles and that's not going to help Philip Rivers at all. Rivers has barely been able to get the ball out to his receivers even with an adequate line, so the dropoff could spell trouble. What's more, they haven't had much of a running game to help out.
Brown is projected to start at receiver opposite Malcom Floyd. That's new for Brown and he's caught just 19 receptions in his career. He really just has one good outing in his game log, going for 97 yards and a score against the Raiders back in November 2011.
He's more of a fly-route guy and with the lack of protection, it's not going to be easy to get him the ball. Brown is also just 5'11", so he's not a strong red-zone target. There are other players to take that offer higher upside with a lot less risk.
Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons, Average Draft Position (FF Calculator): 32.5
When it comes to being safe, there's really nobody safer than Roddy White. He hasn't missed a single game in his career since 2005 and has caught 622 balls in the process. In fantasy football, it's all about going for the home run. There's no reason to draft a team that's going to make the playoffs. You're going to want a team that's a powerhouse and White just doesn't have the upside.
The Falcons are a huge offensive force, but with Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez and Steven Jackson also wanting to get some targets, White just can't have a monster year like he used to. Players like Andre Johnson and Vincent Jackson are going in the same range and they both offer enough of a ceiling to go for 12-plus TDs and even 1,300 yards. White is going to have a tough time hitting eight scores. Especially with the way Julio and Tony can dominate in the red zone.
Victor Cruz, New York Giants, Average Draft Position (FF Calculator): 35.4
Cruz is another fairly safe pick and is in a similar scenario as Roddy White. Hakeem Nicks is a huge injury question mark, but besides his mild groin injury, he's entering the season fairly healthy. The Giants also have second-year Rueben Randle making a huge impact for the team. Eli Manning has been singing the praises of Randle and the team is going to run a lot of three-wide sets.
David Wilson is also coming around as a pass catcher, which is something the Giants have lacked since the Tiki Barber days. Cruz is a short-yardage specialist, so with Wilson as another hot read for Eli, it could hurt VC's targets.
He's being drafted as a WR1, but he's more of a WR2 in non-PPR formats.
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