When the editor of Playbook asked me which position I’d most like to break down this season, I immediately said wide receiver. Not only can you start four wide receivers on DraftKings if you use one in the flex (which is a huge deal on a full PPR site), but I believe there’s an edge to be had in wide receiver evaluation.
While both quarterback and running back production are extremely dependent on usage, wide receiver production is more linked to actual skill. Player evaluation matters more at the receiver position than anywhere else. I really enjoy trying to gain an advantage at the position.
Here’s a look at some of the interesting wide receiver options on DraftKings for Week 4.
Top Five Wide Receivers
Calvin Johnson, Detroit at NY Jets, $8500 – You could make an argument that Megatron is very underpriced this week against the Jets. New York’s defense has gotten crushed this year—they’re the fourth-worst defense against wide receivers—and now they’ll face their stiffest competition all year.
Further, Johnson’s price has dropped a bit since last week’s moderate production. He’s now only $200 more expensive than Julio Jones, and there are four receivers within $700 of him. Johnson’s usage in tournaments will be high, but you should still get some exposure.
Julio Jones, Atlanta at Minnesota, $8300 – The Vikings defense has been surprisingly effective against the pass this season, allowing only 430 total passing yards the past two weeks against the Saints and the Patriots. I’m still not a huge believer, but you have to factor that in when considering Jones at this price.
I don’t think the value is necessarily there, but my hunch is that Jones might be an underrated tournament play because, as the second-most expensive receiver, his usage is going to be down.
Brandon Marshall, Chicago vs Green Bay, $8100 – Marshall played on Monday night, but he missed part of the second quarter after re-aggravating his ankle injury. Because of the risk and the cost, this is a situation that scares me.
Marshall is always worth consideration with Jay Cutler in GPPs, but there’s definitely a low floor here in cash games.
Dez Bryant, Dallas vs New Orleans, $7900 – The Saints D is ranked 26th in the league in fantasy points allowed to receivers, and Romo-to-Dez has been a hot connection over the past two weeks. You have to love the projected game flow here—it’s unlikely Dallas will be able to run the ball so much again—so Bryant is a really attractive pairing with Romo this week, who is also underpriced.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh vs Tampa Bay, $7800 – Brown now has at least five receptions in 19 straight games. Because of the type of passes that he sees, Brown has such a high floor from week to week. His production comes basically independent of the opponent, so he can be used in your cash games almost every single game.
This week, Brown’s ceiling is high, too, against the anemic Bucs pass defense. Look for his usage to be high in Week 4.
Five Others to Consider
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay at Chicago, $7200
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago vs Green Bay, $6600
Julian Edelman, New England at Kansas City, $6500Michael Crabtree, San Francisco vs Philadelphia, $6400
- I really like the Niners against Philly this week, but Crabtree’s price is a bit steep here. You have to think that the majority of DraftKings users will stack Colin Kaepernick with Anquan Boldin, which could make Crabtree an underrated GPP play. Consider paying up for him solely to create a unique lineup.
Five Mid-Priced Wide Receivers
Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia at San Francisco, $6300 – I haven’t been the biggest Maclin supporter, but he’s in a really good situation in Philly this year as the No. 1 receiver in an offense that’s always going to be efficient through the air with the way they run the ball. I’m skeptical of Maclin’s long-term scoring ability, especially since I see the Eagles going elsewhere with play-calls once they reach the red zone, but if he’s getting the targets, he’s going to produce borderline WR1 numbers.
Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina at Baltimore, $5800 – The argument for Benjamin in the preseason was twofold. First, he’s necessarily going to get targets as the No. 1 receiver in that offense, and second, he can score with consistency.
Well, through two weeks, Benjamin has 16 catches, two games with at least 92 yards, and two scores. He struggled some against the one quality pass defense he faced this season, but you have to like his outlook moving forward. Rookie receivers typically progress at a rapid pace in their first NFL season.
Andre Johnson, Houston vs Buffalo, $5700 – Johnson is coming off of a down game with just four catches, but the important part was that he was targeted 11 times. DeAndre Hopkins’ emergence could be a minor concern for Johnson, but there should be enough work to go around since the duo eats up a huge share of the overall targets.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota vs Atlanta, $5600 – There are a number of wide receivers who cost $5600 this week, including Eric Decker, Roddy White, and Steve Smith. Certainly consider Smith in cash games, as I think the difficult opponent (his former team) isn’t as much of a negative with how the Ravens utilize him. I’ll also consider Decker if it looks like he’s going to be fully healthy, although that probably won’t be the case.
In Patterson, you’re getting a good matchup against the Falcons. Atlanta has allowed the 10th-fewest points to receivers this year, but they’ve faced the Bucs and Bengals the past two weeks (with A.J. Green getting hurt against them in Week 2). The bigger issue for Patterson is simply workload; you have to think Minnesota is going to get him the ball more at some point, but will it be this week?
Kendall Wright, Tennessee at Indianapolis, $5300 – Wright has struggled in a big way this year with just 121 yards through three games, mostly due to the overall ineptitude of the Titans offense. He has some value as cash game play because he sees safe targets—he has 14 catches in 2014, putting him on pace for 75—but the lack of upside here would scare me away from him in GPPs. I do think Wright will have an easier time working the middle of the field against Indy.
Five Others to Consider
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis vs Tennessee, $5300Keenan Allen, San Diego vs Jacksonville, $5300
- Allen’s stock is down so much right now that I think a lot of users will side with players like Vincent Jackson and Anquan Boldin at a cheaper cost. You have to like what San Diego’s offense has done as a whole, though, and Allen, who saw two targets last week, will start to steal some of those Gates looks. The matchup is ideal against the worst team in the NFL.
Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh, $5100
Anquan Boldin, San Francisco vs Philadelphia, $5000
Five Value Wide Receivers
Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville at San Diego, $5000 – In Shorts’ first game back, he saw a team-high 10 targets and caught five of them. He’s very much in play at this price as the Jags’ No. 1 wide receiver, especially with Blake Bortles now behind center. Shorts has a plus matchup this week as well.
Marques Colston, New Orleans at Dallas, $4800 – Colston is too cheap at this price tag, but the issue with playing him is that you’re probably going to do it over starting DeAndre Hopkins, who is the same price. Colston’s matchup is ideal against a weak Dallas secondary, but he has only 25 yards combined over the past two weeks.
Another issue is that the Saints spread the ball around so much that it limits Colston’s ceiling, yet he probably has a relatively low floor at this point in his career, too. Again, the price is cheap, but this is a tricky situation.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston vs Buffalo, $4800 – Hopkins has either 100 receiving yards or a touchdown in all three games this season. Again, the only concern is really his usage with Andre Johnson getting WR1 targets, but the price is low enough to justify it.
Golden Tate, Detroit at NY Jets, $4700 – Quietly, Tate has produced quality numbers opposite Johnson this year with at least five catches in every game. There’s plenty of football to go around in Detroit, especially with how much attention Megatron receives. Tate isn’t my favorite GPP play because of his limited scoring ability, but I like him as a value play in cash games.
Sammy Watkins, Buffalo at Houston, $4700 – Which Sammy Watkins are we going to get? The one that went for 8/117/1 in Week 2, or the one that posted a 2/19/0 line on Sunday? Since Watkins saw eight targets last week but managed just a 25% catch rate, my guess is closer to the former than the latter; the catch rate will increase, so as long as the Bills are using him as a No. 1 receiver, he’s going to offer value at or near this price.
Five Others to Consider
Eddie Royal, San Diego vs Jacksonville, $4600
Torrey Smith, Baltimore vs Carolina, $4500
Greg Jennings, Minnesota vs Atlanta, $4500
Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh vs Tampa Bay, $4200Justin Hunter, Tennessee at Indianapolis, $3800
- Hunter has a very high probability of being the death of my bankroll this year. I’m in love with the talent and he continues to see decent usage for the Titans, but things just haven’t worked out yet. My dream scenario is to be all over him this week and he goes off when other users have given up on him. It might remain a dream throughout the season.