Over/Undervalued: Wide Receivers

Be sure to circle Robert Meachem’s name on your cheat sheets
Photo Credit: vamostigres

SoR composite rankings, meet average draft position data. We’re comparing the two sets of data and declaring fourteen wide receivers to be under or overvalued. With this position being as deep as it is we’ll cover the more well known names now. We’ll get to the late round flier picks another time. Let’s go.

Rank SoR composite WR rankings [link]
ADP average ADP from the three sites
FFC FantasyFootballCalculator (mock draft results from August 28th)

Player  Rank   ADP   Yahoo   ESPN   FFC 
Andre Johnson 1 1 1 1 1
Calvin Johnson 2 2 2 3 2
Larry Fitzgerald 3 4 4 5 4
Hakeem Nicks 4 5 5 6 6
Roddy White 5 3 3 2 3
Mike Wallace 6 8 9 7 9
Vincent Jackson 7 7 10 8 5
Miles Austin 8 10 7 11 10
Reggie Wayne 9 11 8 10 11
Greg Jennings 10 6 6 4 7
DeSean Jackson 11 9 11 9 8
Brandon Marshall 12 17 17 22 15
Mike Williams (TB) 13 14 12 14 14
Dez Bryant 14 13 14 12 13
Dwayne Bowe 15 12 13 13 12
Santonio Holmes 16 19 21 17 17
Percy Harvin 17 23 24 20 24
Stevie Johnson 18 21 19 23 21
Wes Welker 19 16 18 19 16
Mario Manningham 20 26 27 25 23
Brandon Lloyd 21 15 15 18 19
Anquan Boldin 22 22 22 21 22
Jeremy Maclin 23 20 16 16 25
Kenny Britt 24 25 23 24 26
Austin Collie 25 27 25 26 28
Marques Colston 26 18 20 15 20
Chad Ochocinco 27 24 26 27 18
Santana Moss 28 29 30 29 32
Sidney Rice 29 28 28 28 30
Julio Jones 30 30 31 34 27
Steve Smith (CAR) 31 33 29 33 35
Pierre Garcon 32 31 32 30 33
Mike Thomas 33 38 43 37 37
Danny Amendola 34 46 59 49 41
A.J. Green 35 34 33 32 36
Malcom Floyd 36 35 38 35 31
Robert Meachem 37 51 68 43 51
Lance Moore 38 44 52 38 44
Michael Crabtree 39 41 37 50 39
Braylon Edwards 40 40 40 41 42
Mike Sims-Walker 41 37 34 45 34
Jordy Nelson 42 43 42 40 47
Jacoby Ford 43 48 62 46 43
Johnny Knox 44 36 36 36 40
Plaxico Burress 45 32 35 31 29
Lee Evans 46 45 54 42 45
Hines Ward 47 39 39 44 38
Davone Bess 48 55 67 54 61
Nate Burleson 49 52 63 51 49
Mike Williams (SEA) 50 49 44 55 57
Jerome Simpson 51 50 56
Greg Little 52 64 52
Jacoby Jones 53 70
Denarius Moore 54
Andre Roberts 55
Roy Williams 56 41 41 39 46
James Jones 57 53 69 47 59
Devin Hester 58 46 62
Emmanuel Sanders 59 57 56
Steve Breaston 60 54 66 58 54
Jabar Gaffney 61
Eric Decker 62
Donald Driver 63 47 49 52 48
Mohamed Massaquoi 64
Jordan Shipley 65 47
Dexter McCluster 45 60
Titus Young 48
Randy Moss 51
Deion Branch 50 53 53 53
Steve Smith (PHI) 55 50
Mark Clayton 56
Jonathan Baldwin 58
Danario Alexander 60
Terrell Owens 61
Derrick Mason 56 65 59 64
Antonio Brown 48 55
Bernard Berrian 57 58
Eddie Royal 63

Greg Jennings is a popular buy after his 1,265 yard, 12 TD campaign. The yards receiving were a few shy of his career best (1,292 yards in ’08) and the touchdowns tied his previous career best (12 TD in ’07). This could have very well been his career year as his numbers are bound to take a hit with Jermichael Finley back on the field. Also the continuing emergence of Jordy Nelson, James Jones and rookie Randall Cobb will do damage to Jennings’ target totals. I think Jennings is a great receiver, but I would consider him to be slightly overvalued (especially at ESPN where he’s the fourth WR off the board).

Brandon Marshall failed to maintain his streak of 100-receptions in his first year as a Dolphin, but there are reasons to be optimistic about 2011. Chad Henne isn’t the best QB in the world, but he’s more experienced and he’ll have some of the reigns taken off him. Henne should be more comfortable this year and, after re-establishing a connection with him, late last season he’s been connecting with Brandon Marshall early and often during the pre-season. Marshall has totaled over 1,000 yards receiving in four straight years and the 6’3, 230 lb receiver is the best redzone threat the team has. I’m betting the over on 6 TD. Marshall is a borderline WR1 that can be had at a slight discount.

Wes Welker will not escape the wrath of my foul mouth. The little receiver who could is coming off a disappointing year, but is still overrated by the masses (including some of our own gurus). Welker is ranked 25th on my WR cheat sheet, but he managed to sneak up to No. 19 in our composite rankings. Welker is coming off a sub-900 yard season and now has more competition for targets (after he lost 25-30 targets last year). Aaron Hernandez is healthy, the team brought in Chad Ochocinco, Rob Gronkowski is improving, Deion Branch is still around and the team has two up-and-coming receivers in Brandon Tate and Taylor Price. Welker is no sure bet for 1,000 yards and he’s never been much of a threat in the redzone. I’m passing on the little guy’s ADP price tag.

Mario Manningham should be in line for a grip load of targets after the team lost Steve Smith and Kevin Boss. Manningham is a little guy (5’11, 183 lbs), but he is a play-maker. Over the final three games of the season (sans Steve Smith) Super Mario tallied 346 yards and 4 TD. In Week 10 (sans Steve Smith) he had 16 targets (10-91-1). Manningham may be the safest, cheapest bet for 1,000 plus yards and 6 plus TD.

Brandon Lloyd is an obvious candidate for regression. He will not repeat the 1,448 yard, 11 TD season. John Fox replaces the pass-happy Josh McDaniels and will have the Broncos running more often. The composite SoR rankings hate Brandon Lloyd, but that’s not my fault. I still think Lloyd will post a 1,000 + yard, 7 TD season. He’ll be Kyle Orton’s number one target with little competition for looks. I have him ranked 14th among my WR, which fits nicely with his ADP. 

Marques Colston is a dangerous bet as a WR2. He’s coming off a second microfracture surgery, which adds to the already lengthy list of surgeries he endured. He’s already missed a week’s span of camp due to swelling and irritation. I’m not confident that Colston will finish the season, he is a big risk for injury. Drew Brees loves to spread the ball and Lance Moore, Robert Meachem and Jimmy Graham will be around to steal looks from Marques. I’m not willing to gamble on Colston unless he falls, considerably.

Mike Thomas looks like a bargain based on the data above, but I have him ranked 41st among my WR so I’m siding with the market value. While Thomas is the de facto No.1 WR in Jacksonville he is still a midget who won’t score many touchdowns. I’d be higher on Thomas in PPR formats, but only slightly.

Danny Amendola is similar to Wes Welker and Mike Thomas. They’re short, stubby players who can’t be counted on for touchdowns. It’s hard for me to go after these types of WR outside of PPR leagues. At least Amendola plays in a pass-happy offense that should utilize his talents. Amendola comes in after Mike Thomas at 43 in my WR ranks. Because he’s cheaper thanThomas I’d be more likely to draft him.

Robert Meachem looks like a steal this year. Meachem is healthier than ever and looked great in camp. When (not if) Marques Colston goes down, Meachem will have WR2 potential. This is the wide receiver that you want on your bench. He’s arguably the most talented WR in New Orleans, he’s just been plagued by injuries and inconsistent play in the past. The 6’2, 210 lb Meachem has 17 TD in only 101 receptions during his short career.

Lance Moore is another Saints WR you can get on the cheap. His ceiling isn’t as high as Meachem’s, but he’s a more professional receiver. He was the talk of training camp last season and ended the year with 763 yards and 8 TD. You wouldn’t think a 5’9 WR would score that often, but he scored 10 TD in 2008 so we can’t say it was a fluke. Moore suffered a groin injury in practice recently, but he should be fine for week one.

Mike Sims-Walker is my favorite player to draft as a WR3 (Meachem is my WR4). MSW is the perfect high upside receiver you can gamble on after spending all your money on running backs and a quarterback. Sims-Walker leaves the run-heavy system in Jacksonville, where he was plagued by an ankle injury last season, for the pass-happy system that Josh McDaniels will run in St. Louis. McDaniels was the man behind the seasons we saw from Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd in Denver last year. Bradford should take more shots down field and MSW will provide the big bodied target. He’s healthy (for now) and he’s moving to a better system with a better quarterback. You have to love the cheap, high upside play here. I have MSW ranked 33rd among my WR.

Jacoby Ford is a play-maker. He’s a smaller wideout, but his ability to accelerate makes him dynamic. Ford has the perfect resume for a speedy WR; he’s a former track star who went to Clemson and was drafted by the Raiders. Speed, speed and more speed. Ford had a big three-game stretch last season when he caught 12 passes for 283 yards and a TD off 27 targets. He’s reportedly earned the starting job and will continue to return kicks (3 return TD in 2010). Ford’s high upside nature and cheap price tag make him a great buy.

Johnny Knox is being drafted as if he won the starting job in Chicago, after being demoted. Unfortunately for Knox the team signed Roy Williams to be the starting WR opposite Devin Hester, and Earl Bennett is the slot receiver. Roy is definitely on the hot seat and Knox is impressing in camp, but money talks and Mike Martz loves him some Roy Williams. On top of Knox’s questionable playing time is his inability to score touchdowns. He’s not a redzone guy. If Roy Williams was going to do any damage to Knox’s stat line it’s inside the 20-yard line. Knox is overrated in most fantasy football war rooms.

Plaxico Burress looks to be severely overrated by the above data, but I’m not apart of the Burress hating committee. I like the big redzone wide receivers, especially in non-PPR leagues. I think Burress has the potential to haul in 850-900 yards and score 7-8 TD. He’s my WR.33, which is basically where the market set his value.

Hines Ward didn’t get much love from the SoR composite rankings (WR.47). The fantasy football masses are a more forgiving bunch. He apparently looks fresher in camp this year, but he’s 35-years old now, is coming off one of his worst seasons and is obviously the second option behind Mike Wallace. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders could poach more targets too. Ward had knee troubles last season so it’s hard for me to think he can last the entire season the way he plays the game at his age. I don’t like Hiney Warts.

Roy Williams is… Roy Williams. He’s out of shape and Johnny Knox is pushing him for his job. Roy has only one 1,000 yard season under his belt and hasn’t touched 800 yards since 2007. Knox will likely eat into Williams’ yardage and Williams will eat into Knox’s touchdowns, making both overrated.

Donald Driver is still clinging to his starting role, but it won’t be long until he’s the Packers sixth option in the pass attack. Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb are emerging talents and Donald is a 36-year old coming off a disappointing season. During the last five weeks of the season Driver averaged 45 yards per game and didn’t score a touchdown. The 565 yards from last season were a career worst as a starting wideout. You cannot like the direction Driver’s career is going.

Next I’ll discuss some of my favorite late round wide receivers –@andrewakamds

Related SoR Content
QB ADP Analysis
RB ADP Analysis
Composite WR Rankings