The top factors in drafting fantasy football wide receivers

Wide receivers are the Crazy Uncle of fantasy football’s family reunion. You often don’t know what you’re going to get.

He might be in a jolly-good mood, and score a bunch of points. Or he could be hungover, sitting in the corner alone and scoring nothing. Sometimes he might even be a belligerent drunk, barking loudly while dropping everything he touches.

Yet, they are fun to draft, because they can score a ton of points. And because you often are required to start three or four, and because you need several available on your bench, you need to draft several. But none of that does you any good unless you get the jolly-good ones.

Based on the Madman’s ratings, dependable WRs run about 25 deep — think DeAndre Hopkins at the top down to D.J. Moore at No. 25. There likely will be some available from that list into the seventh round. Ideally, you can grab three within that time — along with at least three running backs, if not four.

At that point, you can begin to target value picks later, while sharing attention with some other positions, like tight end and quarterback, and continuing to build RB depth as well.

We like to hone in on players with safe roles in their offenses who have some upside. In the eighth- and ninth-round range, we target Sterling Shepard and Dede Westbrook. Both are expected to be their team’s top WR target. Because the Giants’ and Jaguars’ passing games are not projected to flourish, their draft value sags. But if Nick Foles can put a spark in the Jags’ attack, and if a rebuilt offensive line can help Eli Manning recapture his youth, both Westbrook and Shepard then come at a discount.

Someone we love even more is Tyrell Williams a round or two later. The Raiders have a, let’s call him quirky, new lead receiver in Antonio Brown, who has been largely absent from camp dealing with an issue with his feet and busy pitching a temper tantrum over new helmet regulations. So when he does take the field, he will have some catch-up work ahead of him to learn the offense. Plus, the Raiders have a history of loving deep-ball targets, and that arrow lands squarely on Williams.

You’re getting into the later rounds at this point, so no option comes without significant warts. The Jets’ Jamison Crowder has never started 16 games. Actually, he never has started more than nine, in 2016. But he has missed significant time just once, which happened to be last season. The best quarterback he has played with is Kirk Cousins. A new environment with a new coach and a young QB full of potential in Sam Darnold, we think Crowder can be a factor, making him a great value in the later rounds.

Others often available in the final rounds whose upside is interesting include new Colt Devin Funchess, Texans youngster Keke Coutee, Dolphins playmaker Albert Wilson, the Steelers’ tandem of Donte Moncrief and James Washington, the Packers’ duo of Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling and 49ers home-run hitter Marquise Goodwin.

So go out and catch some quality pass catchers. Just make sure you don’t drop the ball by picking the wrong ones.

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