The Tricks of the Trade - Rags To Riches - WR Edition - Clock Dodgers
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The Tricks of the Trade – Rags To Riches – WR Edition

tricks of the trade

The Tricks of the Trade with @TradeMastaur

Rags To Riches Edition

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WILL YOU CATCH THE %$&%#*% BALL FOR ONCE?!?!

Welcome back to the Tricks of The Trade as we dive into some pass catching playmakers who you swore were “screwing my fantasy team on purpose” last year. The WR position is less volatile from year to year compared to the ball carriers, but that doesn’t mean guys can’t have off seasons. Most of the guys in this article are players who have proved it to you before and can do it again in 2017. There are always countless articles each year detailing why the guy currently sitting 6th buried on the depth chart is going to have a breakout season, but so few of those guys actually become fantasy relevant let alone break out. I wanna restore your faith in some players who lost their ways in 2016, while sprinkling in a few I’m targeting for my later home run picks. If you didn’t check out my last article on RB’s here’s a refresher of what Rags to Riches is all about.

Let’s get to why we’re here now and it’s all about value. Drafting is all about finding the sleeper or the value in the draft from year to year even if you don’t want to believe it, and that’s what I’m here to help you do. This edition of the TOTT is aptly named Rags to Riches, and it’s just that. The guy you’ve confronted on Twitter for destroying your fantasy team is probably on this list below, but it’s time to get unblocked and re-connect. These players are guys who had seasons last year that heavily disappointed and I’m going to tell you why to believe in them again. Here’s hoping I don’t lose half of you along the way, so let’s get going.

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Rags To Riches: WIDE RECIEVERS

*ADP Data is based on FantasyFootballCalculator.com ranks from 2016 and end of year position is from FantasyPros.com based in PPR scoring format also from 2016

DeAndre Hopkins- 2016 ADP for WR’s: 5 / End of Year Ranking: 26

I may be that guy who gets mocked a few times this year when I end up with Nuk and Gurley in rounds 1 and 2, but if you know me, I’ll be glad to tell you you’re wrong now and later when you already know I’m right. My thoughts on Oswelier were detailed well in the Lamar Miller section of Part 1 of Rags To Riches: Running Backs, so let’s get into why it’s going to work now instead.

Plain and simple, almost any QB is going to be an upgrade from Brock and it just so happen the Texans got their hands on a playmaker in DeShaun Watson. Sure his combine didn’t go as well as planned and he turned out to be the 3rd drafted QB this year, but I love the landing spot for the reigning BCS Champion. A big part of being a playmaker at the QB position is having guys you can count on to finish the plays you put into motion. At Clemson, he had Mike Williams, who is a big bodied, contact educing, hands catcher with a specialty in 50/50 balls. Hopkins may not be the big body that Williams is, but there are few receivers I would trust in the league to win a 50/50 ball over Nuk. I believe they strike up a rapport quickly and Hopkins ends up securely in the top 12 with top 5 upside. They say opportunity wins out over talent, but what happens when talent meets opportunity? Answer: DeAndre Hopkins. A player who is this talented that is going to be fed as much as Hopkins will be is not going to disappoint 2 years in a row.

Brian Hoyer doesn’t get enough credit for being a competent NFL QB, but it’s not like Nuk only produce with an All-Pro gunslinger sending him the ball. Trust the man to be your WR1 this year as you did in 2016 when he was being selected as early as 1.06.  You won’t get Hop in the 3rd round but he should be down into early-mid 2nd in a lot of drafts and I’d love to have him as my 2nd player off the board to pair with a RB like Gordon, Howard, or Gurley.

  • 12 Team PPR Draft Range Early 2nd to Mid 2nd Round

Allen Robinson- 2016 ADP for WR’s: 6 / End of Year Ranking: 24

Easily the biggest WR bust of 2016 not named Hopkins whom we just talked about. Knowing this makes Robinson an obvious candidate for Rags to Riches in and of itself, but again stay with me a moment with this notion to think on. As an entire team gets better, the opportunity for those on that team gets better.

If you’re a Jags fan I don’t think you can fault the organizations intentions to get this team out from under itself.  They’re spending money on defensive targets, drafting smart, and trying to establish a culture of a tough nosed team that’s going to be in games. However in 2015 when Robinson impressed, it was a garbage time attraction to see. ARob consistently grabbed 50 yards and a TD in the late moments of games as he began to identify himself as the go to guy in Jacksonville. So when that strategy didn’t seem to pan out in 2016 I can’t say I was shocked. Mix that up with reports detailing Bortles playing with 2 damaged shoulders and the failed season becomes clear.

Fournette enters the fold to solidify the run game and help bring the Jags back to that old school Fred Taylor run game hopefully taking pressure off of the erratic and banged up Bortles of 2016. It’s a misnomer that just because a team is transitioning to becoming “run first” that a WR cannot become as productive as he once was. Robinson had 150 targets last year, but if you watched any of the Jags games you would have seen these were not quality targets. Truth is, I don’t see those 150 targets decreasing that much despite Fournette being in town, I just expect them to be quality targets that will end up being more focused in the redzone.

Don’t give up on this stud, I sure didn’t. I just took Gurley and ARob as my first 2 picks in a 14 team PPR Dynasty on the Fantasy Life App and it’s not a cheap buy in either. I even moved back from 1.13 to pick up some later value and took Gurley at 2.03 and ARob at 2.06. No one likes my team in this dynasty, but that’s fine. It’ll only make me that much more insufferable in the league chat when my team’s proving them wrong.

  • 12 Team PPR Draft Range Early 2nd to Mid 2nd Round

Tyler Lockett- ADP for WR’s: 34 / End of Year Rankings: 65

A captain goes down with his ship, and aboard the U.S.S Tyler Lockett we’re either lighting the world on fire this year or letting the iceberg send us to the deep where we belong. It wasn’t a horrendous strike out because the injury is what really derailed his season, but I took a shot on him about a round or 2 earlier in almost every draft I was in last year. Lockett is going to fall into my 2 year plan, and if we’re really being honest probably a 3 year plan if he doesn’t quite break out this year.

I’ve missed out on a plenty of guys since I started playing fantasy back in 2003 because they did me wrong the years before. My worst one? Antonio Brown, 1 year too early. I discarded him the year he become AB and he hasn’t turned back since. Funny enough, Lockett has been compared to the skill set of AB by the football community, most notably by Matt Williamson before the start of last year. Injuries have been a bug for the elusive 4th year player but I’m not going to let this one go. If you’re asking me for a guy you can just snatch up under the radar and turn into a season changer for you, it’s Tyler Lockett every single time for me.

I always try to strike gold a few times from the 8th round on because most of the “steady” guys left at this point can be substituted for players through-out the year on the waiver wire or in a mid level trade. Lockett personifies the type of player that can bust out onto a scene. He’s dynamic, lighting fast, and in an offense that could use a deep threat or screen breaker. Lockett starts to show he can turn nothing into something and Russell Wilson will find ways to get him the ball, just to see what happens next.

  • 12 Team PPR Draft Range 11th to 12th Round

Marvin Jones- ADP for WR’s: 29  /  End of Year Rankings: 43

Marvin was another guy much like Lamar that I was all in on last year. Well, I think by now you get the idea that I’m a stubborn SOB, but I’m not without reason. Jones was the biggest sell high candidate of 2016 and for good reason; he all but disappeared after week 7. He killed anyone who bought in after that 200 yard game and made others championship runs formidable if they got off him at the right time. So what’s there to believe in?

Up until that last meaningful productive game in week 7 there was a different disappearing act occurring in Detroit, and that was Golden Tate. I couldn’t count the amount of posts I saw on the Fantasy Life App asking if Tate was droppable at that point. Jones was the dynamic new target for the pass dependent Lions and he was flourishing. Then, with as furious a rush as he entered the scene he was gone without a sound. After the season it came out that the quad and hamstring injuries that Jones was playing with were more serious than it appeared. He reportedly gutted out most games which in return rendered his deep game ineffective. Injuries are part of the game and you should take into account that the X receiver in Detroit has suffered his fair share of them, but people are not going to be at the ready to trust him too early in drafts this year. If I end drafts this year with Jones as my WR4 I’ll be walking out like I just rolled a 7 on the craps table at the right time.

  • 12 Team PPR Draft Range 8th to 9th Round

Alshon Jeffrey- ADP for WR’s: 13 / End of Year Rankings: 55

What a landing spot for the free agent stud WR who’s out to prove himself on a 1 year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. I may be bias here with my evaluation of Carson Wentz and the opportunity that Jeffrey will have there, I’m not alone with my praise of the 2nd year 2nd overall pick. Alshon himself is on record stating that he believes Carson Wentz is a future NFL MVP.

Now we can’t talk about Jeffrey without at least mentioning his injury concerns and the performance enhancing suspension he incurred last year. This tempers expectations just a bit for me where I otherwise see a top 10 year locked in if he’s on the field. The system Doug Pederson has installed wants to be pass first. He comes from, Andy Reid, who comes from Mike Holmgren, so the ball is going to be tossed all around the field. Even last year when the Eagles had the 2nd string of the Philadelphia Soul Arena Football team on the field catches passes Carson Wentz still set an Eagles rookie record for passes thrown. I’m seeing 150 quality targets coming Jeffrey’s way on a team that will be in discussion for the most improved offense in football for 2017. Fortune favors the brave, and I’m not scared to use a 3rd round pick on the Eagles #1 target.

  • 12 Team PPR Draft Range Early 3rd to Mid 3rd Round

Jeremy Maclin- ADP for WR’s: 21 / End of Year Rankings: 73

A last minute entry here for Maclin as he was cut and signed to a new team by the time I started writing these up until this release. His landing spot with the Baltimore Ravens hasn’t excited anybody, but it should.

The Ravens have quietly been producing very viable fantasy WR’s now ever since Flacco has been there, and none of them have gone on to be much else once they leave. Torrey Smith and Kamar Aiken both showed upside with a heavy target share and have found themselves replaced in the past years. Mike Wallace was having a similar career path to Maclin when he landed on the Ravens and became a guy you were happy to have last year but no one wanted to believe in. Steve Smith was the best wide out to put on a Ravens uniform since Derrick Mason and Flacco was still capitalizing on a player who Carolina let walk because they thought it was over for the veteran. This year SSSR is retired, Aiken is off to Indy, and Perriman is still someone you just cannot trust. So who’s making up for Smith and Aiken’s 151 targets? Enter Jeremy Maclin.

Another similar career path comparing to Maclin is Michael Crabtree. Stuck in an Alex Smith led offense, Crabtree could never find a consistent workload in his early career. Colin Kaepernick shows up for one year and Crabtree begin to show promise until that entire SF 49ers situation and organization began to fall apart. Crab then finds himself career resurgence on a new team, the Oakland Raiders. Only difference I see here is I believe Maclin is even better than Crabtree. You can probably draft Maclin as your WR 3 or 4 and be looking at a nice WR2 upside with a few WR1 weeks scattered in. This is a year a lot of people may go RB/RB, and in that case I’m ensuring to lock of a player like Maclin in the 7th round.

  • 12 Team PPR Draft Range 7th to 8th Round

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The Wrap Up

There it is, the 2016 Rags to Riches Wide Receivers edition of TOTT. I truly hope I trigger each and every one of you at some point during these articles. There is still a lot of time before the season starts, and as things develop if any of these situations change I’ll make sure to get out some updates as we start to ramp up into the summer and towards our fantasy drafts in August and September. I didn’t exclusively think with dynasty purposes during this article but a lot of the same ideologies still prevail for most of the players mentioned. This is a great time of year to try to steal someone from an owner who wants to try something new this year and is fed up from the past years disappointment.

So I hoped you’ll give some of these guys another shot this year. Fantasy is a week to week game and sometimes even as little as play by play. Guys show flash on a drive and next thing you know his touches just doubled in the coach’s mind because he saw something he wants to exploit each week. It almost doesn’t pay to swear a guy off, so keep an open mind when these players start to approach your draft board and maybe we can both find ways to some championships this year.

As always you can find me on the Fantasy Life App as @trademastaur or on twitter @TradeMFLA and let me know your thoughts on these articles anytime. Be sure to hop around the rest of ClockDodgers.com for one of a kind content, as well as the staying up to date on the pod with Neal.  

From the little man and me, until next time.

tricks of the trade

Tyler Coulter
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Tyler Coulter

Writer - The Tricks of the Trade

Chat with me on the Fantasy Life App @trademastaur
Tyler Coulter
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