Five Wide Receivers That Will Win Your Fantasy League

by Michael Drahota | Posted on Friday, August 15th, 2014 | 0

In a few short weeks, the National Football League (NFL) will open the 2014 season on Thursday, September 4, when the Green Bay Packers travel into Seattle to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks.

That night will also mark the official beginning of the fantasy football season, so time is running short to formulate an effective draft strategy that will carry your team into the playoffs. As always, the key to winning in fantasy is adapting to what the draft presents you to lock up value in later rounds.

A common trend in recent years has been to shy away from the old adage of selecting mainly running backs (RBs) early on due to the explosive scoring of top quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and record-breaking receivers like Calvin Johnson.

However, with running back committees becoming all-too-common in today’s injury-ravaged NFL, true workhorse backs are becoming more and more scarce.

That makes the best RBs arguably the most valuable commodity in all of fantasy football. True, they may provide the most risk in terms of injury, but having a stable of elite backs will give you a nearly insurmountable advantage on your competition.

Because of that, a good way to stock up on RBs is to look for sneaky wide receiver (WR) value in the middle-to-late rounds. In fact, it could make or break your season. Here are five prime WR targets that should turn in elite production for a fraction of the cost:


Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons – This nine-year veteran and four-time Pro Bowler had a forgettable 2013 season, hauling in only 63 balls for 711 yards while dealing with a high ankle sprain and hamstring issues. But the Falcons’ all-time receiving leader turned it around towards the end of the year when healthy. After signing a new $30 million contract extension in July, White should be back to form in 2014. Add in the return of ultra-talented running mate Julio Jones, and defenses won’t be able to double-team both. With an average draft position (ADP) of 42 in standard Yahoo! 10-team leagues, White is a steal this year.


Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals – Entering his third year out of Notre Dame, Floyd is poised for a breakout season. After catching a modest 45 passes for 562 yards in his rookie year, Floyd ramped up production with 65 catches for 1,041 yards in 2013. He will continue that trend in 2014 as legendary teammate Larry Fitzgerald continues to age. With offensive-minded head coach Bruce Arians running the show and lightning-fast RB Andre Ellington making defenses respect the run, expect Floyd to turn in a massive season for his current ADP of 52. He could flirt with legitimate WR1 value when it’s all said and done.


Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints – The Saints traded up in this year’s draft to select this blazing rookie out of Oregon State. Cooks caught a staggering 128 balls for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2013, and now he’s set to play with one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in Drew Brees. Cooks has been drawing rave reviews in training camp, and he proved he wasn’t just a workout warrior by catching 5 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown in his preseason debut. Rookie receivers are rarely a good idea in fantasy, but Cooks is in a position to succeed immediately, making him insanely valuable at his current ADP of 110. Keep your eye out for Cooks in later rounds.

NFL: Preseason-New England Patriots at New York Giants

Rueben Randle, New York Giants – Randle had decent production with 611 yards and six touchdowns in what was a horrific season for the Giants last year. Like Floyd, he’s entering his telling third season, and the stage is set for him to break out in a big way. With former top wideout Hakeem Nicks out of the picture and touted rookie Odell Beckham nursing an injury, quarterback Eli Manning will have to throw to someone in the team’s new offense. Look for Randle to far outweigh his extremely low ADP of 117.


Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers – The second valuable rookie on this list, first round pick Benjamin comes in with a lot of pressure on his shoulders after winning a National Championship in his final year at Florida State. He’s a huge end zone target at 6’5”, but he still has a ton of work to do to learn the speed of the NFL. Still, with longtime star Steve Smith bolting for Baltimore and Brandon LaFell off to New England, star QB Cam Newton will need someone to throw to once he’s fully healed from offseason ankle surgery. Benjamin, who caught a nice 29-yard touchdown in his preseason debut, will be that man. Draft him and reap the rewards of his 128 ADP.

About the Author

Both an avid NFL fan and analyst, I’ve been following professional football since the late 1980s. I’m also an avid fantasy football player with several league victories under my belt. Check out my NFL articles on TSM for the latest NFL news, highlights, predictions, and more.

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