On Tuesday's edition of Treatment, the Helpers discuss current ADP rankings for wide receivers according to Fantasy Football Calculator. They talk about the sophomore studs in Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin. They also talk about this year's rookies including top guy Amari Cooper and whether or not they would draft Nelson Agholor over Breshad Perriman. That, plus deep sleepers they like in the later rounds at the WR position in terms of ADP.
If you want to, feel free to look at the ADP rankings yourself and if you have a compelling case for a deep sleeper wide receiver let us know.
Tomorrow night, May 20th at 7:05pm EST we’re excited to announce Swing for the Fences! It’s only $3 to play, $300,000 is up for grabs (1st place will win $100,000), and the top 25,930 finishers will win a cash prize. Click anywhere in the paragraph to sign up.
On Friday's edition of Treatment, Eric Moody of FFLockeroom.com stops by to talk about who's currently overvalued and undervalued in redraft leagues. Moody and I disagree on a few guys, mainly Eric Decker, Zach Ertz and Justin Forsett. We also go over some of the players embedded in the deeper echelon of the draft in terms of ADP and try to scrummage for value there.
Throughout the 2014 season, one of the biggest stories was the immediate success of the rookie wide receiver class. Whether it was Odell Beckham’s “catch seen around the world,” or Mike Evans consistent production week in and week out, the fantasy world was buzzing over the unprecedented success of the rookie class. And it wasn’t just Beckham or Evans making headlines. In fact, for the first time ever, eight rookie wide receivers finished within the top 50 WRs on the season (almost 20%!). But can we expect this production again?
It is well known that the dreaded ‘sophomore slump’ has claimed many an NFL rising star (Michael Clayton, Mike Williams, and Zac Stacy to name a few). So what does this mean for the best WR class to date? Can we expect eye-popping numbers again, or are we doomed to fantasy peril by investing in these young stars? In this article we will examine the top rookie WRs from last season and predict whether they will rise or fall in their sophomore season.
1) Odell Beckham Jr. (5th WR Overall in Standard Scoring)
The man, the myth, the legend. The 2014 offensive rookie of the year had the greatest start to his career than any other wide receiver in history. Period. In only twelve games he caught 91 passes for 1,305 yards and 12 TDs. Wow! But what can we expect from the breakout rookie in 2015? It should come as no surprise that Beckham’s production was increased after the season ending injury suffered by wide out Victor Cruz. With Victor Cruz coming back next season we shouldn’t be surprised if Beckham’s targets drop a bit. However, his production may not take too much of a hit (if any at all). With Cruz back on the field defenses will have one more playmaker to keep their eyes on. And with the emergence of Rueben Randle towards the end of the season (further catching the attention of opposing defenses), OBJ will have plenty of space to work with. Additionally, with Eli Manning growing more and more accustomed to Ben McAdoo’s new offense, we should have a top 5 wide out on our hands.
Projected WR Rank: 4th Overall
2) Mike Evans (10th WR Overall in Standard Scoring)
Entering the offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have many holes to fill, the most important of these being at the QB position. With the #1 pick in the 2015 draft, the Bucs are expected to take one of the top two QBs of the draft in Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Rookie QBs are always a big question mark going into a season, but if Mike Evans was able to produce top 10 numbers with Josh McCown and Mike Glennon under center, we shouldn’t expect less with either of the two rookie QBs. As a true deep threat, Mike Evans should pair nicely with the strong arm of Jameis Winston, giving us a possible WR1 next season.
Projected WR Rank: 12th Overall
3) Kelvin Benjamin (17th WR Overall in Standard Scoring)
In his rookie season, Kelvin Benjamin utilized his size, becoming one of the greatest red zone threats in the NFL. Unfortunately for Benjamin, he’s the only receiving threat on the field, and with a less than mediocre run game, defenses need only focus on Benjamin. Additionally, the Panthers must upgrade their offensive line in order to give Benjamin time to create space and allow Cam Newton to find the open man. With the recent release of veteran RB DeAngelo Williams, the Panthers need to add some playmakers to their roster if Benjamin has any chance of repeating his solid WR2 numbers in 2015.
Projected WR Rank: 18th Overall
4) Jordan Matthews (24th WR Overall in Standard Scoring)
As the 7th WR taken in the 2014 draft, Jordan Matthews exceeded expectations by finishing as the 4th best rookie wide out and the 24th overall wide out. The simple fact about Jordan
Matthews is that Chip Kelly really likes him. In fact, he had to trade up in the draft (10th pick of the 2nd round) just to get him. With the approval of Chip Kelly, Matthews saw plenty of playing time right off the bat. However, his production fell in the middle of the season (failed to gain more than 50 receiving yards in a game between weeks 4-10). This was not Matthews fault. The fact of the matter is that the Eagles need to address their quarterback situation, and if we know anything about Chip Kelly, he’s not a afraid to make a monumental deal that would give Matthews the help that he needs.
Projected WR Rank: 22nd Overall
5) Sammy Watkins (25th WR Overall in Standard Scoring)
At the beginning of the season, it appeared as though Sammy Watkins deserved to be the first receiver taken in the 2014 draft. However, as the season progressed Watkins’ numbers were devastated by poor QB play in Buffalo. Unless the Bills can trade up in the draft and grab Winston or Mariota (probably not going to happen), it is unlikely that the Bills QB situation will improve in 2015. A natural talent, Watkins is plagued by a poor offense and poor system. Additionally, Watkins doesn’t have the speed (4.43-40) of fellow rookie Brandin Cooks (4.33-40), or the size (6’1” 205 lbs) of fellow rookie Kelvin Benjamin (6’5” 243 lbs), or the hands of fellow rookie Odell Beckham Jr. Though it is undeniable that Watkins is a natural talent, all of these factors lead us to believe that we may see a true sophomore slump from Watkins next season.
Projected WR Rank: 28th Overall
Though we’ve only covered the top five rookie wide outs from last season, the rest of the rookie class deserves recognition, and in fact some may even make a jump ahead of the 5 WRs listed above. Listed below are the projected ranks of the remaining top 13 rookie wide receivers in order of their 2014 rank:
7) Martavis Bryant* – Projected WR Rank: 32nd Overall
8) Jarvis Landry* – Projected WR Rank 35th Overall
9) Brandin Cooks* – Projected WR Rank: 26th Overall
10 Taylor Gabriel – Projected WR Rank: 70th Overall
11 Allen Robinson – Projected WR Rank: 58th Overall
12 Donte Moncrief* – Projected WR Rank: 30th Overall
13 Davante Adams* – Projected WR Rank: 42nd Overall
Potential Sleepers = *
On Friday's edition of Treatment, Matt Harmon of Footballguys stops by to talk about the development of his new product 'Reception Perception' which will be released sometime during the summer in 2015. 'Reception Perception' will focus on an in depth analysis of every fantasy relevant wide receiver and paint an reflection of exactly what is going on in a player's game film. This product will be free for the first year and Harmon plans to release it annually. You can read more about the project here and also check out examples of Harmon's past wide receiver articles here.
Matt immediately gets into the project in the beginning of the pod. He's been developing the content throughout the 2014 season and already has a bevy of articles under his belt including Jeremy Maclin, Julio Jones, Josh Gordon and Odell Beckham Jr. You can check out his page here. He first started with Jordy Nelson and Cordarrelle Paterson through his process. Paterson and Nelson are two very different receivers, with Nelson being athe more polished receiver and Paterson serving as the more raw, athletic wideout. He usually finds the players that are coming off some interesting games or are about to break out.
On top of the NFL players, Harmon is currently focusing on college players and already has one article on Alabama wideout Amari Cooper. Widely considered the top receiver in this year's 2015 NFL Draft class, Cooper is the main subject of the podcast and serves as the first example of what Harmon's 'Reception Perception' will be about.
When analyzing Cooper's skill set, Harmon focuses on a variety of factors including contested catch rate, drop rate, amount of targets, rout analysis, and tackle breaking measurements. He then translates all this data to give you an idea of what Cooper can be at the NFL level.
For fantasy football purposes, there's plenty of analysis within 'Reception Perception' that can be helpful to those looking to draft certain players to their fantasy teams whether it be in dynasty or redraft leagues. For dynasty purposes, you'll want to pay attention to Harmon's rookie wide receiver articles more for obvious reasons, but you'll also find plenty of information that may make you think twice about drafting a certain player.
One of the bigger factors that can really make or break an NFL receiver (and Harmon goes into this in his articles) is consistency in getting off bump and run coverages. A lot of young receivers lack the upper body strength to shed big, physical cornerbacks which often leads to them getting off track in their route and can really limit their ability to get open consistently. Plenty of wide receivers have struggled with that in the past and often times the ones who don't end up with the most targets and ultimately the most receptions. Harmon's analysis will show you which receiver has the most success getting off the bump and run.
The other big factor is contested catch success rate. Often times, wide receivers don't get wide open on a play and will have to make a catch in traffic. Harmon's analysis takes into account how many successful catches a receiver makes with defenders draped on him, and uses Odell Beckham Jr.'s as a guy who lacks size but consistently possesses the 'my ball' mentality and goes up and catches the ball despite being covered. It's an underrated trait that a lot of successful receivers possess and Harmon makes sure to cover that in his articles.
Follow Matt on Twitter @MattHarmonBYB
1. Odell Beckham Jr. and Reuben Randle WR/New York Giants (7.8% Owned, 53.6% Owned)
It's never a good sign when someone goes down with a non-contact injury. Reports surfaced almost instantly after Cruz was carted off that he would be lost for the season with a torn patella tendon in his right knee. With Cruz headed to injured reserve, the Giants will lean on third-year wide receiver Reuben Randle and promising rookie Odell Beckham to pick up the slack.
Randle is a player that has been on the cusp of fantasy relevance for a couple seasons now. With Hakeem Nicks leaving in free agency, the time is now for Randle to establish himself as a consistent fantasy option. Through six weeks, Randle currently is tied for 16th in targets (47) and despite a 59% catch percentage, Randle is consistently one of the primary targets in the Giants' passing game. Randle hasn't proved much of a vertical threat so far, only being targeted seven times (1 catch) on passes 20+ yards down the field. Randle will most likely become the “possession” receiver for the Giants, giving him some extra value in PPR style leagues.
No receiver’s role will increase more for the Giants than rookie Odell Beckham Jr, who will now be asked to take a full workload with Cruz sidelined for the season. Beckham will add a legitimate deep threat to the Giants offense (4.4 speed), and should be a consistent fantasy option in terms of targets for the rest of the season.
Recommendation: Add Both Immediately
Value: Low WR2/Flex play
2. Jerrick McKinnon RB/Minnesota Vikings (5.1% Owned)
The free McKinnon campaign finally paid off as the rookie was granted his first start of his career. McKinnon was the only bright spot for the Vikings offense, totaling over 80 total yards of offense against the No. 1 defense in football in Detroit. McKinnon is going to be the starting running back for the Vikings for the duration of the season and should provide the running game with some much-needed big-play ability.
As long as McKinnon is able to stay healthy, he'll be worth a look as a weekly flex option and could even work his way to high RB2 value with his pass catching ability. The Vikings' running backs are going to have another tough matchup with the Bills in week 6, but there's hope for optimism as the Vikings matchup with Tampa Bay, Washington, Chicago, and Green Bay in the coming weeks.
Recommendation: Add Immediately
Value: Flex w/High RB2 Potential
3. Jordan Reed TE/Washington Redskins (50.5% Owned)
Reed showed why he has so many people in Washington frustrated by his inability to stay on the field for an extended period of time in the team's latest matchup against Arizona. After missing the last five weeks of the season due to a slight tear of the hamstring, Reed made his presence felt early and often upon his return.
Reed caught 8 of his team-high 11 targets for 92 and proved to be a matchup nightmare for linebackers. It was clear the Redskins wanted to ease him back into the fold, playing just over 50 percent of the snaps (35/65), but after making it through the week unscathed, that total will surely rise in Week 7 against a Titans defense ranked in the bottom 10 in terms of average points allowed to opposing tight ends.
Reed's usage within the Redskins offense has never been the question, but his inability to stay healthy has been. After suffering at least three concussions during his NFL career, Reed is one shot to the head away from missing the entire season, so be sure to proceed with caution. However, there's no doubt that when on the field Reed is a legitimate TE1 and needs to be in lineups as long as he can stay healthy.
Recommendation: Add Immediately
Value: Low TE1
4. Carson Palmer QB/Arizona Cardinals (6.4% Owned)
After missing the last few weeks with a nerve issue in his shoulder, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer was able to return to the starting lineup against the Redskins. While his numbers won’t jump off the page (25/44, 250 yards, 2 touchdowns) he gave the Cardinals' offense some much-needed consistency out of the quarterback position.
Palmer was clearly not 100% this week, as shown by the limited shots he took down the field, but he was able to move the chains consistently without suffering a setback. The happiest people to have Palmer back have to be receivers Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald, as they both caught touchdown passes.
Going into week 7, Palmer has a juicy matchup with the horrendous secondary of the Raiders. As long as Palmer is able to stay healthy, he should be able to put up numbers that put him on the cusp of QB1 value.
Recommendation: Add Immediately
Value: Low QB1
5. Mohamed Sanu WR/Cincinnati Bengals (38.2% Owned)
If you're a fantasy owner that had the fortune of adding Sanu before Sunday’s game, you have to like the potential for him the future. With superstar receiver A.J. Green sidelined for this weekend's matchup, Sanu made the most of his opportunities to a gaudy 11/120/1 line against the Panthers.
Without the services of both A.J. Green and Marvin Jones due to injuries, Sanu was clearly the no. 1 option in the passing game, getting targeted a team-high 15 times. Sanu does suffer from a case of the drops on occasion, a trend that has continued this year (5 total), but if the Bengals are going to be without their top two receiver options, Sanu is well worth a flex play with the potential to reach WR2 value yet again.
Recommendation: Add Immediately
Value: WR3 w/Potential
Players to Monitor
1. Antone Smith RB/Atlanta Falcons (5.1% Owned)
Now that my “Free McKinnon” campaign is finished, I am taking my campaign skills to Falcons running back Antone Smith. All the guy does is score touchdowns, folks. Smith has scored double-digits fantasy points in four of six games this year, the time is now for the Falcons to give this man a bigger role within the offense. I am still not willing to put Smith in my top additions section due to the lack of snaps he sees on a weekly basis, but with Steven Jackson on his last leg look for Smith to get more involved as the year goes on.
2. Storm Johnson RB/Jacksonville Jaguars (1.1% Owned)
Blake Bortles college teammate drew his first start this past weekend and was supposed to break out in a big way against a suspect Titans' run defense. However, Johnson struggled to get free most of the afternoon, and was only able to muster 21 yards on 10 carries. He salvaged some fantasy value with a rushing touchdown, but was largely ineffective due to the Jaguars dreadful offensive line. If Johnson is going to continue to carry the load for the Jaguars' rushing attack, he should able to produce better numbers than he did this weekend. Just keep this guy on your radar.
Another week in fantasy football, and another week of new faces creeping onto the radar. This week saw some top players go down with injuries including Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball (groin), Detroit Lions wideout Calvin Johnson (ankle) and San Diego Chargers running back Donald Brown (concussion). There were also a few rookies who entered the fantasy rader. Here are this week's top waiver wire pickups.
San Diego Chargers RB Branden Oliver (owned in 12% of Yahoo! Leagues)
Why he's a good pickup: In his first ever game seeing a majority of carries, Oliver lit up a Jets defense that came into the game ranked sixth overall against the run and giving up an average of 83 rushing yards per game. Oliver finished with 182 total yards combined rushing and receiving and a score. At 5'8, Oliver is an undersized speedster that displayed great burst through the hole and looked far superior to anybody else in the Charger backfield.
With Ryan Mathews still 2-3 weeks away from returning and Danny Woodhead out for the season, it's likely Oliver remains the top guy for Week 6 at leaast. He's a great plug in guy if you have a few running backs on a bye, and his versatility in the run and passing game makes him a good add in all formats. The Chargers play the Oakland Raiders next week, a team that's giving up 158 yards per game on average to running backs.
New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (owned in 10% of Yahoo! Leagues)
Why he's a good pickup: We already touched on Beckham Jr. on our podcast earlier, but he's worth mentioning as a solid waiver wire add this week. Beckham Jr. posted a 4/44/1 line in his debut with the Giants and saw a healthy five targets and his touchdown came at a key moment in the game which is often a great confidence builder. It's looking like he'll be firmly entrenched as the team's No. 3 receiver and while he's still a rookie and will likely be inconsistent from time to time, he's still valuable since he fills a much-needed void in terms of WR depth on the Giants' roster. He also gets a good matchup against a Philadelphia team that surrendered three touchdowns and 341 passing yards to Austin Davis and the Rams. Beckham Jr. is an instant flex add in 12-to-14 team leagues.
Cleveland Browns WR Taylor Gabriel (owned in 0% of Yahoo! Leagues)
Why he's a good pickup: After starting the season off slow with just 18 receiving yards in two games, the rookie has strung together back-to-back games of at least 80 receiving yards. At 5'8, Gabriel is undersized and relies on the big play to accrue the majority of his yards, but he's being utilized in the offense and the Browns have a soft stretch in their schedule coming up with their next three opponents consisting of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders. Gabriel is probably only worth adding in 14-team leagues at this point, but he's not a terrible option considering his matchups.
Owen Daniels TE Baltimore Ravens (owned in 42% of Yahoo! Leagues)
Why he's a good pickup: Daniels led the Ravens in receiving with five grabs for 70 yards on seven targets. Daniels could be a good bye-week filler if you're short on tight ends in Week 6 for a few reasons. While he's not very explosive, he has reliable hands (reeled in 19 of his 27 targets), is always a threat for a red zone score and he'll be matched up against a Tampa Bay defense that ranks 30th against the pass this Sunday.
Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (owned in 10% of Yahoo! Leagues)
Why he's a good pickup: With Montee Ball sidelined with a groin injury, Hillman finished with 64 yards on 15 carries. If Ball expects to miss a significant amount of time, Hillman will likely be the guy to fill the void with C.J. Anderson peppered in as well. Lauded at times for his struggles in pass protection which is a deal breaker when keeping quarterback Peyton Manning upright, Hillman doesn't present a ton of upside and his stats may suffer if the Broncos opt to go with a committee-style attack. Still, he'll still be running the ball on one of the most potent offenses in the league. He'll have opportunities to score.
George and Scott do their usual fantasy breakdown of two matchups this week, and assess the damage of the week that was in the NFL. Plus, they hand out weekly awards and discuss things to do in Wyoming.
Matchup No. 1 (Atlanta vs. New York Giants)
Two rookies came out of the woodwork in this one and are must owns in all leagues going forward. Andre Williams and Odell Beckham Jr. both shined in New York's victory over Atlanta. Filling in for an injured Rashad Jennings, Williams put his violent running style on full display, trucking defenders on his way to 65 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries.
It was a solid day for Williams considering this was the first time he has been thrust into the starting role as a rookie. The offensive line of the Giants provided good blocking at times (especially the tight ends who helped seal the outside on a lot of off tackle plays) and Williams made the most out of it. Depending on Jennings' status going forward, we could see Williams take on a more substantial role within the offense.
In the receiving game, rookie first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. (owned in just 9% of Yahoo! Leagues) scored a touchdown on a crucial play in his first NFL start. He saw five targets, which was third behind Reuben Randle (10) and Victor Cruz (6) but he made the most out of them. He caught four passes for 44 yards, and already clued spectators in as to how efficient he could be. Factor in his return yards and this is a natural receiver you want to get your hands on if you're high on the waiver wire. The Giants play the Philadelphia Eagles this week, a team that's been susceptible to the pass (they allowed 3 touchdowns from Austin Davis this week and let Kirk Cousins throw for more than 400 yards on them.) Eagles linebacker DeMaco Ryans also left the game and if he's hurt, then Week 6 could be a big day for the Giants offense.
Matchup No. 2 (Detroit vs. Buffalo)
This game was all about two things — Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson. Already not 100 percent coming in, Johnson aggravated the same ankle that was bothering him after he took a hit from Bills CB Leodis McKelvin. He left the game after recording just one catch for seven yards. His status for Week 6 will be monitored closely no doubt.
Tate flourished in Johnson's absence, finishing with 7 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown on a team-high 9 targets. Tate now has put together back-to-back 100-yard performances and is on pace for 1,014 yards and 3 touchdowns. He's a WR2 with WR1 upside in a high-powered offense riddled with injuries to receivers and running backs.
The rushing game was non-existent for both teams, with both teams combining for a little over 100 yards rushing. Fred Jackson was the top rusher for Buffalo, finishing with 10 carries for 49 yards while George Winn led Detroit with 11 carries for 48 yards. Expect starter Joique Bell to return as the Lions top rusher in Week 6 after being sidelined with a concussion for Week 5. Jackson remains a solid flex play due to his versatility (he caught 7 passes for 58 yards as well).
Rookie Sammy Watkins continued to impress for Buffalo, catching 7 passes for 87 yards on a team-high 12 targets. He's a WR2/3 going forward but will likely be hampered by the Bills' situation at quarterback. Speaking of, Kyle Orton finished 30-of-43 for 308 yards, one touchdown and one interception.