Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2011 Draft Prep: Wide receiver tiers and strategies

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Dave Richard's Strategies & Tiers: QB | RB | TE | K & DST

If there's a position to hone in on when you start your drafts, wide receiver is it. The talent pool is not quite as deep as it's been in the past and is certainly the thinnest among all positions in Fantasy Football this year.

Which is why there's really only one good strategy to have with receivers this year: Draft several quality ones -- while you can.

This isn't to say spend your first five picks on receivers. That's silly. But a serious plan to pick three within your first six picks (and perhaps two of your first three) in standard leagues is recommended. And the more receivers you start in your league, and the more receiver-friendly your scoring system is (points per reception, for example), the more sound it is to get three pass catchers with your first five picks.

By doing this, you lock up starters who you can trust most weeks, if not every week. And with that being the case, you might recognize that drafting more than one or two backups isn't really necessary. You can dedicate more of your middle- and late-round picks to backups at other positions including fliers on running backs and potential sleepers (including sleeper receivers).

Honest to goodness, drafting receivers is as simple as that this year. No further explanation needed.

The Round 1 debate

Why you need to read us ...
2010
Our Jamey Eisenberg was recognized for his accuracy.
2010
Our Dave Richard named a finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year
2009
CBSSports.com honored by the N.Y. Times/FantasyFootballLibrarian.com Rankings Accuracy Challenge
2008
Recognized for Best Article in Major Media by the FSWA

Should a receiver be taken in Round 1? If we're talking about a league where receptions count, obviously receivers take a big bump in value and should be considered as soon as seventh overall (Andre Johnson, Roddy White, Calvin Johnson as candidates for the pick). Wideouts are good first-round picks in leagues with 14 or more teams too -- they're safe choices for people picking late in the round who don't want to run the risk of drafting a second-tier running back or quarterback with their top choice.

But most people play in standard-scoring leagues (non-PPR) with 12 or fewer teams. What about taking a receiver in Round 1 then? It's not necessarily a mistake if you do it toward the end of the round, but there might be some better choices. One, an elite quarterback might not only be a safer pick but certainly a player that will put up more points. Two, a very good running back fills a bigger need, particularly if it's a format where you start the same amount of running backs and wideouts. And three, even if you pass on a receiver with your top pick, you can get one -- likely an elite one -- coming back in Round 2. You might not be able to land an equally top-tier quarterback or second-tier running back when you're up to draft again. Furthermore, the quality of wide receivers going in Round 3 in drafts across the board does not represent a drop off in talent like there is with running backs. You should not feel obligated to take Johnson or White or, well, the other Johnson with a first-round pick if you miss on an elite running back in simpler formats.

What happens if you pass on receivers early?

One of the great benefits to drafting receivers early and picking up those three wideouts with your first five or six picks is eliminating any tough weekly lineup decisions during the season. You're never benching Larry Fitzgerald or Hakeem Nicks or Vincent Jackson, right? Of course not. Can you say that with the same conviction for Sidney Rice or Mike Thomas or Hines Ward?

A key to winning in Fantasy is to simplify your roster decisions. Drafting your first few receivers with picks after Round 6 or 7 will complicate your life -- unless of course you hit it big or get some playmakers to fall into your lap off waivers (hey, it might have happened last year). Point is, it might be OK to get away with it for one receiver, but even that isn't ideal.

Not only might you be forced into some major lineup juggling if you wait to draft most or all of your receivers, but you might feel obligated to draft more receivers than running backs and thus spend choices on players who have limited chances at breaking out. Now, if there's a treasure trove of sleeper receivers that you think you're going to come away with, go ahead and pass on receivers. But when you're starting Robert Meachem while your opponent is slotting in Mike Wallace, don't say we didn't warn you.

There's always waivers

Is there a magic secret to finding surprise receivers off waivers like Brandon Lloyd or Mike Williams? Last year owners who claimed them had an improved shot at winning their leagues, and it only helped them that they didn't have to spend a draft choice on them.

Those first couple of weeks of the season always seem to bear fruit, and usually it's the receiver with the quiet preseason who breaks out early and remains consistent throughout the year. Why those guys? The theory is simple: Coaches figure they have talent in these players but don't quite want to reveal them in meaningless August games. They will see a lot of first-team reps in practice and in that third preseason game but they won't usually deliver smashing numbers that might hint at their involvement. Oh, and they're also on teams that don't already have that bona fide No. 1 receiver. Lloyd and Williams are perfect examples from last summer, as are Anquan Boldin and Marques Colston from their respective rookie seasons.

Pay close attention to those receivers that see a good amount of playing time in their team's third preseason game. They might be worth drafting late in drafts or claiming off waivers before or after Weeks 1 or 2. Additionally, owners should be willing to part ways with someone they drafted late on their roster in exchange for one of these players during the year.

Just remember, relying on this is kind of like relying on a lottery ticket for income (albeit without the tax ramifications). If you draft wisely at receiver, you won't have to fret about claiming guys off waivers because they might (or did) have a good start to the season.

Tier time

If you're going to pick three receivers with your first four or five picks, you better have a good grasp on who's available. By putting receivers into small groups based on how you think they'll perform, you can quickly judge when you should draft one based on how your drafts are going. No fancy theories: You're going to want the best possible receivers from the highest tiers when you go shopping for a receiver.

Here's how my top six tiers break out (as of Aug. 26):

Elite Tier Near-Elite Tier Reliable Tier
175+ FPTS 140+ FPTS 120+ FPTS
Andre Johnson Reggie Wayne Jeremy Maclin
Roddy White Dwayne Bowe Anquan Boldin
Calvin Johnson Brandon Marshall Wes Welker
Greg Jennings Mike Williams (TB) Mario Manningham
Larry Fitzgerald Miles Austin Brandon Lloyd
Mike Wallace DeSean Jackson  
Hakeem Nicks Marques Colston  
Vincent Jackson Santonio Holmes  
  Dez Bryant  
  Percy Harvin  
Very Good Tier Major Upside Tier Medium Upside Tier
105+ FPTS 90+ FPTS 80+ FPTS
Kenny Britt Lance Moore Braylon Edwards
Steve Johnson Mike Thomas Hines Ward
Pierre Garcon Julio Jones Davone Bess
Santana Moss Danny Amendola A.J. Green
Steve Smith (CAR) Austin Collie Lee Evans
Sidney Rice Plaxico Burress Johnny Knox
Chad Ochocinco Deion Branch

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Ex-teammate: Marshawn Lynch to hold out of training camp
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7:07 pm ET) Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, who's reportedly unhappy with his contract, is expected to hold out of training camp, former teammate Michael Robinson told NFL Network Total Access on Thursday.

"Marshawn Lynch just called me, we just talked. He said he will be holding out from training camp," Robinson said on the show.

Lynch attended the team's mandatory minicamp and is subject to fines if he holds out of training camp. He totaled over 1,500 yards of offense with 14 total touchdowns last year but had over 400 total touches between the regular season and postseason.


Chris Johnson looks 'light on his feet, and fast'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:56 pm ET) Jets running back Chris Johnson, who had offseason knee surgery, "looked light on his feet, and fast" at practice Thursday, reports ESPN.com. "I haven't really [gone] 100 percent with the team since I have been here so being able to go out there and run and do all the team periods felt good," Johnson said.

The Jets used him on rushing plays and also lined him up wide as a receiver. Johnson fumbled on a running play but overall "seemed right at home," the website said. "I felt good," Johnson said. "I felt no pain or anything like that."

His main competition for carries, Chris Ivory, sat out with a hamstring problem.


Bills make roster moves
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:50 pm ET) The Bills claimed center Jared Wheeler off waivers from the Panthers and waived/injured cornerback Brandon Smith.

Giants working extensively on no-huddle
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:46 pm ET) The Giants ran 59 no-huddle plays all of last season. That represented 4.7 percent of their total plays. In contrast, the Eagles ran a league-high 705 no-huddle plays (51.1 percent) and the Broncos ran 537 (35.4 percent).

It appears the Giants plan to have Eli Manning operating out of the no-huddle more often. Their first three practices featured frequent use of the no-huddle.

"It keeps defenses on their toes," running back Rashad Jennings said. "[Offensive coordinator Ben] McAdoo has a way to keep the defense on their toes, put pressure on them, get the long shots, get the grinding yards. It’s a lot of different ways to attack a defense. Also, it puts a lot of ownership on the players to learn the playbook. It puts the capability in the quarterback’s hands to make decisions."

Jennings said the team can run its entire offense out of the no-huddle. Wideout Rueben Randle also loves it.

"It gives us time to get set and see what the defense is going to do, to keep them out of position," he said. "Switching in our personnel to take advantage of the personnel they have out there. Hopefully, they’re in regular [defense] and we’re in three-wide, so we can spread the ball out a little bit and use our speed to make a few plays."


Steve Smith 'puts on a show'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:29 pm ET) New Ravens receiver Steve Smith "put on a show" in the team's first training camp practice, reports ESPN.com. Smith faked out starting corner Lardarius Webb on an out route, then beat Webb and projected No. 3 corner Chykie Brown on deep passes, the report said.

The website also credited Smith with raising the intensity level at practice.


Vince Wilfork practicing without limitations
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:15 pm ET) Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who's coming back from a ruptured Achilles, looked good during the team's first practice and said he's working without restrictions.

"If I had limitations, I wouldn’t be practicing," Wilfork told the Boston Herald. "My job is to help my teammates the best way I can, whatever that may be. The only way for me to help my teammates is to be on the field and be healthy. Right now, I’m on the field and I’m healthy. If anything happens in the future, I can’t predict that. But right now my job is to help this team the best way I can and get better each day and that’s what I’m going to do."


Ronald Leary has strained hamstring
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:08 pm ET) Cowboys starting guard Ronald Leary strained his hamstring taking a conditioning test Monday, reports ESPN.com. He's starting camp on the PUP list. It's unclear how long he'll be out.

Jamaal Charles gets $8.3 million guaranteed
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:02 pm ET) Jamaal Charles' four-year contract extension includes $8.3 million guaranteed but no guaranteed money beyond this season, reports Pro Football Talk. The Chiefs' star running back is now signed through 2017.

Marcus Lattimore on NFI list with two injuries
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:58 pm ET) 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said running back Marcus Lattimore is starting camp on the non-football injury list because that's what doctors and trainers recommended, reports the Sacramento Bee.

Asked if the problem was Lattimore's surgically reconstructed knee or the hamstring strain he suffered in the spring, Harbaugh replied, "A combination of the two." Harbaugh declined to elaborate.

Other reports indicate Lattimore is not too far away from being ready. He could be activated at any time.


'Won't be too long' until Knowshon Moreno returns for Miami
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4:44 pm ET) Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said he's not worried about Knowshon Moreno coming back in bad shape. The team opens training camp on Thursday and will begin practicing soon thereafter. Moreno had offseason knee surgery after reportedly showing up to camp out of shape. 

"Not full throttle 100 percent reps yet but won't be too long," Philbin said of Moreno via the Miami Herald.


 
 
 
Rankings