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Fantasy football 2018: Wide receivers to target on ESPN

Fantasy Football 2018 wide receiver

The average draft position, or ADP, of any given player, is generally determined by their location in the pre-draft player rankings, although every platform has varying rankings.

In this article, I will be identifying three wide receivers whose pre-draft rankings on ESPN.com are skewed compared to other fantasy platforms. More specifically, I will be comparing ESPN’s ADPs as of August 2nd, 2018, in full point per reception leagues, or PPR, to Fantrax, RTSports, Fantasy Football Calculator (FFC) and MyFantasyLeague.com (MFL) in order to help fantasy football owners who use ESPN.com identify underrated assets in their format.

All ADPs, including the average (AVG), are located on fantasypros.com. Also, all ADP’s are positional, and not an overall representation of their draft position.  

Brandin Cooks

Fantasy Football 2018 Wide Receiver
May 21, 2018; Thousand Oaks, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams receiver Brandin Cooks (12) catches a pass as cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman (23) defends during organized team activities at Cal Lutheran University. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There are many questions surrounding Cooks in 2018, who is now the fourth highest paid wide receiver in the NFL. He will be running routes for the Los Angeles Rams, his third team in three seasons, which transitions him from Drew Brees, to Tom Brady, and now to Jared Goff in terms of quarterbacks. This transition may scare off fantasy suitors, especially because of the wide receiver depth in Los Angeles, although I am here to calm the nerves.

Since 2015, only Cooks and Antonio Brown have had three consecutive seasons of over 1,000 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, showing he is one of the most consistent receivers in the NFL. On to his skill set, Cooks is one of the most electric players in the NFL, measuring into the 99th percentile in both 40-yard dash and agility scores. His speed, quickness and agility will make him an incredibly dangerous weapon for Sean McVay and the Rams. The departure of wide receiver Sammy Watkins will further open the door for Cooks to become the primary target of third-year quarterback and former first overall pick, Jared Goff.

On ESPN.com, Cooks is currently being drafted as the WR25, although between the four other platforms, his average ADP is WR19. Despite the new system and quarterback, Cooks should be a safe source of 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns, making him well worth a selection in ESPN formats.

ESPN: 25

Fantrax: 17

RTSport: 22

FFC: 22

MFL: 18

AVG: 19.2

Julian Edelman

Despite being suspended for the first four games of 2018, Julian Edelman remains a must target player in PPR formats. Since 2013, only Antonio Brown (11.14) and Demaryius Thomas (9.83) have been targeted more times per game than Edelman (9.67). In 2016, Edelman finished third in targets (159), behind only Mike Evans (173) and Odell Beckham Jr. (169), showing that when healthy, he is one of the most targeted receivers in the NFL.

With Brandin Cooks departure out west, Edelman is sure to be the primary target for Brady, even with a healthy Rob Gronkowski. Even with the suspension, it is safe to expect 100 targets, 65 catches, 750 yards and a handful of touchdowns from the 32-year-old.

ESPN: 37

Fantrax: 26

RTSport: 28

FFC: 30

MFL: 37

AVG: 31.4

Jamison Crowder

 

Fantasy Football 2018 Wide Receiver
Jamison Crowder (Photo by The Washington Post)
Fantasy Football 2018 Wide Receiver
Jamison Crowder runs after a catch against the Eagles in week 7. (Photo by The NFL Photo Store)

One may call Crowder’s 2017 season underwhelming, although, with the addition of Alex Smith and possibly an increased role, we may see a huge uptick in production from the 25-year-old. Some fantasy owners may be put off by the addition of wide receiver Paul Richardson, who signed a five-year, $40 million contract this offseason, although according to fantasypros.com…

Smith doesn’t like throwing into tight windows, as evidenced by NFL’s NextGenStats that show a league-low 12 percent of his throws went to a wide receiver with one or less yard of separation. While Richardson and Josh Doctson were mediocre at separating, Crowder averaged 3.2 yards of separation, which ranked eight among wide receivers in 2017.”

I anticipate Crowder to be the most targeted Redskin in 2018, which makes him well worth his price in ESPN PPR formats.

ESPN: 43

Fantrax: 38

RTSport: 33

FFC: 34

MFL: 33

AVG: 36.4

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