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Buying Generic Part 3: Wide Receiver

Fantasy Football Wide Receivers

In the first two parts of our Buying Generic Series, we explored less expensive options at the quarterback and running back positions. Finding discount ADP deals is a key to supercharging your roster. The more players you can buy generically, the more “budget” you can spend on must-have brand names. Wide receiver is the most critical position in best ball tournaments. Therefore, we will cover several generic buying opportunities at this position.

Name-Brand: Keenan Allen (ADP 31)

Generic: Christian Kirk (ADP 78)

The “Alpha Slot WR” is a hot new thing for NFL offenses. Cooper Kupp, Tyreek Hill, and Deebo Samuel are all in that category. Keenan Allen has been for years. Yet, now that he is older and on an evolving offense, his ADP fails to reflect those factors. Christian Kirk goes from a WR room crowded with talent and options to the WR desert of Jacksonville. However, his rapport with QB Trevor Lawrence, his presumed alpha status, and his market-destroying contract indicate that big things are in store.

Statistical Comparison (among all WR with at least 20 targets)

Yards per Route Run

Allen: 1.78 (31st)

Kirk: 1.81 (29th)

End zone targets

Allen: 9 (25th)

Kirk: 10 (17th)

Deep Targets

Allen: 17 (49th)

Kirk: 23 (31st)

Boom%

Allen: 26.8%

Kirk: 30.4%

What Kirk was lacking in 2021 wasn’t efficiency; it was targets. Those should see a significant boost this year. Make Kirk your preferred Alpha Slot WR of these two.

Other players drafted near Allen’s ADP: higher-ceiling teammate Mike Williams, Kyle Pitts, DJ Moore, and Courtland Sutton.

Name-Brand: Chris Godwin (ADP 54)

Generic: Rondale Moore (ADP 113)

Speaking of slot receivers, here are two “Beta Slot WR” who appear to be similar but have vastly dissimilar costs. Both are in crowded receiver rooms and have QBs embroiled in preseason controversy.

Chris Godwin is returning VERY early from his torn ACL injury sustained on 12/19/21. Reinjury rates are high when returning to action before nine months, and he may not be at full speed until around week 4. Even when he returns, this Buccaneers team will be different from last year’s. Their offensive line is a mess. New WRs in Julio Jones and Russell Gage replace Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown. They have a new head coach, and QB Tom Brady took a mysterious August leave-of-absence.

Meanwhile, Moore’s situation in Arizona is at least no worse than last season. As discussed, Christian Kirk skipped town, leaving his 103 targets. #1 WR Deandre Hopkins is sitting out the first six weeks on suspension. However, the Cardinals added QB Kyler Murray’s college bestie, WR Marquise Brown. Yet, with plenty of opportunities in a pass-happy offense and entering his second year in this system, Moore’s prospects are looking good.

Moore had an absurdly low average depth of target last year but a very high yards-after-catch per reception (8.11 YAC/rec – 5th). The key will be to let the playmaker make plays, potentially by increasing his downfield targets. Take it from head coach Kliff Kingsbury himself

“I just think the confidence is high right now and he knows he’s got a big opportunity coming up… We utilized him in different ways than we will this year. We kind of got it to him in space and did some things and used him on some checkdowns but he’s a dynamic route-runner and I think that’s what people are going to see. He’s really good getting out of his cuts, good at the tougher routes and so I think people are going to see a different side of him.”

It sounds like he will have a promising role. 

Other players drafted near Godwin’s ADP: Darren Waller, Rashod Bateman, JK Dobbins, Amon-Ra St. Brown. 

Name-Brand: Jaylen Waddle (ADP 38)

Generic: Elijah Moore (ADP 66)

The 2021 WR class looks to be full of future stars. Jaylen Waddle set the rookie catch record last year. However, his performance was overshadowed by the eruption of Ja’Marr Chase. Waddle was looking to be an excellent second-year leap candidate, but a fantasy disaster struck. The coach who drafted him was fired and replaced by a run-oriented coach, and the Dolphins traded for Tyreek Hill. Can Tua Tagovailoa sustain two top-18 WRs? I am doubtful.

Division-mate Elijah Moore plays for the up-and-coming Jets. His 2021 season was not ideal, with injury and a QB carousel contributing to unimpressive overall numbers. However, his stats tell us an intriguing story. 

Yards per Route Run

Waddle: 1.75 (35th)

Moore: 1.75 (36th)

Yards After Catch per Reception

Waddle: 4.22 (62nd)

Moore: 4.81 (37th)

Deep Targets per Route Run

Waddle: 0.028 (103rd)

Moore: 0.071 (7th)

The introduction of Garrett Wilson should have far less of an effect on Moore than Hill does on Waddle. Further, RB Breece Hall should encourage teams to keep more defenders closer to the line of scrimmage, aiding the passing game. I would expect a second-year leap from Moore, the player who is a more talented receiver than Ole Miss teammate AJ Brown.

Other WRs near Waddle’s ADP: Courtland Sutton, Allen Robinson, and Terry McLaurin.

Other WRs to consider “buying generic” on:

Buy Kendrick Bourne instead of Chase Claypool (ADP 210 vs. 110)

Buy Nico Collins instead of Tyler Lockett (ADP 146 vs. 101)

(Data courtesy of Sports Info Solutions and Trumedia Networks)

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