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Chris Godwin: an Undervalued WR1

While receivers like Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and AJ Brown get headlines, Chris Godwin has slipped to becoming an incredible dynasty value

I’ve been taking part in as many mock drafts and best-ball startup leagues that I can over the offseason. With that, I have started to notice some tendencies. One of the more consistent tendencies from draft to draft is that sophomore players who had a great rookie campaign are flying up draft boards. The famed 2020 rookie class was a dynamic and successful one. Thus, owners want as many players from that class as they can get.

Because of that, there have been some slides amongst the “older” players. One, in particular, surprised me. That player is Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin, who recently turned 25.

Godwin’s one of the most egregious slides in drafts. I’ve seen him be selected all over the place. Still, everywhere he went, the underlying thing is that it was always too late. If you have any shot at taking the Buccaneers’ newly franchise-tagged wide receiver, you should be jumping at the opportunity.

Credit: Penn State News

Background Story

Entering the league at 21 years old, Godwin was drafted in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft by the Buccaneers. They were looking for a compliment to wide receiver Mike Evans in their offense.

While Godwin’s rookie year started slowly, he picked it up in the back half of 2017 with 442 yards on 26 receptions. Before that, he only had 8 receptions for 83 yards in his first eight games. Godwin soon became a primary target in the Buccaneers offense during years two and three.

Playing in Tampa, Godwin shares targets with Evans, who has yet to have under 1,000 receiving yards in any of his seven NFL seasons. That didn’t stop Godwin from being the second-best fantasy wide receiver in 2019, even though he missed two games. In addition to that, Godwin was one of only three wide receivers in standard scoring format to average 12 fantasy points a game or more while playing at least 13 games. The other two receivers: Evans and New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas.

If you want to argue there is only one ball to go around in Tampa, the output Godwin and Evans both had in 2019 should make you rethink that logic. Godwin’s now entering his fifth year in the NFL in 2021. However, he’s still only 25 years old and seems to be heading into the next year with a clean bill of health. If anything, I’d expect Evans to start to regress while Godwin becomes the WR1 for the Buccaneers.

Credit: Bleacher Report

Average Draft Position

Godwin had an up and down 2020 as he suffered from a concussion, hamstring strain, and index finger fracture. The injuries made him miss four games in the regular season. Even with the injuries and their lingering effects, Godwin posted 840 receiving yards and 7 TDs season. On a 16 game pace, Godwin would have finished with 1,120 receiving yards and 9 TDs. With Godwin returning to the Buccaneers, who will have another year with quarterback Tom Brady, he has an ADP of 27.5 in Dynasty startup drafts on Sleeper.

There are arguments as to why you should or shouldn’t take the wide receivers going before Godwin. Interestingly, Godwin is falling towards the bottom of the second-tier of wide receivers. I view him as a top-tier wide receiver, which makes the fall outlandish. Wide receivers like Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, A.J. Brown, and Justin Jefferson all have an ADP of 12.4 or higher in Sleeper. Others like DK Metcalf, Stefon Diggs, and DeAndre Hopkins fall into Godwin’s tier with ADPs between 22 and 26. Then Godwin lands with a 27.5 ADP.

However, ADP still doesn’t tell the entire story. It may only be one example, but a friend of mine drafted Godwin with the 48th pick in a 12-team best-ball startup that isn’t a Superflex league. Godwin’s getting selected as the last pick of the fourth round in a non-Superflex startup. That is egregious!

Comparing Godwin to the Names Above Him

The list of names going before Godwin in these startups is a good one, but many owners are still undervaluing what Godwin has brought to his teams the last few years. If we combine the stats for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Godwin is every bit as competitive as the other wide receivers going before him in drafts:

The top three wide receivers in ADP differ from the latter four wide receivers in the TD category. Adams and Hill broke the 20 TD mark in their 2019 and 2020 seasons combined. However, Brown missed the mark by one. After that, the numbers end up being relatively similar.

Let’s take a look at just Hill and Godwin. Yes, Hill has six more TDs in the last two seasons, but Godwin has more yards, averages more yards per game, and has more receptions (on fewer targets). Godwin is also two years younger than Hill. Yet, Hill is getting picked an average of 20 slots higher than Godwin.

As for the target and reception hogs on this list, Godwin may not be putting up the yardage that Adams, Diggs, and Hopkins did the last two years. However, he’s three years younger than all of them and averaging more yards per catch than all of them.

Finally, Godwin’s numbers are more impressive than the dynasty community’s darling, Brown. Even though Godwin has played in four fewer games than Brown, he has more yards, receptions, targets, and yards per game over the last two seasons. Godwin’s also only a year older than Brown. Even with all of these stats readily available, Brown’s getting drafted a round and a half earlier than Godwin.

Final Thoughts

None of what I’m stating is a knock on receivers like Adams, Hill, or Brown. Rather, Godwin should be in the same breath as them. However, he continues to slip down startup and re-draft boards all over the dynasty world for some reason. I’m not sure if players feel like Godwin’s much older than 25 because he’s entering his fifth season or worried about injuries because of him missing games the last two years. Maybe players don’t want a wide receiver that plays alongside another stud in Evans.

He was on a team with many mouths to feed in Evans, tight end Rob Gronkowski, and fellow wide receiver Antonio Brown. Yet, he still managed to be on pace for over 1,000 yards and nearly 10 touchdowns in an injury-hobbled season. Whatever the reason, now is a great time to buy Godwin or draft him at a reduced price.

Acquiring a true WR1 is never an easy task. Finding one that is only 25 is even more challenging. Great wide receivers have some of the most extended life spans in dynasty fantasy football. Godwin’s 25 and has at least four more elite years in front of him. If you get the opportunity to trade for him or grab a player of his caliber in round three of a startup, you shouldn’t hesitate.

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