There are 32 teams in the NFL and 24 starting wide receivers in a 12-team league. Conventional wisdom would seem to dictate that you will not get two starting wide receivers from the same team, but that is not always the case. There are some instances where a team has two receivers that could finish in the top 24. Let’s take a look at three pairs of receivers that have an opportunity finish in the top 24.
Golden Tate/Marvin Jones – Detroit Lions
In 2017 Marvin Jones finished as WR11 and Golden Tate as WR13. The pair is lucky to have a quarterback in Matt Stafford who has not missed a game in seven years and finished in the top 11 for fantasy points scored in five of those seven years. First, Golden Tate who has the more consistent fantasy history. Tate has finished top 30 the past five years and top 17 three of five years. A real PPR monster who consistently brings in close to 70% of the passes thrown to him, Tate is electric with the ball in his hands and works close to the line of scrimmage often. Second, Marvin Jones. Jones game is the opposite of Tate, he gets downfield bringing in the deep pass for big gains. According to playerprofiler.com Jones averaged 8.6 air yards per target, #1 for wide receivers with an impressive 18 yards per reception, while Tate was at 3.1 air yards per target and #101. Jones is likely to regress some in 2018 but a top 24 finish is easily within the range of outcomes.
Demaryus Thomas/Emmanuel Sanders – Denver Broncos
2017 was a down year for Emmanuel Sanders as he finished as WR60 after previous finishes as WR19, WR19, WR4. Demaryius Thomas paced the Broncos receivers as WR16, WR16, WR11, WR2 over the past four years. The Broncos went out and signed consolation prize in the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes Case Keenum to a 2-year $36 million dollar contract. While Keenum falls in that quarterback range of 10-16 wherein any given week he can deliver QB6 or QB20 numbers he is an upgrade over Trevor Siemian. Keenum finished as QB16 in 2017. The difference between Keenum and Siemian in 2017 was 4.2 points per game, which doesn’t seem like much when you first hear it. That 4.2 ppg is, however, one extra touchdown or an additional 100 yards passing. That additional production from the quarterback could comfortably move Thomas into the top 12 and Sanders into the top 24. Demaryius Thomas is currently being drafted as WR20 and ADP 46 on fantasypros.com while Emmanuel Sanders is going as WR35 and 88 overall ADP. Their age is doing as much to push them down in dynasty as anything is, but I expect both to easily outperform those adp’s with Thomas pushing for top 12 and Sanders inside the top 20 wide receivers. If you are looking for a piece to push you over the top you could do a lot worse than DT or Sanders.
Adam Theilen/Stefon Diggs – Minnesota Vikings
The third pair in this installment comes from the Minnesota Vikings who landed free agent crown jewel quarterback Kirk Cousins. In past two years Cousins finished as QB6 and QB5 with Jamison Crowder as his top wideout. In 2017 Theilen and Diggs finished as WR9 and WR19 respectively with Case Keenum/Sam Bradford at quarterback after finishing as WR29 and WR30 in 2016 with Bradford. Theilen and Diggs both present very versatile options in the passing game with the ability to play in the slot or outside effectively. During the 2017 season Cousins produced slightly better numbers than Keenum with a weaker receiving corps than the Minnesota Vikings. I think Theilen will regress ever so slightly to the WR10-12 range, he is currently going at WR11 and adp 32 and should return that value. Diggs is going at WR13 with an ADP of 31. This is an accurate valuation for him. I don’t think you are going to get extreme values for either player but if they slide to 36-42 you better grab them because they will not make it back to you.
There will be other pairs that step and surprise in 2018 but there are the three pairs of wide receivers that can be counted on in 2018 to deliver fantasy results even though they are sharing the workload. Smart owners will not shy away from double dipping into these receivers to build their rosters, especially in PPR formats. Let me know what you think. Are you buying into any of these wide receiver duos? If so, who? Hit me up on twitter @culture_coach and let know your thoughts.