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How to Target Wide Receivers

You’re starting up your dynasty league, and you’re looking to build your board. First, always build around wide receivers. Second, after the obvious studs are off the board. Who should you be targeting?

You’re starting up your dynasty league, and you’re looking to build your board. First, always build around wide receivers. Second, after the obvious studs are off the board. Who should you be targeting? What criteria should you be looking for when you’re trying to make your dart throws more than that? You’re in your rookie drafts, and you want to see which receivers should be prioritized over the rest. That’s where I come in.

Everyone is going to have their stats or reasoning as to why they put certain players above others, and I’m going to give you a methodology for how you should be ordering yours. Some of it is going to be based on statistics, and some on how their team is constructed. Landing spots do, in fact, matter in the world of fantasy football.

Today, it’s all about making that dart throw more accurate. When you’re coming on the clock later in the draft, you need to make sure that you’re adding quality depth behind your starters. This is how you make sure that your roster is the one that teams are trying to come trading for players that you aren’t even starting because you’re so stacked. How should you be looking at those players? Just like this.

Team Construction Targets

Elite offenses should always move players up your board. It’s the reason that MeCole Hardman had some fantasy relevance last year despite being the fourth or fifth option on his team. Outside of the San Francisco 49ers, the other top four teams in points per game, Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New Orleans Saints, were considered fantasy gold mines. For instance, if you’re debating between Justin Watson and Chris Conley, grab Watson simply because his offense is going to be great.


Your next point of interest in team construction for wide receivers is to look at their rushing attacks. If a team runs the ball at an elite level, for instance, the Ravens or 49ers, they’re not going to throw the ball as much. The Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Rams, and Bucs all had well-below average rushing attacks. So, how did they score points? They threw the ball a lot, and they had multiple relevant receiving options as a result.

Your final target point is to find teams with bad defenses that also have good offenses. Think about the 2018 Chiefs with their bottom-five defense combined with their all-world offense. Simply put, those teams have to score more points to win games, and they’ll likely have to throw the ball more. Teams like the Detroit Lions and Chiefs are where you’ll need to be investing your capital.

Player Progress Goals

You should make players heading into year three a priority when you’re drafting. Wide receivers typically take a year or two before they’re able to reach their full potential, and you need to know what you’re looking for. It’s ideal if you can get a player that contributed some as a rookie then built on it as a sophomore. After showing consistent progress, it’s that third year that you can expect a full breakout. It’s also why guys like D.J. Chark and Calvin Ridley are going to cost you a pretty penny to have on your squad.

DJ Chark (DynastyNerds)
DJ Chark (DynastyNerds)

I’m a firm believer in building your roster by taking the best player available on your board. The key to doing that is taking advantage of reaches by other players in your league. Specifically, I’m talking about rookies that see their prices significantly overinflated. By current ADP, Deebo Samuel is being drafted ahead of guys like Ridley, Stefon Diggs, and Allen Robinson based mainly on his play in the playoffs. Deebo is extremely talented, but if I can get those other players for the same price, I’m taking the more proven product every single time.

Pay attention to guys at the end of the year who produce when the rest of the team is being rested. At the end of the day, they’re still performing against NFL-level talent. That’s progress that they can build on the following year. You can also utilize a lack of production against below-average competition as a marker for the future. If you see someone struggle against backup cornerbacks, it’s unlikely that they’ll excel against starting-caliber players.

Premium Draft Capital

This is something that you always need to consider when drafting players, especially later in the draft. When you’re aiming your darts, you need to look at the guys that teams invested in with an earlier pick. If a player is taken in the first two days of the draft, they’re going to get more opportunities to succeed. For reference, there were two receivers that finished inside the top-24 at the position last year that were taken on Day 3 of the draft. 

Who usually gets drafted on those first couple days of the draft? It’s guys that put up elite athletic numbers. For reference, among the receivers that were drafted on the first two days of the draft last year that we have testing numbers for, only Diontae Johnson tested below the 85th percentile in their SPARQ-x score. Thirteen receivers went in the first three rounds. We had testing numbers for 11, and 10 of them were in the top echelon of athletic testing.

NFL teams like their athletes and you should too for your fantasy team. When you’re making your dart throws, the key is to educate yourself beforehand. You have two criteria to look at. First, You have to see who the best athletes are that are available. Second, you have to look at the guys taken on the first two days of the draft. Day 3 guys are a lot of luck whether or not they’ll pan out.

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