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The Wolf's Big Board:     Monday, August 21, 2017       Tier One - The Big Three ($65 - $75)   1 ) David Johnson (ARI) RB1   2 ) Le'Veon Bell (PIT) RB2   Tier Two - High-end WR1 and RB1s ($50-$65)   3 ) Antonio Brown (PIT) WR1   4 ) Julio Jones (ATL) WR2   5 ) Mike Evans (TB) WR3   6 ) Odell Beckham JR. (NYG) WR4   7 ) LeSean McCoy (BUF) RB3   8 ) AJ Green (CIN) WR5   9 ) Jordy Nelson (GB) WR6   10 ) Melvin Gordon (LAC) RB5   11 ) Jay Ajayi (MIA) RB6   12 ) DeMarco Murray (TEN) RB7   13 ) Michael Thomas (NO) WR7   14 ) Devonta Freeman (ATL) RB8   15 ) Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) RB9   Tier 3 - Remaining WR1s, Potential RB1s, and Gronk ($38 - $45)   16 ) Dez Bryant (DAL) WR8   17 ) Rob Gronkowski (NE) TE1   18 ) Todd Gurley (LAR) RB10   19 ) DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) WR9   20 ) Amari Cooper (OAK) WR10   21 ) Brandin Cooks (NE) WR11   22 ) Isaiah Crowell (CLE) RB11   23 ) TY Hilton (IND) WR12   24 ) Demaryius Thomas (DEN) WR13   25 ) Doug Baldwin (SEA) WR14   Tier 4 - High-End RB2 and WRs (with No.1 upside), Elite TEs ($25 - $35)   26 ) Jordan Howard (CHI) RB11   27 ) Marshawn Lynch (OAK) RB12   28 ) Tyreek Hill (KC) WR15   29 ) Keenan Allen (LAC) WR16   30 ) Martavis Bryant (PIT) WR17   31 ) Davante Adams (GB) WR18   32 ) Terrelle Pryor (WAS) WR19   33 ) Ty Montgomery (GB) RB13   34 ) Christian McCaffrey (CAR) RB14   35 ) Dalvin Cook (MIN) RB15   36 ) Joe Mixon (CIN) RB16   37 ) Leonard Fournette (JAX) RB17   38 ) Lamar Miller (HOU) RB18   39 ) Travis Kelce (KC) TE2   40 ) Michael Crabtree (OAK) WR20   41 ) Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) WR21   42 ) Carlos Hyde (SF) RB19   Tier 5 - Remaining #2 RB & WR options, elite QBs, High-End TE1s ($15 - $25)   43 ) Tom Brady (NE) QB1   44 ) Aaron Rodgers (GB) QB2   45 ) Bilal Powell (NYJ) RB20   46 ) Mark Ingram (NO) RB21   47 ) Eric Decker (TEN) WR22   48 ) Jordan Reed (WAS) TE3   49 ) Golden Tate (DET) WR23   50 ) Alshon Jeffery (PHI) WR24   51 ) Allen Robinson (JAX) WR25   52 ) Greg Olsen (CAR) TE4   53 ) DeSean Jackson (TB) WR26   54 ) Doug Martin (TB) RB22   55 ) Adrian Peterson (NO) RB23   56 ) Spencer Ware (KC) RB24   57 ) Willie Snead (NO) WR27   58 ) Danny Woodhead (BAL) RB25   59 ) Jamison Crowder (WAS) WR28   60 ) Sammy Watkins (LAC) WR29   61 ) Tevin Coleman (ATL) RB26   62 ) Mike Gillislee (NE) RB27   63 ) Jimmy Graham (SEA) TE5   64 ) Tyler Eifert (CIN) TE6   Tier 6 - Flex RBs, Upside WR3s, Quality TE1s and Elite QB ($10 - $15   65 ) Kelvin Banjamin (CAR) WR30   66 ) Julian Edelman (NE) WR31   67 ) Rob Kelley (WAS) RB28   68 ) Theo Riddick (DET) RB29   69 ) Stefon Diggs (MIN) WR32   70 ) Brandon Marshall (NYG) WR33   71 ) Jarvis Landry (MIA) WR34   72 ) DeVante Parker(MIA) WR35   73 ) LeGarrette Blount (PHI) RB30   74 ) Ameer Abdullah (DET) RB31   75 ) CJ Anderson (DEN) RB32   76 ) Zach Ertz (PHI) TE7   77 ) Hunter Henry (LAC) TE8   78 ) Martellus Bennett (GB) TE9   79 ) Jeremy Maclin (BAL) WR36   80 ) Cameron Meredith (CHI) WR37   81 ) Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) WR38   82 ) Pierre Garcon (SF) WR39   83 ) Drew Brees (NO) QB3   84 ) Matt Ryan (ATL) QB4   85 ) Delanie Walker (TEN) TE10   Tier 7 -Elite Bench Plays, Last Startable WRs and RBs, Quality QB1s   86 ) Derrick Henry (TEN) RB33   87 ) CJ Prosise (SEA) RB34   88 ) Donte Moncrief (IND) WR40   89 ) Terrance West (BAL) RB35   90 ) Thomas Rawls (SEA) RB36   91 ) James White (NE) RB37   92 ) Tyrell Williams (LAC) WR41   93 ) Randall Cobb (GB) WR42   94 ) Corey Davis (TEN) WR43   95 ) Frank Gore (IND) RB38   96 ) Jonathan Stewart (CR) RB39   97 ) Paul Perkins (NYG) RB40   98 ) Derek Carr (OAK) QB5   99 ) Jameis Winston (TB) QB6   100 ) Marcus Mariota (TEN) QB7   101 ) Kirk Cousins (WAS) QB8   102 ) Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) QB9   103 ) Philip Rivers (LAC) QB10   104 ) Cam Newton (CAR) QB11   105 ) Dak Prescott (DAL) QB12   106 ) Russell Wilson (SEA) QB13   107 ) Duke Johnson (CLE) RB41   108 ) Kareem Hunt (KC) RB42   109 ) Andrew Luck (IND) QB14   110 ) Tyrod Taylor (BUF) QB15   111 ) Jack Doyle (IND) TE10   112 ) Kyle Rudolph (MIN) TE11   Tier 7 - High End "Penny Stock" Bench Assets   113 ) Jamaal Williams (GB) RB43   114 ) Eddie Lacy (SEA) RB44   115 ) Joe Williams (SF) RB45   116 ) Robby Anderson (NYJ) WR44   117 ) Zay Jones (BUF) WR45   118 ) John Brown (ARI) WR46   119 ) Jamaal Charles (DEN) RB46   120 ) Eric Ebron (DET) TE13   121 ) D'Onta Foreman (HOU) RB47   122 ) Taylor Gabriel (ATL) WR47   123 ) Jacquizz Rodgers (TB) RB48   124 ) Darren Sproles (PHI) RB49   125 ) Marvin Jones (DET) WR48   126 ) Ted Ginn Jr (NO) WR49   127 ) Mike Wallace (BAL) WR50   128 ) Kenny Golladay (DET) WR51   129 ) Jonathan Williams (BUF) RB50   130 ) Alvin Kamara (NO) RB51   131 ) Samaje Perine (WAS) RB52   Tier 8 - Remaining "Penny Stocks" to consider   132 ) Josh Docston (WAS) WR52   133 ) Corey Coleman (CLE) WR53   134 ) Adam Thielen (MIN) WR54   135 ) Marlon Mack (IND) RB53   136 ) Julius Thomas (MIA) TE14   137 ) Austin Hooper (ATL) TE15   138 ) Jared Cook (OAK) TE16   139 ) OJ Howard (TB) TE17   140 ) Eli Manning (NYG) QB16   141 ) Andy Dalton (CIN) QB17   142 ) Matthew Stafford (DET) QB18   143 ) Carson Palmer (ARI) QB19   144 ) Matt Forte (NYJ) RB54   145 ) Branden Oliver (LAC) RB55   146 ) Kenny Britt (CLE) WR57   147 ) Cordarelle Patterson (OAK) WR58   148 ) Rex Burkhead (NE) RB56   149 ) Tarik Cohen (CHI) RB57   150 ) Nelson Agholor (PHI) WR59  

2017 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Upside WR2s

Enough of this “way too early” garbage. With Scott Hanson and his quad boxes of delight now three weeks removed, the fantasy football withdrawals are hitting harder than ever.  Fill the void and jump into our “not soon enough” 2017 Fantasy Football rankings.

Of course, values will change as the dust from free agency and the draft begins to settle. Still, it’s crucial to recognize your original thoughts BEFORE all of the other “expert” rankings pollute and bias your mind.  This way, you have a base of your own, independent gut feelings (a “Stream of Gut” if you will), before beginning your offseason research.

Blabber cease. On to the 2017 Fantasy Football rankings.  These assume 1/2 point PPR scoring to achieve a happy medium between the two formats (it’s also the best, most common format). As a huge sucker for tiers, I’ll be releasing different positional groups each day (i.e. RB1s, RB2s, Flex plays) before ultimately combining them all into a final Big Board by the beginning of February.

If you missed yesterday, be sure to catch up on 2017’s fantasy football WR1s. Plus, last week, we released our RB Rankings.

Tier 3 – Upside WR2s 

While there’s too much uncertainty or risk to make these guys desirable WR1s, they all bring immense upside to the WR2 slots.  All are worth looks beginning in Round 3. 

10. Davante Adams (GB) 

No one’s game progressed more than Davante Adams in 2016, who had his breakout a year later than everyone expected:  75 catches, 997 yards, and a whopping 12 TDs, good for the 8th most half PPR points (.5 behind Michael Thomas). Reports emerged that he played through a brutal ankle injury all 2015, so this dominant bounce back is far more in line with what to expect moving forward. Or even better.

Think about it. Adams is only entering his fourth season. He consistently flashed chemistry on all routes with Rodgers: from back shoulder fades, to timing deep posts, to quick hitches, Adams was up and down the route tree with arguably the top signal caller not named Brady.  With Jordy Nelson another year older, there’s no reason Adams can’t step up for an even greater share of this valuable target pie. At worst, he’s the clear #2 in one of the leagues most explosive aerial attacks, and another full offseason will only help him further his game.  He’s the sexiest WR2 around, and I’m not kicking myself if my backfield is stacked and Adams is my top pass-catcher.

11. Doug Baldwin (SEA)

While he didn’t maintain the torrid 14-TD pace of 2015, Baldwin’s 94 catch, 1128 yard, 7 TD 2016 kept him in the top 10 fantasy WRs for a second straight year.  Similar to the Seattle offense as a whole, Baldwin was quite streaky in 2016, dropping into single digit half ppr points in 8 of his 16 games, but then topping 26 points on three other occasions.

Still, Baldwin’s role as Russell Wilson‘s #1 remains secure; if this offense improves it’s overall consistency ala their 2015 stretch run, Baldwin could yield a massive season.  I imagine a mix between his insane 2015 and inconsistent 2016, leading to sexy WR2 production and perhaps even a WR1 revival. The floor and ceiling are both quite high here.

12. Amari Cooper (OAK)

Many will have Cooper ranked above this, and the talent is undeniable.  But so is the inconsistency, as Cooper scored single digits in 50% of his contests, leading to him tallying less fantasy points than teammate Michael Crabtree in 2016.

Of course, Cooper still flashes some bonafide WR1 goods, plus he plays with one of the top signal callers in the game assuming Derek Carr‘s healthy — having Cooper even this high reflects my expectation of another leap forward in Year 3, potentially a massive one. Yet, another unpredictable, streaky 2017 is certainly a real possibility, and Cooper should best be treated as a sexy WR2 as a result.

13. Julian Edelman (NE)

Since the days of Wes Welker, New England has churned reception machines out of the slot, and Edelman has proven among their best. Since ascending to the lead role in 2013, Edelman has never dipped below 92 catches when he plays 14 or more games: 105 receptions in 2013, 92 in 2014 (14 games), and 98 in 2016.  In 2015, when limited to only 9 contests, Edelman was on pace for his best numbers yet, as a full 16 would have yielded 108 catches, 1230 yards, and a whopping 12 TDs — bonafide WR1 numbers.  Regardless of the situation, Edelman will always be a reliable source of PPR points.

Still, Edelman’s 2016 was hurt by the early quarterback carousel, and he was particularly lost in the red zone with the monstrous Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett hulking over him.  Both tight ends are expected back, but, unfortunately, Gronk’s health is far from a guarantee. If the ultimate seam stretcher is limited for part of 2017, Edelman’s value would soar: he ranked fourth in WR points once Gronk exited thanks to a tsunami of targets (17, 11, 12, 15, 12, 8, 13 regular season, 13 and 10 in the playoffs). Clearly, monitoring 87’s recovery from back surgery is crucial, as Edelman goes from dependable but unsexy WR2 to a quality WR1 in his absence. He’s ranked in the middle ground right now.

14. Brandin Cooks (NO) 

While inconsistent, Cooks scored double digits in more contests than either Amari Cooper or Doug Baldwin, topping both in fantasy points and finishing in the top-12 WRs for the second straight year.  So why is he ranked below either?

Quite simply, Michael Thomas  Whereas the two wideouts alternated between 1A and 1B throughout 2016, I believe Thomas will emerge as the true alpha in 2017. Indeed, Drew Brees’ second option will carry serious fantasy weight, as the Saints should absolutely remain among the most explosive aerial attacks in the NFL.  And yes, Cooks is among only a handful of guys can rip a screen 99 yards through the entire defense. He’ll still net a few 30 points weeks in 2017 for sure.  Still, those disappearing acts are likely to go up, making Cooks a far more attractive WR2 than WR1.

Tier 3.5 

Slightly less sexy and / or more risky, the following guys belong in the 4th – 5th round conversation, despite having ceilings that rival those above.

15. DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)

Hideous. Disgusting. Puke-worthy. None of these adjectives accurately capture the horror of Hopkins’ Osweiler-infected 2016. Frequently drafted among the top four wideouts, Hopkins was a very worth candidate for Bust of the Year. To quote:

 After a dominant 2015 in which Hopkins was welcomed into the fantasy elite, his pitiful 2016 was a steel-toed kick to the balls.  Despite common belief that Brock Osweiler would help his game reach new heights, Hopkins regressed mightily in all categories: 78 catches, 954 yards, and 4 TDs, down from 111 catches – 1,521 yards – 11 TDs the year prior despite “escaping” the Carousel of Crap Quarterbacks. Infuriatingly, Hopkins continued making his circus reel toe tapping, finger tip reeling grabs, but only about three for 50 yards a game.  He was simply sucked into the gaping black Oswelierian hole, and dragged fantasy hopes and dreams with him.  After being selected as the 5th overall player and WR4, his 37th positional rank was undoubtedly season-ruining.

Ridding himself of his horrible case of Osweiler will be necessary for Hopkins to maintain this top-15 ranking; he’d plummet like an anchor down to the 28-30 range. But really, Osweiler might be the only quarterback that can hold down such a supreme talent. The hands, body control, deceptive speed — all of it was full on display in 2016.  Hopkins simply needs someone that can deliver the mail even half-competently, as a ball within 10 yards of him is getting snagged up.  This ranking assumes this half-competent arm is secured, and Hopkins rebounds majorly.

16. Tyreek Hill (KC)

Think this is crazy? Hill actually topped this ranking during his emphatic rookie debut, scoring the 14th most WR points in half PPR formats.  This is insane, given the team barely used him until Week 7… from which point he was the 6th highest scoring WR.  While not a true WR necessarily, Hill is an absolute freak athlete, and Andy Reid is the king of scheming up creative ways to get his guys in space.

Sure, the league will have a year of tape. And yes, oftentimes gadget players bust (hello, Cordarrelle). Hill will be the exception. No one will be more exciting to draft in 2017, and the “way too early” ranking lists that have him around WR30 (hello, ESPN and Untalented Mr. Baldfuck) are dead wrong.

17. Allen Robinson (JAC)

See Hopkins, DeAndre.  Insert Blake Bortles and new quote:

Following his massive sophomore breakout (80 catches, 1,400 yards, 14 TDs), Robinson was widely drafted as a top-five WR and within the top-15 picks of drafts.  Surely, these woeful investors were expecting more than a paltry 68 catches, 883 yards, and 6 TDs (maybe half of expectations).  Particularly frustrating, the volume for consistency was there: 8th most targets in the league.  But any owner who saw pass after pass sail over his head, or repeated misfires on jump balls, knows Robinson hauled in less than half of these attempts. Ultimately, this floundering effort yielded the 31st most fantasy points on the year — the ballyhooed Pierre Garcon and his #172 overall price tag would’ve netted more points. Unless you drafted quality depth and hopped off the Robinson train early enough, Robinson was a mistake that was near-impossible to bounce back from.

So… why’s he in 2017’s top-20? Well, because he’s still huge. And he can still leap. And Bortles is still salvageable (I think?). There’s a real chance Robinson flops again, in which case he can be written off. But there’s a real chance he bounces back and has the season we were all imagining. Assuming the price is right, I’d be willing to take a stab.

18. Alshon Jeffery (FA)

Alshon’s tough to rank without knowing his landing spot, so we won’t spill too much ink here. Just know, despite a busty 2016, Alshon has the size, speed, and absurd hands to be an absolute terror and bonafide WR1.  If he lands with the right QB (Hi, Tom Brady), Alshon has the potential to vault into the top-10.  He’s easily 2017’s sexiest free agent to track for fantasy purposes.

19. Keenan Allen (LAC) 

Keenan, I just can’t quit you.  Even though he didn’t last a full game, Keenan was back to his chain-moving, target-hogging ways to open 2016.  As has become the norm, Allen suffered an ACL tear shortly after the first half, and yet another season became “what could’ve been.”  Monitoring his recovery will be important, yet Allen always seems to enter camp in the best shape yet; I’ll certainly fall head over heels once Philip Rivers raves about how amazing his star wideout looks. The math is simple: you’ll receive WR1 numbers for as many games as Allen lasts.  This may be two, or it may be a full season.

20. Sammy Watkins (BUF)

God, I was so disgustingly high on Watkins entering 2016, labeling him “The Next DeAndre Hopkins” and breakout WR of the year.  Turns out his foot surgery was far more of a hinderance than I originally believed.  Nonetheless, Watkins is one year removed from ranking 7th in Fantasy PPG in 2015, including his torrid nine game finish that paced him at 86 catches, 1,600 yards, and 16 TDs.  The talent is still there.

Unfortunately, Tyrod Taylor, the quarterback whom which Watkins accomplished this all with, is expected out. Nonetheless, new OC Rick Dennison is expected to emphasize the zone running game to set up play action deep balls and run after the catch opportunities, all of which could greatly benefit Watkins… but he’ll need a QB that can get him the ball and a clean bill of health before any of that matters.

This covers the upside guys, but plenty more options exist to round out your WR2 and WR3 slots. Check in again next week for a full list of these prospects.

4 Comments

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