Zero Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Targets
Ten Zero Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Targets
By this point, most RotoExperts readers are probably familiar with the concept of Zero RB drafting. Last week, I put together a list of ten Zero RB fantasy football candidates to help you in your fantasy football leagues. However, a less discussed strategy is the Zero wide receiver fantasy football approach. If we approach fantasy football with the conceit that running backs get injured and pass catchers are more plentiful, then starting your draft with stacking running backs and targeting high upside wide receivers after the first ten rounds has profit potential. RotoExperts has explored the Zero WR fantasy football strategy in the past and found that it is viable.
The important part of any strategy is, of course, picking the right players. What follows is a list of ten wide receivers who are going in the tenth round or later of fantasy football drafts that have at least WR2 upside and can provide useful weekly scores.
The Top Ten Zero Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Targets
Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars
It has become my destiny to be the fantasy football tout who cannot quit Dede Westbrook. To be fair to me, Westbrook has exceeded expectations both years of his career. The former Biletnikoff winner was a starter for the Jaguars when they made the playoffs in 2017 and lead the team in targets last year with 101 in 16 games. With Donte Moncrief out of town, there are more targets to go around. Moncrief actually lead the team in aDOT in 2018 so I would expect Westbrook to be used more often down the field to utilize his 4.44 speed. I will likely own Westbrook on all of my important seasonal fantasy football teams and I'm already heavily invested in best ball.
DJ Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars
Not one but TWO Jacksonville Jaguars make the zero wide receiver fantasy football target list. I am inordinately high on Chark and Westbrook. The Jaguars project to have a semi-functional passing offense so it does not make much intuitive sense for their two top wide receivers to be drafted outside the first ten rounds. Chark is only a year removed from being a second-round draft pick and will enter his second season at only 22 years old. He barely played as a rookie behind Moncrief, Westbrook, and Keelan Cole but he wouldn't be the first highly-drafted wide receiver to take a leap as a sophomore. None of his historical comps are great but if he grabs ahold of the second WR job in Jacksonville (which I expect), he could be the cheapest 90 targets you'll find.
Phillip Dorsett, New England Patriots
The Patriots pass-catching depth chart is something to behold. After Julian Edelman and James White (who I am not certain will see the same volume in 2019 that he had in 2018), they have a rookie, Austin Sefarin-Jenkins, Ben Watson and Phillip Dorsett. There isn't a way to project the Patriots offense without giving Dorsett a repeat of what he did last season with upside for more. Dorsett is in competition with Demaryius Thomas coming off a severe injury, Braxton Berrios and Bruce Ellington. Dorsett had a low target role last season but with the absence of Gronk and Chris Hogan, his range of outcomes is anywhere from 40 to 90 targets based on how that competition plays out. Additionally, we would expect N'Keal Harry to start the year slowly in terms of snaps and pick up as the season moves along which would maybe make Dorsett more useful at the beginning of the year and then a drop candidate towards the latter half.
Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints
Of all the wide receivers on this list, Tre'Quan Smith has the highest zero wide receiver fantasy football ceiling. The Saints expect him to step up as the second wide receiver opposite Michael Thomas though it is conceivable he ends up fourth on the team in targets behind Alvin Kamara and Jared Cook. Smith ran a 4.49 at the combine, produced as a rookie for an NFC Conference Championship team, and was a third-round draft pick. All of the big flashing symbols of a sophomore breakout are right here. Smith averaged over 15 yards per reception and 9.7 yards per target while scoring five touchdowns on only 44 targets in the regular season. I expect him to beat out Keith Kirkwood and Ted Ginn for the WR2 role in New Orleans and his current ADP doesn't account for that at all.
Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys
You may be sensing a trend here. Young wide receivers with high draft capital who played well at rookies but did not pile up massive counting stats are generally available at a discount. Michael Gallup is no different. He was a starter almost immediately for Dallas but was behind Cole Beasley in the pecking order for target distribution. Beasley is out of town now and his replacement, Randall Cobb, seems unlikely to fill in that role one to one. Gallup's catch rate was horrible as a rookie at under 50% but I'm pretty hopeful that the removal of Scott Linehan and his horribly uncreative route trees will free up both Gallup and Amari Cooper even more in 2019. Gallup is one of my favorite "last pick of the draft" type wide receivers this year.
Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins pass-catching situation was covered more in-depth in this article but the main takeaway is that the Dolphins would have to be historically bad for Stills, Parker and even Albert Wilson to not be values at their ADP. In particular, Still is a building block for my best ball teams. Still had six touchdowns and over 500 yards in 15 games last season while playing for the slowest offense in football. He should theoretically project for a similar target share in what will likely be a more fast-paced offense. Those facts alone guarantee him to be a value in the 14th round of our fantasy draft but his absurd career touchdown ratios given him an even greater ceiling.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers
Green Bay had one of their worst offensive seasons of the last 25 years last season. With Randall Cobb injured, Jimmy Graham ineffective and Aaron Rodgers playing the worst football of his career, Marquez Valdez-Scantling won the rookie WR war between him, Equanimeous Saint Brown and J'Mon Moore. MVS was third on the Packers in targets with 73 despite starting only 10 games. Cobb, Graham, and MVS were all tied with two touchdowns apiece while Davante Adams had 13. We are projecting the Packers for positive offensive regression and also projecting Valdez-Scantling as the Packers number two wide receiver. Since when has Aaron Rodgers second wide receiver had an ADP north of 130? He is another second-year wide receiver who is a great target here though I would actually place him a tier above most players on this list as he already performed well in a starting role as a rookie.
DaeSean Hamilton, Denver Broncos
Emmanuel Sanders threw a wrench into my plans for Hamilton when it became clear that he wasn't going to be cut. However, his return from an Achilles injury is still very much in doubt. He has just recently started running in cleats and is nowhere near ready for a full return. Hamilton is the best like for like replacement the Broncos have for Sanders and that was clear last year in the four games that Sanders missed. Over those four games, Hamilton had 9, 12, 9 and 8 targets which lead the team. I am projecting the Broncos as if Hamilton will be a full-time player and actually think it is likely that he out-targets sophomore cohort Courtland Sutton over 16 games. Sutton is much more expensive in drafts and actually showed less as a rookie than Hamilton did.
Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City Chiefs
Tyreek Hill is not going to play for the 2019 Kansas City Chiefs. Travis Kelce just resumed walking without a boot after offseason ankle surgery. Sammy Watkins hasn't played a 16-game season since his rookie year in Buffalo. Mecole Hardman had 60 total catches in his entire college career. Chris Conley is a Jacksonville Jaguar. Demetrius Harris a Cleveland Brown. Add ALL of that up together and you have a recipe for Demarcus Robinson as a potential fantasy starter. It is certainly not inconceivable that Robinson opens up the second as the starting wide receiver opposite Sammy Watkins. He'll likely fall behind Watkins, Kelce and Damien Williams in total targets but that doesn't mean that he won't have fantasy value playing with the best quarterback in football. One of Robinson or Hardman is going to be an absolute steal in fantasy and I don't have a problem taking the cheaper one of the two.
Trey Quinn, Washington
Like most wide receiver prospects from LSU, Trey Quinn immediately got better when he transferred out of their program. Quinn, in his lone year at SMU, posted 114 receptions for 1,236 yards and 13 touchdowns. As part of a decrepit Washington team last season, Quinn got some slight playing time towards the end of the year. With Jamison Crowder gone and Josh Doctson not even a lock to make the team, there is a real opportunity for Quinn. He will have to battle with rookies Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon for playing time but the Washington Post expects Quinn to be the primary slot wide receiver to start the year. Slot wide receivers in possession based offenses are fantasy gold mines late in drafts and Quinn has that potential.
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