Fantasy Football Today - fantasy football rankings, cheatsheets, and information
A Fantasy Football Community!

Create An Account  |  Advertise  |  Contact      

Staff Writer
Email Doug

Doug's Articles

Overvalued/Undervalued - WRs

Each year, the road to a fantasy championship begins with a draft that has each team believing they will be THE team and ends with one team that made enough good draft picks along with several savvy free agent/waiver wire pickups and a number of teams that did not. As many draftniks have stated about the real draft, I wholeheartedly agree that while a team does not win a league with their first-round selection, they sure can lose their league if they blow it. Similarly, I believe that teams – real and fantasy – win with what they do in the later rounds. It is with that in mind that we present a position-by-position overview at some of the “value” that exists in the fantasy marketplace as we kick off the preseason.

This article is going to list three overvalued and undervalued WRs based off of their average draft position (ADP) data from Antsports. The ADP’s in this piece are based off drafts conducted in 12-team leagues that start two WRs.


Lee Evans, Buffalo
Average Draft Position: 4:06

Lee EvansThe schedule sets up real nicely for Evans to do what he usually does, finish out well. However, in this case, that is not necessarily the best thing unless his owners can live with their #1 WR giving them all of his production in the last four games of the fantasy season. When I review Evans’ numbers from last season and how he got them, I see a long TD against Chicago in garbage time to avoid a shutout in a 40-7 game, a 265-yard, 2-TD game against a pathetic Texans’ pass defense and a 145-yard, 1-TD effort against a Ravens team that had little to play for in Week 17. Did Evans have a breakout year? He sure did. Now, let me present the reasons why he will not match his current draft slot…

Evans will be a trendy pick based off his second-half performance from last season. But looking at the first three-quarters of the schedule this season, he will likely have to do battle against many of the league’s top corners. Among the corners he will face: Champ Bailey, Rashean Mathis, Chris McAllister, Terrence Newman, and Asante Samuel (twice) not to mention Ike Taylor and Deltha O’Neal, two players who will likely play much better than they did last season. For those of you that didn’t keep count, that is eight matchups in the first 11 games that are far from easy…in fact, that is about as tough as it gets. And while QB JP Losman seemed to improve by leaps and bounds in the second half of the season, he did not exactly face a series of great pass defenses down the stretch either. Much like Evans, Losman figures to be a great second-half player this season. But as we already know, it doesn’t do an owner much good to have great numbers from players when your fantasy team is already out of the playoff race. WRs like Hines Ward, Reggie Brown and Santana Moss are all going a full round after Evans – all receivers that have easier slates in which to do their damage.

Plaxico Burress, NY Giants
Average Draft Position: 5:01

Burress has a lot of the physical traits I would use if I were to build the perfect WR, but none of the mental or intangible ones. For all the negative publicity that Randy Moss gets for just running the “go” route, his effectiveness isn’t limited to just that as he commands a double team almost every play and typically is able to “go get the ball”. Burress, on the other hand, sometimes can be guarded with just one player and all too often is outworked for the jump ball – a play that should be his forte.

Those are not the only reasons I am down on Burress though. Amani Toomer returns from injury and will likely steal a score or two from the 10 that Burress had in 2006. Steve Smith and Sinorice Moss (assuming he stays healthy) will likely steal yards. I’m also not a big fan of the 2007 version of the New York offensive line and their prospect for keeping QB Eli Manning upright. I like what LT Luke Petitgout brought to the Giants and think his presence will be beneficial to jump-starting the Bucs’ offense this fall – but that isn’t going to help the G-men. David Diehl steps in and I will be surprised if he can – in his first real action at LT – perform to the standard that Petitgout set.

Lastly, with the lack of trust on the left side of the line and much criticism being leveled at QB Eli Manning’s accuracy, expect the short passing game to be in vogue, a concept that has never been a strength of Burress’. While the receiving corps will be more talented than it has been in years, I feel the talent – in this case – will rob Burress of his low-end #1 numbers instead of help them. He’s not going to fall off the chart completely though, but enough to knock him out of the conversation for #1 fantasy WR consideration in 12-team leagues. Burress was actually pretty consistent down the stretch last season, but over his career, has been just a bit too much hit-or-miss for my taste. He is going a half-to-a-full round before WRs like former Steeler teammate Hines Ward, Deion Branch and Santana Moss – all players I would rank slightly ahead of Burress.

Darrell Jackson, San Francisco
Average Draft Position: 7:01

As noted in my previous series, "Offseason Movement", I thought the acquisition of Jackson for a fourth-round pick was a steal...I still do. However, after further research, I have done made a 180-degree turn since that time in regards to his fantasy stock. Owners who make a similar investment (fourth-round pick) in their fantasy draft expecting his numbers will carry over from Seattle will be in for a rude awakening.

Why the about-face? He leaves a situation in Seattle where he was option #1 in an passing offense that likes to throw with a proven QB and play-caller along with a RB who did not steal a lot of catches from him out of the backfield. In San Francisco, he has none of those characteristics going for him.

First, TE Vernon Davis is likely to get as much attention from QB Alex Smith, who is certainly no Matt Hasselbeck at this point. New OC Jim Hostler, who is keeping Norv Turner's offense and terminology intact, is a first-time play-caller, far from what Mike Holmgren is in Seattle. Lastly, Frank Gore will probably haul in 50-60 balls again this season, roughly 40 more than Shaun Alexander does. Factor in all that with his early battle with turf toe and it should shape up to be a down year for a WR who has been consistently undervalued most of his career. Currently, he is going in the seventh round – a round or two ahead of Jerricho Cotchery, Greg Jennings and Santonio Holmes - three WRs I feel will put up similar numbers.


Reggie Brown, Philadelphia
Average Draft Position: 5:06

Talk about a tale of two halves: In the first half of the 2006 season, Brown hooked up with QB Donovan McNabb 26 times for 502 yards and five TDs – including two 100-yard days - and was on pace for just over 1000 yards and 10 scores, numbers that would have slotted him as the #11 fantasy WR, just ahead of Burress. After the Week 9 bye week (which included McNabb's knee injury in Week 11), however, Brown saw three or fewer catches in five of the games. While he still caught three TDs in the second half, he posted three games with 27 or fewer yards receiving despite being targeted more than his partner-in-crime Donte Stallworth down the stretch.

So, what makes Brown's stock valuable? Stallworth departed for New England, LJ Smith is an unknown quantity given his recovery from a sport hernia and free agent signee Kevin Curtis is new to the offense. And yes, McNabb returns. Brown enters his third season (and while I don't necessarily buy into the "third-year WR breakout theory"), it makes a fair amount of sense that Brown - who is the best combination of experience and talent amongst the Eagles receivers - would benefit from a QB that trusts him in an offense that will still throw quite a bit more than it will run, even though HC Andy Reid is no longer calling the plays. Value-wise, until Lee Evans can become a 16-game WR instead of just a second-half WR, I would feel better about Brown’s consistency (even in a spread-the-wealth offense like the Eagles) than Evans, someone who is getting selected a full round ahead of Brown.

Santana Moss, Washington
Average Draft Position: 6:03

Moss is what some people in the business like to call “an every-other-year” type of receiver. In 2003 and 2005, he went well over 1000 yards receiving both times and hauled in 19 TD receptions. In 2004 and 2006, he was held well under 1000 yards in each season and caught a combined 11 scoring passes. However, just because there is a pattern developing doesn’t mean there is a noteworthy trend…yet. So let’s review some more concrete evidence.

Mark Brunell helped bring Santana Moss back to prominence in 2005, but teams started game-planning for Brunell and the short-passing game knowing that the lefty did not possess the deep ball he once had. Outside of a 3-TD game against the Jaguars, Moss was invisible (much like all the players in the Redskins passing game). However, replacing Brunell with Jason Campbell seemed to boost the passing game as Moss was thrown to 46 times over the last six weeks of the season (he caught 24) as opposed to the 56 targets he saw in his first eight games (he caught 31). It did not represent a significant change in Moss’ numbers, however, he became more consistent in the scoring department while Chris Cooley and Antwan Randle El also picked up their numbers as well once Campbell started taking snaps.

While too many weapons in an offense can sometimes drag a top receiver’s total numbers down, most players need at least one secondary player that strikes fear into the heart of a defense. Cooley is emerging as that “secondary threat”. Campbell has enough mobility to buy time in the pocket and a strong enough arm to hit Moss deep, two things Brunell lacked the ability to do last season. And lastly, the running game will take most of the defense’s attention, likely freeing up Moss at least once or twice a game to make the big play he has made so many times in his career. A player with a few more question marks like Burress should not be going a round before Moss, who has shown he can be a #1 fantasy WR when he is in a situation that utilizes his play-making talents.

Santonio Holmes, Pittsburgh
Average Draft Position: 9:03

Anyone who has already read my previous overvalued/undervalued article on the QB position should have seen this one coming. Pittsburgh is going to field two fantasy-starter caliber WRs. The Steelers’ most recent depth chart shows Cedrick Wilson ahead of Holmes, but don’t be alarmed. It is only a matter of time. While I will not discount the possibility of a “sophomore slump”, I do believe that he can’t help but produce more stat lines like he did in December when he was handed the starting job, catching 16 passes for 320 yards and a TD. While that pace may not be sustainable yet for him (64 receptions, 1280 yards, 4 TDs, 20 yds/catch average), there is definitely something to be said about a rookie that can average 17 yds/catch on 49 catches. The preseason has already shown us OC Bruce Arians will take deep shots on a fairly regular basis.

So, let’s be critical and say the offense will stay run-heavy even though Arians and former OC Ken Whisenhunt’s track records are totally different. It is hard to suggest that Holmes’ late-season numbers last year was a result of a pass-heavy offense. Arians will have the Steelers throw the ball more than they ever would have under Cowher. If he plays/starts all 16 games this season, it will be hard to keep Holmes under 70 catches. At 15 yards/catch, that figures to be 1,050 yards. Even if he modestly improves his TD total to six, that makes him an awfully good bargain for a player that is currently the 36th WR taken off the board in the ninth round, a round or two after players like Mark Clayton, who will be hard-pressed to match those numbers in Baltimore’s offense.