Profit margins are a fundamental backbone of success in capitalism. Fantasy, like any other business, boils down to picking players who pad the bottom line. After the top couple tiers fall off draftboards, what commodities should owners target? Listed below are the Yahoo Fantasy crew’s top profiteers in 2017, selected on average after pick No. 40 overall. Thursday’s focus: WRs.
Willie Snead, NO (56.2 ADP, WR30)
A gutty slot receiver who averaged over 12 fantasy points per game in PPR formats last year, Snead figures to see an increased role with Brandin Cooks now in New England. With over 100 targets up for grabs, and on an offense that’s averaged over 300 passing yards per game for three years straight, Snead could easily catch 80 balls in 2017. He’s a WR2 for fantasy purposes and a bargain in the seventh round of 12-team exercises. (Liz Loza)
DeVante Parker, Mia (76.1 ADP, WR36)
The Dolphins became an extremely conservative team last season during Adam Gase’s first year as coach, averaging the second-fewest pass attempts (29.8) per game. But Ryan Tannehill finished with 7.7 YPA, which was by far the highest of his career, and there’s plenty of optimism for further growth under year two with Gase. Parker is a former top-15 pick entering his third season in the league still just 24 years old. Despite playing through hamstring and back injuries for much of 2016, he got 8.5 yards-per-target (No. 32 among wide receivers) while committing just one drop. Player Profiler says his best comparable at this stage of his career is A.J. Green.
Jarvis Landry is a nice possession receiver, but his average target distance last year (6.6 yards) was nearly half that of Parker’s (12.4), revealing a lot more upside for the latter, especially given his size advantage in the red zone as well (Parker scored as many touchdowns as Landry on 43 fewer targets). Be it local beat writers or the coaching staff, there’s been nothing but praise regarding Parker this summer (normally it’s safest to take this kind of rhetoric with a grain of salt, but it’s a stark contrast to the past, when Miami coaches weren’t hesitant to criticize the WR). Parker is primed for a breakout in 2017. (Dalton Del Don)
Terrelle Pryor, Was (41.6 ADP, WR21)
Behrens and I need to make a side wager. Premium bottle? Steak dinner? Inner-thigh tattoo of Osweiler, perhaps? Pryor will be the antithesis of “fantasy bust” this year. His potential in a prolific passing offense is enormous. Recall last year he caught passes from the Cleveland Hydra of Suck (Josh McCown, Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, RGIII and Charlie Whitehurst) and still compiled WR2 numbers, an incredible feat of humanity. Now tied to competent Kirk Cousins, I believe he penetrates the WR top-10. Why? Cousins desperately needs to improve his red-zone efficiency, an area the receiver notched top-flight numbers in last fall (69.2% catch rate). Jordan Reed, Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson will vie for targets, but Pryor could match 2016’s looks total (141) with ease. Remember, jettisoned DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon accounted for 37.1 percent of Washington’s vertical workload in 2016. Everything clicks and I see a final line in range of 90-1200-9. (Brad Evans)
Adam Thielen, Min (157 ADP, WR52)
If we’re going to apply the game of “eat this, not that” to Minnesota wideouts, the takeaway is to draft Thielen, not Stefon Diggs (who should be 4-6 rounds more expensive).
As with most of the wideouts in this blog, Thielen’s breakout has to some degree already happened, it’s just a matter of if he can climb another level. Thielen and Diggs had identical catch rates last year, but Thielen made 3.2 additional yards with his receptions. Thielen also scored more touchdowns (on less catches) and is about three inches taller. His current ADP makes sense at floor only, but I don’t think the soon-to-be-27 Thielen is done ascending. The Vikings certainly believe, giving Thielen a $17 million deal ($11 million guaranteed) in March.
Minnesota’s offense was a last-second mishmash last year. Teddy Bridgewater was hurt at the end of August; Sam Bradford came in late; a coordinator change happened in the middle of the year. Give the 2017 Vikings some stability — and maybe some quality OL play — and watch them go. Thielen is one of my most-commonly drafted players in the best-ball preseason (Snead is also on that page); come along for the ride. He’s huge in North Dakota. (Scott Pianowski)
Braxton Miller, Hou (262 ADP, WR88)
Will Fuller was originally in this space as the Houston Texans receiver to consider late in drafts, but that was before he suffered a broken collarbone and is expected to miss 2-3 months. With Fuller out of the picture, Braxton Miller becomes a more intriguing late-round candidate. He played sparingly as a rookie, catching 15 balls for 99 yards and a touchdown.
Miller, who is still learning the position transition from quarterback to wideout as a senior at Ohio State, worked with legendary slot machine Wes Welker this offseason to improve footwork and technique. If Deshaun Watson wins the starting QB job, Miller will be an ideal safety blanket in short-field situations. He could end up being a poor man’s Jarvis Landry. (Yahoo Sports Staff)
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