In this edition of The Fire Sale, Thomas Casale looks at a few receivers that are undervalued heading into summer based on early average draft positions.
A lot has happened since last we spoke. I became a father to my second son, I’m another year closer to death and the NFL Draft was completed.
Before we kick off another great fantasy season, I wanted to say that I’ve been extremely lucky to have an opportunity to write about fantasy football over the last 16 years and build a decent following.
Thank you to those who have followed me in the past and if this is your first time reading the Fire Sale, thanks for giving it a shot.
Until training camp starts, I’ll be focusing mainly on average draft position (ADP). Over the next two months I’ll take a look at different positions and see which players are undervalued or overvalued.
I start with wide receiver. It’s still very early and these draft positions will likely change but these are a few receivers I see as being undervalued as we kick off the summer. Keep in mind the ADPs are based on a 12-team league that uses a PPR scoring system.
You can follow me on Twitter @ThePigskinGuy
Now on with The Fire Sale…
Jarvis Landry, Miami (Round 5) – Landry is a flat-out stud. I thought that all of last year, even when the Dolphins were reluctant to get him involved in the offense during the first month of the season.
Landry finished his rookie year with 84 receptions, 758 yards and five touchdowns. Miami did trade for WR Kenny Stills, signed TE Jordan Cameron and drafted WR DeVante Parker, so Ryan Tannehill now has more weapons at his disposal. Landry is still a flat-out stud. That hasn’t changed.
One thing that hurts fantasy owners is when they get scared off a stud because of other players around him. Landry is going to catch a ton of balls, regardless of who else is on the field. He’s a great route-runner and Tannehill now has a comfort level throwing to Landry on underneath routes.
People can run all the numbers they want and look into analytics, but there’s a reason why certain receivers who play with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning catch a ton of passes. It’s because those quarterbacks trust certain receivers to always be in the right spot and are constantly looking their way. It’s that simple. There’s no magic formula to uncover. It’s basic football.
Landry will be that kind of dependable receiver for Tannehill. You’ll hear a lot of talk about Landry’s numbers going down this year because of the other weapons Miami brought in. You’ll hear all the hype surrounding Parker in training camp driving up his ADP.
Don’t buy it. Landry will catch 90 balls for fun and improve his numbers across the board in 2015. He’s highway robbery in the fifth round.
Allen Robinson, WR Jacksonville (Round 10) – Jacksonville has traditionally been a fantasy wasteland for offensive players, but if Blake Bortles can get three consecutive seconds to throw the football this season, that could finally change.
Bortles wasn’t ready to lead an NFL offense coming out of Central Florida, so when you add probably the worst offensive line in the NFL to the mix, it’s no surprise he struggled as a rookie. Now that Bortles has a year under his belt, hopefully he’ll improve. He has the physical skills and weapons around him to do so.
A lot is being made of the Julius Thomas signing in the offseason, but the Jaguars also have three talented young receivers. Robinson, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns give Jacksonville a sneaky good receiving corps.
Robinson is the best of the bunch and a future star. In 10 games last year, Robinson caught 48 passes for 548 yards and two scores. He had six games where he caught at least six balls and Robinson saw at least 10 targets in four of the 10 games he played as a rookie.
Robinson is 6’2″ but as he showed in college, he plays much bigger. Robinson has long arms and a knack for going up and out-fighting defensive backs for the football.
Robinson only scored twice last year but that’s more a result of Bortles’ inaccuracy. His 81 targets in 10 games shows that Bortles looked Robinson’s way often when he was healthy.
Assuming Robinson stays healthy and Bortles shows slight improvement this season, 70+ catches and 6-8 scores are reasonable expectations for the talented receiver. Robinson is a guy I’m targeting in all of my leagues this year. I hate to put too much faith in a Jaguars player but Robinson is an emerging stud.
Phillip Dorsett, Indianapolis (Round 13) – I had Dorsett rated as one of the top offensive players in this year’s draft. Here’s a little of what I wrote about Dorsett in my pre-draft Fire Sale:
Dorsett just touched the surface in college. He’s going to be a much better pro because an offensive coordinator is going to get a hold of Dorsett and turn him loose. He’s been compared to T.Y. Hilton. That’s a pretty good comparison but I think Dorsett may actually be a bit more explosive.
I’m telling you right now, Dorsett was the most underutilized player in college football the last two years. He’ll go at the end of Round 1 or early Round 2 and the team that gets him will have an instant star. Remember that for your fantasy team this year.
If you read my entire write-up, it goes more in depth about how Miami head coach Al Golden is one of the worst coaches in college sports. The guy has no idea how to utilize his talent and Dorsett suffered because of it.
Some were surprised when the Colts took Dorsett. Why? I’m never surprised when a team picking at the end of the first round takes a talented player like Dorsett. Sure, the Colts need help on defense but it doesn’t make sense to pass up on a player they may have ranked as a top 10 talent to select the third best corner instead.
Dorsett is going to make an immediate impact in the Colts offense. I know some people are high on Donte Moncrief. I liked Moncrief coming out of college last year. I’ve studied both receivers a lot in college and I’m telling you, Dorsett is the better player. Both receivers will be good playing with Andrew Luck but Dorsett is going to have the better fantasy season. Mark it down.
Sometimes a talented player just walks into a perfect situation. That’s the case with Dorsett. I loved him before the draft and I love him even more that he’s on the Colts. He’s a steal in Round 13.
Devin Funchess, Carolina (Round 16) – I wanted to mention Funchess because no player in the country had to adjust to more poorly thrown passes over the last two seasons than he did at Michigan.
Brady Joke was an awful coach. How can Michigan not have a quarterback? I know Devin Gardner was highly recruited, but still, it’s unacceptable that Michigan had such terrible quarterback play. Watch how long it takes Jim Harbaugh to get a quarterback. About 10 minutes.
Funchess will dominate in the NFL…at some point. Unfortunately for him, he has to deal with another awful coach in offensive coordinator Mike Shula. As I predicted two years ago, Shula came to Carolina and ruined the Panthers offense. That keeps Shula’s perfect record intact. Shula has destroyed every offense he’s ever touched.
Funchess will be a factor as a rookie. He may not be an every-week starter in Shula’s three-yard and a cloud of dust passing game but if you play in a dynasty league, Funchess is a player to target. He’s a mismatch nightmare for NFL defenses.
Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin will be such a talented receiving duo that even Shula shouldn’t even be able to hold them back forever. It’s only a matter of time before Funchess becomes a fantasy stud.