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Fantasy Football draft prep: The biggest questions and the state of the wide receiver position for 2021

We’re previewing large receivers this week at CBS Fantasy — identical to we did running backs last week — and there is clearly an terrible lot to know in regards to the deepest place within the recreation. Dave Richard’s updated wide receiver tiers and strategies piece can be found here, and Jamey Eisenberg, Heath Cummings and myself can have WR-centric content material for you all week to be sure you’re outfitted with all the pieces you might want to deal with the place.

We virtually needed to re-rank the highest finish of the place this weekend, as Justin Jefferson left follow Friday with a shoulder harm that originally regarded fairly severe. Nevertheless, it seems he simply has an AC joint sprain and, whereas he’ll miss a while throughout coaching camp and the preseason recovering, the injury is more of a day-to-day situation, so he must be effective for Week 1. Phew.

This, after all, highlights the chance of drafting early. I’ve already drafted a variety of groups up to now — together with the FLEX League .5PPR league on Saturday with different trade analysts, which I will be writing about later this week — and the very last thing you need to see is a major harm. We dodged one this time, nevertheless it’s only a reality of life that, sooner or later, accidents will affect the panorama. We’ll be proper right here to be sure you’re updated on all of them. 

By the best way, final week I discussed the Fantasy Football Right this moment Draft-A-Thon that will likely be going down Sept. 1 on CBS Sports HQ and the Fantasy Football Today YouTube channel, and this is one other reminder of what we’re doing. That will likely be an all-day occasion the place the FFT and a few of our greatest buddies from the Fantasy world and past will likely be speaking Fantasy drafts all day lengthy. We’ll be performing some drafts of our personal, we’ll be answering your questions, and we’ll be doing every kind of enjoyable stuff all through the day — and all for a really particular trigger. 

We’re partnering with St. Jude Kids’s Hospital but once more for the occasion, serving to to lift cash for a company all of us care deeply about. How are you going to assist? Nicely, we’re auctioning off particular experiences all month lengthy, together with pre-draft zoom calls with Jamey, Dave, Heath, and myself to get some personalised time with our specialists — if you wish to chat with me, you can make a donation here! And, in tomorrow’s e-newsletter, I am going to present you how one can lock in a spot in a Scott Fish Bowl league for the 2022 season with us. 

Keep in mind, it is all for an awesome trigger, so in the event you may give, we might prefer to make it value your whereas. In case you have any further ideas on personalised experiences from the FFT workforce you would be excited by as a part of the Draft-A-Thon, electronic mail us at FantasyFootball@CBSi.com

And, as at all times, in the event you’ve bought any questions on your draft prep or anything, hit me up at Chris.Towers@CBSi.com. And now, this is your intro to the WR place and my ideas on among the greatest questions heading into drafts:

State of the WR place

Huge receiver has by no means been deeper. We do not see as many big goal totals as we used to — Stefon Diggs‘ 166 targets have been the bottom for a league chief within the final 10 seasons — however the rise of increasingly unfold offenses means there are doubtlessly extra viable Fantasy large receivers than prior to now. How ought to that change the way you method the place? 

In 2020, 60 large receivers averaged at the very least 10 Fantasy factors per recreation, in comparison with solely 45 who did that in 2011. And, whenever you examine large receivers to the remainder of the place, there actually is not any comparability; simply 37 working backs averaged double-digits in PPR factors, and solely 13 tight ends. You may don’t have any drawback discovering somebody who can rating 10 factors in any given week on waivers. 

So, meaning you may wait on large receivers, proper? Nicely, that is one method you may take, attempting to load up on distinction makers within the deeper positions. That is how Dave Richard suggests approaching it in his position tiers, and it is a legitimate method. It is one I took selecting from the No. 3 spot in our recent pick-by-pick series, ending up with Tyler Lockett, Diontae Johnson, Will Fuller and T.Y. Hilton as my prime 4 with Corey Davis and Gabriel Davis as my bench choices. And, I’ve gotta be sincere … I hated it.

As a result of, whereas the depth at WR appears spectacular, it additionally signifies that the place flattens out comparatively rapidly, and infrequently the distinction between a No. 2 WR and a lower-end No. 3 may not be very a lot in any respect. If another person in your league has a number of high-end WR choices, he is in all probability additionally bought fairly good No. 3 and 4 guys, as a result of these sorts simply aren’t that onerous to switch. You in all probability aren’t going to make up for a scarcity of prime stage manufacturing at WR with depth within the beginning lineup. 

Which is why that is often the best way I need to method the place. One elite working again and two high-end WR is my most popular begin, until I can get Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, or George Kittle. In some methods, my WR technique relies on how I method RB and TE, however I am not comfy simply taking part in the ready recreation right here, and also you should not be both. Do not let the depth idiot you, you continue to need distinction makers. 

WR Preview Q&A

CBS Sports activities Fantasy editor Dan Schneier goes to be placing collectively a survey each week throughout the preseason and into the season to ask some questions on regardless of the matter du jour is, and since this week is all about large receivers, that is what he is asking about this week. You possibly can take a look at the remainder of Jamey, Dave, Heath, and Adam’s ideas here, however listed below are my responses to his 5 huge questions: 

1. Which WR has an ADP that makes the least sense to you?

I perceive that the hype machine can kick into overdrive throughout coaching camp, however the best way CeeDee Lamb‘s ADP has taken off like a rocket ship simply seems like a nasty course of to me. Possibly if we have been per week away from the beginning of the season and Amari Cooper nonetheless wasn’t training you possibly can justify a choose in the midst of the third spherical for Lamb, however now we have each motive to imagine Cooper goes to be there to start out the season. And sure, I do know Lamb was on an unbelievable tempo (93-1,386-6) with Dak Prescott wholesome, however he additionally had a goal share within the 16% vary throughout that point; in the event you do not assume Prescott goes to maintain up that 6,000-yard tempo, Lamb’s numbers with him do not imply all that a lot. Lamb is a wonderful prospect in a great offense, however taking Lamb a full spherical forward of Cooper — who was the a lot better participant in 2020 — simply would not make any sense to me. 

2. Which WR (exterior the primary two rounds*) has an ADP that makes essentially the most sense to you?

I feel D.J. Moore is being valued completely. He is a rock-solid No. 2 Fantasy WR being drafted as WR19, who has confirmed he can overcome poor QB participant to be a must-start participant. And there’s sufficient upside there to make him arguably the final participant I might be comfy with as my No. 1 if I waited. He is not sufficient of a positive factor to be within the WR1 dialog, however he is higher than the Diontae Johnson/Adam Thielen sorts who go after him. This porridge is good. 

3. Which WR have you ever been drafting essentially the most of up to now?

Robert Woods. I like large receivers who can rating in a bunch of various methods, and Woods is among the most versatile on the market. He is a superb playmaker with the ball in his arms, and the Rams like to scheme stuff up for him within the speeding recreation and within the brief areas of the sphere, nonetheless, he additionally figures to be a greater deep-ball receiver with Matthew Stafford below heart. I often snag him as my No. 2 WR, however he is a top-12 man for me. 

4. Which WR have you ever been drafting the least of up to now?

In addition to Lamb, you imply? I am going to say it is Thielen, who looks as if he might be on the verge of falling off the cliff right here. He turns 31 in a number of weeks and has seen a major dip in his manufacturing, going from 85.8 yards per recreation in 2018 to 41.8 in 2019 and simply 61.7 in his bounce again 2020. You may not have observed as a result of he scored 14 touchdowns, however that is a tempo he positively will not have the ability to maintain, and he is now clearly the No. 2 WR on his personal (low-volume) workforce. I would not be shocked if Thielen would not break 900 yards this season, and I am unable to go into the season with him as my WR2. 

5. Which WR do you’ve the largest goal/quantity considerations about

In addition to Thielen? I am going to go along with Diontae Johnson as an extension of my considerations in regards to the Steelers‘ offense. Johnson must both stay the No. 1 goal on this offense or he must turn out to be extra environment friendly with the targets he does get to be a must-start Fantasy WR, and neither is assured. I am undecided he is a markedly higher participant than Chase Claypool or JuJu Smith-Schuster, and the re-worked Steelers offense may have some rising pains as Ben Roethlisberger will get acclimated to taking part in below heart extra usually. These brief, fast targets Johnson lived off final season will not be there in as plentiful numbers if Roethlisberger is not within the shotgun full time. 

Accidents, Information and Notes

QB

  • Dak Prescott did “mild throwing’ Saturday — That is the primary time because the harm Prescott has been in a position to throw, and it represents some promising progress in his restoration. Prescott was shut down and can proceed to be introduced alongside slowly, however at this level the workforce has maintained they anticipate him to be prepared for the beginning of the common season. It isn’t clear when he’ll return to follow, however I’d wager in opposition to him taking part in within the preseason at this level. 
  • Joe Burrow won’t play within the preseason opener — No determination has been made as as to whether the second-year QB will play within the different two preseason video games as he continues to work his manner again from a torn ACL. Barring an aggravation of the harm, Burrow will likely be in for Week 1 in opposition to the Vikings, however on condition that there have been some fairly discouraging reviews about Burrow’s play in follow up to now, so we would not thoughts getting an opportunity to see him in actual motion earlier than now we have to decide about how a lot we need to put money into him. 
  • Matthew Stafford will not play within the preseason — Fairly normal working process for Sean McVay’s groups within the preseason, frankly. He simply would not see a lot motive to place his starters vulnerable to harm within the preseason, so we cannot get our first take a look at how the offense appears with a brand new QB till Week 1 in opposition to the Bears
  • Lamar Jackson (COVID-19) returned to follow — Jackson had been out because the begin of camp following a optimistic take a look at, however he’ll nonetheless get a full month to prep earlier than the season begins. No worries right here. 
  • The 49ers wish to use Trey Lance “situationally” — Kyle Shanahan has been constant in saying that Lance would not actually have an opportunity to earn the beginning job, regardless of how spectacular Lance has been in follow, and he reiterated that Sunday, telling MMQB’s Albert Breer, “I might be very shocked if he did with the best way [Jimmy Garoppolo] is taking part in. It’d put lots on a child to do this. He is doing all the pieces he can. I am very impressed with him up to now, however I might be very shocked if that occurred.” Nonetheless, Lance can have a job within the offense, as they’re putting in a package deal of performs for him and have put him in with the first-team offense for these performs often. I nonetheless assume there’s an opportunity Lance finally ends up the starter early on within the season if Garoppolo stumbles, nevertheless it additionally would not shock me if it ended up being an Alex Smith/Patrick Mahomes scenario, the place the veteran is nice sufficient to maintain the workforce in competition and the rookie takes over subsequent season. 

RB

  • Saquon Barkley (knee) will follow Monday — Barkley was activated from the PUP checklist and is anticipated to follow for the primary time, although it is not clear if he will likely be a full participant simply but. There was an terrible lot of uncertainty round Barkley’s potential availability for Week 1 — neither he nor the workforce has been prepared to decide to him being out there  — however that is clearly an awesome signal. Barkley has been principally restricted to particular person work up to now in camp, but when he begins working in 11-on-11s quickly, that will be a great indicator that he’s going to be prepared. Arrow is pointing again up, however my desire would nonetheless be the wait till the second spherical if doable. 
  • Gus Edwards was faraway from the COVID-19 IL — Edwards had been out because the begin of coaching camp, however I am unable to think about that is going to price him a lot by way of his function. The Ravens signed him to an extension this offseason and he figures to proceed to see 8-10 carries per week because the third wheel within the Jackson-J.K. Dobbins-led speeding recreation. 
  • The Falcons signed D’Onta Foreman — A mid-training camp signing often would not make a lot of an affect, and there is not any assure Foreman even makes the Falcons roster. Nevertheless, it is a considerably fascinating signing, as a result of Foreman is simply a working again; he is not going to be a third-down possibility or play on particular groups, so if he will have a job, it will likely be as a rusher. Mike Davis is the presumed starter for the Falcons, but when he falters, possibly Foreman can step in. Foreman hasn’t accomplished a lot since being a third-round choose in 2017, however he did look first rate in a restricted function for the Titans in 2020, speeding for 95 yards on 22 carries, however he would not have a lot Fantasy attraction at this level. Javian Hawkins remains to be my most popular late-round goal from this offense.  

WR

  • Curtis Samuel (groin/COVID-19) has no timetable to return to follow — Coach Ron Rivera would not make it sound as if there’s a lot of a problem with Samuel lacking this time since he’s aware of the playbook from their time collectively in Carolina, however seeing as he is been out since OTAs with the groin harm, it is onerous not to be involved at this level. I feel Samuel will be a superb do-it-all possibility for the Washington Soccer Staff, however I might prefer to see him at a full-go effectively earlier than Week 1 to really feel assured in it. Rivera indicated it is no assure that Samuel will have the ability to play within the preseason. 
  • D.J. Chark had surgical procedure for a damaged finger — Chark is anticipated to be prepared for Week 1 based on coach City Meyer, however we do not know way more a few potential timetable exterior of that. Chark might be the No. 1 WR for Trevor Lawrence, however my expectation is there’s a fairly even cut up between he, Laviska Shenault, and Marvin Jones for targets. Chark lacking important time in coaching camp and the preseason would not make me really feel any higher about him. He is not in my top-36 WR, regardless of an ADP as WR31. 
  • Marquez Callaway anticipated to switch Michael Thomas? — With Thomas recovering from an ankle harm and Tre’Quan Smith coping with a leg harm, Callaway has been the highest possibility within the passing recreation lately and is drawing very optimistic reviews from camp. Per NOLA.com, Callaway has been the “breakout star” of camp and is taking part in a component within the workforce reportedly believing they will be effective with out Thomas. Add Callaway to your sleeper checklist, for positive. 
  • Marquise Brown (hamstring) has been cleared for conditioning — Brown hasn’t been cleared to return from the harm but, however it is a good signal that he’s making progress. He has loads of breakout potential if he can emerge from camp as the highest possibility within the passing recreation, however he is extra of a WR4 with upside even when wholesome. 
  • Denzel Mims‘ roster spot could be in jeopardy — Mims has principally been working with the second-team offense since OTAs, and ESPN’s Wealthy Cimini notes he’s sixth or seventh within the WR hierarchy proper now. Mims is a giant, quick receiver who could not match into what the Jets are searching for from their receivers, and he struggled to determine himself as a rookie whereas coping with accidents. It looks as if Mims might have a commerce to have any Fantasy relevance for 2021. 
  • Michael Gallup won’t get a contract extension — That is not essentially a shock, given how a lot they’re paying Amari Cooper together with Lamb’s emergence. Nonetheless, Gallup might be in line for a giant payday subsequent offseason with a great season, and he has fairly a little bit of upside as a WR4. 
  • James Washington has reportedly asked for a trade — Washington finds himself No. 4 on the depth chart, and the previous second-rounder is reportedly hoping to discover a new residence heading right into a contract season. Washington has proven some upside as a big-play man and would definitely have some Fantasy attraction if he landed in the proper area. In Pittsburgh, he successfully has none. 
  • Nico Collins is seeing first-team reps — Collins labored his manner into the third spherical regardless of considerably underwhelming faculty manufacturing, as a result of he is a giant, quick receiver with a knack for making huge performs. And, given the Texans‘ lack of expertise on offense, he has an opportunity to emerge because the No. 2 WR and be a Fantasy sleeper, so think about him as a doable last-round choose. 
  • Bryan Edwards has been training with the primary workforce offense — Edwards ended up making virtually no affect as a rookie, however keep in mind, he was the starter for the Raiders in Week 1 earlier than accidents derailed his season. He continues to impress in camp and it looks as if he will be on the market for the primary snap in Week 1 once more. The query is whether or not the South Carolina product can flip his follow efficiency into precise manufacturing. He is an intriguing late-round sleeper, although I’d moderately have Henry Ruggs if I am speculating on the Raiders passing recreation late. 

TE

  • Darren Waller has missed 5 straight practices — After all, if one thing’s up with Waller, that might change the outlook for the complete offense fairly considerably. It isn’t clear what Waller has been out or when he would possibly return, however I have not seen any motive to assume that is one thing to be too involved about. We’ll monitor and maintain a watch for particulars, however proper now, it would not look like a lot. 
  • Hunter Henry left follow Sunday with a shoulder harm — At this level, the harm is not thought-about severe, however he’s set to bear an MRI Monday to find out the complete extent. Based on ESPN, Henry may miss time within the preseason because of the harm, although we’ll clearly know extra as soon as we all know in regards to the MRI outcomes. Henry is a low-end TE1 for me — forward of Jonnu Smith, really — but when he misses time, that might push Smith into the mid-range TE1 dialogue for so long as Henry is sidelined. 
  • Pat Freiermuth has been seeing first-team reps recently — The second-round choose has drawn very optimistic reviews from Steelers camp and looks as if he is perhaps able to pushing Eric Ebron for taking part in time. It is unlikely he’ll be way more than a streamer at any level as a rookie, however Freiermuth appears like he will have a job this season, so regulate him. 

Okay

  • Will Lutz (groin) may miss the beginning of the season — Lutz could require surgical procedure to restore a core muscle harm, and which may carry with it at the very least an eight-week restoration time. We’re a few month away from the beginning of the common season, so we might be Lutz lacking three to 4 weeks, once more, at the very least. This might proceed to be a reasonably good offense for kicking alternatives, so whoever replaces him could find yourself being helpful in the proper matchups as a streamer. 

So which sleepers, breakouts and busts must you goal and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five efficiency? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen’s huge season, and discover out.

https://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/soccer/information/fantasy-football-draft-prep-the-biggest-questions-and-the-state-of-the-wide-receiver-position-for-2021/ | Fantasy Soccer draft prep: The largest questions and the state of the large receiver place for 2021

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