In the NFL, more than any other sport, it takes a team to win. Rarely can one player make such a difference on his own. Wide receivers are no exception. While number-one receivers typically get most of the glory, secondary receivers can be legitimate fantasy contributors.
As you prepare for your draft, deciding which receivers to prioritize for your team can be a daunting task. The following receivers might be second on their team’s depth charts, but they can be studs for your fantasy team.
These are the top secondary receivers to target for your team:
(1) Martavis Bryant- Pittsburgh Steelers
Coming off of a yearlong suspension, Martavis Bryant is eager to begin his redemption tour. The young wide receiver is set to reclaim his spot alongside Antonio Brown, one of the NFL’s most dominant receivers. When on the field, Bryant has shown flashes of brilliance. He also benefits from playing for one of the NFL’s most dynamic offenses, including Brown, superstar running back Le’Veon Bell, and future Hall of Fame quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. If Bryant can stay on the field, he has the skills to sprint out of Brown’s shadows and make a name for himself this season. According to FantasyPros, Bryant’s average draft position (ADP) is 55, so he will be gone by the middle of the 5th round in any standard 12-team league. Bryant is a legitimate WR2 so don’t be too uncomfortable to snag him around the middle of the 4th.
(2) Michael Crabtree- Oakland Raiders
In his two seasons with the Raiders, Crabtree has shown that he was clearly not the problem in San Francisco. With 174 catches, over 1,900 receiving yards, and 17 touchdowns, Crabtree has proven to be a reliable target for budding superstar quarterback, Derek Carr. With Amari Cooper drawing coverage from top defensive backs, Crabtree has become a great possession receiver for the Raiders, whose offense has quickly climbed the league’s rankings. FantasyPros currently has Crabtree’s ADP at 53, with one expert going as high as 33. Crabtree will be taken by the beginning of the 5th round, but you should invest in him as a legitimate WR2 in the 4th round.
(3) Brandon Marshall- New York Giants
If everything goes according to plan, this is the year that Marshall will get to play in his first postseason game. In joining the Giants, Marshall will be surrounded by more talent than he has ever enjoyed previously in his NFL career, most notably at quarterback. Further, while some questioned his decision to play for a team where he would take a supporting role to Odell Beckham Jr., Marshall recognized an amazing opportunity. In support of OBJ, Marshall offers a reliable, sure-handed secondary option for Eli Manning, something that has arguably been lacking since Odell arrived. Marshall is exactly the kind of player Eli could have used in last season’s playoff loss to the Packers. FantasyPros has Marshall’s ADP at 68. While he’s being drafted in the 6th round in most leagues, I wouldn’t put it past a nostalgic owner to jump on him as early as the 4th. Don’t get caught up in the excitement, but feel comfortable taking him early in the 5th.
(4) DeSean Jackson- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
While Jackson is easily one of the top talents on this list, he falls to number four due to his quarterback. Jameis Winston has looked great and the presence of Jackson should only help his growth, but he just isn’t on the same level as those quarterbacks already mentioned. Nevertheless, Jackson is a secondary receiver you can count on for your fantasy team. Jackson’s speed should mesh well with the size and strength of the Bucs’ top receiver, Mike Evans, who will benefit from the help as well. Jackson’s speed will force defenses to stretch out their coverage, enabling Evans to maintain, if not improve upon, his productivity. FantasyPros has Jackson’s ADP at 90, with one expert ranking him as high as 50. Jackson’s ADP has him going around the middle of the 8th round. Take advantage of this lack of optimism and grab him as a mid-level WR2 at the end of the 6th round.
(5) Donte Moncrief- Indianapolis Colts
When you have a team that throws as much as the Colts do, reliable pass catchers are essential. Moncrief is a fantastic second option behind T.Y. Hilton, the Colts’ number-one receiver. Like DeSean Jackson, Hilton is the speedster of the group, and when he is able to force defenses to chase him around the field, Moncrief is able to find space. Unfortunately, Moncrief may be an injury risk as he is currently nursing a shoulder injury similar to one experienced last season. Regardless, if he can stay on the field, the potential is there. Much of Moncrief’s productivity will be attached to the health and productivity of quarterback Andrew Luck, who is coming off of a shoulder injury himself, and is technically still on the NFL’s PUP list. Providing Luck is healthy, and the offensive line continues to grow, expect the Colts to score a lot of points, and for Moncrief to play a large role. FantasyPros has Moncrief’s ADP at 81, meaning he will probably be taken by the end of the 7th round. Start targeting him around the end of the 5th as a mid-level WR2.
(6) Willie Snead- New Orleans Saints
Since entering the NFL with the Saints in 2015, Snead has quickly become one of Drew Brees’ favorite targets, hauling in 141 catches for 1,879 yards and seven touchdowns. These numbers, combined with the trust from Brees, has allowed Snead to settle in nicely to the wide receiver two position within the Saints offense. With the emergence of rookie Michael Thomas last season and the departure of Brandin Cooks, Snead has solidified this position. This off-season, the Saints added veteran speedster, Ted Ginn. This should not affect Snead too much as Ginn should mainly be used as a decoy to keep defenses on their toes. FantasyPros gives Snead an ADP of 86, with a high of 43. This means that by the end of the 7th round of your draft, Snead will be gone. Snead is a mid-level WR2 in great offense with a massive amount of upside. Don’t be shy to take him as early as the 5th.
(7) Taylor Gabriel- Atlanta Falcons
After two forgettable seasons with the Browns, Gabriel found a home with the Falcons last season. Despite only bringing in 35 receptions, he seemed totally untouchable with the ball in his hands. As the season went on, the Falcons seemed to recognize this and made getting Gabriel the ball in open space a priority. In the right environment, his skill-set seems to resemble Tyreek Hill’s, the Chiefs wideout who seemed to make a remarkable play each week last season. Gabriel’s continued growth, combined with playing alongside Julio Jones, arguably the best receiver in the game, should make the Falcons offense even more dangerous. At this time, FantasyPros has Gabriel’s ADP at 154, making him a 13th round flier according to experts. This is a shame. While more of a flex option to start the season, Gabriel has a ton of potential and massive upside. He could be the steal of the draft in the 10th or 11th round.
(8) Jamison Crowder- Washington
Last season, with Washington’s offense crowded with playmakers, Crowder emerged as a consistent possession receiver, capable of finding open spaces all over the field. Despite being in the shadows of household names, like Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson, Crowder was able to contribute 67 catches for 847 yards and seven touchdowns. This season, with the departures of Garçon and Jackson, Crowder will rely on the presence of new number-one receiver, Terrelle Pryor, to garner much of the attention while he slips and sneaks his way around the field. With a FantasyPros ADP of 73, and a best of 51, drafting Crowder should be high-priority once the 5th round begins.
(9) Marvin Jones- Detroit Lions
While Golden Tate is clearly the number one option on the Lions, Jones’ production last season definitely helped propel them to the playoffs. Jones was able to register 55 catches for 940 yards and four touchdowns in his first season in Detroit. Like the Colts, the Lions prefer to throw the ball. While Stafford prefers to target Tate (91 receptions last season), Jones is his preferred second option. If Tate were to miss any time this season, Jones’ value would skyrocket. With a FantasyPros ADP of 135 and high of 100, consider drafting Jones at the beginning of the 9th round with the knowledge that you are getting a solid WR3 with upside.
(10) Tyrell Williams- Los Angeles Chargers
Last season, Williams accomplished a feat not too many Chargers could: he played in all 16 games. With the absences of number-one receiver Keenan Allen (torn ACL), and free-agent Stevie Johnson, Williams emerged as one of the few bright spots for the Chargers last season. He definitely earned his roster spot, with 69 catches for 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns. The return of Allen should create better matchups for Williams, and Williams should get plenty of playing time, with rookie receiver Mike Williams’ season in doubt with back troubles. FantasyPros gives Williams an ADP of 133, with a high of 66. Williams is being drafted around the 10th round but has high-end WR2 potential. Grabbing him in the 7th or 8th could land you a real steal.
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