After the six part Breaking Down the ADP series I wrote alongside Dan Sainio, a lot of people requested we extend our look at wide receivers from 20 to 30. I am a man of the people, so consider this edition of Mind of Miller an unofficial continuation of the aforementioned series. I’ll be without Dan this time around because this isn’t Mind of Miller and Sainio, but also because I didn’t ask him. Sorry, Dan, there is always next time!
For the purposes of continuity, just as in the previous six parts I will be using February’s ADP. With free agency and the combine happening in the time since those mock drafts took place, the data is outdated, but trying to use March’s would make for all sorts of conflicts. In my notes on players who’ve seen a big change, I will comment to that effect.
If you haven’t read any of Breaking Down the ADP, I’d ask that you at least catch the intro to one of them. It gives a primer for what you are about to read.
WR21 – Corey Davis (ADP 30)
In case you’ve been under a rock, Davis is a consensus top-three pick in dynasty rookie drafts, and, as our friend Nick Whalen has been advocating for months, likely to end up the 1.01 in the majority. His ascension to such heights has been largely predicated on the disappointing combine performances of Leonard Fournette and to a larger degree, Dalvin Cook. That is born out in Davis’ March ADP being virtually identical to February’s. For my part, this is about right for the incoming rookie. I’d probably slot a vet or two ahead of him, but I have no real complaints about WR21.
WR22 – Demaryius Thomas (ADP32)
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Thomas is one of the veterans I just mentioned I’d prefer to Davis. I’m not sure what this guy has to do to get some respect. I am patently aware his stats have slipped post-Good Peyton, but in the two years since Manning turned bad then left town, Thomas has been the WR11 and WR16. He was also incredibly consistent over that span, failing to reach double digit PPR points only five times in 32 tries while topping 14 points 19 times. At 29, he is no spring chicken, but his big, physical play style is the type that will wear well for years. I don’t see any reason Thomas won’t continue to outscore this ADP for several seasons to come.
WR23 – Donte Moncrief (ADP33)
Being young, highly regarded, and playing for one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL gets you the WR23 prize. At least that is my theory, considering Moncrief has done little to justify it in the way of on-field work. If you want to see how he has fared among his peers, you’ll have click on the second page of results for both 2014 and 2016; career finishes of WR79, WR26, and WR75 are not exactly the stuff of dreams. All that said, I don’t hate Moncrief going off the board at 33rd overall. He has everything you look for in a future stud, from size and athleticism to a great situation. Essentially, the only thing stopping Moncrief is Moncrief. Another year of what he’s already given would make George Kritikos’ comparison to Rueben Randle a fair one.
WR24 – Mike Williams (ADP36)
I don’t see the potential for Williams to be a fantasy star. I understand he doesn’t need to create separation to win, but that doesn’t mean his lack of ability to separate isn’t concerning. I also worry about his inability to get away from physical corners and a lack of subtlety to his route running. Adding all this up, I can’t really understand how Williams is a cat’s whisker away from Corey Davis in ADP. If we are talking about Davis as a top-20ish wide receiver, Williams’ place is at least ten spots later, if not more. Even if the Clemson product lands in an ideal situation, WR24 is closer to his ceiling than many want to admit.
WR25 – DeVante Parker (ADP 38)
Parker is like Donte Moncrief except without Andrew Luck or the confidence of his coaches. The WR50 last year and 74 the year before, Parker has yet to have any sort of sustained success in the NFL. To that point, after seven double digit PPR scoring performances in an eight game span from Week 12 2015 to Week 3 2016, he only hit the mark four more times in the next 14 games. Even more concerning for me are the lack of targets, with Parker seeing only 88 in 15 games last season. The lack of usage backs up the public comments and rumors that have many of us thinking the Miami staff isn’t sold on the dynasty darling. On a run-based team with an established stud in Jarvis Landry, Parker’s road will continue to be a tough one to hoe. Those expecting a breakout stand to be disappointed.
WR26 – Jordy Nelson (ADP39)
Jordy is a tough guy to peg. On one hand, he is probably the most productive non-Julio/OBJ/Antonio in the NFL. On the other, he will be 32 when the season kicks off. Despite his advanced age, Nelson just won’t stop hanging numbers. In his last three healthy seasons (2015 was a wash due to a torn ACL), the Packers’ stud has averaged a line of 91/1341/12 for 18.4 PPR PPG. With no signs of slowing down in 2016, we are likely at least a couple of years away from any sort of cliff. At this price, I’ll take two years of elite production followed by a hopefully gradual decline.
WR27 – Sterling Shepard (ADP43)
The sophomore receiver had a bit of an uneven first campaign that was largely propped up by eight scores. Honestly, though, I’m not sure what more we could have expected? We knew Shepard was a possession slot type coming out of Oklahoma, and that is more or less what we got. With a bit more target volume and a dash of development, we could have the solid WR2 many of us expected. Unfortunately, Brandon Marshall is now in blue, rendering Shepard’s 2017 hopes bleak. But Marshall is old, so a buy-low opportunity may be opening up. Already down to WR29 in March, be sure to check April’s ADP to find out if his slide continues.
WR28 – Randall Cobb (ADP49)
The 23rd overall player off the board as recently as August, and the tenth in October of 2015, Cobb’s fall from grace has been swift and painful. An injury ridden 2016 followed up a 16-game stretch where the slot receiver battled a mostly undiscussed shoulder injury. Whether all that is an excuse or a legitimate reason for the lack of production is up for debate. What isn’t is Davante Adam’s breakout, Ty Montgomery’s similar skillset at a much larger physical size, or Martellus Bennett’s signing. Even if Cobb is fully healthy and ready to go, there are more mouths to feed than ever in Green Bay. His days of being anything more than a WR2/3 are over.
WR29 – Jordan Matthews (ADP49)
I’ve spent a lot of time pontificating about Matthews on the Twitter machine. My main premise is it is OK to be “good, not great”. I can’t think of a better way to sum up the Eagles’ slot receiver. Especially now that Philly has shown they don’t see him as the number one option, we should expect Matthews APD to drop. Already in March, he fell three spots to WR32. As free agency sinks in further, I could see him falling a bit more. I still like Matthews as low-end WR2 you can plug and play. I just don’t see him as anything more than that.
WR30 – Josh Doctson (ADP50)
There isn’t a ton to say here on account of him not actually playing NFL football for more than a few snaps. I will comment that he was, to me, the most NFL-ready of the big-three receivers to come out in 2016, so I would expect him to be ready to contribute this year. How much he kicks in is obviously still up in the air. If you are OK spending a top-25 pick on Mike Williams, I’d think you’d be ecstatic to be able to snag Doctson here.
I have a few things in mind for Mind of Miller in the coming weeks. One of those will be to look at some ADP trends from February to April. I am also hoping to discuss with some our Dynasty Scouts team the relative implosion of the formerly vaunted 2017 rookie class. If you have other ideas or suggestions for things you’d like me to discuss, leave a comment below!
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