Making a List: Late Round Wide Receivers

Ryan McDowell

I’m a list guy. I make “to do” lists, follow “honey do” lists, and will take time to read a top ten list of almost anything. This series of articles will bring you a top five ranking about a myriad of topics in the world of dynasty football.

When participating in a startup dynasty draft, the players chosen in the early rounds are likely to be the cornerstone pieces to your team for years to come. In many cases though, especially in the early years of a dynasty league, the late round selections can often be true difference makers between contending teams and league doormats.

Here are some wide receivers I would be targeting in the 15th round and beyond. All ADP data is based on our own May dynasty ADP.

1.) Allen Hurns, WR JAX (169)

After posting a pair of impressive and surprising seasons to begin his career, Hurns dealt with multiple injuries that kept him off the field for chunks of the 2016 season. Even when he was in the lineup, the entire Jaguars offense once against disappointed. Hurns, who ran nearly 70% of his routes from the slot, could be impacted by the addition of rookie Dede Westbrook, but falling to the 15th round is still a surprise given his production in 2014-15. Just a year ago, Hurns was sporting an ADP of 49, being drafted as the WR31. If Hurns can stay healthy, the improved running game should help the offense as a whole and lead to a rejuvenated player.

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2.) Ted Ginn, WR NO (189)

We all know the New Orleans Saints can alter the trajectory of all pass-catchers and that is my expectation for Ginn this year after he left the Carolina Panthers following two productive seasons playing alongside Cam Newton. Ginn has bounced around the league after being drafted by the Dolphins as a top ten pick in 2007. His sophomore season was promising but he lacked consistency before moving on to the 49ers, spent one season in Carolina and another in Arizona before landing back with the Panthers. During the past two seasons, Ginn recorded over 40 receptions and 700 yards in each season, scoring a career-high ten touchdowns in 2015. With Ginn in New Orleans and Brandin Cooks and his 117 targets now off to New England, the former Panther has a chance for a new career-year at age 32. Ginn won’t see a major boost in dynasty value due to his age and boom/bust style, but he could turn into a fantasy starter playing with Drew Brees and that’s all you can ask for from your 16th round pick.

3.) ArDarius Stewart, WR NYJ (192)

A few weeks ago, the Jets made former Alabama receiver Stewart their third round pick, a round higher than many had projected. Stewart has been steadily climbing up our dynasty ADP ranks as well, beginning at 202 in February. The Jets are clearly rebuilding, having already parted ways with veteran Brandon Marshall and rumored to be considering doing the same with Eric Decker. I’ve heard some describe the Jets receiver depth chart as a collection of WR2s and that is accurate. At times last season, Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa both flashed but neither were consistent enough to give the team confidence to build around them. While it is clearly very early in Stewart’s professional career, he already has beat writers raving about him. One called him the most pro-ready of the Jets rookie receivers, which also includes the likes of Chad Hansen and KD Cannon. Also, ESPN’s Rich Cimini is already projecting Stewart as a starter. I began to get excited about Stewart as a sleeper during the college football season. As I regularly tuned into Crimson Tide games to check out tight end OJ Howard or wide receiver Calvin Ridley, it was Stewart who routinely made the big play, even with the poor quarterback play the team endured last season.

4.) Torrey Smith, WR SF (213)

A year ago, Smith became a trendy pick among experts attempting to identify undervalued wide receivers. The arrival of Chip Kelly in San Francisco gave hope to many, but instead, Kelly once again failed and the Niners offense flopped. Smith missed game action for the first time in his career (four of them to be specific) and posted a career low number of receptions, yards and touchdowns. Following the season, San Francisco chose to part ways with Kelly and also gave Smith his release. Surprisingly, the Eagles gave Smith a three-year, $15 million deal, though the team could easily part ways with Smith following the 2017 season. The Eagles receivers were quite disappointing in 2016, including complete let downs from Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham. Smith will still have plenty of competition for targets as the Eagles also brought in former Bear Alshon Jeffery and still have the dependable Jordan Matthews, as well as tight end Zach Ertz. Smith’s ADP has dropped nearly 100 spots in the past year and his best seasons are almost certainly behind him, but at his current ADP, he is well worth the risk.

5.) Ishmael Zamora, WR OAK (231)

The Raiders scooped up the former Baylor wideout, who has been dealing with the ramifications of an animal abuse incident last off-season. Zamora was suspended for three games to begin his final college season and did not receive an invitation to the NFL Combine, reportedly due to his off-field history. Ultimately, this was also cited as one reason the athletic wideout went undrafted. Hoping to put his mistakes in the past, Zamora’s upside is sky high and he landed in the ideal spot. While he won’t have any pressure or expectation of overtaking Oakland’s top two receivers (Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper) he could earn the third spot on the depth chart as early as this season. As a UDFA, Zamora faces a tough road to relevance. Since 1972, only 23 wide receivers have posted a top 20 fantasy season. The good news for Zamora and most other undrafted free agents is that his dynasty price usually correlates to his NFL price tag. For Zamora, his round 20 ADP makes him an easy target with the hope he can break the mold.


ryan mcdowell