• Pat Opperman

5 Late-Round Wide Receiver Picks That Will Make You Look Smart

NFL fantasy fans know football is a passing game more than it’s ever been. Few teams can seriously contend in this wide-open era of offense without a quality quarterback throwing the ball.

But who is catching those passes? As it turns out, a lot of players are. Not only are three- and four-wide sets routine, but tight ends and running backs are playing bigger roles, too.

Despite the pass-first attitude of most of the league, the average NFL fantasy point total for second-tier wide receivers was dropping until enjoying a slight rebound in 2018.

But the target-sharing situation still makes selecting the third, fourth, and fifth wide receivers a bit of a crapshoot. The odds of catching a great sleeper pick takes some real analysis and maybe a little luck.

Naturally, we are up to the challenge. We found five wide receivers getting drafted in the eighth round or later who we think will be NFL Fantasy starters at some point this season.

From best bet to a pretty good bet, here they are:

1. Courtland Sutton- Den (current ADP: WR42, round 9)

Courtland Sutton has a lot of things going for him right now. He has the talent and toughness to be a star in this league. Emmanuel Sanders tabbed Sutton “Mini-Megatron” because he reminds Sanders of the Detroit Lions great, Calvin Johnson.

That’s not a bad player to be compared to, but Sutton had an up and down freshman season. Unsteady quarterback play and a tense locker room probably played a role.

This season, Sutton has an accurate and savvy passer in Joe Flacco operating behind an improved offensive line. Also, Sutton could be the best wide receiver on the field.

Sanders is coming back from a bad injury and is not 100% yet. Barring a last-minute addition, Sutton will be one of the most experienced wideouts on the roster in just his second season.

Denver will try to run the ball first. When they throw, Sutton will see more than the lion’s share of targets. He’s shown he can catch a contested ball as well as anyone. He has the stuff to be a second wide receiver.

2. Marvin Jones- Det (current ADP: WR35, round 8)

There was a time last season when Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones lined up together for the Detroit Lions. When Golden Tate got traded away, Golladay’s value picked up.

But Marvin Jones was still the premier receiver. It wasn’t until Jones’ season ended due to injury that Golladay became an NFL fantasy revelation.

Come September, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones will line up together again. Jones has no intention of playing second fiddle to the youngster.

Marvin Jones has been good for 800-1000 yards since 2015. In 2017, he started scoring touchdowns and finished as the WR-11, just ahead of Golden Tate.

Jones was on track for similar numbers last season. Golladay might be worth his ADP of WR-18 as Tate’s replacement. But Marvin Jones will be right there with him.

3. James Washington- Pit (current ADP: WR49, round 11)

NFL Fantasy owners are going gaga over the potential numbers for JuJu Smith-Schuster now that Antonio Brown is a Raider. The Steelers left no room for discussion about who will step into the number one role for Big Ben Roethlisberger.

But if Smith-Schuster is this year’s Antonio Brown, who will be this year’s JuJu Smith-Schuster?

Smith Schuster had more catches and more yards than Brown last season. The thought of adding some of Brown’s 15 touchdown receptions to Smith-Schuster’s numbers is certainly exciting. But the new number one was already the WR-8 in the league.

Enter James Washington. Washington plays just as tall, fast, and strong as JuJu. He cleaned up some sloppy route running we saw last year. He is still catching anything thrown in his general direction.

Pittsburgh added Donte Moncrief to a mix that includes Ryan Switzer and Eli Rodgers. Like every season, Roethlisberger will give each of them some moments. But James Washington is the new number-2 and a steal in the 11th round.

4. Marquise Goodwin- SF (current ADP: WR61, round 13)

Jimmy Garoppolo’s presence behind center will allow the San Francisco 49ers offense to try something completely different from last year’s model. They will throw passes to wide receivers.

Few people are quite as enthusiastic about Garoppolo’s impact as they were before he crashed to the turf with a torn ACL. His preseason performance can at best be called “rusty”.

But muscle memory will kick in as he gets stronger. That is why I am optimistic Marquise Goodwin will be reintroduced to the NFL Fantasy world.

When Garoppolo had his little mini-tear of perfection in 2017, he turned Goodwin and the departed Pierre Garcon into waiver wire darlings. Jimmy G won’t be content to dump passes off to his tight end and hope for the best.

San Francisco will spread the targets around better. Garoppolo will throw some deep balls, which the speedy Goodwin will catch enough of to be a great value pick.

5. Golden Tate- NYG (current ADP: WR55, round 12)

Sometimes players get suspended and their teammates become aggravated. Mark Ingram never looked completely comfortable last year with the Saints, even though everyone said the right things.

That won’t be the case with the New York Giants and Golden Tate. For one thing, the guy was trying to have a baby, not gain an edge on the competition. He took something from a fertility specialist months before the season started.

Plus, the Giants will be anxious to get his play-making ability in front of Eli Manning or Daniel Jones. New York players and media have been absolutely giddy about Tate’s impact on the Giants’ offense.

It won’t matter how well Cody Latimer, TJ Jones, or anyone else does in the first four games. Tate will be the Giants’ top dog and most exciting receiver for three-quarters of the season. That makes him a high-value pick in the 12th round.

There you have it. Do you think we nailed it? Or are we off the mark? Let us know in the comments section below!


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