Links to similar discussions on other positions:
One of the most exploitable inefficiencies in dynasty fantasy football is the difference between where players are selected in startup drafts and their 2021 projection. High-priced players are more long-term bets, so their 2021 projection is less significant than lower-priced players with much lower long-term hit rates. For the later picks, in particular, players projected to outscore their draft position should be targeted. Below are wide receivers who see a difference in their real draft position and 2021 Footballguys consensus projection.
Brandin Cooks has finished as a top-20 wide receiver in five out of his seven-season career. The years he missed were his rookie campaign and his injury-shortened season in 2019 with the Rams. The quarterback situation is a concern, but Cooks is the clear WR1 in the Houston offense with one of the worst supporting casts in the league outside of Cooks. Projected as WR22 in our consensus ranks, he is priced at WR48 in startup drafts in May, making him a smash pick.
Tyler Lockett has one of the best rapports with his quarterback of any wide receiver in the league. Projected at WR14 in our consensus projection, Lockett is firmly in the WR3/4 cost range. Fresh off an offseason extension, Lockett is attached to Wilson for a multi-year window and poised to outproduce his cost significantly.
Like Lockett, Woods is being selected as a WR3, with a top 15 projection in 2021. The addition of Matthew Stafford to replace Jared Goff should raise the ceiling for the entire Rams offense. Woods signed an extension in the offseason, which should make him safe through the 2022 season.
Cooper Kupp should similarly benefit from the addition of Matthew Stafford. Kupp has a lesser resume than Woods but is similarly priced at WR30 with a similar projection WR17. Woods is the better bet at cost, but Kupp is a good investment in a Rams offense that could see another level in 2021.
Adam Theilen is the last of the wide receivers with a WR3 dynasty cost and WR2 projection. Theilen is paired with Justin Jefferson, so the same level of upside is unlikely than other players mentioned above. Theilen’s 2020 seasonal finish was buoyed by 14 touchdowns, which is bound for regression in 2021. Theilen’s yards per target (8.6) was in line with his 9.0 yards per target at his ceiling in 2017 and 2018, so the target volume is a bigger question than his ability to produce on his targets.
Jerry Jeudy is a classic dynasty sell profile. His real draft position was WR24 in May, but he is projected as WR40 in 2021. This creates a value trap because he is unlikely to pay off his cost in 2021 and will fall in price in 2022. This all makes Jeudy a good player to cash out on, given his price. Recent super-flex trades for Jeudy include:
- Jeudy for 2.03
- Jeudy for a 2022 first-round rookie pick
- Jeudy for Brandon Aiyuk
- Jeudy and Amon-Ra St. Brown for Michael Thomas
Aiyuk has a similar profile as Jeudy. Aiyuk was WR20 in startup drafts in May but is projected at WR29 in 2021. The situation is better for Aiyuk but would likely be a falling value player if he produces as projected in 2021. Recent super-flex dynasty trades involving Aiyuk include
- Aiyuk and Joe Mixon for A.J. Brown
- Aiyuk and Justin Herbert for Patrick Mahomes II and Jalen Reagor
- Aiyuk for Keenan Allen
CeeDee Lamb was the third wide receiver in snap priority for Dallas in 2020 but currently has the highest cost in the Dallas offense. While the dynasty community is high on Lamb, his inability to bypass Michael Gallup in the Dallas offense should raise some concern. Projected at WR16, he is significantly below his WR7 cost in May. Lamb projects as the 2021 version of JuJu Smith-Schuster, D.J. Moore, and Amari Cooper-type players who prematurely achieve high prices early in their career before failing to hit their ceiling before leveling off as a dynasty value in future years.