Fantasy – WR Landscape (Pre-Draft)

With the final big name being signed it’s time to talk Wide Receivers. The Running Back market is still looking rather open but with only veterans and depth pieces left we can look at the WR landscape going into the draft. Another Hype Train is ready to depart.

This will inevitably change between now and the time the draft comes around, but barring some unexpected trade this is what teams will be working with going into draft day.

Obviously there’s a lot to take in here so first I’d better explain the colours and key, which maybe I should have done in my previous 2 Landscape posts. Those in dark green will be possible starters in fantasy while those in light green may be usable in deeper leagues while those in white are here purely to show the next player up or to try and convince you that teams do have a depth chart (or how bad some teams are for depth).

Let’s focus on the red spaces first of all which is where a team will either sign a Free Agent or look to the draft. In the AFC North the Ravens have entertained signing Sammy Watkins but they’ve also considered drafting in an option. If they do it’ll be in the later rounds and with them doing that with Devin Duvernay last season I struggle to see what it would achieve, There’s a very low target share available but they need just enough options to avoid having stacked boxes blocking Lamar and JK Dobbins.

The Bengals could use a WR3 although if they don’t take one Auden Tate would suffice. They would really benefit from drafting Kyle Pitts at TE to replace Uzomah with his pass catching upside but if they want to supplement their WR corps I’d either use a later round pick or grab a Adam Humphries, Willie Snead of even Dede Westbrook just to add some veteran presence who can step up if Boyd or Higgins are missing. I think they’ll take the draft route but essentially use Auden Tate as the WR3 and Mike Thomas as the 4 unless someone excels in camp.

The Titans acquisition of Josh Reynolds suggests he will be their WR2 and that their intentions are to pound Derrick Henry into the ground and use AJ Brown as the alternative option. They have nothing after Reynolds so you feel they have to pick someone up, even if their usage is going to be very minimal.

The Colts re-signing TY Hilton means they can choose whether to roll with him, Michael Pittman and Parris Campbell or whether they need to draft another option. If they do draft a new toy for Carson Wentz then Parris Campbell may be saying Au Revoir.    

Kansas City made a run at Juju to be their WR2 before he accepted a pay cut to stay in Pittsburgh. With them not entertaining Sammy Watkins return and unlikely to go after Hilton or AB they ended up re-signing Demarcus Robinson. They could still make a trade for an N’Keal Harry or Anthony Miller or draft another receiver, but would anyone they bring in get much of a look in with Hill and Kelce? Not really.

In the NFC Philly really do need help at WR with Jeffrey cut, DJax at the Rams and basically only Reagor of any value left. Don’t expect Fulgham or Ward to resurface unless they are in worst dire straits. With their cap issues they will be forced to use the draft but they have the cpital to get a top name to help Jalen Hurts.

Detroit were in a similar position to Philadelphia as the dead cap they have from trading their starting QB means they can’t afford a free agent signing, only draft picks, however Jared Goff restructuring his deal means they have some wiggle room now but all the decent options are gone. They need somebody to come in otherwise they will be going into the season with Goff throwing to Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman (gross). With the amount of needs the team has they probably can’t address is as early as they would like in the draft so they may have to hope Quintez Cephus can make a step up and that they strike 2nd day gold or can pull off some kind of trade.

After that there’s a few teams who could use some depth or will hope to see their rookies from previous drafts develop but in a deep looking WR class a few teams could end up spoiled for choice. I can see one of the WR needy teams trading back into the first round to grab a big name as well as addressing other needs but it’s worth noting that there’s only really two teams in need of an instant hit but lots of teams who could use someone who will be there for 5+ years so this draft is going to be very interesting indeed. I expect one top WR to land in a horrible spot.

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