Receivers going too early in fantasy football drafts: Stefon Diggs among wideouts on new teams set to disappoint

ECR stands for “Expert Consensus Ranking,” which means the average ranks of many members of the fantasy football industry and is typically similar to ADP (which differs from site-to-site). This will be an ongoing series highlighting some big differences between ECR and my own ranks. In general, it’s usually best to regress to the market some, and knowing your league’s ADP remains equally important when drafting, but I rank the following players a lot lower than the general fantasy community.

Players who should go higher: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
Players going too early: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ECR = WR5 vs. DDD = WR21)

Chris Godwin is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL right now, but his 2020 ADP is too high after not even ranking in the top-30 in WOPR last season (“Weighted Opportunity Rating” has a year-to-year stability of 0.61, which is about as strong as it gets for projecting wide receivers). He’ll now be sharing targets with Rob Gronkowski to go along with Mike Evans on a team with a much-improved defense that’s switching its base offense to 12 personnel.

Moreover, Jameis Winston just produced ideal fantasy conditions with the NFL’s first 30/30 season, but Godwin will now be catching passes from a 43-year-old quarterback who showed serious signs of decline over last season’s second half and is now switching systems during a truncated offseason. There may not be many wide receivers in football better than Godwin right now, but there are plenty who are in better fantasy situations, as it’s far more reasonable to expect WR2 production than top-five output like his ADP suggests. I’m also down on Evans and would much prefer the Seahawks WR duo instead.

DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals (ECR = WR6 vs. DDD = WR11)

Hopkins saw a pretty significant decline in performance last season (ranking 58th in yards per target) and is likely to see a drop in production during his first year after switching teams. He recently missed practice time with a hamstring injury, is moving away from his prime and while Kyler Murray no doubt has a bright future, Hopkins will almost certainly see a decline from his usual QB play in 2020. DHop is an elite wide receiver I still rank with WR1 value, but I’m drafting Allen Robinson, A.J. Brown, D.J. Moore, Kenny Golladay and Terry McLaurin ahead of him.

Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams (ECR = WR15 vs. DDD = WR27)

He may have been slightly unlucky with touchdowns last season, but Woods ranked 9th in targets and 75th in red-zone targets (Alex Erickson and Zach Pascal saw more), so his lowly two scores certainly weren’t a total fluke. While I’m actually high on the Rams’ passing attack this season, Woods has average speed and isn’t targeted downfield (was 91st in average depth of target) nor in the red zone. I just can’t see ranking “Bobby Trees” as a top-15 wideout when there are so many other intriguing options. And that’s before we even get to the concerns of Van Jefferson’s emergence this summer. I don’t have Woods as a top-25 WR on my board.

Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills (ECR = WR27 vs. DDD = WR37)

He’s never played 16 games in any season throughout his career and will also have the challenge of changing teams, as Diggs goes from indoors and one of the league’s most accurate quarterbacks to outdoors/bad weather and one of the NFL’s least accurate quarterbacks. John Brown ranked 7th in WOPR last season, so it’s not like Diggs suddenly doesn’t have a teammate commanding a bunch of targets still. The Bills also have one of the toughest projected fantasy schedules for wide receivers and will likely remain a run-heavy offense. Diggs might be the NFL’s best route runner, but given his situation, I’d rather have Marquise Brown, Michael Gallup and even CeeDee Lamb on my fantasy team.

Henry Ruggs, Las Vegas Raiders (ECR = WR53 vs. DDD = WR70)

The Raiders made a mistake drafting Ruggs ahead of CeeDee Lamb, and the landing spot wasn’t great for the rookie wideout. The Raiders now play indoors and have a strong offensive line (and might be throwing while playing from behind a lot), but otherwise the team has many mouths to feed (although Tyrell Williams’ injury opens up some targets) from a quarterback who had the second-lowest average intended air yards and Aggressive% last season. The scenario is far from ideal for the skinny rookie burner (Hunter Renfrow ranked 11th in yards per route run last year and should be locked in the slot). While I appreciate the Raiders keeping the spirit of Al Davis’ tradition of valuing speed above all else, Ruggs is being overvalued in fantasy leagues. Bryan Edwards will be the better Las Vegas receiver in 2020 and throughout their careers.

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