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A fantasy draft is all about obtaining the most value with each selection. There is value available throughout a draft, and grabbing it is one of the most important keys to a successful fantasy team. In an attempt to point out this value, we asked our staff to look through the Top 150 and identify players that should outperform their draft position.
Here are the players who received the most votes:
And here are all of the players mentioned and the reasons why.
Player Receiving 7 Votes
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kansas City
Jason Wood: The Chiefs cannot replace Tyreek Hill easily, but Smith-Schuster is far and away the most talented, proven, and well-rounded addition to the position group. Unless Patrick Mahomes II stopped being the NFL's best quarterback when I wasn't looking, Smith-Schuster need only stay healthy to deliver every-week starting-caliber fantasy value this season. He's a good route runner, has sure hands, and gets to play with a quarterback better than Ben Roethlisberger in his prime. What's not to love?
Sam Wagman: We have a track record of success for Smith-Schuster when he is the secondary target in the offense. With Travis Kelce assuming a large role as the primary receiver for this team, we may see Smith-Schuster get a little freedom as far as who covers him in the passing game. It's also a massive step for him to go from aging Ben Roethlisberger to in-his-prime Patty Mahomes, so the quality of targets will drastically increase. WR30 could be a bargain for the former stud.
Chad Parsons: With Tyreek Hill gone, the top receiver spot is open for the first time in years for the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes II. Smith-Schuster has been in a production swoon since his early-career breakout seasons in Pittsburgh, but Smith-Schuster is still in his prime production window. The competition for the WR1 role consists of Marquez Valdes-Scantling (yet to be a consistent part of an NFL passing game), Skyy Moore (incoming Day 2 rookie), and Mecole Hardman (disappointment so far). Smith-Schuster has the advantage and will crush his cost - beyond the top-25 wide receivers - if securing the lead receiver role.
Ryan Hester: The scenery change for Smith-Schuster from late-career dink-and-dunk Ben Roethlisberger to in-his-prime Patrick Mahomes II can't be overstated. Smith-Schuster also goes from an offense coordinated by Randy Fichtner in 2020 (he was fired after that year) and first-time OC Matt Canada in 2021 to all-time great play-caller Andy Reid in 2022. Smith-Schuster put up historical numbers before Roethlisberger's 2019 elbow injury, and many of his highlights were on downfield passes. He's not a "hybrid tight end" as many have cast him to be over the past two seasons. And even if he isn't the preferred deep target in Kansas City, Smith-Schuster will be the odds-on favorite to lead the wide receiver group in receptions.
Jeff Haseley: How quickly the consensus forgets how good Smith-Schuster was just a few years ago. He definitely has had his down moments as well, but if he is healthy he'll be a key piece to one of the best offenses in the AFC. There is some risk involved because he missed 12 games last year with a shoulder injury. However, the reward outweighs the risk. He can be the top WR on the Chiefs this season for a WR30 price tag.
Kevin Coleman: Smith-Schuster is a screaming value right now in fantasy leagues. According to Footballguys ADP, he is being drafted as WR31. That's far too low for a player that finds himself as the #2 option in Kansas City. With all those vacated targets and Patrick Mahomes II II at quarterback, barring any type of injury, he should outperform his current ADP. He has one of the safest floors in fantasy and has shown he can be a solid WR2 option in the NFL.
Will Grant: The Chiefs have a lot of question marks at the wide receiver position this season. But the reality is that Patrick Mahomes II is still going to throw for 4800 yards this season, and JuJu Smith-Schuster is the guy who should come out as the top pass catcher in the group. His current draft position has him going with players who are the 2nd wide receiver option on their team or WR1s on teams who won't come close to 4800 yards passing this season. Smith-Schuster has good upside and should easily outperform his draft position.
Players Receiving 6 Votes
Christian Kirk, Jacksonville
Jason Wood: I agree with the consensus view the Jaguars overpaid Christian Kirk in free agency, but that shouldn't color his fantasy outlook. His current ADP assumes he'll finish well below his output last year, which makes no sense. He was WR26 a year ago despite sharing targets with an immensely deep set of receivers and tight ends. The Jaguars are paying him to be their alpha, and for at least a season, he's going to be force-fed the ball.
Ben Cummins: Kirk will be the #1 target for a quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, who will be taking a significant step forward in his second season as the Jaguars’ starting quarterback. Paid handsomely, we can expect Kirk to rarely come off the field and be utilized all over the formation to get the most out of his versatile skill set. I’m targeting Kirk in every draft as I value him at least a round ahead of where the market does.
Sam Wagman: Is Kirk the cheapest WR1 on his own team target? The Jaguars have to target him a ton by virtue of the $18m a year deal he signed with them in free agency, so he should see a ton of volume from Trevor Lawrence. Add in pass-happy Doug Pederson, and I see Kirk getting the opportunity to finish 10-15 spots higher than where he is now. Whether or not he was overpaid, his ranking is underrating him.
Chad Parsons: While many question Kirk's contract from Jacksonville, Kirk should receive consistent work with a chance (or expectation) to be the clear leading receiver. Trevor Lawrence is a breakout candidate with Urban Meyer gone, a factory reset for the Jaguars, plus 1.01-drafted quarterbacks are strong historical bets independent of their Year 1 results. Betting on potential uptick offenses and the most logical leading target option is a sturdy fantasy bet, and Kirk's cost is typically outside the top-40 wide receivers.
Jeff Haseley: I believe in Doug Pederson's ability to get the most out of Trevor Lawrence which is going to ignite Christian Kirk, who is in a perfect situation for his skill set. He thrived when operating out of the slot last year and very quietly finished in the Top 30. He enters the Jaguars as the top receiving threat for Lawrence. I see him being the alpha receiver on that team, and if the touchdowns follow, he will easily exceed expectations.
Will Grant: At the end of your fantasy season, if you looked back and found out that the 3rd wide receiver you drafted finished with 1000 yards and five touchdowns, you'd be pretty happy, right? That's essentially what we are talking about with Christian Kirk. At his current ADP, he's either the 3rd or 4th wide receiver that fantasy owners are taking, and given how bad the Jaguars are going to be, Kirk should easily post those types of stats this season.
Allen Robinson, LA Rams
Ben Cummins: Robinson will be just 29 years old this season. Last year was a fluke for a player likely frustrated with a failing Bears offense. Two seasons ago, Robinson caught 102 of 151 targets for 1,250 yards and 6 touchdowns. He’s now the clear-cut WR2 for Matthew Stafford, a quarterback who significantly elevates his pass catchers.
Chad Parsons: For the first time in Robinson's long career, he has a strong quarterback pairing with the move to the Rams and Matthew Stafford. The formula fits for big upside even if in the WR2 role behind Cooper Kupp. Tyler Higbee is not a strong tight end presence, the WR3 position is populated by Van Jefferson, who has yet to take a big step forward, and the Rams have been 30th or lower in running back targets as a team each of the last three seasons. Kupp and Robinson can be top-18 options, even top-12 with this offense. 2022 is a golden opportunity for Robinson to be one of the bounce-back fantasy producers in the entire NFL.
Ryan Hester: Did any receiver have his offensive outlook improve more this offseason than Robinson? An argument can be made that JuJu Smith-Schuster's move from Pittsburgh to Kansas City is a significant move. But going from Chicago to the L.A. Rams is a night-and-day situation change. Going from Matt Nagy to Sean McVay will rejuvenate Robinson. And with the defensive focus moving more to Cooper Kupp after his historic 2021 "triple crown" season, Robinson won't be short on opportunities. Odell Beckham Jr showed us last season that the WR2 spot in this offense can be productive. Robinson was more productive than Beckham in 2019 and 2020. Assuming that he can be better in L.A. than Beckham was isn't far-fetched.
Jeff Haseley: Allen Robinson has four 150+ target seasons, three 1,000-yard seasons, and three 80-reception seasons and he's played with Blake Bortles, Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, Justin Fields, and Andy Dalton. If we're counting college, it includes Matt McGloin and Christian Hackenberg. So yeah - now he will have a fringe-Hall-of-Famer in Matthew Stafford, not to mention the best receiver in the league drawing the defense's attention. Sign me up for some Robinson this season!
Matt Waldman: Robinson is an excellent route runner who can win all over the field, but he has been paired with limited quarterback talent for the length of his career. Matthew Stafford is a solid 1-2 notches above Robinson's quarterbacks and there will be a lot of optimal match-up opportunities in Los Angeles thanks to Cooper Kupp and Sean McVay's scheme. Robinson had the equivalent of what most perennial NFL starting receivers would call a career year during his second season in Jacksonville. Still, expect Robinson to approach those totals with the Rams this year.
Will Grant: Robinson has been the bright spot on a poor Chicago team for the last few seasons. Now he's getting a chance to shine with the defending super bowl champions. Even better for Robinson, he's playing opposite Cooper Kupp - who will always command strong defensive coverage. Robinson will be free to stretch the field and open up his big play potential that he couldn't showcase last year. He may be the team's #2 receiver, but he will still out-produce many #1 receivers on lesser teams.
Courtland Sutton, Denver
Ben Cummins: Sutton is an alpha outside wide receiver whose game pairs perfectly with Russell Wilson’s game. Draft Sutton if you like receivers who compete for the league lead in end zone targets, especially now that Tim Patrick has been lost for the season.
Sigmund Bloom: Courtland Sutton is the most proven wide receiver on the roster, the new regime committed to him with a long-term contract, and his game maps nicely to DK Metcalf, who new Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson made a star. Our own Cecil Lammey, who covers the Broncos for local media, has unequivocally said Sutton is Wilson's main man. With Tim Patrick sidelined, Sutton will likely get even more downfield targets from Wilson.
Sam Wagman: Another year of betting on Sutton's talent for me. Russell Wilson coming to town drastically improves all the pass-catchers in this offense, but Sutton could have the most room to grow, as Wilson's deep ball has been on par with the best in the league over the past several years. He's the alpha-style receiver in this offense, and DK Metcalf has shown us that that receiver can generate a ton of production. With Tim Patrick now sidelined for the season due to an ACL tear, the importance of Sutton taking over the alpha role becomes even more prioritized. There are a lot of mouths to feed in this receiving corps, but talent comes out ahead and I think that Sutton's talent has yet to be truly revealed.
Nick Whalen: Russell Wilson has thrown for 30+ touchdown passes in five of the last seven seasons, and Courtland Sutton is the best red zone target on that team, especially with the unfortunate injury to Tim Patrick. Sutton appears to be Wilson's favorite target in camp and is the most talented wide receiver on this team. This is a perfect match.
Matt Waldman: Brett Farve in Minnesota, Peyton Manning in Denver, and Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. When will we learn that elite quarterbacks elevate the production potential of excellent offensive talent? The question is likely less about Sutton and more about Wilson being elite. I'm not questioning it. This year, or next, Wilson will be an elite producer once the offense acclimates to its new passer. Sutton is that primary receiver likely to earn the marquee production Wilson will generate for the Broncos. I'm expecting a strong run of production from Sutton beginning this year.
Ryan Weisse: Even before the Tim Patrick injury, Sutton looked like a value with an ADP outside the top 20. Russell Wilson's effect on this offense cannot be overstated, and Sutton is in a position for the best season of his career. Last year was awful, but it was Sutton's first back from injury, and the quarterback play was not good. Those things are remedied this year, and if you're looking for top-10 upside, Sutton is your best bet in this range.
Player Receiving 5 Votes
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