Cooper Kupp not No. one

Quarterbacks are the glamor boys of the NFL, the faces of the franchises. Running backs have long been the focus of a fantasy player’s mind and heart, the most discussed and coveted depth players on draft day (regardless of whether you acquire them proactively or reactively).

But let’s give the recipients their due. We’re seeing this position collectively dominate in a way that’s new to the current game, and if you nailed your wide receiver picks last summer, chances are good that you’ve had a huge fantasy streak, and maybe even a win parade, to prove. last month.

Consider some facts about fantasy football and wide receivers:

Receivers crowned fantasy champions in 2021

Five of the top 10 “Yahoo MVPs” for fantasy football, the players most often featured on Top 500 public league teams, were wide receivers. copper punch was easily the most shocking “correct answer”: He was listed on 68.2 percent of those teams. The other four registered receivers were Deebo Samuel, Pursuit of Ja’Marr, Mike WilliamsY justin jefferson.

Kupp isn’t going to win the 2021 MVP award, and it’s not fun to have an endless debate about what the word “valuable” really means, but it would be my pick in a second.

[Other fantasy exit interviews: Quarterbacks | Tight Ends]

QB/WR pairings are key, but not everything

A star receiver is not required to be linked to a superstar quarterback. It obviously helps and is preferable (Aaron Rogers Y davante adams they can finish each other’s sentences), but they can work it out. Kupp broke football in 2021 despite an erratic year since Matthew Stafford; perhaps all those shared breakfasts led to an unbreakable connection. Jefferson did well with kirk cousins; message me the next time you hear Cousins ​​mentioned in an MVP discussion. Samuel’s work was mainly linked to the polarization Jimmy Garoppolothough Samuel also got plenty of value through his expanding, electric role in San Francisco’s running game.

Do we want our top receivers to work with great quarterbacks? No doubt. But there are solutions.

age factoring into production

The star receiver tends to be in their 20s, but you’ll see a variety of experience levels on any leaderboard. Kupp and Adams ran 1-2 this year as they navigated their 20s. Samuel blew up in Year 3, and remember, he missed most of his second season. Chase was this year’s rookie sensation, picking up where Jefferson left his mark on him two years ago. (Man, I’m sorry I didn’t see all the LSU snaps on live TV in 2019.)

Thirty is often a delineation line (and anxiety) for this position, and many big-name players have to deal with that number next year. For the season just ended, the thirtysomethings did not offer much. anthony brown he was eighth in PPR points per game, but obviously his season was far from reliable. Adam Thielen rated the No. 15 receiver in production per game, though injuries cost him about a month. The next chart receiver in the 1930s was marvin jones, a good guy who didn’t move the needle. It was the WR44 in production per game.

Does a 30-year season make you nervous? Consider the wide receivers heading to that 30-year-old pocket the next tear: Adams, keenan allen, Robert Woods, Tyler Lockett, andre hopkins (who was a slight disappointment even before he got hurt), Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr. Group 29 includes Kupp, Stefon Diggs, Mike Evans, brandin cooksY Parker.

As Bills quarterback Josh Allen leans more heavily on emerging NFL talent Gabriel Davis next season, how will that affect Stefon Diggs’ fantasy value? (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The first unbreakable role in fantasy is that there are no unbreakable rules. it always depends. It is always contextual. If you can identify an outlier, bully for you. We cannot be rigid and dogmatic with our practices and strategies.

That said, here’s my rule of thumb for forward-facing receivers:

— I would like the players to still be in their twenties at the latest. The closer you get to 30, the more nervous I get. I was still open to Kupp and Adams last season, not that I’ve included enough on the list, but football becomes more and more of a young man’s game every year, and I want my list to reflect that.

— I would prefer my receivers to be tied to star quarterbacks, but as long as the quarterback is at least close to league average or better, you can still score regularly and consistently. diontae johnson was No. 9 in PPR scoring per game; ben roethlisberger he targeted Johnson handsomely, but otherwise did him few favors.

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— It’s always tempting to point to a brand talent from a disappointing year. I don’t expect a crazy draft discount afterwards D. K. Metcalf, but there is a case where you bet on talent and probably give it a pass because of what just happened. I’m not into much for 2022 yet, but I suspect I’ll double down Terry McLaurin, too. That disappointing year 2021 was not his fault.

— Somehow, the Cowboys led the league in scoring and I have no idea how to handle their skill and talent going forward. They are the strangest collection of talent in the NFL. It’s a shame Jerry Jones’ overwhelming ego doesn’t allow the organization to hire the kind of serious coach (and general manager) this franchise is crying out for.

— I will reach Amon-Ra St. Brown at least once. Not my favorite way to play, but I had too much FOMO with St. Brown at the end of the year. And he did it despite an offense in which little else worked. Imagine if this unit really improves.

We are a long way from the new draft season. Here is my “Receiver board too early”. Take it for what it is, a conversation piece as we wander through the winter months.

1. Justin Jefferson

2. Cooper punch

3. Davante Adams

4. The Pursuit of Ja’Marr

5. Tyreek Hill

6. AJ Brown

7. *Chris Godwin

8. Stefon Diggs

9. D. K. Metcalf

10.Mike Evans

11. CeeDee Lamb

12. Diontae Johnson

13.Terry McLaurin

14. Higgins T-shirt

It’s too early, folks. All this is written in pencil.

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