As we close out WR Week, here are the wide receivers our staff is avoiding this year in fantasy football (ADP via FF Calculator).
D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks (Pete)
ADP: WR6, 2.08
Both Clark and Nic made a very compelling argument in favor of drafting D.K. Metcalf on this week’s NerdBall show, but I still can’t bring myself to do it at his current ADP.
After starting 2020 through Week 9 as the WR2 in .5PPR, Metcalf finished the year WR25 from Week 10 onward. That’s a wild collapse. I get that the Seahawks offense is likely to look different under new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron coming from the Los Angeles Rams. I get that Russell Wilson will be given more opportunities to cook which proved last year to be a very good thing for Metcalf’s fantasy value. I still can’t shake the stink of how the Hawks offense, and particularly Metcalf, closed out 2020.
With wide receivers whose situation I trust more going around him—most notably Calvin Ridley going a pick ahead, Justin Jefferson going three picks later, and Keenan Allen sitting waiting in the third round—I won’t be having any Metcalf shares in 2021.
Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team (Clark)
ADP: WR11, 3.08
Terry McLaurin is a hyper-talented receiver who’s basically put up back to back 1,000 yard seasons (only 919 yards in 14 games as a rookie but I’m rounding up) to start his NFL career. This year McLaurin will play with the best QB he’s played with in his short career with Ryan Fitzpatrick coming to Washington, and The Football Team may be turning a corner of sorts under head Coach Ron Rivera. While these are all things to get excited about, I think the hive-mind is just a tad too excited.
Related: Nerding Out Over the NFC East
With receivers like Allen Robinson, Mike Evans, and Robert Woods going after McLaurin, I just can’t spend up to get ole Scary Terry at his current cost. Washington’s game script might be one that dissuades Fitzpatrick from his usual gunslinger ways, which many are relying on to thrust McLaurin into WR1 territory.
CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys (Paddi)
ADP: WR13, 3.12
Unpopular opinion time. CeeDee Lamb isn’t worth his current draft price (though he’s a nailed on WR2). He’s currently being drafted as the WR13, which is a projection I’m not ready to make. Yes, he was productive as a rookie, finishing as the WR23, but making that ten place jump to be a fringe WR1 gives me pause. The Cowboys are likely to be a high-volume offense with Dak Prescott returning, but there are lots of mouths to feed in Dallas, and I have Amari Cooper projected to lead the Cowboys in targets and finish as the WR12, with Lamb the WR20. I’m not down on Lamb, I just don’t think the pieces are in place for that second-year spike that others are projecting.
With Amari Cooper starting training camp on the PUP list, I reserve the right to change my mind on this if its likely to impact Cooper’s playing time. I’ve not drafted Lamb once this fantasy season and I’m just not willing to pull the trigger to draft him as my WR1 just yet.
Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers (Nic)
ADP: WR22, 5.08
Diontae Johnson is going to be a stellar NFL wide receiver for years to come. But this year, his ADP is just too high for me. Last year’s rookie phenom Chase Claypool came on strong in 2020, racking up 62 receptions, 873 yards, and 11 touchdowns from scrimmage (9 receiving/2 rushing) while only starting 6 games. Slot receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who saw the team’s second-highest target total last year (128) signed on for a one-year prove-it deal this off-season and should continue operating as Ben Roethlisberger’s primary short area pass catcher. With both players in the fold and Claypool vying to take over as the alpha, it’s unlikely Johnson retains clear-cut No. 1 WR status in Pittsburgh again this year.
Making matters worse, Roethlisberger and his surgically repaired elbow are going to be under constant duress as the Steelers boast what may amount to the worst offensive line in the league. All-in-all, Johnson is not a good bet to return low-end WR2 value. Should his ADP slip to the seventh round, he’d be a fine selection.