Best Ball Journal: Fade These WR/TE at ADP

Best Ball Journal: Fade These WR/TE at ADP

This article is part of our Best Ball Journal series.

With this WR/TE fades post and this RB Fades article from last week I've assembled my current fades on Underdog, so a list of target players is the next post in the order.

The WRs are listed first and the TEs second.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Amari Cooper (59.2 ADP) and David Bell (174.1 ADP), CLE

This one is simple to the point that it's not worth much as a blurb, but the Jacoby Brissett penalty has been baked into neither player's ADP. This is going to get ugly and shares of the Cleveland passing game will only be helpful at very cheap prices.

Treylon Burks, TEN (78.6 ADP)

Burks' college production is compelling and his workout numbers were plenty good despite the relative disappointment of his 4.55-second 40, but this might be a rare case where great production and athleticism don't translate to NFL success, at least not immediately. There were whispers before the draft that Burks had concerns related to the playbook and presumably with that can come issues with coverage recognition and any route adjustment responsibilities the Titans offense might have. That he's been unavailable for the Titans offseason practices to this point, be it due to asthma or whatever else, is not the greatest setup for Burks to hit the ground running. At this particular ADP there isn't that much room for error, and at the very least it might be time to wonder if Burks' ADP should be a little closer to that of Robert Woods (105.5 ADP).

Skyy Moore, KC (90.9 ADP)

I like Moore plenty as a prospect – I even hyped him as a dynasty sleeper two years ago in this article – but this ADP is insane. It will require at least one injury to other Kansas City wide receivers for Moore to rank any higher than fourth among them in snaps, and that's before accounting for the fact that Travis Kelce is the non-negotiable lead target in this offense. Other than a few screen and quick-hitting routes from the slot once in a while there just isn't room for Moore to be much more than the swing backup when JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are all healthy. Moore is probably the most slot-dependent of any of those four receivers but he might rank last in that group for any function other than catching in traffic, where he could probably offer an improvement over Hardman and especially Valdes-Scantling. The time to buy Moore as a redraft target is 2023, when one or both of Smith-Schuster and Hardman might be gone. For now, though, he'll probably just provide depth behind them in his first year out of Western Michigan.

Kadarius Toney, NYG (92.8 ADP)

Multiple NFL beat writers reported this spring that the Giants had Toney on the trade market, then they picked slot-specialist wideout Wan'Dale Robinson 43rd overall. Toney was a slow starter at Florida and isn't known for his route-running polish, so the idea that they'll simply move him from the slot to outside to make room for Robinson in the slot doesn't really check out, even if the Giants move outside specialist Darius Slayton in a trade. If Slayton and Sterling Shepard (Achilles) are both on this roster then Toney simply doesn't have the runway for more than something like 30 snaps per game. Robinson is a real threat and unlike Toney was an immediate producer in college, which suggests he's capable of picking up the NFL game quickly, too. The options in this range of the ADP are admittedly not compelling, but Chris Olave (100.0 ADP) and Chase Claypool (102.9 ADP) are definitely better targets and I'd also prefer Rondale Moore (118.8 ADP) or teammate Kenny Golladay (121.1 ADP).

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, KC (95.5 ADP)

What are we doing here? Valdes-Scantling played his entire career with Aaron Rodgers, a two-time MVP over that span, and his career catch rate is 49.8 percent. There is nothing for Patrick Mahomes to unleash here – Rodgers would have already done it if so, and Valdes-Scantling's functions are easily enough understood without resorting to fanfiction. MVS does two things well: (1) run in a straight line and (2) be taller and heavier than the cornerbacks matched up against him. This makes MVS an ideal decoy from the slot because he can lock the safety high with the threat of his deep speed in the pass game, and in the run game he can bully slot corners, who are often shorter and lighter than boundary corners. I think this is clearly headed toward MVS functioning almost solely as a space-clearing distance runner who the Chiefs otherwise try to match up against small corners in the run game.

You often see the assumption that MVS will push aside Mecole Hardman (127.9 ADP), but Hardman will post the better numbers this year with ease. They're both at risk of decoy functions, but Hardman is clearly the more threatening target – his career catch rate of 67.7 percent at 9.6 yards per target makes a mockery of Valdes-Scantling's 49.8 percent catch rate at 8.7 yards per target. MVS has no grace as a route runner in the first 15 yards and his hands are as bad as any wideout in the league – if people dislike Hardman then the fact that they don't already hate MVS is simply an indication that they don't actually know who he is yet.

Christian Watson, GB (112.9 ADP)

Watson is almost an exact copy of Valdes-Scantling, in all the good and bad senses. To be fair he can't possibly be as bad of a route runner and probably has better hands, but he's also staring down the rookie wall in his first year out of North Dakota State. The finished version of Valdes-Scantling was an afterthought before the latest rounds of fantasy drafts, so the rookie version doesn't warrant any sort of fresh optimism. Watson is highly likely to function as a decoy his rookie year, drawing the occasional deep target to keep safeties out of the box but disappearing before and afterward. If healthy both Sammy Watkins (168.0 ADP) and Romeo Doubs (210.8 ADP) are clearly more threatening as route runners, especially in the first 20 yards or so.

TIGHT ENDS

Dalton Schultz, DAL (69.8 ADP)

With the major glaring exception of CeeDee Lamb I guess this might be a good time to mention I'm fading pretty much the entire Dallas offense, because I think it will disappoint overall. Schultz is a part of that – the Cowboys are cornering themselves into making him their second-leading target behind CeeDee Lamb, and that simply isn't going to cut it. Schultz was productive in a fantasy sense last year and was far more efficient than he was in 2020, but the degree to which Schultz produces is almost always a corollary of how much Dak Prescott is struggling to throw downfield that day. With Lamb and Amari Cooper on the field defensive coordinators considered it a victory when Prescott would throw instead to Schultz. With no Cooper on the field Schultz has the bulls eye on him for the first time, and the returns will diminish sharply even if his target volume remains high. This makes him more so a target in PPR formats, because investors should expect per-target numbers more like what Schultz posted in 2020 – 70.8 percent completed at 6.9 YPT versus the 75.0 percent catch rate at 7.8 YPT from last year. Schultz was a backup his whole Stanford career for a reason. He's too skinny to play hero over the middle and he doesn't have the speed to threaten the seam, so watch defenses zero in on his specialty zone – generally within the first eight yards and often in the flats. You can get basically the same player in Zach Ertz (109.6 ADP) or a better one in T.J. Hockenson (84.2 ADP). I also prefer Dallas Goedert (96.2 ADP).

Dawson Knox, BUF (101.4 ADP) 

Knox's 2021 season was a useful illustration of what can happen when a great passing offense has a three-down tight end – they can stumble into touchdowns even if they are only somewhat effective. Knox's nine touchdowns on 49 receptions was at once profitable for his 2021 investors and unsustainable for those chasing Knox in 2022 onward. Knox's hands are unreliable and he isn't targeted often (71 on 873 snaps), so he's a classic candidate for regression given his dependency on touchdowns for fantasy viability. Indeed, Knox had just five touchdowns on his 52 prior receptions, and it's not as if the Josh Allen passing game was suffering at the time. The list of preferable targets is long – Zach Ertz (109.6 ADP), Pat Freiermuth (126.8 ADP), Mike Gesicki (132.6 ADP), Irv Smith (138.6 ADP), Cole Kmet (141.4 ADP), Albert Okwuegbunam (147.5 ADP) and Hunter Henry (152.2 ADP) is a start.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mario Puig
Mario is a Senior Writer at RotoWire who primarily writes and projects for the NFL and college football sections.
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