For the sake of spreading knowledge to the wonderful Footclan – I want to make sure we clarify what the term flier means before we even get to the list. A flier is a player who can be selected near the end of your fantasy drafts but has the potential to grow into a starting option for your team. These players are referred to as deep sleepers, or often times ‘dart throws’. Each player listed still carries plenty of risk alongside their cheap price tag. If drafted carefully, they can determine the landscape of your whole season and help vault you to championship glory. Guys like James Conner, Phillip Lindsay, and Tyler Lockett fit this mold last season. When choosing wide receivers it’s important to lean towards players who produced in small sample sizes but have positive situations overall. Let’s look at three of the top options for 2019:
Predicting Carolina pass catchers not named Christian McCaffrey has been more confusing than the first time I watched Donnie Darko. Towards the end of 2018, D.J Moore started to gain traction in the fantasy community and the hype train hasn’t stopped since. I understand the talent that Moore possesses and the draft capital spent on him is certainly promising – but his ADP isn’t. There’s another player in Carolina that produced strikingly similar (if not more impressive) numbers than Moore. That man was Curtis Samuel.
Samuel didn’t play for the first three weeks of 2018 so when we examine his production we have to be a bit more specific. Let’s take a look at the second half of the year and how these two compared to each other:
|Targets||Receptions||Touchdowns||Receving Yards||Fantasy Points|
Even if you think Moore might be the better pick outright, their ADP tells us that Samuel is a much better value. He’s the perfect mold of a late-round flier because he’s already shown similar production to a sixth-round fantasy draft pick, but you can get him for half the cost.
Anthony Miller flew under the radar in 2018 and that’s reflected in his current ADP. It was a season in which he finished in the top fifteen in touchdowns among wideouts and top twelve in terms of fantasy points per target. His yardage totals left something to be desired, but that’s a common theme for rookie receivers. When evaluating a second-year leap, it’s important to look at what the player did with his opportunities even if there weren’t too many of them. Matt Nagy was a first-year head coach who brought a new offense to Chicago, and Miller produced solid numbers in a complex scheme as a rookie. He came into the league as a polished route runner and shot up dynasty draft boards in the preseason as reports of his abilities landed on Twitter daily. We’ve seen in the past that it takes at least a full season for wideouts to become fantasy relevant and it’s important to invest in the breakout before it happens. With a current ADP in the thirteenth round, his status as a late-round target is very much intact.
Marquez Valdez-Scantling – ADP: 14.06
When I first watched Birdbox on Netflix, I was pretty sure it was an allegory for fantasy owners attempting to close their eyes, decide on a Green Bay pass catcher and then swerve out of the way of all the potential downfalls of picking the wrong one. In terms of which player will be Aaron Rodgers’ second option this season, most people have a different opinion but they all come in the form of either Geronimo Allison, Equanimeous St. Brown or Marquez Valdez-Scantling. (Side note – After I finished typing those last two names I realized that spelling them correctly is just as tough of a task as predicting their fantasy output this year.)
The primary reasons I lean towards MVS are his draft price and his uniquely favorable skillset. He can be taken with one of your last three picks which essentially makes him free. In terms of standing out from the other two pass catchers, his physical abilities allow him to move into the slot position much quicker and be the most immediate option for replacing Randall Cobb. Davante Adams will remain the top dog but Aaron Rodgers has supported a secondary fantasy receiver time and time again. Sorting out which one of the three it will be is a crucial task for fantasy owners who want to win their leagues next season.