One of the most agonizing parts of being an owner of a fantasy football team is deciding who to start and sit on any given week. It becomes especially difficult when you have two seemingly good options at the same position.
This dilemma comes up more often at wide receiver than the other skill positions, and when it does here is my advice: Start the highest drafted receivers you have no matter what – unless your top guy is facing a defense expected to allow a minimum number of fantasy points.
To illustrate this I broke up the wide receivers into tiers, with a WR1 being a wideout drafted within the first 12 picks of a draft, based on historical average draft position data from Fantasy Football Calculator. I then took preseason strength of schedule information from FantasyPros and classified them into buckets. As you can see below, you want to start the top 12 receivers in almost every situation except against the the most stingy defenses.
If you do find your top wideout facing one of these defenses, the stats show it makes sense to go with a WR2 even if that receiver is also playing against a top-five defense. Typically, NFL defenses will key on the main threat leaving the rest of the receiving corp free to make plays.
However, the fantasy points allowed by the top-five defenses against a top wide receiver is misleading. There is really only one defense you need to worry about: the Seattle Seahawks. Last season, there were five receivers drafted among the top 12 and faced Seattle during the regular season. Here is how they performed:
Only Andre Johnson (the eighth wide receiver selected in 2013) had any success against Seattle and the Legion of Boom among WR1s last season, and that was in week four at home in which he turned in a 110 yard performance with zero touchdowns. The rest might as well have been on a bye week.
Here are the receivers expected to be among the first 12 selected this year in drafts and have Seattle on their schedule:
- Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (1.08 ADP)
- Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (1.11)
- Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers (2.09)
- Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (3.03)
- Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers (3.08)
If you do select one of the above, make sure you have a Plan B for when they face off against the Seahawks.
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