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Wide Receiver Hits & Misses

Fantasy football draft strategy

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Updated: July 19, 2012
Original Release: August 31, 2005


Evaluating potential fantasy football sleepers and fantasy football busts for your draft does not have to require you getting in the doghouse with your spouse, neglecting your kids, or displaying erratic behavior while combing through fantasy football magazines screaming there is some hidden code to be found. In fact, there are some simple methods you can use to screen potential players quickly to help stack the fantasy odds in your favor. In this article, the Docs provide you with a quick reference that will empower you with a little nugget that can help make a big difference on your fantasy football draft day. If you don't even have time for an article, sign up for our draft guide and get our complete fantasy football player rankings. If you can spare a few minutes, please continue.

Although doing your homework on sleepers and busts can pay big dividends for your team, many people do not have the time to weed through the rumors, digest all the "coach talk", and evaluate player performance in the preseason. Among all the whispers and hearsay, one component that is often overlooked is evaluating each player's physical attributes. By simply making a quick comparison of player height and weight, you can help screen potential candidates to help shift the probability of a correct outcome during your draft. Just ask Tony Holms at Fantasy Sharks.  Tony is a long time member of the fantasy football community who is probably best known for his Prognosticator. Originally composed in 1999, Tony released a set of draft strategy articles that are fun reads.  Although we respectfully do not prescribe to everything stated in these articles, the series has some nice points, and you will be a better fantasy football player for reading it (For those interested, direct links to these articles are provided at the bottom of the page). In the series, Tony states that he is a big believer in picking players in your fantasy football draft that fit a "mold" for height and weight at a position, and we are too.  Historical data supports some of the best players at each position have similar physical characteristics. While there are several positions that could be discussed when considering the "mold" for a NFL player, the position of wide receiver is of particular interest in fantasy football. Why? Typically this position can yield some of the biggest fruit in the mid to late rounds of your draft relative to other positions. It is a position that is often targeted by savvy fantasy football veterans as a "fill" position for their later rounds of their fantasy football draft after they have secured one, two, and sometimes three quality running backs earlier in their draft. After all, everyone in the draft must target a position where they select a potential starter for their team last (hey, we all can't have eight first round picks), and it is common for the second and third (depending on league setup) wide receiver slots to be that position (all kickers and team defenses excluded from consideration as those slots should be filled very late in your draft).

As for the "wide reciever mold", let's face it - you will be hard pressed to find many wide receivers less than six feet tall with league longevity. For one, the "jump ball" is a play that is already not an option for shorter receivers. If all things were equal, there would be no short players in the league at receiver. However, clearly rosters spots are won by shorter players exhibiting exceptional speed, hands, intangibles, or any combination of the three. They take this roster spot with a higher probability of a reduced career. Once they lose a step, they typically lose their value, while their taller counterparts keep sticking around in the league. Shorter receivers also run the added risk of a taller counterpart emerging during the year, which can bump them down on the depth chart or take away "favorite" status from their quarterback. Few things are more welcome to a quarterback's eyes than a tall receiver when inside the redzone or needing to convert a key third down.

Having said that, we have compiled four reference tables that compare the heights and weights of wide receivers subdivided into the following four groups: "Reference", "Picks with Potential", "Proceed with Caution", and "Danger Will Robinson". These tables are presented in a scannable format to allow easy comparisons between players. The first table serves as a reference, as it shows a combination of tall, highly-valued wide receivers and tall veterans still playing in the league. All players on this list are at or above 6' 0" in height (notice most players on this list cover the top 20 or so ranked WRs from just about any source). This list is not intended to be used for anything other than a quick comparison of physical attributes for some of the higher ranked players with some time-tested, tall veterans tossed in (i.e. do not select an older player at the end of their playing career in the 4th round of your draft just because he is on this list!).

Table 1, Reference: Tall Highly Valued Receivers Plus Tall Veterans

Player Team Height Weight Years Exp.
  Malcom Floyd
SDG
6'5"
201
7
  Vincent Jackson
TAM
6'5"
241
7
  Calvin Johnson
DET
6'5"
239
5
  Marques Colston
NOR
6'4"
225
6
  A.J. Green
CIN
6'4"
211
1
  Brandon Marshall
CHI
6'4"
229
6
  Randy Moss
SF
6'4"
210
13
  Sidney Rice
SEA
6'4"
200
5
  Miles Austin
DAL
6'3"
215
6
  Larry Fitzgerald
ARI
6'3"
223
8
  Andre Johnson
HOU
6'3"
219
9
  Julio Jones
ATL
6'3"
220
1
  Jordy Nelson
GRB
6'3"
215
4
  Dwayne Bowe
KC
6'2"
220
6
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  Steve Johnson
BUF
6'2"
210
4
  Mike Williams
TAM
6'2"
205
2
  Anquan Boldin
BAL
6'1"
220
9
  Roddy White
ATL
6'1"
201
7
  Victor Cruz
NYG
6'0"
204
2
  DeSean Jackson
PHI
6'0"
178
4
  Brandon Lloyd
NWE
6'0"
195
9
  Hakeem Nicks
NYG
6'0"
210
3
  Mike Wallace
PIT
6'0"
180
3
  Reggie Wayne
IND
6'0"
198
11


The second table demonstrates a list of candidates to target for your mid-to-late rounds of your draft. For each tier of receivers in your player rankings, the list is intended to provide that extra nugget of information to perhaps sway your decision to select a player with better potential for a good season. (Player tiers for your particular fantasy football scoring system can be found by using our Fantasy Football Draft Software). All players on this list are not as highly valued by the general fantasy football community due to being either less experienced or not proven to be a consistent performer, yet they are all 6' 0" or taller in height (Notice there are no NFL rookie WRs listed - to find out why, be sure to read our article NFL Rookie Fantasy Football Draft Strategy). These players provide good targets for the mid-to-late rounds of your draft. Place a plus next to the names of each of these players in your fantasy football rankings:

Table 2, Picks with Potential: Tall Receivers but "Young" (Place a plus next to their names)

Player Team Height Weight Years Exp.
  Kenny Britt
TEN
6'3"
215
3
  Eric Decker
DEN
6'3"
206
2
  Greg Little
CLE
6'3"
220
1
  Brian Quick
STL
6'3"
220
Rookie
  Demaryius Thomas
DEN
6'3"
229
2
  Dez Bryant
DAL
6'2"
225
2
  Michael Crabtree
SF
6'2"
215
3
  Darrius Heyward-Bey
OAK
6'2"
205
3
  Brandon LaFell
CAR
6'2"
208
2
  Justin Blackmon
JAX
6'1"
210
Rookie
  Austin Collie
IND
6'1"
200
3
  Torrey Smith
BAL
6'1"
204
1
  Pierre Garcon
WAS
6'0"
210
4
  Jeremy Maclin
PHI
6'0"
200
3
  Denarius Moore
OAK
6'0"
194
1


The third table exhibits players that are considered to have value with demonstrated potential and/or have had successful seasons in the past, but they are all below 6' 0" in height. Clearly some of these players will indeed have another good season, but the clock is ticking on their careers and perhaps this it the year they experience a decline in production. Place an asterisk next to the names of each of these players in your rankings:

Table 3, Proceed with Caution: Short Receivers with "Value" (Place an asterisk next to their names)

Player Team Height Weight Years Exp.
  Danny Amendola
STL
5'11"
183
3
  Vincent Brown
SDG
5'11"
187
1
  Percy Harvin
MIN
5'11"
200
3
  Greg Jennings
GRB
5'11"
195
6
  Titus Young
DET
5'11"
174
1
  Santana Moss
WAS
5'10"
185
11
  Steve Smith
CAR
5'9"
185
11
  Jacoby Ford
OAK
5'9"
181
2
  Wes Welker
NWE
5'9"
190
8


Finally, the fourth table provides players to just flat-out avoid. These receivers are either short rookies or short veterans that no longer bring fantasy value as a WR to the table. The odds are stacked heavily against these players having an impact year. Cross out these names on your draft list.

Table 4, Danger Will Robinson: Short Receivers with Little Value (Cross these players off your list)

Player Team Height Weight Years Exp.
  T.J. Graham
BUF
5'11"
188
Rookie
  Ryan Broyles
DET
5'10"
188
Rookie
  Devin Hester
CHI
5'10"
185
6
  T.Y. Hilton
IND
5'10"
183
Rookie
  Eddie Royal
SDG
5'10"
182
4
  Santonio Holmes
NYJ
5'10"
185
6
  Deion Branch
NWE
5'9"
193
10
  Dexter McCluster
KC
5'9"
165
2
  Lance Moore
NOR
5'9"
177
6
  Mike Thomas
JAX
5'8"
187
3


Keep these physical attributes in mind, and be sure to check out Tony's Draft Strategy Series at Fantasy Sharks:
Article 1: The Golden Rules
Article 2: Eagle Scout
Article 3: Pressure Cooker
Article 4: The Art of War

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