Fantasy football - Which Green Bay and Kansas City WRs should you draft?

Fantasy football – Which Green Bay and Kansas City WRs should you draft?

Whether due to free agency, trades or the draft, it’s been quite the eventful offseason for wide receivers. Two of the biggest moves were the trades of Tyreek Hill from Kansas City to Miami and Davante Adams from Green Bay to Las Vegas. Those two deals obviously impacted the fantasy value of Hill and Adams, as well as that of their new teammates.

Of course, they also left sizable voids at the position for their previous squads. When you examine the top wide receiver options for the Chiefs and Packers this season, you’ll see these are tough races to handicap, but understanding the situations will help you make the best decisions during your draft.

Be sure to also check out the latest statistical projections for each player.

What’s available: Over the past four seasons, 28% of Green Bay’s targets went to Adams, which is more than double his next-closest teammate, Marquez Valdes-Scantling (11%), who also departed during the offseason. Adams handled 30% of the targets in 2021 (10.6 per game) and MVS got 10% (5.0). Add in fellow departure Equanimeous St. Brown (3%), and 42% of the team’s overall targets and 66% of its wide receiver targets are available.

The contenders

Allen Lazard: Lazard is the top incumbent option after hitting career highs in targets, receptions, yards, touchdowns and fantasy points last season. That said, the 2018 undrafted free agent has been around for a while and has yet to produce a top-40 fantasy campaign. Lazard is a strong bet to open the season as Aaron Rodgers’ top target and the 6-foot-5 receiver has already been busy near the goal line (12 end zone targets in 2021).

Christian Watson: The Packers traded up to select Watson with the 34th pick of April’s draft. He may need some time to develop after playing college ball at FCS North Dakota State, but he’s 6-4 with 4.36 wheels and obviously entering a very good situation. Watson’s inexperience obviously makes him a wild card, but if he’s the real deal, the upside is immense.

Sammy Watkins: Watkins was inexplicably Green Bay’s only veteran addition during the offseason. The 29-year-old is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career and continues to struggle with durability (multiple missed games in six of his past seven seasons). Watkins hasn’t been a top-40 fantasy performer since 2015 despite working in high-scoring Rams, Chiefs and Ravens offenses. It’s hard to imagine that changing in his ninth season.

Randall Cobb: Rodgers handpicked Cobb for the roster last season, but it simply didn’t lead to much production. Cobb was targeted only 39 times and was held to a 28-375-5 receiving line. Like Watkins (and Lazard to a lesser extent), Cobb has had durability issues, having last played a full season in 2015. He very well could settle in as the Packers’ primary slot man, but the soon-to-be 32-year -old’s ceiling is extremely low.

Amari Rodgers: The other “A. Rodgers” was a surprise Day 2 draft pick last season and played only 99 snaps in 12 games as a rookie. The Clemson product’s short-range role (4.8 aDOT as a rookie) may limit his ceiling a bit, but he can also help out as a rusher. There hasn’t been much Rodgers chatter this offseason, but we always need to be on the lookout for players positioned for a second-year leap.

Romeo Doubs: Watson was the second of three wide receivers selected by Green Bay in the April draft. The fourth-rounder out of Nevada is a vertical, perimeter receiver who racked up 75-plus targets during all four collegiate seasons. He may start out as a punt returner, but his progression on the WR depth chart will be worth monitoring.

Also on the roster: Juwann Winfree, Malik Taylor, Rico Gafford, Samori Toure, Danny Davis III

How to approach

Lazard and Watson should be on your radar in the early-double-digit rounds. They’re the favorites to emerge as the team’s top perimeter targets in what will surely be a high-scoring offense as long as Rodgers is under center. There isn’t a ton of appeal here otherwise, but Watkins isn’t the worst deep-league, late-round flier. Consider Cobb only in very deep PPR leagues. Rodgers and Doubs should be rostered in dynasty and monitored throughout the offseason.

What’s available: Hill handled a career-high 25% target share (9.4 targets per game) last season. If we also include fellow departures Demarcus Robinson (6%), Byron Pringle (9%) and Marcus Kemp (1%), a hefty 41% of the team’s overall targets are available. In fact, with only two returning wide receivers (Mecole Hardman and Josh Gordon), 73% of the team’s targets at the position are up for grabs.

The contenders

JuJu Smith-Schuster: The Chiefs signed Smith-Schuster to a low-risk, one-year deal after an up-and-down five-year stint with Pittsburgh. The slot man peaked with 1,426 yards and an eighth-place fantasy finish at age 21 in 2018, but he has struggled with injuries and late-career Ben Roethlisberger the past few seasons. Smith-Schuster is still in his prime at 25 and the QB upgrade to Patrick Mahomes figures to allow more vertical targets. Smith-Schuster is the most likely player to emerge as the No. 1 receiver in Kansas City’s high-scoring, pass-heavy offense. He has a solid floor and an elite ceiling.

Mark Valdes-Scantling: The aforementioned MVS has never finished a season better than 50th in catches, yards or fantasy points. And yet Kansas City thought enough of the former Packers receiver to hand him $15 million guaranteed during the offseason. That suggests Valdes-Scantling is a big part of their plans. The perimeter, vertical receiver owns the league’s highest aDOT since he was drafted in the fifth round back in 2018, but he’s dead last in catch rate. His role and past performance suggest we should continue to expect boom/bust production.

Skyy Moore: Kansas City spent a second-round pick on Moore back in April. The Western Michigan product handled a massive 32% target share during 30 collegiate games. He has very good (and big) hands, which helped him to outstanding efficiency, and he can line up all over the field (a key in Andy Reid’s offense). Rookies are always question marks, but if Moore proves to be the real deal and lands a starting gig, he’ll immediately be a starting option in fantasy.

Mecole Hardman: Hardman is the first incumbent Chiefs receiver on our list. The 2019 second-round pick has been effective when called upon during his three seasons (his 8.6 RAC trails only Deebo Samuel since 2019), but he simply hasn’t been trusted with much volume (career 3.8 targets per game). As a result, he’s yet to deliver a top-45 fantasy campaign. The speedy playmaker is a natural replacement for a lot of what Hill did, however, so a fourth-year breakout is very possible.

Justin Ross: Ross is a rare undrafted player with significant upside. The Clemson product produced 1,865 yards and 17 touchdowns during his first two collegiate seasons before his career was derailed by neck/spine surgery. Teams are obviously still worried about his health, but Ross was cleared to play in 2021 and his combination of size (6-4) and production suggests he has a high ceiling. He’s a major wild card worth monitoring this offseason.

Josh Gordon: Yes, Gordon is still in the league. Now 31 years old, Gordon has appeared in a grand total of 45 games since 2014. That includes a 2021 season in which he was limited to 13 targets in 12 games with the Chiefs. The fact that he could barely get onto the field last season suggests he’s a long shot to do so in the future. Despite his big name and past accomplishments, he’s not worth your time in fantasy.

Also on the roster: Justin Watson, Daurice Fountain, Cornell Powell, Corey Coleman, Omar Bayless, Mathew Sexton, Gary Jennings

How to approach

Smith-Schuster’s early ADP has him in the middle rounds, which makes him the most expensive of any Packers or Chiefs receiver. It’s not a bad price to pay, though, considering his summary and outstanding situation. Moore should be on your radar a few rounds later, with MVS and Hardman well worth late-round fliers. Ross should be on roster only in dynasty.


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