Best Ball Steals: Five Must-Draft Receivers 5 25 2022
Best ball drafts are in full swing and mid- to late-round value can make the difference between a first-round playoff boot and championship victory. Identifying key players at each position with a high potential to outperform their ADP gives you a significant advantage in best ball. It's easy to identify top tier talent in early rounds but as the draft goes on, you want to have your eye on multiple players with upside at each position. Let's look at five receivers that can be steals at their current rankings.
The Packers' receiving core is extremely depleted with the absence of Davante Adams. With skepticism surrounding Allen Lazard's ceiling and the potential emergence of second-round draft pick Christian Watson, Lazard's sits at 135 in Football Diehards best ball rankings - making him one of my favorite value targets.
It's possible Christian Watson becomes a rookie sensation and a major target for Aaron Rodgers. But rookies typically have a limited impact in the Packers offense. Adams had only 38 receptions on 66 targets for 446 yards and 3 touchdowns his rookie year. The most likely outcome is vacated targets spread around the entire team with no player seeing 130-plus targets. But where I think the value for Lazard pays off is in the red zone.
Lazard had 40 receptions on 60 targets, 513 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2021. Five of those touchdowns came in weeks 14 through 18. He ranked in the top 20 of fantasy points scored in the redzone in 2021. Increased redzone opportunities could yield major results for Lazard.
Grab your Russell Gage best ball shares now before your opponents realize what an incredible steal he is! Gage isn't the flashiest receiver in the world. But, when given the opportunity, Gage has been reliable and efficient. His value at 124 overall is fantastic.
In 2021, Gage was WR11 weeks 11 through 18 in full PPR with the absence of Calvin Ridley. In 2020, Gage was WR17 weeks 11 through 17 with the absence of Julio Jones. Are we seeing the pattern here?
Gage is a player who steps up when needed and produces. Gage will have a significant opportunity if Chris Godwin isn't ready to start the season, coming off a late-season ACL tear. But even when Godwin returns, the Tampa Bay offense is one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL with 6,901 total yards and a league-leading 5,229 pass yards and 43 passing touchdowns. Tom Brady supported multiple receivers in 2021 and this will likely continue in 2022. Even as the third option, Gage has major appeal in best ball.
Putting the outrageous contract aside, Christian Kirk can provide excellent value at 104 overall. Kirk is stepping in as the unquestioned WR1 for the Jags. It's unquestioned because there was truly not a WR1 within the offense last year. Marvin Jones, Laquon Treadwell, Jamal Agnew and Laviska Shenault all had mild claims to lead receiver at some point last season. Zay Jones has been added to the mix. There simply isn't a single option to challenge Kirk.
Kirk finished WR26 in PPR last year with 77 receptions on 103 targets for 982 yards and 5 touchdowns. If new head coach Doug Pederson can breathe life into Trevor Lawrence and the Jags offense, Kirk is a steal.
I'm not a big fan of drafting late round rookies in redraft because it's difficult to justify holding onto them while they develop during the first half of the season. Amon-ra St. Brown is an excellent example of this. Many fantasy managers gave up mid-season, seeking better opportunities on the waiver wire and missed his late season emergence.
But at overall ranking 120, it's well worth the investment to draft Moore in best ball leagues, hoping for a late season pay-off that could help carry you into the playoffs and claim a championship.
Much like Allan Lazard, Gabriel Davis was a redzone darling in 2021. 18 of his 63 targets were in the redzone. With the exit of Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders, Davis has the potential to be the second option in the Bills offense behind Stefon Diggs.
The path to WR2 for Davis isn't unchallenged. The Bills added Jamison Crowder and we haven't seen a significant target share for Davis. There's potential for boom/bust performances. Davis is ranked 83 overall and, while I think the ranking is more appropriate than the other receivers on this list, the upside with Josh Allen is extremely high. Davis wrapped up the 2021 season with a playoff performance of eight receptions on 10 targets for 201 yards and four touchdowns. He'll carry significant momentum into the 2022 season.