FanDuel NFL Pricing Day 2015: Wide Receivers


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What does value look like in daily fantasy?

On a football field, value can be found in a number of ways. Many times, we'll assign value to highly-paid players who stick around, help build a team and eventually become championship contenders. Value can also be a term used to indicate a savvy, workman-like veteran who does the "dirty work" while other glory hounds get all the glitz, glamour and big paydays. NFL teams also place a lot of stock in the value of draft picks thanks to relatively low dollar amounts, longer contracts and huge potential for success.

In DFS, value typically comes in the form of lower-priced players who excel past expectations. Even more value can be found when those players are not hit on by the majority of players, giving a smaller group of players a big advantage.

With FanDuel's pricing now out for Week 1 of the NFL regular season, we can not only dissect the value of every single player, but we can also start gauging the winds of change as to which players may find their value slip or ascend in future weeks. While my colleagues are handling some other positions, I've been tasked with laying out the wide receivers for you. To do so, I've divided them in three separate groups: Staying Power, Shooting Stars and Worth Watching.

Staying Power

These are wide receivers at or near the upper echelon of pricing that are not only worth the big bucks to help drive your team to victory, but should be so all season long.

Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers)—$9,500

The highest-priced receiver for Week 1, Brown should maintain that honor for much of the season since he's not only shown incredible consistency, but also for the fact that this iteration of Steelers football seems remarkably confident in its passing game and perfectly comfortable throwing the ball with regularity. It helps, too, that running back Le'Veon Bell won't be available for the first couple of weeks, which should boost Brown's numbers.

Dez Bryant (Dallas Cowboys)—$8,900

The Cowboys overall success was tied to balance on both offense and defense in 2014, but Bryant's numbers could definitely get a boost from running back DeMarco Murray's absence in 2015. Most of all, I'm looking for a touchdown number similar to his 16 last season with even more receptions and yardage added.

Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions)—$8,700

The Lions were successful last season, but Johnson was a disappointment, falling behind Golden Tate on the receiver pecking order and letting lingering injuries effect both his effectiveness and consistency. The Matthew Stafford-led offense should be markedly better going forward (it needs to be) and Johnson is a big part of that, along with second-year tight end Eric Ebron. If Johnson, 29, doesn't reverse his fortunes, we could be looking at the end of his days as a top receiver.

DeAndre Hopkins (Houston Texans)—$8,000

Hopkins was one of the more explosive wide receiver options in 2014, and the only thing limiting him in 2015 and beyond is the caliber of quarterback throwing him the football. As of right now, it's likely going to be either Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallet (not exactly awe-inspiring), but Hopkins will continue to get his, and I expect him to stay around this $8,000 mark all season long, while admitting he could be worth $500-$1,000 more if his quarterback was a little better.

Julian Edelman (New England Patriots)—$7,800

There's just something about Julian...

I don't care who is throwing Edelman the ball or whatever other options the Patriots have around him. He's still going to get around 10 targets a game and that means seven-plus receptions each week. His touchdown numbers were low in 2014, and that could tick up a bit leading to even better-than-expected points.

Shooting Stars

Real shooting stars light up the sky, but quickly disappear. While I'm not trying to imply these receivers will be completely off-the-map by the end of 2015, it should not surprise anyone if their price point marches downward over he course of the season.

Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers)—$8,600

Cobb himself said it would be hard to top what he did last year, and I agree. The Packers are always going to have a bevy of receiving options on the field, and teams know they need to commit extra personnel/scheming to stop Cobb. I'm not saying he won't still have huge games (he will) or he won't continue to operate as 1A or 1B on the Packers depth chart (he will), but look for guys like Davante Adams, Jared Abbredaris, Ty Montgomery and Richard Rodgers to steal some of his production.

Emmanuel Sanders (Denver Broncos)—$8,400

Sanders' 2014 numbers were a function of a fantastic athlete matching up with a high-volume scheme amenable to his skill set. Sanders can still put up some of those big numbers on a week-to-week basis, but I would not be surprised if he can't come close to matching what he did in last season's perfect storm of success. This will primarily be a running team, not only because head coach Gary Kubiak has always operated that way, but because running the ball is the best way to continue protecting Peyton Manning with issues on the offensive line.

Roddy White (Atlanta Falcons)—$7,800

Overall, the Falcons offense should see a return to form in 2015, but White (who turns 34 in November) may not see his personal production do the same. Atlanta will lean heavily on a run game featuring Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman, while new tight end Jacob Tamme (along with maybe Tony Moeaki) should see heavy workloads. White has been a first-down and touchdown hog for much of his career, but no one should be surprised if that drops off a cliff and his scoring becomes a much more mercurial thing.

Jeremy Maclin (Kansas City Chiefs)—$7,800

Maclin's numbers were inflated a bit last season, as are anyone's numbers while playing in Chip Kelly's offense. Now, he's in a more glacial-paced Kansas City with Alex Smith at quarterback. Yes, he's going to help the Chiefs' receivers score more receiving touchdowns (because anything is better than zero), but one-week fantasy football players shouldn't get excited about his slightly deflated price point based off of last season's numbers, because it should end up deflating more by the end of the season.

Golden Tate (Detroit Lions)—$7,300

Discussed a little with Johnson above, 2014 was likely a blip on the radar for the relationship of Stafford and Megatron, which saw the star receiver lose much of what made him great. With Johnson presumably better in 2015—along with a few other players stepping up—Tate should be more of a dependable and explosive No. 2 receiving option against great matchups, rather than the must-play No. 1 he finished as last season.

Worth Watching

Maybe these receivers aren't household names or must-starts in the DFS realm right now, but they could pay dividends against the right matchup thanks to their low price and could certainly end up as much more expensive players as 2015 wears on.

Brandin Cooks (New Orleans Saints)—$7,600

Cooks' price point was just a little too low for me to consider him in the first group, but I thought about it. Yes, he's just a second-year player who spent much of 2014 trying to find his footing and then got injured, but he's clearly the No. 1 receiving option for the Saints moving forward, and a revamped running game should open up a lot of room for him to do damage. I personally consider Cooks the replacement for both Lance Moore and Darren Sproles in Drew Brees' progressions.

Amari Cooper (Oakland Raiders)—$7,300

Like Cooks, if Cooper had been priced just a little higher, I'd have put him in my elite group above. Cooper—like all rookies—will have a few unforced mental errors and get punked by savvy, talented corners in Year 1, but this is his offense moving forward and he's ridiculously athletic and talented. He has potential to be a Top 5 receiver on FanDuel almost every week.

Allen Robinson (Jacksonville Jaguars)—$6,400

It's natural that Robinson is still being slow-played, because he's on the Jaguars with Blake Bortles throwing to him. That said, there are moments on 2014 tape where he looked completely uncoverable. How much that translates to big DFS numbers will depend on the talent around him, but Jacksonville has looked to be a team on the rise for a couple of seasons, and the offense should be more competent this season.

Martavis Bryant (Pittsburgh Steelers)—$6,000

Physically speaking, there are things Bryant does that no one on the Steelers receiving corps (Brown included) can do. Now, that doesn't mean he's supplanting Brown as the guy—heavens no!—instead, it's more-than-possible he sees a dramatic rise in his numbers moving forward, as the Steelers continue to pass and teams push their coverage toward Brown.

Charles Johnson (Minnesota Vikings)—$5,900

Johnson is one of those secrets that's becoming so well-known that he might be both overrated and underrated at the same time, depending on who one talks to. The Grand Valley State project has been moving around the midwest and now lands in an incredibly advantageous position with Teddy Bridgewater, who is starving for an X wide receiver of his talents. Johnson is still rough around the edges, but he should have more-sporadic success to begin the season and DFS fans should watch matchups and keep track of his targets to wait and see if he's a more consistent play.

Editor's Note: We're hosting a one-day $50,000 fantasy baseball league on FanDuel tonight. It's only $2 to join and first place wins $5,000. Enter by 7:05pm ET (today, July 21st). Here's the link.

*All current prices are subject to change between now and the official launch of FanDuel NFL contests.