With the NFL draft a month away, we look at the top wide receivers in the draft and their potential fantasy impact in 2017 (and beyond).
As many as three wide receivers are expected to be taken in the first round of the NFL draft, and all three should make an immediate impact on fantasy football in 2017. Here is a look at the top wide receivers on the draft board:
1. Corey Davis, Western Michigan
The only other time a MAC wide receiver was drafted in the first round? Does the name Randy Moss ring a bell? Davis made a name for himself the past four years, and was the MAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2016 with 97 catches for 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns. He is being projected as the No. 10 overall selection to the Buffalo Bills, where he would line up opposite Sammy Watkins. With a new coaching staff in Buffalo and Tyrod Taylor under contract, there’s a decent chance the offense opens up this season and Davis could make a sneaky mid-round fantasy selection.
2. John Ross, Washington
This is the guy who destroyed the 40-yard dash time at the combine with a 4.22. He’s pretty fast. He can also catch. He was second-team All-American last year after hauling in 81 receptions for 1,150 yards and a Pac-12 leading 17 touchdowns. Needless to say, he’s the top deep threat on the board and many mocks have him landing in Tennessee at No. 18. A Marcus Mariota-Ross combo could be a winner for fantasy owners in 2017.
3. Mike Williams, Clemson
The only wide receivers in Clemson history better than Mike Williams are DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins. Williams could wind up being the best of all of them. He led the ACC with 98 receptions for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, earning first-team All-ACC honors. He could end up in Buffalo or Baltimore. Wherever he goes, he is going to make an impact and should be considered a mid-round pickup, maybe earlier if he ends up in Baltimore, which just lost Steve Smith Sr. and Kamar Aiken.
4. Curtis Samuel, Ohio State
Samuel replaced Ezekiel Elliott as the focal point of the Ohio State offense last season and was a dual threat, leading the team with 74 receptions for 865 yards and seven touchdowns and gaining 771 rushing yards with eight touchdowns. Could he succeed as a Danny Woodhead/Darren Sproles-type player in the NFL? He projects as a second-round pick, and where he lands should dictate his role, which will help determine his true fantasy value.
5. Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington
Kupp was quite simply one the best FCS wide receivers of all time. He captured his second straight FCS Offensive Player of the Year award in 2016 with a Big Sky-record 117 receptions for 1,700 yards. Projected as a second-round pick, he is likely to end up as a slot receiver in the NFL. Although he played at the FCS level, he had 40 catches for 716 yards and 11 touchdowns in four games against Pac-12 competition. He could be one of those guys who defies expectations and rewards fantasy owners who take a shot at him late in drafts.
6. Chris Godwin, Penn State
7. ArDarius Stewart, Alabama
8. Zay Jones, East Carolina
9. JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC
10. Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech