Saturday, August 15, 2015

Low-Cost Wide Receivers for Week 1

Week 1 is still almost a month away, but with the NFL preseason already upon us and injuries shifting projected depth charts, it is never too early to join a few FanDuel games and survey the salary landscape. The first thing I do is check out the low-cost options at each position, mining for a value play who will in a high market share of my lineups during the week. Working from the bottom-up with FanDuel lineups can maximize overall roster value and create space for a high-floor stud with remaining dollars.

Starting all the way at the bottom of the wide receiver salary structure (4,500), here are players to keep on your value play short list in the coming weeks for WR2/3 spots at 5,500 or less:

Marquess Wilson (4,500): Eddie Royal is one beneficiary of Kevin White's being out for a significant portion of the season. Wilson is another in Chicago. Wilson flashed late in 2014 and will be on the upswing at 23 years old this season. Look for Royal to kick inside to the slot – at a minimum on three-receiver sets – and Wilson to line up outside. If Alshon Jeffery has a setback with Week 1 in question, Wilson and Royal would both be in the auto-play conversation – along with Martellus Bennett at tight end.

Chris Matthews (4,500): Matthews dinged up his shoulder on August 14, but is not projected to be in question for Week 1. The Seattle wide receiver depth chart is wide open for work and Matthews is an ideal WR3 minimum-salary flyer with prototypical size, a quality quarterback, and productive offense.

Kamar Aiken (4,600): The Baltimore depth chart, beyond Steve Smith, is up in the air for Week 1. Aiken has seen first team reps already, saw significant playing time at the end of 2014, has a thick build, and Denver will force the Ravens to score plenty of points in Week 1.

Tavon Austin (4,700): Another low-cost option from a murky depth chart here with Austin. The bust weeks have far outnumbered the boom ones from Austin to-date, but top speed and a return game upside boost puts Austin in the conversation against Seattle, especially if Brian Quick is slow out of the gate returning from his 2014 shoulder injury.

Eddie Royal (5,000): Like Wilson, a big beneficiary from the Kevin White news of missing significant time.

Cole Beasley (5,000): A high-floor option more conducive to cash games, but Beasley is a locked-in Dallas passing game option and a favorite Tony Romo target on third down.

Terrance Williams (5,300): Like Beasley, Williams should see loose coverage with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten higher up defenses’ priority lists. Williams is a higher-upside option than most on this list for a few hundred more dollars of salary.

Kenny Stills (5,400): DeVante Parker is a question mark to open the season and Greg Jennings is more of a ho-hum veteran depth option than anything else. Jarvis Landry will live in the slot, making Stills a prime Week 1 option against Washington and potentially the start of a breakout season for Ryan Tannehill.

Marques Colston (5,500): Until the salary corrects, Colston is a name in flashing lights at 5,500. Brandin Cooks and Colston are the clear lead targets with Drew Brees; and without Jimmy Graham, Colston is a prime candidate to see a boost of red zone targets. Colston is a quality blend of high-floor and WR1-level upside.

Davante Adams (5,500): Adams is a quality upside play any week as Green Bay runs three receivers deep with WR1 potential. If Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb miss a game in 2015, Adams becomes an auto-play.

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