Fantasy Football: Finding a WR1 in the Middle Rounds

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Fantasy Football: Finding a WR1 in the Middle Rounds of Your Draft

Fantasy Football, NFL

June is right around the corner. NFL OTAs are in session, and fantasy football drafts will be here before you know it. Our sister site, 4for4, is the place for all your fantasy football needs. And guess what? They’ve dropped their 2023 rankings. So, we will discuss them over the next couple of weeks.

We’ll start with the wide receivers today. Snagging a WR1 for your fantasy football team in the middle rounds is a tactic that could win you a fantasy football title. As John Paulsen wrote in his wide receiver’s breakdown at 4for4, Guys like  Amon-Ra St. Brown, Amari Cooper, Tyler Lockett, and Christian Kirk could have won you your league last season. The common denominator with those names is that they all finished in the top 15 despite being drafted in the fourth round or later.

In 2021 Cooper Kupp, Deebo Samuel, Ja’Marr Chase, and Diontae Johnson finished in the top 10 even though they typically went off the board in the fourth round or later. The same applies to Stefon Diggs, Keenan Allen, Robert Woods, A.J. Brown, DK Metcalf, and Brandin Cooks in 2020.

You get the point. This can make or break your season, especially in PPR leagues. That being said, here are some names to watch in the middle rounds this year.

Keenan Allen (WR14 — ESPN Default PPR)

Quentin Johnston being drafted gives Justin Herbert another target to throw to this season. Still, the top pass-catching target in Los Angeles is Keenan Allen. With Kellen Moore as the new OC, the Chargers’ passing attack should expand to offset the targets diverted to Johnston this season.

John’s Analysis: Keenan Allen is going near the 4th/5th turn as the WR25 off the board. When healthy, he’s still the clear WR1 for the Chargers. And he continues to produce. Last year, he averaged 6.6 catches for 75 yards and 0.40 touchdowns on 8.9 targets per game, and that included a couple of games where he had to leave early due to injury.

Terry McLaurin (WR17 — ESPN Default PPR)

Terry McLaurin has been on the rise for the last three seasons in D.C. Opening the 2023 fantasy football season as a WR17 in ESPN’s default PPR scoring makes him a perfect mid-round WR1 for your team.

John’s Analysis: In the quarterback breakdown, I discussed how Sam Howell is my favorite (very) late-round value at quarterback. Terry McLaurin should be his primary target, though Jahan Dotson may have something to say about that. McLaurin is on a great trajectory. In his last three seasons, he has posted 87-1118-4, 77-1053-5, and 77-1191-5. It’s a small sample, but Howell targeted McLaurin on six of his 19 pass attempts in his lone start. That’s a 31.6% target share. McLaurin averaged 3.36 yards per route run in that game, which is outstanding. (Dotson was also great in that game, with 3.27 yards per route run.)

Jerry Jeudy (WR25 — ESPN Default PPR)

Sean Payton and a second season in Denver for Russell Willson should help Jerry Jeudy make a leap in 2023. Jeudy being a WR25 in ESPN’s default PPR scoring makes him a great value pick with plenty of boom potential.

John’s Analysis: Jerry Jeudy caught 67 passes for 972 yards and six scores, finishing as the WR26 in his first season with Russell Wilson. “A rising tide lifts all boats,” they say, and with Sean Payton running the offense, Jeudy should be the centerpiece of an improved passing attack. 

Christian Watson (WR29 — ESPN Default PPR)

Jordan Love will get every opportunity to be the guy in Green Bay. Christian Watson will likely be his top target. If you have the opportunity to land Love in the middle-late rounds, jump on it.

John’s Analysis: It looked like Christian Watson would have a lost rookie season, but he broke out in a big way in Week 10 (4-107-3 on 8 targets) and proceeded to rack up 584 total yards and seven touchdowns over the next eight games. There are some concerns–Watson’s production took a big dip whenever Romeo Doubs was healthy–but his athletic profile is outstanding. If Jordan Love is competent, Watson should be able to build on a solid second half of the season. The Packers’ depth chart order is one of the toughest to predict because we don’t know how good Watson, Doubs, and Jayden Reed will be or which one(s) will jibe best with Jordan Love.

You can check out Paul’s full write-up here:

You can also find 4for4’s 2023 Fantasy Football Rankings here:

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.