Chris Conley
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Fantasy football is not unlike NFL betting in that sleepers and underdogs can often come outta nowhere and save the day. Like Tom Brady, who is neither a wide receiver nor a sleeper fantasy pick but was selected by the New England Patriots with the 199th overall pick in the sixth round of 2000 NFL Draft. With the benefit of hindsight one would never select Brady that late, nor would one pick these wide receivers in the early rounds – which are reserved for the likes of Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., etc. but the following aren’t going until the 10th round in standard fantasy football leagues.
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Chris Conley

On the plus side Conley played the most snaps of any Kansas City Chiefs receiver (818) and recorded 45.47 Reception Net Expected Points in 2016 even though he did not score a touchdown. On the downside quarterback Alex Smith ranked second-lowest in intended air yards per attempt in 2016, and the Chief ranked 25th in pass plays (577).
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Tyler Lockett

Locket’s 0.71 Reception NEP per target in 2016 placed him behind Seattle Seahawks teammates Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham (0.75 and 0.74 respectively) and matched Antonio Brown’s Reception NEP per target. Locket had just 66 targets overall, but had at least six targets in five of his last six games before breaking his tibia and fibula in week 16.
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Zay Jones

Sammy Watkins was dealt away, Jordan Matthews is injured, Anquan Boldin found a higher calling, and Brandon Tate, Walter Powell, and Dezmin Lewis all had only 22 catches last season. all of which opens the door for rookie Zay Jones – who is the all-time NCAA Division I career receptions leader (399) and all-time NCAA Division I single season receptions leader (158) – to potentially become the Buffalo Bills’ top receiver.
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Sterling Shepard

The New York Giants 26th-ranked offense in 2016 (they scored 110 fewer points than the previous season and had 25% fewer red zone receiving opportunities) did not prevent Shepard from finishing with 65 catches for 683 yards and eight touchdowns. His output could actually increase this season if, as expected, defenses focus on Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall.
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Ted Ginn Jr.

Ginn has become a Saint in receivers’ heaven – also known as New Orleans – presided over by Breesus. While the Cam Newton failed to reach 4000 passing yards in both of Ginn’s stints with the Carolina Panthers, Drew Brees has passed for more than 5,000 yards in four of the last six years. Furthermore, Brandin Cooks, who had 117 targets in 2016, was traded to the Patriots. Ginn is something neither Willie Snead nor Michael Thomas is; “the fastest player on the field,” according to Saints head coach Sean Payton.
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Taylor Gabriel

Gabriel had a 1.03 Reception NEP per target among receivers with at least 50 targets last season; better than his Atlanta Falcons teammate Julio Jones or anyone else for that matter – the league’s Reception NEP per target average last season was 0.66. Gabriel sure made the most of that minimum 50 targets he had.

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Julio Jones Super Bowl
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With fantasy drafts taking place, here’s an updated and expanded look at the 2017 fantasy football wide receiver landscape.
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1. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
2. Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants
3. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
4. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
5. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
7. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
8. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
9. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
10. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
11. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
12. Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots
13. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
14. Terrelle Pryor, Washington Redskins
15. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
16. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
17. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
18. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
19. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
20. Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
21. Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders
22. Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers
23. Sammy Watkins, Los Angeles Rams
24. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers
25. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
26. Brandon Marshall, New York Giants
27. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
28. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions
29. Chris Hogan, New England Patriots
30. Eric Decker, Tennessee Titans
31. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
32. DeSean Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
33. Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts
34. Devante Parker, Miami Dolphins
35. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
36. Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins
37. Jeremy Maclin, Baltimore Ravens
38. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
39. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
40. Kenny Britt, Cleveland Browns
41. Pierre Garcon, San Francisco 49ers
42. Tyrell Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
43. Willie Snead, New Orleans Saints
44. Mike Wallace, Baltimore Ravens
45. Jordan Matthews, Buffalo Bills
46. Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
47. Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns
48. Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions
49. Ted Ginn, New Orleans Saints
50. Kevin White, Chicago Bears
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Also check out:

Click here to enter the 2017 Lester’s Legends Fantasy Football Team Name Contest!
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Julio Jones Super Bowl
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Here is an early look at 2017 wide receiver fantasy football rankings. Click here for updated rankings.
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1. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
2. Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants
3. Antonio Bryant, Pittsburgh Pirates
4. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
5. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
7. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
8. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
9. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
10. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
11. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
12. Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots
13. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
14. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
15. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
16. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
17. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
18. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
19. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
20. Terrelle Pryor, Washington Redskins
21. Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
22. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
23. Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders
24. Brandon Marshall, New York Giants
25. Eric Decker, Tennessee Titans
26. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
27. DeSean Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
28. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions
29. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
30. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers
31. Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts
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antonio brown
Antonio Brown“ (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  Keith Allison 
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Last season, the likes of Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr and Julio Jones played crucial roles for a number of fantasy football teams. Many running backs struggled to inspire confidence or suffered season-ending injuries, which helped to raise the stock of wide receivers throughout the campaign. And it is hard to see the running backs fighting back to buck the trend in 2016…
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Pittsburgh Steelers star Brown was absolutely sensational, especially in PPR leagues. He is widely regarded as the best wide receiver in the National Football League and it would be fair to say he is a fantasy goldmine. Brown was effective in the receiving game but also played a brief role rushing out of the backfield when required. Basically, the Steelers have a fantastic asset at their disposal and you should definitely consider moving for Brown early on in the draft.
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Ultimately, this man is a huge asset in fantasy sports – especially those that include points for punt and kick returns. The Steelers number 84 recorded 1,834 yards at an average of 13.5 yards per catch; an impressive feat to say the least. And if Brown performs just as well in 2016, the Steelers could be set for a very successful campaign.
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At the time of writing, Pittsburgh are priced at 12/1 to win the Super Bowl in Paddy Power’s NFL betting odds and Brown could be the man to lead the Steelers to glory. However, he might not finish as the leading wide receiver again this time around. Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr are both in with a great chance of recording league-leading fantasy numbers this season and you would do well to select either star in your fantasy draft.
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Jones is a dominant figure on the Atlanta Falcons offense and the emergence of Devonta Freeman in the backfield really helped to boost his’ stock last season. While Freeman was taking a bunch of carries, the running back’s production meant that opposing defences couldn’t focus purely on Jones – they had to be aware of Freeman’s threat and that allowed quarterback Matt Ryan to expose the defense on more than one occasion.
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By the same token, Beckham Jr is equally as important for the New York Giants and he could be the difference for your fantasy team this year. Beckham Jr is a difference-maker and Eli Manning now has a genuine talent to look for when under pressure. He is a stud wide-out and it is only a matter of time before Beckham blossoms into the best receiver in the NFL. At times, his temperament comes into question but his skill and upside is unrivalled.
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via GIPHY

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You heard it here first, draft wide receivers early this year and YOU could be on your way to the fantasy championship…

Here are some Wide Receivers and Tight Ends putting up serious preseason numbers.  Let’s take a look and see if they have a chance to translate some of that preseason production into fantasy worth in regular season play. 

Jonathan Stupar, Buffalo Bills - Stupar leads the NFL with 15 preseason receptions for 155 yards and a TD.  He’s third on the Bills’ Tight End depth chart so don’t get any thoughts of fantasy worth.

Jared Cook, Tennessee Titans - Now Cook is a TE with some fantasy value.  The Rookie out of South Carolina has 12 catches for 120 yards in the preseason.  With Tennessee’s limited options in the passing game, Cook could become one of their more reliable targets.  He’s worth taking as a TE2.

Chris Henry, Cincinnati Bengals - As long as he can stay out of Roger Goodell’s office, Henry has a chance to really break out this year.  He has 11 catches for 155 yards and 2 TDs.  Now that he seems to have put his troubles behind him, he could put up huge numbers in a full season.  He is going in the later rounds of fantasy drafts, and could end up putting up WR2 or WR3 numbers. 

Dwayne Bowe catch
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
- For all the talk of Bowe not fitting into the Chiefs’ system or being at odds with Todd Haley, he has looked good in the preseason games with 8 catches for 107 yards and a TD. If you moved him down in your WR rankings, you may want to move him back up.

Troy Williamson, Jacksonville Jaguars - The former #1 bust leads the NFL with 221 preseason receiving yards on 7 caches.  He caught a pair of deep balls for the bulk of the yardage. It’s great to see him make some plays, but I wouldn’t trust him to continue to produce.  His hands have long been a question mark.

Chad Ochocinco TD
Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Bengals
- Ocho has 142 yards on 5 catches.  He even added an Extra Point.  More importantly he has kept relatively quiet.  If he can avoid being a distraction, he should be a real nice WR2 this year.

David Clowney, New York Jets - Clowney is hoping to be the next third year WR to break out.  He has five receptions for 135 yards and 2 TDs this preseason.  He is fighting with Chansi Stuckey to start opposite Jerricho Cotchery.

Justin Harper, Baltimore Ravens - Harper has been productive in the preseason games with 6 catches for 119 yards, but has dropped too many passes in practice.  For a team with a limited passing game, dropping passes is a good way to be buried on the depth chart.

Laurent Robinson, St. Louis Rams - Laurent has taken advantage of Donnie Avery’s foot injury by catching 7 passes for 117 yards.  He is going to start for the Rams so he’s worth grabbing in deep leagues, but he likely won’t be a viable fantasy option this year.

Robert Meachem, New Orleans Saints - Meachem has been a sleeper candidate the past two years now.  He has 5 catches for 106 yards, including a 64-yard TD.  If he can get on the field, he has a great chance to be productive in that offense.  Draft him as a fantasy reserve and hope for the best.

Legedu Naanee, San Diego Chargers – This list is littered with third-year WRs.  Legedu has 5 catches for 84 yards and 2 TDs.  He is buried as the Chargers #4 WR behind Vincent Jackson, Chris Chambers, and Malcom Floyd.  It’s also an offense that throws heavily to TE Antonio Gates and RBs LT and Darren Sproles.  Don’t expect much from a fantasy perspective from Naanee this year.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

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