Bolt Up Fantasy’s Weekly Value Picks
Written by Damian Paton
Every year in fantasy football drafts there are players who go way later than they should. Being able to identify these players is one of the biggest keys to setting your fantasy rosters up for a successful season. As we head into the 2022 NFL season, I will be highlighting players who you should be considering as values based on their ADP, and where they are currently being drafted. This week I want to highlight two of my favorite young talents at the wide receiver position in the NFL!
1. WR Devonta Smith (Philadelphia Eagles)
Current ADP: WR 35
My Ranking: WR 21
Devonta Smith’s new teammate WR AJ Brown is considered one of the best young talents at the position in the league. With that said, he’s currently being drafted about 4 rounds higher than the former Heisman Trophy winner, with Brown going at pick (3.01) and Smith going at pick (7.11). I’m not here to make the argument that Smith is the superior talent in Philadelphia’s receiving corps, but I will argue that Smith will be the superior and safer fantasy player.
Devonta Smith put up one of the most dominant statlines of any college receiver ever in his 2021 Heisman-winning season. In 13 games, Smith had 117 catches, 1,856 yards, 15.9 yards per catch, and 23 touchdowns. In the draft process, Smith was profiled as an elusive and smooth route runner who could develop into a Quarterback’s most reliable target. Coming off of a rookie season where Smith struggled to truly step into the WR1 role (WR30 in PPR), I think the fantasy community is forgetting just how capable the young WR is.
Devonta Smith will be one of the main beneficiaries of the Philadelphia Eagles’ addition of WR AJ Brown. Brown will be facing the opposing defense’s top corners and coverage matchups, which will allow Smith to feast against inferior defensive talent. Smith’s slender frame doesn’t bode well against true top corners in the league, however, he no longer has to worry about those matchups. I see Smith leading the Eagles offense in receptions due to his route running and ability to get open.
The Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers face the #1 ranked the easiest strength of schedule (according to @TheFFBallers). This only adds to the probability that Smith can have a breakout season.
2. WR Darnell Mooney (Chicago Bears)
Current ADP: WR 25
My Ranking: WR 18
Darnell Mooney is currently being drafted at pick (7.05). Wide receivers going in that area: Juju Smith-Schuster (7.06), Adam Thielen (7.02), and Drake London (7.04). I note this to emphasize that no wide receiver drafted in that range has anywhere near the ceiling of the young Bears receiver. In 2021, Mooney had a target share of 26.7% and had 46% of the Chicago Bears’ receiving yards. The potential of finishing the year with a 30% target share is very realistic with the offense as it stands.
Chicago Bears Current WR Depth Chart: Darnell Mooney, Equanimeous St. Brown, Byron Pringle, Velus Jones Jr., Dante Pettis, and David Moore.
With no key offensive weapons added and WR Allen Robinson departing earlier this offseason, Mooney’s involvement in this offense will only increase. Purely based on the volume he will receive, Mooney’s FLOOR is finishing as a midrange WR2 (last year’s WR 23). With his current ADP, he’s being drafted at his floor!
In 2021, Mooney totaled 140 targets, while securing 81 receptions (only 58% of targets). If QB Justin Fields is able to build off of his rocky 58.9% completion percentage, Mooney’s reception total would be an immediate beneficiary.
Considering the Bears offense has a lack of difference-making players, the team does not project to be very productive as a whole. However, with the #11 easiest strength of schedule for wide receivers (according to @TheFFBallers) Mooney will still have plenty of opportunities to produce and contribute to your fantasy rosters!