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August 25, 2022

Fantasy football sleepers: Why Adam Thielen and Robert Woods are underrated

In contrast to the battle to find and keep productive running backs on your fantasy roster, getting wide receivers requires a little more savvy and creativity. In the pass-first NFL, there have never been more talented wideouts and there are a slew of them available in fantasy.

Yes, you could use a first round pick on an elite pass catcher like Cooper Kupp or Justin Jefferson, but there is gold to be had in basically every round, if the chips fall correctly. 

We already ranked the top 75 wideouts, and outlined every single starter, WR2 and slot receiver on all 32 teams. Today,  we singled out five wide receivers who we believe are not getting the correct value in most fantasy drafts, and could be steals at their current position (and might be worth drafting a round early).

Adam Thielen, Vikings (ADP 73, WR 34)

Thielen is kind of a boring pick. At 32-years-old, basically every fantasy owner has had him, and he is overshadowed by Jefferson, a top three wide receiver in the league. But Thielen has always been productive. In his 13 games in 2021, the Minnesota wideout had 10 touchdowns and 726 yards. The year before, he had 14 TDs and 925 yards. He generally stays healthy, missing just 11 games over eight full NFL seasons. There is no reason why Thielen is not a safe pick to score touchdowns this season and if he is there in the sixth or seventh round and can be your third or fourth wide receiver, you're in very good shape.

Robert Woods, Titans (ADP 102, WR 43)

Woods has red flags, we know. He is coming back from a torn ACL. He is on a new team. And he is over 30-years-old now. But the Titans have to throw the ball to somebody, and with A.J. Brown and Julio Jones gone and the second option a rookie wideout who has not been impressive in camp in Treylon Burks, Woods could be in line for a ton of targets as the No. 1 target for Ryan Tannehill. He's another guy who, as your fourth wide receiver, would provide some very good value.

Jacobi Meyers, Patriots (ADP 132, WR 53)

Mac Jones had a pretty good rookie year and should take a step forward in Year 2. But for whatever reason, no one is really talking about the Pats' offense much. That could be your gain, as Meyers has quietly been a reliable receiver in New England for the last few years. In 2021, Jones and Meyers connected 83 times (with 126 targets going his way). He only scored two touchdowns, and had he scored more he'd certainly have more fantasy buzz. Under the assumption that there is a bit of randomness when it comes to touchdown scoring, Meyers should have a better fantasy year than his 866 yard, two TD campaign last season.

Jalen Tolbert, Cowboys (ADP 145, WR 74)

It's not fully under the radar anymore — Tolbert will get opportunities early for the Cowboys. With Michael Gallup and James Washington currently hurt, Tolbert will be the WR2 for Dak Prescott. And with CeeDee Lamb potentially commanding double teams, Tolbert could be open. And you never know, if he produces he could keep his starting spot when his teammates return. He is worth a flier in all leagues in the 12th round or so, as are a bevy of other rookie receivers.

Jarvis Landry, Saints (ADP 150, WR 60)

It may be more invigorating to go for someone like his New Orleans teammate, rookie Chris Olave, but Landry should have a place on your fantasy team as a wideout off the bench you can rely on. Yes, he's going to a new team in New Orleans, but you can be sure Jameis Winston will be throwing the ball quite a bit. And Landry is coming back from his first real injury ever. Will Michael Thomas be back and his old self? Will Winston trust a rookie with the football? Even in missing five games last year, Landry still had 87 targets — the first season he has ever commanded fewer than 100. Landry gets open in the slot and should be able to provide some production when you have an injury or bye week issue to another player. He's a nice add in the late rounds.

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