We hit on our NFL Draft Round One Surprise Landing Spots already with the information you need on the top dogs for fantasy football and your dynasty rookie draft rankings. But that’s the easy stuff. 

It’s not hard to rank Caleb Williams as the starting QB for the now overloaded Chicago Bears or Marvin Harrison Jr. as the top wide receiver off the board and top pass catcher for the Arizona Cardinals. The hard part is ranking the rest of them. And dynasty leagues are won in the trenches of Day Two and Three in the later rounds. 

While everyone else is doing their draft grades and NFL power rankings after the draft, we’ll sneak in and scoop up all the valuable wide receivers and sleepers in our dynasty rookie drafts. Heck, maybe we’ll even have a couple of undrafted free-agent signings in there.

Don’t forget to also check out our full Dynasty Rookie Rankings. Included are the top four rounds (48 players) for both single QB and superflex/tight end premium leagues. If your drafts go even deeper than that, you need to rely less on rankings and more on just taking stabs on guys with narratives we like. That’s where this article comes in handy. So, let’s get to it!

*Editor's Note: Coop's Fantasy Football Best Ball Cheat Sheet is LIVE! This printable PDF is specifically designed for best ball fantasy football leagues, serving as your all-in-one resource for drafts.




Fantasy Football Wide Receivers: NFL Draft Round Two

Ja'Lynn Polk, WR, New England Patriots

A lot of fuss will be made about Josh Allen’s shiny rookie target Keon Coleman or the “new Keenan Allen” with the Chargers in Ladd McConkey. And that has Polk, going just three picks later to the New England Patriots, flying under the radar. He was a bit of a later breakout in college and his production wasn’t ideal, but there are a few mitigating factors to look at here in terms of upside.

The first thing that jumps out to us is target competition. There were FOUR Washington pass-catchers drafted (Polk, Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan, and Devin Culp). And another, Jack Westover, was signed as an undrafted free agent. Metrics like Teammate Score and Program Quality Index statistically back up this notion. 

Which makes sense – we see time and time again that players transfer and break out as focal points of new offenses (like a player listed under the ROUND FOUR in this very article, perhaps). In this case, Polk, Odunze, McMillan, Culp, and Westover all came back for their final year to make a run at a national title.

The other factor is landing spot. And this one works in our favor in two ways. In the minds of many fantasy gamers, New England is a “bad landing spot” because they are picturing Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe – not third overall pick Drake Maye. The other benefit to the landing spot is the lack of high end incumbent pass-catchers. 

Hunter Henry, Kendrick Bourne, and Demario Douglas are solid players. But Polk has the chance to come in, get on the same page with his rookie QB, and be the top target right from the rip. If Maye is a hit, Polk is tied to him for quite some time. And the Patriots could have had McConkey if they wanted but they traded back to take our guy here.




Fantasy Football Wide Receivers: NFL Draft Round Three

Jermaine Burton, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

We’ve actually written an entire article on this concept when it comes to later wide receivers. Many of them fall in the draft, not due to talent, but due to off-field concerns. Look at some of the later breakout wide receivers over the last 20 years. 

Tyreek Hill, Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall, Stefon Diggs – these guys all had varying degrees of character red flags. Pierre Garcon went to Mount Union which is Division III. Julian Edelman didn’t even play wide receiver in college. We’re LOOKING for excuses why these guys fall.

Enter Jermaine Burton, who has a pretty well-documented history of character concerns. He’s gone to SIX different schools between high school and college. But his talent led top football programs like Alabama and Georgia to take a shot on him. He was a young breakout and his production is good so, coming from those schools, you’d expect him to go earlier. 

But all it takes is a few teams to cross him off the board and the slide begins. We’ll take the discount. I’d rather a guy slide because he’s a jerk than because he’s not good at football. It’s a lot easier to stop being a jerk than it is to become a star athlete. Look at Cris Carter on the Eagles vs. Cris Carter on the Vikings for an example.

Roman Wilson, WR,  Pittsburgh Steelers

This one is pretty simple for us as well. A lot of folks are giving JJ McCarthy a pass for his lack of production in college because of the way the Michigan offense operated. It’s hard to blame him for not racking up stats when your team goes undefeated and your running back, Blake Corum, scores 58 touchdowns. 

So why then would we not give a pass to some of McCarthy’s pass-catchers who suffered from the same lack of volume? Like Roman Wilson, for instance. This actually isn’t the first time we’ve seen this either. The best season for Roman Wilson saw 789 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

Nico Collins, at this same Michigan program, had 729 yards and seven touchdowns in his best season. He also slid to the third round. And, with C.J. Stroud, he just finished as a WR1 in fantasy. The Steelers have a decorated history of finding wide receiver values in the draft and, after shipping off Diontae Johnson, there are targets to be had. We’re in on Wilson. 

Jalen McMillan, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

We’ll just throw a quick note on McMillan here because a lot of the same concepts that apply to his teammate Ja’Lynn Polk, apply to McMillan. And we’ve seen in the past multiple WRs be drafted from the same school with the one going later having a better career, like with Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin

We recently had legendary scout Brandon Huffman on Alarm Fantasy Football and I asked him which players have that special level of competitiveness (or “that dawg in him”, as the kids like to say). To that question, he gave us one name – Jalen McMillan. With Mike Evans back on a two-year deal, it may take some time for McMillan to emerge in Tampa. But Chris Godwin didn’t break out until his third season either. And, when he did, it was in a big way.




Fantasy Football Wide Receivers: NFL Draft Round Four

Javon Baker, WR, New England Patriots

I can guarantee you that someone spends up on fourth round rookie WR Troy Franklin in your rookie dynasty draft. It’s hard to erase the priors that led us to suggest he could go in the first or second round. And maybe the fantasy community is right on that one – though they have been tricked before with guys like Hakeem Butler and Kelvin Harmon who were highly touted and fell. Unless he slides, we’ll leave the Franklin pick up to someone else.

If we are taking a stab on a fourth round guy at a reasonable price, it’s Javon Baker. On paper, both in terms of workout metrics and production, he’s not particularly special. When you watch the tape however, this guy has a knack for catching the football. His contested catch ability is next level and his body control, contorting not only to box guys out but keep his feet in bounds, is NFL caliber. 

Guys without insane athleticism like Keenan Allen, Anquan Boldin, DeAndre Hopkins, and, recently, Rashee Rice, have made a living off this ability. There’s a reason Alabama recruited him and, with the loaded program, we don’t blame him for transferring to UCF where he could shine. It’s a new regime and clean slate in New England and Baker has just as good of a shot as anyone.




Fantasy Football Wide Receivers: NFL Draft Round Five

Ainias Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

We’ll be honest here – we don’t really love anyone in this fifth round. Ainias Smith is the one we like best, but he still likely has capped upside both short and long term. First off, he was drafted to the Eagles who just locked up DeVonta Smith and AJ Brown for a long time. Plus, they have Dallas Goedert and Saquon Barkley

But that doesn’t mean Ainias Smith doesn’t have value for certain circumstances. Smith is a versatile “gadget” type player that saw time both in the backfield and out of the slot. He could carve out a slot role for this team right away with Quez Watkins and Julio Jones gone. With the other weapons they have, his snap share could be low, and he has a low aDot profile so the production might not be consistent. 

But he could flash at times with his explosiveness which makes him a guy you can “pick and flip” from the later rounds. If your league is deep enough or it’s a best ball format, he at least has a path to getting on the field this year.




Fantasy Football Wide Receivers: NFL Draft Round Six

Johnny Wilson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

The hit rates are so low for wide receivers in the sixth and seventh rounds that you need to craft yourself a narrative. And we have a specific narrative for Wilson. There were rumblings of him potentially playing tight end considering he is 6’7”, 238 pounds. Darren Waller was drafted as a WR at 6’6”, 238 pounds. Juwan Johnson was also a WR at 6’4”, 230. At the next level, they have both transitioned to tight end.

At the NFL Combine, Wilson was asked if he had considered switching to tight end and he said he wants to play wide receiver. And that’s understandable given the difference in pay. But that goes out the window to some degree when you fall to the 6th round. Now your only goal is making the team. If the coach says “Hey Wilson, you are working out with the tight ends today”, what is he going to say? “No thanks, coach”? 

If my NFL meal ticket is playing tight end vs. working a desk job, I’m doing whatever they ask. And the moment we hear any rumors about him potentially playing some tight end, I’ll personally be reaching out to sites like Yahoo, Sleeper, ESPN etc. to get that TE eligibility. Just like we did with Juwan Johnson.




Fantasy Football Wide Receivers: NFL Draft Round Seven

Cornelius Johnson, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

The guy drafters will key on from this round is Brenden Rice because his father is the greatest wide receiver of all time. And I get that. But we’ll be leaning into other narratives. As a Michigan player, a lot of the same volume issues that plagued Roman Wilson plagued Cornelius Johnson. And Johnson actually only had one less reception than Wilson this past season. 

He doesn’t pop off the paper athletically but contested catches are his bag with a 90% contested catch rate last season. The Los Angeles Chargers jettisoned their top FOUR pass catchers this offseason so there is opportunity to be had. The new regime has no loyalties to the holdovers, and it just so happens that that new regime is run by Jim Harbaugh, Johnson’s college coach. At the very least, Corn Johnson is an incredible name. 




Fantasy Football Wide Receivers: NFL Draft Undrafted Free Agents

These guys are always long shots. And you’re often better off waiting for someone to pop and THEN adding them. Folks will point to guys like Adam Thielen as hits but Thielen signed at 23, didn’t play a snap until he was 24, and didn’t crack 150 yards in a season until he was 26. If you drafted and held that guy until he broke out, you are either crazy or you’re a wizard. Or you play in a SUPER deep league. 

If you ARE in a super deep league, I suggest you draft guys with the plan of flipping them the moment they have any value. There are a lot more guys like Preston Williams, Robert Foster, and Keelan Cole that you wish you cashed out on than guys like Doug Baldwin. As far as identifying who to take, focus on the narratives that have led to flashes in the past. 

The Dolphins were blatantly tanking when Preston Williams hit the scene. Some teams are simply better at finding late WRs. When possible, follow the money. And, as always, look for a reason why they didn’t get drafted.

This one checks two boxes. Brad Holmes was the head scout when the Rams drafted Cooper Kupp and he also obviously found Amon-Ra St. Brown with Detroit. Well, Williams has a similar profile to St. Brown to some degree. And they gave him $250K guaranteed which is higher than usual for a UDFA.

If ARSB goes down, maybe he gets a look – then we turn around and trade him to the ARSB owner. Or, if you are the ARSB owner, you’ve got a deep handcuff. Again, the odds are low, but Detroit didn’t go for pass-catchers in the draft and they clearly like this guy.

Remember we mentioned Pierre Garcon earlier and how he was a DIII athlete? Leon Johnson was also DIII then got picked up by Oklahoma State. He was going to redshirt to develop but ended up burning that to play right away. Jim Harbaugh and the gang decided he was worth a look at the next level and, at 6’5” 210 pounds, maybe he develops into a big split end.

Tyler Harrell bounced around from Louisville to Alabama to Miami without much playing time in college. He had his best year in 2021 in Louisville. What Harrell brings to the table is unbridled, field-stretching speed with a 4.29 forty-yard dash at his pro day. And, if there is any quarterback that has the potential to fall in love with a random undrafted wide receiver then demand he gets on the field, it’s Aaron Rodgers.