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DraftKings Fantasy Football: New Faces in New Places - Wide Receivers

Joel Bartilotta

Joel Bartilotta

Joel has 11+ years of Fantasy experience, and can recall riding a young Dante Culpepper to a FF championship back in the 2003-04 season. He covers EPL Soccer and Daily Fantasy Football for RotoWire. He's extremely active with EPL, NFL, MLB and NBA fantasy games. Do not disparage his beloved Denver Nuggets, Everton Toffees or Oakland Raiders.


While there wasnít much movement for wide receivers this off-season, a few guys found some fantastic opportunities in new locales. I chose to write about the players featured below because the change of scenery offers a fresh start to revive their careers. One of the most undervalued aspects of professional sports is the environment these players play in. Players are all humans with personalities and feelings just like us, so itís important to take that into consideration when analyzing these men. Being in a new city and a new scheme opens up the door for these players to breakout or even rebound to prior levels of success. Itís very difficult to predict success for a player in a situation that we havenít seen before, but thatís one of the primary reasons these guys will be severely undervalued on DraftKings come Week 1. The players below arenít necessarily studs, but guys to fill out your roster with when youíre running on a thin budget. Keep an eye on these back-end players and use them in situations that allow you to fill out your roster with studs and implement these cheaper options with your leftover salary cap. Donít be surprised if this list of players makes you cringe at first, but thatís the point here. We want to buy these players while their value is at its lowest and no oneís value is at their lowest quite like our first guy:

Hakeem Nicks

Trust me, I understand what it feels like to be burned by Nicks, but this is a perfect time to stick him in your daily lineup at a minimal cost. Nicks used to be a high-risk, high-reward player, but since his value has fallen so far, he's more of a low-risk upside type at this point of his career. After having a couple mediocre seasons for the Giants, Nicks has found a new home in Indianapolis. The biggest question mark with Nicks is the lingering injuries heís been dealing with throughout his career. While he has only missed four games over the past two years, he has been playing injured, which was reflected by the goose egg he put up in the touchdown department last season. With that said, he has still managed averages of 50+ catches, 100 targets, and nearly 800 yards over the past two seasons. From 2010-2012, Nicks had fantastic averages of 75+ catches, 130 targets, nine TDs, and 1,100 yards. So which Nicks should we expect in 2014 -- the mediocre 2012-13 Nicks or the All-Pro wideout from 2010-11? The only logical answer is somewhere right in the middle. Nicks will be a prime red-zone target for a team that lacks of size. After receiving a minuscule 10 red-zone targets last year for one of the worst offenses in the NFL, look for that total to nearly double this season. Indy should have one of the most dynamic offenses in the league with depth at every position and an up-and-coming star with quarterback Andrew Luck. Moving to the AFC North will also result in a downgrade in competition compared to his matchups in the NFC East. The corners Nicks will be facing on a week-to-week basis will be much easier then the number one corners who were shadowing him all day when he was with the Giants. The talent Nicks has is undeniable and in the right situation, he could truly have a nice bounce-back season. With Reggie Wayne coming off a torn ACL, and Luck becoming an elite QB, the sky is the limit for the 26-year-old Nicks.

Emmanuel Sanders

Peyton Manning can make anyone look good, but when he actually gets some talent, thereís no cap on the ceiling. After Eric Decker departed, the Broncos made what I consider an improvement at the position with the acquisition of former Sanders. The former Steeler has improved in nearly every statistical category each passing season, and heís coming off his best year yet. The biggest jump for Sanders was his rise in targets. In 2012, Sanders saw 74 targets in his third season, but he received a major boost last year with a very respectable 112 targets. Sanders is a slot receiver with the ability to play the X or Y positions. He will be used all over the field for the Broncos and should see nearly every snap for the best passing attack in the league. Sanders also provided career highs last season with 67 catches, 740 yards, and six touchdowns. The 27-year-old wideout is replacing Decker and it wouldnít be farfetched to believe Sanders could surpass Deckerís totals. The durability of Sanders is something to be admired as well. Standing at a modest 5-11, Sanders didnít miss a game in the past two seasons and even saw some duties as a returner. While it seems unlikely he will do any returning duties for Denver, special team duties could always be in the cards to add additional value to an already undervalued player. With Sanders improving every year, the only question here is, will he fit with the offense? Last time I checked, Denver had the best passing attack in the league and it seems as if Manning just keeps getting better despite his age. Everything is coming together for Sanders to have a true breakout campaign and inserting him in your daily lineups is a must until his true value is ultimately determined. In Week 1, Denver hosts Indianapolis, which is a perfect time for Manning to show off his new toy and for you to stick him in your DraftKings at a fairly reasonable price.

Jerricho Cotchery

Jerricho Cotchery? Yes, itís a strange name to see, but this veteran might be in the best opportunity he has ever had in his career. Following arguably his best season as a pro, which included his first double-digit touchdown effort, the Panthers decided to make Cotchery their replacement for Steve Smith. Cotchery is part of a revamped receiving crew, including former Eagle Jason Avant and rookie Kelvin Benjamin. It may be tough sledding for Cam Newton, but it seems as though Carolina believes Cotchery can fill the void that Smith left. After his successful season in the red-zone, thereís no reason to think he wonít be the number one red-zone target for Newton this season. Cotchery has also put up some formidable numbers in the past as well, recording nearly 300 receptions, over 3,500 yards, and 16 touchdowns in a span from 2006-2009. Now, I understand this was five years ago, but this just proves he has what it takes to be a number one receiver in the NFL. What really entices here is the opportunity and the value of this forgotten receiver. Cotchery will likely be valued as the lowest No. 1 receiver come Week 1 on DraftKings. Heís a fantastic play in DraftKings contests, as the targets should be plentiful and the salary affordable. The durability of Cotchery is something to be noted as well -- he has never missed more than four games in any season throughout his long 11-year career. With that said, Cotchery is 32-years old and his durability as a No. 1 receiver is yet to be determined. All in all, Cotchery is a fantastic value play and if it doesnít end up working out, it wonít cost you much to put this high-upside risk into your lineup.