If you want to ace your fantasy football draft with a strong, late-round draft pick, you need to select rookie wideout Robert Woods.
The Buffalo Bills selected Woods in the second round of this year’s draft, a smart decision by new head coach Doug Marrone. Woods was a stud for the Trojans the last three seasons, as he constantly found himself in the end zone. Throughout his time at USC, he caught 252 passes for 2,930 yards and 32 touchdowns.
Entering the NFL draft, Bleacher Report Lead Writer Matt Miller had Woods as the fifth-best receiver available. He could turn into a No. 1 wideout in the coming years and will definitely be a big contributor for Buffalo during his rookie season. He likely won’t open the year as a starter, though.
The Bills recently released their first depth chart of the preseason, and Woods was listed behind Steve Johnson. He could be starting by the end of the year over T.J. Graham depending on how each of the two play through the first few weeks of the regular season. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Woods take Graham’s spot.
Last year at Syracuse, Marrone had a pair of receivers with at least 850 yards and seven touchdowns. Johnson was the only Bills player with at least 600 yards a year ago, and we could see someone like Woods emerge as another top target for Buffalo. He’s young, but he has the skills to be a solid No. 2 option.
Even though Woods is the No. 3 guy on the depth chart at the moment, it would be wise to pick him up just in case he earns a starting role early on in the season. Worse comes to worst, he finishes the year with 400 yards and three or four touchdowns. That’s still not horrible production from a late-round pick.
Aside from Woods, here’s a look at a pair of receivers who you should be able to pick up in the later rounds of your draft. They could make the difference between you taking your league’s championship and falling short of the title game.
Ryan Broyles, Detroit Lions
Ryan Broyles hasn’t been healthy enough to be atop the wide receiver rankings heading into your draft. He missed a chunk of team activities due to injury after getting drafted by the Detroit Lions last year, played in 10 games and then got hurt again. But he’s looked good this summer, per Chris McCosky of The Detroit News.
In the 10 games Broyles played in for Detroit this past year, he had 22 receptions—33 targets—for 310 yards and a pair of touchdowns. If he didn’t get injured, he probably could’ve hit the 500-yard mark and potentially finished the season with four or five touchdowns. That wouldn’t have been a bad rookie year.
Now that Broyles is healthy, he’s bound to make a big difference in Detroit’s offense. The Lions could use a strong No. 2 option behind Calvin Johnson, and that job will likely go to either Broyles or Nate Burleson, depending on who plays better and impresses the coaching staff the most entering the regular season.
The best part about picking up Broyles is that if he’s the No. 2 receiver entering the year, he will definitely get a lot of targets. All of the attention is going to be put on Johnson, which means Broyles should have an easier time getting open. Matthew Stafford will likely look his way very often in 2013.
Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks
Golden Tate is quickly becoming one of the best No. 2 receivers in the NFL. He had a great year in 2012, as he caught 45 passes for 688 yards and seven touchdowns. Among other Seahawks, he was second in terms of receptions and yards to Sidney Rice and was tied for most touchdown catches with Rice.
Tate is expected to be the No. 2 receiver for Seattle this season as well. That’s very good for fantasy football owners, as the Seahawks are one of the up-and-coming teams in the league, and Russell Wilson is only going to get better. If Tate’s quarterback is improving, his numbers should get a boost as well.
ESPN compiled a list of the top wide receivers for fantasy football this season, and Tate wasn’t among the top options. If you scroll down to No. 45—out of 120—you’ll find Tate’s name. While nothing is guaranteed, the wideout should be available in the later rounds of your draft—unless someone in your league is a Seattle fan.
Tate is the definition of a sleeper wide receiver. Not many think of him as one of the best receivers in football, yet his numbers are nearly just as good as his team’s No. 1 option. For all we know, Tate could be the top receiver for the Seahawks by the end of the year. He’s a steal that you can’t afford to not have your team.
All statistics in this article were obtained via ESPN unless otherwise noted.