This article presents a statistical analysis focusing on dynasty rookie wide receiver draft selections. It examines the correlation between average dynasty fantasy draft position (ADP), years in the league, and success rate. This is the 3rd of a four part series, which includes How To Add A QB1 To Your Dynasty Team - '24 and How To Add An RB1 To Your Dynasty Team - '24.

I do these studies to manage my own dynasty football team. Last year my team had the highest total fantasy points and went to the championship game, but my RB's are the weakest position on my roster. I consider a top-6 QB to be the anchor of my team and WRs to be the back bone. We have PPR scoring and start 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 FLEX (RB/WR/TE), 1 K and 1 DST.

Given that we start more wide receivers than any other position and they exhibit the greatest longevity, this WR-heavy approach seems to be a generally great strategy.  Ideally, if I can get 4 WR1s on my team, I am way ahead of the pack. This is because my 3rd and 4th WR will have a very high scoring margin over other teams' starting 3rd and 4th WRs. Plus as I take WR1s out of the pool, I am hurting the average scoring of three or four of my opponents' starters, making the scoring margin even wider. As a result, the strength of my team's WR corps has a very large amplifying effect compared with the other positions.

This study gives you a lot of ways to efficiently build your WR corps for your dynasty. The key word here is "efficiently". It is easy to offer three 1st round picks to get Justin Jefferson. However, that would be almost the worst thing you could do for your fantasy team.

We want to make each of our precious draft picks worth as much as possible, not because we think we have better football knowledge than everyone else (okay half of you do, but half of you don't - I would rank myself in the bottom half easily), but because you have an effective overall strategy for running your team. There are only three ways to manage your roster: trades, draft picks and the waiver wire. The draft only comes along once a year, and when leveraged properly, it's far more than just an opportunity to pick up rookies.

My team is going to the playoffs year after year and my draft pick repository going into this year's draft is: 1.06, 1.09, 2.02, 2.04, 2.11, 3.02, 3.04, 3.07, 3.11, and 3.12. Draft picks are the only dynasty team asset that always have an appreciating value, so having an arsenal of picks 2 to 3x more than the average owner is the starting point for dynasty team success. I explain how I build this arsenal in How to Win Your Dynasty League, and consider it the single most import aspect of dynasty team management.

Ahead of our June 8 draft, throughout the off-season I have been trading to whittle my team down to 14 players in order to make room for my ten draft picks. My roster is now:

  • QB corps: Jalen Hurts and Anthony Richardson
  • RB corps: James Cook, Jerome Ford, Brian Robinson and Tyler Allgeier
  • WR corps: Tyreek Hill, Deebo Samuel, Brandin Cooks, Michael Wilson and Kyle Philips
  • TE corps: Evan Engram, Dalton Kincaid
  • K: Cairo Santos

My WR corps took a hit this off-season when I was offered a deal to good to refuse for Mike Evans, which included receiving a high 1st and two high 2nd round future picks (and if you understand my draft pick strategy, those two high 2nd round picks will probably become 1st round picks.)

However, Mike Evans was a declining asset on my team and those draft picks are now appreciating assets.

Though the make up of my roster and draft pick arsenal is likely very different than yours, I believe this study provides valuable information that can help you make your WR corps, the back bone of a dynasty fantasy football team, stronger.

So without further ado, here we go.

Historical ADP Information

Based on historical ADP information, this is where receivers were drafted over the last ten years:

Some notable WRs that had an ADP greater than 36 are Tyreek Hill and Puka Nacua. Some top WRs that slipped to the 3rd round of dynasty drafts are Jarvis Landry, Stefon Diggs and Chris Godwin. The steals of the decade have to be Stefon Diggs and Davante Adams (ADP 2.06, 18th overall).

55% Discount – 1-year DFS Optimizer: Cutting edge features, multiple projections sources

Success Rate vs Years of Experience

The next step in my analysis is to see how these players have panned-out since being drafted. In my analysis of QBs, I only evaluated the top-12 QBs, assigning them a value of 1 for ranking top-6, and 0.5 for ranking 7th to 12th. With RBs, since we must start two RBs in my league, I valued the top 24 RBs, assigning them 1 for ranking in the top-6, 0.75 for ranking 7th-12th, 0.50 for ranking 13th to 18th, and 0.25 for ranking 19th to 24th.

For WRs, since we must start three in our PPR league, I valued the top 36, assigning them values accordingly:

  • Ranking 1-6: 1.0
  • Ranking 7-12: 0.75
  • Ranking 13-18: 0.50
  • Ranking 19-24: 0.375
  • Ranking 25-30: 0.25
  • Ranking 31-36: 0.125

Then I took the integral of their results and got this chart:

The valuable information pops out in the last row. It shows the success rate versus years of experience. Next I put this information into graphical form:

Overall, collectively wide receivers seem to have a 3-year learning curve and then settle out after that, maintaining their consistency all the way out to the 10-year mark.

As we consider the ways to improve the strength of our WR corps during the draft, we would be remiss if we don't consider the possibility of adding undervalued 2nd and 3rd year receivers. The hype and excitement is all around rookies on draft day, and goes down pretty quickly on a WR that doesn't make the top-12 in year one. While we look at valuations from a consensus point of view, individuals, not the consensus, make the actual valuations on draft day. Generally, fantasy managers spend far more time evaluating rookies and deciding their rookie rankings, and not the 2nd and 3rd year wide receivers that are likely increasing in fantasy value.

Multiple 2023 rookie WRs made it into the top 36 last year: Puka Nacua (WR1), Rashee Rice (WR2), Jordan Addison (WR3), Zay Flowers (WR3) and Jayden Reed (WR3). 2023 sophomore WRs that made it into the top 36 last year are Garrett Wilson (WR2), Chris Olave (WR2), George Pickens (WR2) and Romeo Doubs (WR2). Based on historical trends, it is likely more of these WRs are going to rise in fantasy value rather than decline. Let's delve into our analysis and examine the second- and third-year wide receivers, beginning with the 2024 season. We will check the news, examine how they did in the back-half of last year, and consider any quarterback or depth chart changes.

After that, if I think a player is on an upward trend, I might try to get the 2nd or 3rd-year WR for a bargain as opposed to drafting a rookie. Securing this potentially better deal is far more feasible on draft day compared to any other day of the year, underscoring why it's crucial to integrate it into an effective draft strategy. On draft day, rookie hype is at an all time high, and other managers frequently overvalue these highly coveted first-year players. For example, they might think that a rookie still on the board in the 3rd round is worth a 1st or 2nd round pick. Yet, if they roster Joe, a three-year veteran, there could be a good opportunity for me to trade my third-round pick for him. I see Joe Veteran as a player on the rise, while the other manager might be fixated on the rookie player, failing to recognize the value that Joe Veteran still brings.

Also, bear in mind that while this strategy is solid, generally speaking it is most feasible only on draft day. Putting all the odds together in your favor to make the most efficient (most value for least cost) move possible is how you get the most out of your draft.

Here are my notes. If you don't want to read my notes, you can skip them and come to the summary where I breakdown what picks I might be willing to spend on each of the following 2nd and 3rd year WRs.

2022 Rookies

  • Drake London: London is building chemistry with Kirk Cousins this off-season, and is the Falcons WR-1, sharing targets with Kyle Pitts. London had a steady stream of targets last year, and seems poised to continue to develop in 2024. I am interested, but the price would probably be too high.

  • Treylon Burks: Burks was sparsely used his rookie season, and was used less his sophomore season. Roster moves by the Titans seem to have squeezed Burks out of any type of major role, playing behind DeAndre Hopkins, Calvin Ridley and Boyd Taylor. However, new head coach Brian Callahan recently told the Nashville Post that Treylon's role is going to be to play everything, inside, outside and that he will carve our a role. He also said that Burks has been "really impressive" during the offseason practices, hitting a team-leading top speed of 22.6 mph based on GPS tracking. He added that Boyd will take the slot receiver position. I'm not sold. He isn't showing signs of meaningful development except to fill a need incase of injury.

  • Garrett Wilson: No need to discuss much here. The ship to efficiently acquire Wilson has already sailed. He is the Jets top WR, had a monster sophomore year, and is projected to rise more with Rodgers taking the helm at QB. Not interested, as he will be too expensive.

  • Jameson Williams: With Josh Reynolds's departure in free agency, Williams will have more opportunity in 2024. He didn't play most of his rookie year due to an ACL injury, so he is almost a year behind in development. Jared Goff's top target is Amon-Ra St. Brown, but Williams now has an opportunity to step up into a decent secondary receiver role. Off-season news is that Williams is a "man on a mission" and Williams himself stated, "It's a lot that I'm striving for. The sky is not the limit. I want to go way above the sky. I want to be the best to ever play my position...". The back half of his 2023 season was much better than the first half. So he is showing signs of improvement and has more opportunity in 2024 than he did in 2023. I have light interest. He could become a decent WR-2 for the Lions and I would hold him if I had him on my roster already. I will see what players are available in the 3rd round, and keep Williams in mind as a possible trade target if there is no one interesting on the board at that point in the draft.

  • Chris Olave: Ditto Garret Wilson. Not interested, will be too expensive.

  • Skyy Moore: He's done nothing in two years and the Chiefs WRs room just got more crowded with the addition of Xavier Worthy. Not interested.

  • George Pickens: Ditto Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. Not interested, will be too expensive.

  • Christian Watson: Watson has struggled with a serious hamstring issue his first two season. Recently tests have uncovered that the muscle mass of his right leg has been 20 percent less than his left leg, and this is the root cause of the hamstring injuries. He has made significant progress reduce this asymmetry, with the goal of getting to 6 percent difference which should greatly reduce the risk of hamstring injury going forward. When healthy, Watson is an explosive playmaker and is the Packers WR-1. So far so good this off-season, but the Packers have a crowded WR room including Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed. I'm interested and will keep him in mind as a potential trade target in the 2nd or 3rd round of our draft.

  • Jahan Dotson: Dotson has procured the WR-2 spot on the Commanders depth chart behind Terry McLaurin. The Commanders made a major upgrade at the QB position replacing Jacoby Brissett with rookie Jayden Daniels, a QB that Dotson has worked with in the past. I would expect Dotson to have an upward trend in 2024, and would be interested depending on who else is on the board in the 3rd round of the draft.

  • David Bell: Bell was targeted just 0 times in 2022, and just 3 times in 2023. He is purportedly on the bubble for maintaining a spot on the roster at cut down time. His path to relevancy would be on the practice squad of another team. No thanks, not interested.

  • Alec Pierce: Pierce had a mediocre sophomore season. However, this year the Colts invested a 2nd round pick on rookie Adonai Mitchell who most believe is a better WR and will push Pierce out of a starting role. Even with a healthy Anthony Richardson, I am not interested in Pierce.

  • Jalen Tolbert: After a nothing rookie year and a very underwhelming sophomore year, Tolbert is projected as the Cowboys WR-3, behind CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks. He seems to be on an upward trend, but currently hasn't shown enough to interest me.

  • Wan'Dale Robinson: Robinson is projected as the Giants WR-3 behind rookie Malik Nabers and Darius Slayton. Robinson had a pedestrian sophomore season, while struggling a bit with injuries. I project Robinson to see his role increase a bit in 2024, but I am only mildly interested.

  • Romeo Doubs: Doubs is the WR-2 or WR-3 for the Packers WR corps which includes Christian Watson and sophomore Jayden Reed. His role might increase in 2024, but I don't see him on a trajectory into WR1 territory. I would only be mildly interested.

  • Khalil Shakir: The Bills took Keon Coleman in the first round this year, in part to replace departing Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. Shakir had a pedestrian sophomore season, but even with Coleman joining the Bills WR room, Shakir has room to grow. I might be mildly interested in him in the 3rd round depending on my options.

  • Tyquan Thornton: Thornton seems buried on the Patriots depth chart after being injured for much of last season. I think it is very unlikely Thornton becomes fantasy relevant in 2024 and I have no interest.

 2023 Rookies

  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba: JSN had a decent rookie season. He is the Seahawks WR-2 behind DK Metcalf. I could see JSN improving his sophomore and third year, and might be interested if I could get him for a 2nd round pick, depending on my other options.

  • Jordan Addison: The Vikings now have rookie J.J. McCarthy under center. Additionally, Justin Jefferson is their WR-1 who might be the best receiver in the league. Addison had a solid rookie season, and if he develops chemistry with McCarthy they could reach their peak performance together in 2025. I could be interested in Addison for a 2nd round pick, depending on my options.

  • Quentin Johnston: Johnson is the Chargers WR-1 heading into the 2024 season. Some are expecting Johnson to have a break out season and others believe he will be overtaken by rookie Ladd McConkey. I have very mild interest in Johnston. However, I think I can make better use of the roster space.

  • Zay Flowers: Flowers had a decent rookie season and with Odell Beckham Jr. gone has assumed the Ravens WR-1 role. Flowers will have ample opportunity to step up in 2024. I would certainly be willing to acquire him for a 2nd round pick, if his current owner were to undervalue him and/or believe there is a better option on the board in the 2nd round.

  • Jonathon Mingo: Mingo had a mediocre rookie season and is 4th on the Panthers depth chart behind Diontae Johnson, rookie Xavier Legette, and Adam Thielen. There is some upside potential for Mingo over the next two years as Thielen is going into his 11th season, but I am not really interested in Mingo now.

  • Rashee Rice: Rice had a decent rookie season, but off-field troubles have decreased his fantasy value significantly. He currently sits on the Chiefs depth chart as the WR-3 behind Marquise Brown and rookie Xavier WorthyI might be interested in Rice if I could acquire him for a low 2nd round pick depending on my other options.

  • Josh Downs: Downs had a mediocre rookie season and was developing chemistry with Anthony Richardson before Richardson was injured. Downs is 2nd on the Colts roster behind Michael Pittman, who also added rookie Adonai Mitchell to their WR room. I might be interested in Downs if I could get him for a low-2nd or 3rd round pick.

  • Marvin Mims Jr.: Mims Jr. had a mediocre rookie season, but it was enough for him to earn the WR-2 spot behind Courtland Sutton on the Broncos depth chart. The Broncos have upgraded their QB position with rookie Bo Nix. I like Mims Jr. and could be interested for a 3rd pick.

  • Jayden Reed: The Packers have a dynamic and young WR corps with Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Reed. Green Bay also has Jordan Love throwing to them. Any one of the three could emerge as an elite WR. Reed currently appears to be in the lead to being the Packers WR-1 in the future. I would be interested for a 2nd round pick.

  • Jalin Hyatt: After his rookie season, Hyatt remains buried on the Giants depth chart behind rookie Malik Nabers, Darius Slayton, Wan'Dale Robinson, and Allen Robinson, not to mention that QB Daniel Jones and the Giants are not an NFL aerial attack powerhouse. Not interested.

  • Cedric Tillman: Tillman had an underwhelming rookie season and is buried on the depth chart behind Amari Cooper, Jerry Jeudy and Elijah Moore. DeShaun Watson as his QB.... No thanks.

  • Tank Dell: Dell broke his left fibula in Week 13 last season, and then got himself shot at a night club earlier this year. Nevertheless, when he has been on the field, he looked solid, if not elite, and seems to be fully recovered from his health issues. I doubt if I can pry him away from his current owner, but would certainly be willing to part with a 2nd round pick, and possibly a 1st round pick, to acquire him.

  • Kayshon Boutte: Boutte caught two passes for 19 yards as a Patriot in 2023 and is possibly on his way to jail for illegal gambling. No thanks.

  • Michael Wilson: Wilson had an okay rookie season and is the WR-2 for the Cardinals, behind "future hall-of-famer, NFL elite" rookie Marvin Harrison Jr. and ahead of Greg Dortch. I drafted Wilson in the 3rd round last year and he is still on my roster. I believe Harrison Jr. is overvalued and Wilson is undervalued. I am going to hold him for now, but would not go out of my way to pick him up if he wasn't on my roster already. (As a side note, I kind of feel bad for Harrison Jr., I think he is a good, not great, WR prospect, likely not worth the 1.01 pick. However, with all the hype surrounding him, if he performs any less than Randy Moss at his peak in his rookie season, he will be seen as a failure. That's way too high an expectation and pressure to put on a young kid out of college.)

  • Puka Nacua: Nacua seemed to come out of nowhere last year and had a monster rookie season with 105 receptions for 1486 yards and 6 TDs. He is way too expensive now.

To summarize, here is what I might be willing to pay for the above players:

  • 1st round pick: Drake London, Garrett Wilson, Tank Dell, Puka Nacua, Chris Olave
  • 2nd round pick: George Pickens, Zay Flowers, Jayden Reed, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Josh Downs, Jordan Addison, Rashee Rice
  • 3rd round pick: Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson, Jameson Williams, Michael Wilson, Khalil Shakir, Wan'Dale Robinson, Jahan Dotson, Marvin Mims Jr.
  • Not worth the space on my roster: Jalin Hyatt, Jonathan Mingo, Treylon Burks, Quentin Johnson, David Bell, Cedric Tillman, Alex Pierce, Tyquan Thornton, Jalen Tolbert, Kayshon Boutte, Skyy Moore

Again, I want to emphasize that I know these offers are below market value for the above players. That's the whole point. You are taking advantage of draft day hype to get owners to give up players below market, so they can go after their rookie superstar that they are sure is way undervalued. This is once-a-year bargain shopping. Even if they reject your offer, it might get you to the bargaining table and you end up with a different opportunity because they really want some guy still on the board during the draft.

Success Rate vs Average Draft Position

Now, let's finish breaking down success rating versus ADP.

This is a break down of success rate by round:

  • 1st: 17.7%
  • 2nd 10.2%
  • 3rd 7.7%

With the QBs we found a 2nd band of success in the 2.07 to 3.03 range, and this is the reason for the color bands in the charts above - to break down the analysis into every 9 picks rather than each round. Here is what we find for WRs:

  • 1-9: 19.3%
  • 10-18: 11.2%
  • 19-27: 7.5%
  • 28-36: 8.8%

This is very interesting because from the 10th overall pick to the end of the 3rd round, WR success rate is about the same. Furthermore, a bottom-9 pick is about half as successful as a top-9 pick. In other words, you are just as likely to find a top WR with two bottom-9 picks as with a single top-9 pick (e.g., Jarvis Landry, Stefon Diggs, Chris Godwin, Terry McLaurin, Kenny Golladay.)

Thinking about this further, if one of my draft priorities were WR but I needed my top 1st round pick for another priority and had the room on my roster, I would consider seeing if I could trade a 2nd round pick down for two 3rds. Based on the historical data, this would almost double my chances of getting a WR1.


Wide receiver is the greatest priority for my team and I have a very large arsenal of picks in a year which is believed to be loaded with rookie WR talent. With my homework done, knowing the success rate versus ADP and years of experience, I am coming to my draft well-prepared and excited to see what my team will look like after the draft.

With this said, I will follow my own rules during the draft. The first priority is always to try to trade up a pick into the future. So I will be trying to get 2025 or 2026 1st round picks for my 2.02 and 2.04 picks and likewise, future 2nd round picks for my 3.02 and 3.04 picks. I would expect that out of my 10 draft picks, something like three might be used to trade the picks forward and up, three might be used to trade for 2nd and 3rd year players at a bargain, one might be used to pick up a defense, and only three might be used to actually draft rookies.

Naturally, maintaining flexibility across all potential scenarios—whether it involves trading for future picks, acquiring second and third-year receivers, or drafting rookies—is essential. Understanding the historical trends and having completed the necessary analysis, while also resisting the tendency to overvalue rookies, is key to achieving optimal enhancement for my team, particularly my wide receiver corps, post-draft.

Finally, there is always a chance I could snag the next Tyreek Hill or Puka Nacua from the waiver wire. The chances of becoming that fortunate individual in a league are heightened by consistently staying active each week. However, it's not a dependable method for securing a WR1, just a bonus that could happen.

If you found this article helpful, here are some other articles that you might also find helpful:

Dynasty NFL: Who To Drop And How To Sell

My Dynasty FF Team Needs An RB1

How I Got My RB1

Dynasty Rookie Draft Picks - Value Analysis

Quarterback Carousel & Handcuffs