It's hard for a wide receiver to be as consistent as running backs or quarterbacks in the NFL. With the running back, they may have more guys on them at once, but they also don't have to rely on beating anybody before ever actually getting the ball, and with quarterbacks, they have multiple targets with which to get the ball away.
Each receiver is just one of many targets, and he has a big task ahead of him: beating NFL cornerbacks, who seem to be getting better and better these days. There's plenty of top tier wide receivers who conquer the tough task of being consistent, and they're not always going to cost you an arm and a leg in fantasy football.
Here are five wide receivers to target in various rounds, with average draft position data calculated by and collected from the Fantasy Football Calculator.
Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings, Average Draft Position (FF Calculator): 89.7
Jennings only had 366 yards and four touchdowns last season, but he also only played in eight games for the Green Bay Packers. In each of the five years prior he had at least 900 yards, and in three of them he had over 1,100 yards. He also had 12 touchdowns in 2010 and 2007, respectively. He's a proven commodity, the only issue at this point is his durability. He's got a change of scenery with the Minnesota Vikings and he'll be their No. 1 receiving options. As a player generally going in the eighth round, Jennings is a value pick for sure.
Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins, Average Draft Position (FF Calculator): 66.4
Mike Wallace had a down year with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012, and he's fallen in fantasy drafts accordingly. Prior to his 836-yard, eight-touchdown 2012 season, Wallace had 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011. Now, he's switched teams to the Miami Dolphins and will definitely be their No. 1 receiver.
While Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers seem to be on the downswing, the Dolphins are hoping Ryan Tannehill will develop into their franchise quarterback. If that happens, then Wallace will flourish. Tannehill put up 3,294 yards with 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his rookie season, but by all accounts, he looks much improved this season. Wallace is being drafted around the sixth round, and seems like a solid play at that point.
Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers, Average Draft Position (FF Calculator): 75.3
The Baltimore Ravens traded Anquan Boldin away for only a sixth-round pick, but that's not for lack of recent production. Boldin had 921 yards and four touchdowns off of 65 receptions last season, and has had at least 800 yards every season since 2005, including four seasons of 1,000-plus yards. Boldin came to the San Francisco 49ers as their No. 2 receiver behind Michael Crabtree, but his injury will keep him out for a large portion of the season, making Boldin (and tight end Vernon Davis) the top receiving option(s) for Colin Kaepernick.
Stevie Johnson, Buffalo Bills, Average Draft Position (FF Calculator): 89.1
Stevie Johnson has been incredibly consistent over the last three years, putting up 1,073, 1,004 and 1,046 yards in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He also put up 10, 7 and 6 touchdowns those years, respectively. He's caught 75-plus passes all three years and that's with the substandard quarterback play the Bills have been known for in recent years. He might have a carousel at quarterback again this year, but he'll still likely find a way to put up 1,000-plus yards in Buffalo's offense.
Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins, Average Drat Position (FF Calculator): 140.9
There are so many players above Hartline in regards to average draft position, and a lot of them are unwarranted. Sure, the Dolphins brought in Mike Wallace, who himself is on this list, but Hartline will be the No. 2 and has a leg-up on Wallace with his knowledge of the playbook and rapport with Ryan Tannehill. Hartline broke out last season, catching 74 passes for 1,083 yards. His biggest knock, to this point, is that he only had a single touchdown reception last season. Perhaps that will change in 2013.