This past week while hosting Burning the Redshirt, a top 1,000 CFF podcast in America (from the editor: it’s easily top ten!), my astute colleague Andrew Katz and special guest Eric Froton brought up a draft take so great that it has me writing something for the first time in ten months. They discussed what we’re going to call the “Jumbo WR3 Theorem.” In simplest terms, this draft strategy is centered around drafting WR3s for teams in high-powered passing attacks that will have value in their current role but see their value explode if an injury occurs.

The most recent example of this happening was Emeka Egbuka of Ohio State in 2022. While Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Marvin Harrison Jr were consensus top two-round picks, Egbuka was routinely drafted in the teens. Looking specifically at an industry best ball draft that took place in mid-July of 2022, JSN was the third overall pick, MHJ was selected pick 24, and Egbuka was taken with the 10th pick of the 14th round. Nagging injuries to JSN led to Egbuka taking over as the Ohio State WR2, making his 74/1,151/10 state line an incredible value in the 14th round. If injuries hadn’t occurred, Egbuka likely replicates or improves upon Julian Fleming’s season (34/533/6 in 11 games).

The Jumbo WR3 Theorem isn’t an exact science. In CFF best ball draft formats, it can provide a moderately high-floor receiver with top-round value if the chips fall a certain way. With all this said, here are five WR3s you should target in your next draft.

Ja’Lynn Polk, Washington

WR1 – Rome Odunze

WR2 – Jalen McMillan

Courtesy of UW Dawg Pound

Polk might be the perfect candidate for this strategy as the Washington Huskies led the FBS in passing yards per game (369.8), and their quarterback, Michael Penix Jr., returns for #OneLastRide. Odunze and McMillan each hit 70+ receptions, 1,000+ receiving yards, and 7+ touchdowns in 2022 and are highly valued assets in CFF. Polk’s 2022 season was nothing to scoff at, as he generated a statline of 41/694/6 in 13 games. He had six double-digit performances during the regular season, including a massive three-touchdown game against Michigan State in week 3. This offense is going to put up big numbers in 2023. By drafting Polk at his incredibly low ADP, you’re getting yourself a nice piece of the pie with the upside of seconds if one of Odunze or McMillan were to go down.

Montana Lemonious-Craig, Arizona

WR1 – Jacob Cowing

WR2 – Tetairoa McMillan

Arizona’s offensive attack ranked sixth in 2022, producing 318.4 passing yards per game. With another year under Jayden de Laura’s belt, we should see continued success through the air from the Wildcats. Cowing returns as the top Cat in 2023, but McMillan’s success and skill set have people considering him a WR1B more than a WR2. In steps Lemonious-Craig to take over as the WR3 in the offense, a spot that was good for 39/702/8 in 2022. MLC likely won’t put up 18 yards per catch as McMillan did, but it wouldn’t shock me to see 45 receptions, 600 yards, and six TDs. Don’t forget that this is the same guy that used a 6/169/2 performance in Colorado’s spring game to catapult himself into the transfer portal just a few months ago. Unlike Polk, MLC’s cost is essentially free in current best balls, making him another great value in CFF drafts.

Julian Fleming, Ohio State

WR1 – Marvin Harrison Jr.

WR2 – Emeka Egbuka

Ohio State is breaking in a new quarterback in 2023, but if we know anything about the Buckeyes, the passing attack will continue to be great. Fleming showed us what that WR3 territory for the Buckeyes will be, with the upside of much more, as Egbuka showed us. Of all of the situations discussed today, this one has the added potential of the elite Harrison sitting out if things don’t go his way. Whether it’s a nagging injury, or someone getting in MHJ’s ear about the NFL Draft, Fleming has a path to big numbers that others here don’t possess. 

Tahj Washington/Brenden Rice/Mario Williams, USC

WR1 – Dorian Singer, USC

Brenden Rice Courtesy of Orange County Register

While this one is kind of cheating, there are reasons to consider this USC WR trio applicable to this draft strategy. At its core, the idea is to find undervalued receivers that won’t cost you much draft capital and that have a high enough floor + high upside. Many people are confident in Singer being the top target for Caleb Williams and the electric USC offense. The question here certainly is, “Who is their WR2?” In contention for targets at the top are Washington, Rice, and Williams, all receivers who had very respectable 2022 seasons. All options are being drafted no earlier than the mid-teens, but all possess the ability to take over the WR2 role in the Trojans offense. According to my personal projections, the WR4 in this offense is looking at a stat line of 34/514/5. Considering the absolute worst-case scenario, I’m trying to leave every draft with one of these three receivers. 

Kobe Paysour/Nate McCollum, UNC

WR1 – Devontez Walker

These two UNC receivers have a similar situation to the USC trio in that I’m not quite sure which one will be the WR2 and who will be the WR3, but I do know both will have value in 2023. Injuries in 2022 make it tough to reference last season’s performance to predict this year. The WR3 in this offense, for me, is projected at 39/574/4. With Phil Longo at Wisconsin and a new offensive coordinator in place at UNC, it’s rumored Drake Maye will take a larger role in play calling/style. Who really knows at this point? What I do know is that Maye is an elite passing talent coming off of a 4,321 passing-yard season. It’s quite likely Walker does take over the WR1 for the Tar Heels role, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see a guy like Paysour or McCollum end up on top by season’s end. 

*Props to Andrew Katz, Eric Froton, and Franchise for being early adopters of the Jumbo WR3 Theorem*

Get Our Newsletter

Get notified periodic notifications about our content and future subscription deals.

You May Also Like
Weekly Rankings

CFF Dynasty Rankings

Campus2Canton’s Team Lead and host of Chasing the Natty, Jared Palmgren, brings you his CFF Dynasty Rankings! Available now for our NIL and All-22 members.

2024 Post-Spring Stock Report: Stock Down

Some players saw a drop in their value after spring games, including one presumed #FightOn starting QB. Here are a few that @CFFNate is fading due to poor spring performances or situations!

Who Takes Over La’Johntay Wester’s Slot Receiver Role at FAU?

The Slot Role at FAU can be a massive VOLUME PIG- who are the players that could take over the coveted role?