2 wide receiver sleepers to draft and 2 receiver busts to avoid in fantasy football

These four wide receivers are gifted athletes, but two of them are viable sleeper targets in fantasy football while it is best to avoid the other two.
Tennessee Titans Training Camp
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Kadarius Toney
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Avoid: Kadarius Toney, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

Kadarius Toney has been a popular late-round wide receiver pick in fantasy football drafts this offseason. Toney was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of the University of Florida. He was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in the middle of the season last year after an injury-riddled stint with the Giants. He’s missed at least seven games in each of his first two NFL seasons.

While durability has been a major question mark for Toney, talent has not. In Week 5 of the 2021 season, he caught 10 passes for 189 yards against cornerback Trevon Diggs and the Cowboys:

Toney was repeatedly showing off his ability to make defenders miss and create yards after the catch, it was truly a special performance from someone who didn’t start playing the receiver position full-time until he got to college.

Since Toney didn’t commit to the position fully until he got to college, his route tree leaves much to be desired according to Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception chart. Yes, he is an extremely talented player whose herky-jerky style of play is extremely fun to watch, but he is limited in what he can do if he cannot run a full complement of routes.

Now, he enters a situation where he gets to play with the best quarterback in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes for a Chiefs team that desperately needs a second option to emerge behind All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce. However, Toney has already been forced to miss time from training camp this offseason after tweaking his knee in practice and requiring surgery to medically repair it.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported earlier this month that the Chiefs expect Toney to be ready for the start of the season when the Chiefs host the Lions. Conversely, Chiefs beat writer Pete Sweeney stated that Toney was expected to miss multiple weeks on NBC Sports’ Rotoworld Football Show not too long before Schefter announced the news.

A player with an extensive injury history coming into the season having already had offseason knee surgery is enough reason to shy away. Combine that with the conflicting reports surrounding Toney’s recovery/return, and the limitations in his route tree, he is an easy player to avoid. His average draft position has continued to get lower and lower since the start of training camp, currently being drafted as the consensus WR51 on FantasyPros.

Players that are currently being ranked behind Toney include Nico Collins, Romeo Doubs, Darnell Mooney, and Odell Beckham Jr. All of those players have an outside shot at being the top receiving option in their respective team’s passing game, something Toney cannot say for himself, making them all worthy of being selected ahead of the Chiefs wide receiver.