Fantasy Points Targets: Wide Receivers

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Fantasy Points Targets: Wide Receivers

It’s hard to win in fantasy football without drafting the right players. Fortunately, there are a lot of “right players,” and they’re available at various stages of a typical draft. It’s important to go into a draft with a list of players you want, and the points at which they might be available.

Our job at Fantasy Points is to help you with that.

Our Fantasy Points Targets series will highlight players we particularly like at their current ADPs (Average Draft Position). Those players might have legitimate league-winning upside, a rock-solid floor to help the foundation of your team, or might simply present a great value and are being overlooked. It could be a combination of factors.

For these articles, we are using all 12-team ADP over the last month from our friends at the NFFC. We believe high-stakes ADP to be the most important to giving advice, as the sharpest players in the world have been drafting teams for months and have set the market. Given the ADP we are using, the basis for these articles is PPR scoring.

As always, if you want detailed information about all the players listed here — and more — check out our 2020 Fantasy Points Player Profiles.

Player added to this update

D.K. Metcalf (Sea)

Players removed from this update

Jalen Reagor (Phi) — Reagor partially tore the labrum in his shoulder on Aug. 30, which will keep him out for at least four weeks. Even when he does return, Reagor potentially won’t be nearly as effective the rest of the year playing through the tear in his shoulder. Reagor went from being a player we were targeting starting in the ninth or 10th round to a player who now has some downside as a pick 150+ spots into re-draft formats.

Fantasy Points Targets: Wide Receivers

Rounds 1-4

NOTE: As similarly stated in our RB Targets piece, we love guys like Michael Thomas and Davante Adams and Julio Jones. But for the purposes of this article and the WR position overall, we prefer really honing in on the spectacular options available in the 3rd and 4th rounds after building our team with at least one big-time RB.

TARGET

Adam Thielen (Min, 38 ADP) — Thielen finished as a top-eight WR in FPG in both 2017 and 2018, but a hamstring ruined his chance to do it for a third straight year. The injury ravaged his final 10 games of the regular season before he finally looked right in two postseason games. The Vikings traded away Thielen’s only competition for targets in Stefon Diggs this off-season, which opened up a massive 41% air yards share and a 21% target share from last season. Thielen could challenge the likes of Michael Thomas and Davante Adams to be the biggest ball hog in the league if he can remain healthy this season — he didn’t miss a game in his first five seasons. Thielen averaged 148.5 targets per season and a 26% target share in 2017-18. It wouldn’t be shocking if he got back to those standards with such a thin cast of receivers around him. Kirk Cousins will make Thielen one of the most active receivers this season, and we’re comfortable endorsing Thielen starting in the early third round. Thielen has been locked in as Kirkie’s go-to receiver throughout camp.

ALSO CONSIDER…

Allen Robinson (Chi, 29 ADP) — Will 2020 finally be the year that A-Rob gets above-average quarterback play? Nick Foles should at least be a mild upgrade over Mitchell Trubisky, giving Robinson a slightly higher fantasy floor and ceiling. We heard Foles is slightly outplaying Trubisky in training camp. A-Rob saw a catchable pass just 66.0% of the time last season, and Trubisky owned an adjusted completion percentage of just 71.1% last season, which ranked 34th out of 42 passers with 125+ dropbacks (per PFF). Foles at least finished in the top half of the group with a 74.2% adjusted completion percentage, albeit on just 128 dropbacks. A-Rob still finished as the WR10 in FPG (15.9) last year thanks to an influx of targets late in the season, setting career-highs in catches (98) and targets (154) while also reaching 1000+ receiving yards for the first time since 2015. Michael Thomas and Julio Jones were the only receivers to average more than A-Rob’s 9.6 targets per game, and the Bears passing game will continue to run through him this season. Robinson has an outside chance to challenge for the WR1 spot this season with improved QB play, and we like grabbing A-Rob as our first WR in the third round if you open RB/RB or RB/TE to start your draft.

Calvin Ridley (Atl, 39 ADP) — Ridley could be this year’s Chris Godwin, as a talented third-year WR with an improving situation in a pass-heavy offense. Like Godwin, Ridley is also being drafted in the third-to-fourth rounds in fantasy drafts. Ridley is the biggest beneficiary from the departures of Mohamed Sanu and Austin Hooper over the last year. Before missing the final three games of last season with an abdomen injury, Ridley averaged 5.7/82.2/.5 receiving per game on 8.2 targets per game in six contests after the Falcons traded Sanu to New England. Hooper bolted for Cleveland this off-season, and he left behind a generous 18% target share and a 15% air yards share. Ridley averaged 7.3/106.3/.7 receiving per game on 10.7 targets per game in the three weeks that Hooper missed last season, which overlapped with Sanu leaving.

It’s also fair to wonder how much longer Julio Jones can continue to average 10.6 targets per game like he has over the last six seasons. Julio is an absolute freak and he’s yet to show any signs of slowing down, but it’s inevitable that his production is going to start to backslide a bit in the near future. If Julio regresses just a little bit this season, Ridley could explode with Sanu and Hooper already gone. Ridley’s floor is looking safer than ever before and his upside makes him worth the investment in the third round.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (Pit, 37 ADP) — Smith-Schuster is looking to put up a huge season before he hits free agency, especially after he struggled in 2019 because of a slew of injuries that limited him to 12 games. His fantasy stock has plummeted after barely crossing 40+ catches and 500+ receiving yards in his first season without Antonio Brown. Ben Roethlisberger’s return to the lineup will inject life into JuJu and into a Steelers passing game that averaged a pathetic 5.8 YPA (30th) and 186.3 passing yards per game (31st) last season. The Steelers finished first (2018) and second (2017) in pass attempts in Roethlisberger’s last two healthy seasons so JuJu should get back to being extremely active out of the slot. Smith-Schuster is a player to bet on at a reduced price to have a bounce-back campaign after becoming the youngest WR to reach 2500 career receiving yards last season.

Robert Woods (LAR, 44 ADP) — Woods would be a much more exciting pick if he had a little more luck finding the end zone. He’s never topped six touchdowns in a season, but he’s still due for some positive touchdown regression this season. Woods reached the end zone twice on 139 targets last season, while Cooper Kupp should see negative touchdown regression after scoring 10 TDs on 134 targets. Woods was the only WR to score two or fewer TDs out of 30 players at the position who saw 100+ targets last season — Jared Goff targeted him only two times in the end zone. Woods also thrived and Kupp struggled at the end of last season when the Rams transitioned to more 12 personnel. Woods averaged a healthy 7.8/94.2/.4 receiving per game on 11.8 targets per game and 43.8 routes run per game during the final five weeks of last season. Woods isn’t a sexy pick, but he’s locked into a big role and he could smash his ADP if he can find the end zone with a little more regularity.

Rounds 5-6

TARGET

Marquise Brown (Bal, 62 ADP) — Hollywood flashed plenty of potential during his rookie season despite playing through foot and ankle issues. The Ravens made Brown the first WR selected in the 2019 draft (25th overall) despite the diminutive receiver (5’9”, 170 pounds) having surgery for a Lisfranc injury in January 2019. The injury limited him to 58% of the snaps and 14 games played, but he still scored on a ridiculous 10.1% of his targets last season (7 of 69). Brown should be ready to be a full-time player after having the screws from his foot removed this off-season. He should see a significant jump in volume to challenge Mark Andrews to be the #1 option in this passing attack, and the volume boost should offset his touchdown rate regression. Brown ran just 23.0 routes per game last season, and Lamar Jackson will likely throw it more than the 29.4 attempts per game the Ravens averaged last season (fourth-fewest). Brown could unleash pain on the rest of the league with his 4.27-speed finally on full display working off Baltimore’s potent rushing attack. It makes a lot of sense to load up on RBs early in drafts when a player like Brown is waiting for you in the sixth round as a WR3. We should note that Brown’s ADP is on the rise with the season quickly approaching, and you’ll likely have to be aggressive to draft Brown in the fifth round now.

ALSO CONSIDER…

Terry McLaurin (Was, 53 ADP) — McLaurin looks poised to be among the league leaders in target rate after seeing a 22% share as a rookie last season. Washington may have the biggest talent gap between its #1 receiver (McLaurin) and the rest of its receiving corps — the Packers and Davante Adams is the only other situation that comes close. Washington wasn’t exactly teeming with receiver depth behind McLaurin before they lost Kelvin Harmon (ACL) and Cody Latimer (Commissioner's Exempt List) this summer. McLaurin stormed onto the scene as a rookie last season with his dynamic combination of speed and quickness. He finished as the WR29 in FPG (13.7) and 14th among WRs in yards per route run (2.05). McLaurin will be featured as the #1 receiver in this run-heavy attack, and he should have more target stability in this weak receiving corps after averaging 6.6 targets per game last season. His biggest concern will be the quality of his targets this season. McLaurin’s price has stayed cheap this summer because of concerns about Dwayne Haskins, but the second-year QB at least made incremental progress as his rookie season went along to give McLaurin hope for a full-blown breakout.

D.J. Chark (Jax, 52 ADP) — The fantasy world totally forgot about Chark heading into this second season, but he came out like a house on fire with 4/146/1 receiving in the 2019 season opener, which he kept up for most of the season. Chark never made an impact as a rookie because of shaky play and injuries, but his breakout wasn’t totally unforeseeable as he came into the league with tantalizing length (6’3”, 79-inch wingspan) and speed (4.34) as a 2018 second-round pick. Chark averaged 90.5 air yards per game last season with 11 end-zone targets while pacing the Jaguars with a 21% target share. New OC Jay Gruden helped to develop a young A.J. Green during his first three seasons in Cincinnati, and Gruden wants to be more creative with Chark than the previous regime was last season. Chark and Gardner Minshew have some 2015 Jaguars vibes going on entering the 2020 season. Young Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson both finished in the top-eight at their positions in FPG playing from behind most weeks. Minshew and Chark should get plenty of volume since they have a league-low 4.5 win total this season.

D.K. Metcalf (Sea, 46) and Tyler Lockett (Sea, 54 ADP) — Lockett’s stranglehold over the #1 WR role in Seattle loosened in the second half of last season when then-rookie Metcalf started running neck-and-neck with him. Lockett recorded 49/640/5 receiving on 74 targets over the last 10 games (playoffs included) while Metcalf posted 46/717/4 receiving on 69 targets in that same span. They’re now running neck-and-neck in 2020 ADP. Metcalf is being drafted slightly earlier since he has an untapped ceiling while Lockett quietly keeps ascending after posting career-best numbers in targets (110), receptions (82), and receiving yards (1057) in 2019. He finished behind only Cooper Kupp and Chris Godwin in slot fantasy production last season, and Lockett still has his one-of-a-kind chemistry with Russell Wilson working to his advantage. They’ve connected on an absurd 77.2% of their passes over the last two seasons (139 of 180), and Lockett is second to only Tyreek Hill in touchdown receptions over the last two seasons with 18. Metcalf is the sexier pick at the end of the fourth round since he has more untapped potential at just 22 years old. Lockett is the steadier option in the fifth round, but he’s still capable of a few blow-up spots after reaching 11+ FP in 10 games last season with three performances with 26+ FP.

Rounds 7-9

TARGET

Diontae Johnson (Pit, 79 ADP) — Johnson is a staff favorite this summer because there’s a legit chance he paces the Steelers in receptions for the second straight season after an extremely underrated rookie campaign under dire circumstances. The Steelers averaged a pathetic 5.8 YPA (3rd-fewest) and 186.3 passing yards per game (2nd-fewest) last season without Ben Roethlisberger, but Johnson still led all rookies with 59 catches. Johnson tied perimeter CBs in knots with his route running as a first-year player, creating the most average yards of separation (3.6) in the league (per Next Gen Stats). He also tied Deebo Samuel for the WR league lead with 18 forced missed tackles (per PFF).

Johnson is already one of the most elusive receivers in the league, and he played at a high level while playing through a sports hernia injury and with lousy QB play last season. Johnson should quickly become a Big Ben favorite since the veteran QB has never been shy about throwing to his WRs when they’re in one-on-one situations on the perimeter. The Steelers have also finished first (2018) and second (2017) in pass attempts in Roethlisberger’s last two healthy seasons. Johnson could explode in his second season with the Steelers getting back to throwing it a ton if Big Ben is anywhere close to his 2018 form. We’d recommend leaving every draft that you can with Johnson on your team.

ALSO CONSIDER…

Will Fuller (Hou, 72 ADP) — Bill O’Brien put a lot of faith in the oft-injured Fuller when he traded DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals. Fuller is the leading candidate to step into the 30% target share and the 34% air yards share left behind by Nuk. Fuller has averaged 6.1 targets per game since he broke into the league in 2016 while Hopkins averaged a whopping 10.3 targets per game in that same span. Fuller should see his looks climb into the 7-8 targets per game range this season, which has been a magic number for him in the past. He saw seven or more targets in seven of his 12 games last season (including the playoffs), and he averaged a healthy 6.4/91.4/.4 receiving per game. No one has ever doubted Fuller’s on-field ability, but his ability to stay on the field has always been in question. He’s averaged 5.5 missed games per season to start his career, and he’s particularly struggled with soft-tissue injuries. Fuller reportedly put in heavy work to improve his lower-body strength to try to avoid more soft-tissue injuries. Fuller’s 2020 season will ultimately come down to his health, but he has tremendous upside with a potential usage bump playing with one of the league’s elite QBs in Deshaun Watson. Fuller’s upside outweighs his injury risk at his current ADP.

Marvin Jones (Det, ADP 87) — Jones has quietly been a top-30 option in each of his last three seasons, but he’s being selected well outside the top-30 at the position for the second straight season. The problem is he’s missed 11-of-64 games (17.2%) in his four seasons with the Lions, which includes consecutive seasons ended on the injured reserve. Jones is averaging an impressive 64/1002/8 receiving on 110 targets per-16-games played over the last four seasons with the Lions. When they’ve both been on the field, Kenny Golladay and Jones have run as much closer fantasy options than most realize because of their disparate ADPs the last two summers. Golladay is averaging 7.0 targets per game and 100.0 air yards per game while Jones is averaging 7.0 targets per game and 95.2 air yards per game in their last 22 games together over the last two seasons. Golladay and Jones should continue to dominate downfield looks after Matthew Stafford led the league in air yards per attempt (10.7) last season. Jones is looking to net one last contract with a strong performance in 2020. We’d recommend passing on Golladay in the early third round and grabbing Jones in the eighth round instead to get a piece of this Lions passing attack.

Rounds 10-12

TARGET

Breshad Perriman (NYJ, 133 ADP) — Perriman earned himself a sizable raise and a starting job with the Jets based on his late-season surge in 2019. Perriman produced a shocking 5.0/101.2/1.0 receiving per game in his final five contests last season after both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin succumbed to hamstring injuries. Knee injuries riddled the early part of Perriman’s career, but he started to show flashes of his first-round ability in a stint with the Browns in 2018 before catching fire late last season. We are slightly concerned about some swelling in Perriman’s knee, which has held him out of practice at the end of August. Perriman figures to step right into Robby Anderson’s role as a downfield threat on the perimeter, who left behind a massive 34% air yards share and an 18% target share. The Jets aren’t exactly teeming with receiver depth after Anderson’s departure, and Perriman will play with another QB who isn’t afraid to throw caution to the wind in Sam Darnold, who has been compared to Jameis Winston early in his career. Perriman could flame out moving from Bruce Arians and Winston to Adam Gase and Darnold, but he’s worth the limited risk late in drafts considering the substantial upside he showed at the end of last season.

ALSO CONSIDER…

DeSean Jackson (Phi, 138 ADP) — Jackson left fantasy players wondering what could’ve been in 2019. He torched Washington for 8/154/2 receiving in his first game with Carson Wentz before essentially disappearing for the rest of the season with a core injury. D-Jax has now missed time in six straight seasons and 29.2% of his games in that span (28 of 96). The Eagles weren’t relying on D-Jax and Alshon Jeffery (foot) to stay healthy heading into 2020 so they revamped their WR corps by selecting Jalen Reagor (4.47 speed), John Hightower (4.43), and Quez Watkins (4.35). Philly’s rookie receivers could be slow out of the gate without a preseason and Jeffery could miss time to start the season so Jackson could be extremely active early in the season next to Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. His outlook is even better for September with Reagor looking at a potential four-week absence or more for a partially torn labrum. D-Jax can’t be expected to stay totally healthy at 33 years old, but he’s still a great fit for Wentz’s aggressive playing style. Put it this way: D-Jax is basically Will Fuller Lite. Jackson and Fuller have similar passing game environments with similar upside and injury risk, but D-Jax comes in at half the price.

Preston Williams (Mia, 132 ADP) — Williams, a former five-star recruit, went undrafted in 2019 because of multiple off-the-field issues at Tennessee and Colorado State, but he immediately showed he belonged in the starting lineup last summer. He averaged 11.4 FPG in eight games before he tore his ACL in early November and missed the remainder of the season. Williams is on track to be ready for Week 1 after a strong training camp, and the Dolphins were encouraged by his progress since they bypassed selecting WRs in this year’s draft. The massive perimeter receiver (6’5”, 218 pounds) led the Dolphins in target share (21%) and air yards share (31%) through the first nine weeks of the season before his injury. Williams doesn’t have the longest leash considering his UDFA background, his ACL injury, and his issues with dropped passes, but the Dolphins are giving him some room to continue his growth in Year Two. Williams will want Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback for as long as possible to start the season, but he’s still worth a selection late since he was the team’s top option over DeVante Parker before his injury, and the Dolphins are down two depth WRs with Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson opting out.

Rounds 13+

TARGET

Brandon Aiyuk (SF, 149 ADP) — The 49ers already had two of the nastiest receivers after the catch in George Kittle and Deebo Samuel. San Fran’s receiving corps got even nastier after the catch when they selected Aiyuk 25th overall after he led this year’s WR class in yards after the catch. Our Greg Cosell basically described Aiyuk like he did Samuel the year before: a well-built, explosive receiver who can line up all over the formation and be deployed in multiple ways. Aiyuk should step into Emmanuel Sanders’ role from the end of last season, which will have him working as a vertical threat and as a weapon at all three levels of the field. Aiyuk could also be Jimmy Garoppolo’s top WR to start the season since it’s looking like Deebo could miss a game or two after suffering a Jones foot fracture in mid-June. Deebo is at risk of a refracture if he rushes to get back too early, which makes Aiyuk even more of a value as a free pick at the end of drafts. Aiyuk did tweak his hamstring in training camp but he’s expected to be ready for the start of the year.

ALSO CONSIDER…

Michael Pittman (Ind, 149 ADP) — The Colts landed a pro-ready prospect in Pittman, and he’s looking to quickly become Philip Rivers’ new big possession receiver like Keenan Allen was with the Chargers. Our Greg Cosell compared Pittman’s size (6’4”, 220 pounds) to Mike Evans and his competitiveness to Michael Thomas. Pittman steps into an offense that didn’t have a single receiver reach 50+ catches or 625+ receiving yards last season playing with Jacoby Brissett. T.Y. Hilton has been the top receiver for the last seven seasons, but a multitude of small injuries may have him on the downside of his career as he enters his first full season in his 30s — he’s already dealing with a hamstring injury in early August. Pittman isn’t going to blow away perimeter defenders with his explosiveness, but he’s a big receiver who runs routes like a smaller receiver, which should quickly make him a favorite for Rivers. He’s well worth a look late in drafts, and it’s not inconceivable he could be the team’s leading receiver if Hilton struggles to stay healthy again. He has played like a rookie during his first training camp so he could take some a couple weeks to come on strong.

Golden Tate (NYG, 141 ADP) — Tate’s Giants career got off to a shaky start by getting popped with a four-game PED suspension last season, but he eventually got back to his WR3 ways by averaging 13.8 FPG (WR28). Tate is still one of the best receivers after the catch entering his age-32 season, and he’s still one of the safest fantasy options after scoring 11+ FP in eight of 11 games — he missed a fifth game to a concussion. The distribution of Daniel Jones’ targets is very much up in the air going into this season since the Giants never actually had Jones, Tate, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Evan Engram, and Saquon Barkley all on the field together last season. Tate relies on catches for PPR production more than most players so any kind of dip in his volume with a full offensive cast could hurt him more than the bigger-play options in this offense. Tate averaged a solid 7.7 targets per game with Jones in the lineup, and Tate is the cheapest access to a Giants offense that could be playing in some high-scoring affairs this season.

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