AFC Team-by-Team WR Breakdowns
To see our baseline, ceiling and floor projections for every WR discussed below, check out the Preseason Rankings.
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Top Fantasy Target: Rashod Bateman
Marquise Brown finished last season 24th in PPR points per game, but 11th in expected points per game. That might be the biggest mark in favor of Bateman.
It means that Brown’s opportunities added up to top-12 upside. Whether falling short of producing at that level was his fault, a problem with inefficient QB play or a combo, it sets a nice bar of what Bateman could reach.
The biggest question will be how much Baltimore passes. The Ravens went just 44% pass across 2019 and 2020. That jumped drastically to 56% last season, making them the 12th most run-heavy offense after 2 years as THE most run-heavy league wide.
Even if Baltimore leans back toward the run some, Bateman benefits from Brown’s departure to Arizona. There’s room for him to at least assume Brown’s target share, and perhaps go beyond that.
As for Bateman himself, there’s plenty to like about the profile. He didn’t blow anyone away as a rookie but finished 3rd on the team in targets despite a start delayed by groin surgery.
Other Draftables: Devin Duvernay and James Proche
We’re looking at late-round options here outside of Bateman, which is another mark in Bateman’s favor.
Duvernay was a 3rd-round pick back in 2020. He brings speed: a 4.39-second 40. There are issues with his college production profile, though. Duvernay caught 70 total passes through his first 3 years, before a 106-1,386-9 senior year.
Proche arrived in the 6th round in the same year. He didn’t test nearly so fast but delivered a stronter record of college production. Proche was also 22 in his junior-year breakout, though. He could land in the primary slot role, but that doesn’t look likely to provide a lot of target volume.
Duvernay looks like the better bet to be the #2 WR in target share. That role (behind Mark Andrews and Brown) accounted for just 11.1% target share last season.
Top Fantasy Target: Stefon Diggs
Diggs’ 2021 results might have felt a bit disappointing, but that’s primarily because of how good his 2020 was. He did see his target share and yards per route dip: from 3rd and 2nd among WRs in those categories, respectively, to 12th and 25th last season. Even so, Diggs still finished 7th among WRs in total PPR points.
He should remain the clear lead target in an offense that has shed Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley since last season. Gabriel Davis should be in for a larger role in his 3rd season, and the Bills might present even more talent in the renovated slot group. Jamison Crowder, Isaiah McKenzie and rookie Khalil Shakir will compete for time there.
Diggs’ target share did pick up over the 2nd half of last season. And there’s still room for improvement in his yardage and TDs. Despite seeing his ADOT increase by 1.0 last season, Diggs lost 0.2 off his per-catch average. And that ADOT still checked in short of his 2019 number in Minnesota. His 7.8% TD rate through 2 Buffalo seasons also stands just short of the 8.2% rate over 5 seasons with the Vikings – where Diggs did not operate as the clear lead wideout.
Diggs led all wideouts with 22 end-zone targets last season but caught just 36.4% of them.
He looks like a solid bet for both floor and ceiling at his late-Round 1 ADP.
Other Draftables: Gabriel Davis and whoever wins the slot
Davis is the hot name here, bolstered by the 4-TD game he hung on the Chiefs the last time we all saw him. The question, of course, is whether the hype is running ahead of reality.
Davis drew just 10.6% of Bills targets last season, including the playoffs. That number was 16.4% over his final 6 contests, however, a span that saw him climb to a full-time role. Sanders’ departure leaves Davis as the clear leader for the outside spot opposite Diggs, where he’ll be attractive as both a downfield and end-zone target. Last season found Davis tying for just 63rd among WRs in total targets but 8th in end-zone looks.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to pay up to take a shot on him. Davis sits top-24 among wideouts across various ADPs. He’s 31st in our PPR rankings.
The slot competition for Buffalo will be interesting. The Bills released Beasley, re-signed McKenzie, added Crowder and then drafted Shakir in the 5th round. Neither McKenzie nor Crowder got “clear starter” money, and the Day 3 draft capital for Shakir doesn’t point to him being a sure thing.
All are worth a look late in PPR best-ball drafts. McKenzie appears to be the early leader in training camp and has the benefit of 3 full Bills seasons behind him.
Top Fantasy Target: Ja’Marr Chase
It’s a little scary to see Chase jump all the way to 3rd among WRs in both our rankings and ADP after just 1 season. But it was also a little scary to trust him this time last season at an ADP higher than we’d previously seen for a rookie wdieout.
Chase clearly made that apprehension foolish. He became just the 8th rookie ever to average 80+ reception yards on at least 20 receptions. The other 4 to do so since 1987: Odell Beckham Jr., Justin Jefferson, Anquan Boldin and Randy Moss. Chase checked in 5th among WRs in PPR and half-PPR points; 3rd in non-PPR.
He did so despite ranking just 17th at the position in targets. That leaves 2 primary questions for Chase’s fantasy outlook:
- Can we expect the high rate stats to continue?
- Might the targets increase?
Chase benefited from a 16% TD rate in his debut season. That’s not a number players typically repeat. But living in that range certainly wouldn’t be unprecedented.
Since 2010, we’ve seen 86 WR seasons of 16% TD rate or higher on 20+ catches. That’s 7.2 per season over the span. And many wideouts have posted multiple seasons of 10+% within that range.
Chase checked in 5th among WRs in end-zone targets as a rookie, so the Bengals – and his college QB Joe Burrow – clearly liked the WR immediately in that area. Chase also immediately beat Tee Higgins in target share: 23.4% to 21.7% overall. In the team’s 4 playoff games, that gap grew even a little wider: 24.5% vs. 21.0%.
The Bengals would also be wise to throw more overall this season. The team ranked just 20th in pass attempts for 2021, but that rate increased over the season’s 2nd half. The team ranked 8th in situation-neutral pass rate from Week 5 on, when Higgins returned from his shoulder injury.
Burrow now has a full season between him and the rookie-year ACL tear. He’s got a full season of work with Chase, Higgins and Tyler Boyd.
Other Draftables: Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd
The only thing working against Higgins is that he has to share the field with an even more talented wideout (Chase). That didn’t keep Higgins from growing his target share. The 2nd-year wideout drew 21.7% of Bengals attempts for the 18 games he shared with Chase (including the playoffs). That was up vs. the 18.2% share he got in starts with Burrow as a rookie. Higgins also checked in 13th in PPR points per game despite ranking just 28th in targets.
We’re betting on team passing volume increasing this time around. The Bengals ranked 8th most pass-heavy in neutral situations last season from Week 5 on, a span that started with Higgins returning from his shoulder injury. The pass rate increased further in the playoffs, and Burrow’s passing performance improved late in the year – which marked a year removed from his ACL tear.
And that shoulder injury that knocked Higgins out early remained enough of an issue that it required post-season surgery. Now that he’s recovered from that, it’s fair to expect an even better version of Higgins in Year 3.
Boyd, meanwhile, remains a fine player and would likely get a nice target boost if either Higgins or Chase goes down. But he managed just 15% target share in 18 games shared with those 2 last season (including the playoffs). Combine that with a shorter range player who needs target volume to approach his ceiling, and you get an unexciting mid-round pick.
Top Fantasy Target: Donovan Peoples-Jones
Target? Frankly, we’re not targeting any Browns WR – especially as we all wait to find out how many games QB Deshaun Watson will actually miss. If he sits for anything less than half the season, then all could become values.
For now, DPJ looks most attractive – solely for his best-ball upside. The WR12 in PPR points per game last season (Mike Evans) scored 16.4. Peoples-Jones exceeded that twice – including a 4-101-2 line on just 5 targets. He posted 2 other top-40 weeks as well.
That’s nothing magical, but it’s a nice contribution level for a guy who’s going 91st among WRs in current Underdog drafting.
DPJ ranked 4th in ADOT last season among 103 WRs with 40+ targets. He ranked 2nd in that group in yards per catch. Peoples-Jones also ranked just 59th in yards per route run, though, and 89th among all 234 targeted WRs in targets per route.
What’s all that mean? Peoples-Jones is already getting high-value looks. (He also tied TE Austin Hooper for the team lead in red-zone targets last season.) Improved efficiency at QB would boost his output on what was already coming his way. And a pass-catching corps with room for competition just might send more targets in his direction.
Other Draftables: Amari Cooper, David Bell
Cooper is clearly the most accomplished WR in Cleveland, and likely still the most talented. It’ll be a huge upset if – barring injury – he doesn’t lead this team in targets. And there’s a chance he dominates that area.
But Cooper has never garnered more than 22.4% target share (adjusted for games missed) in an NFL season. His average across 7 years split between the Raiders and Cowboys sits at just 20.9%. Cleveland doesn’t sport any wideout near the level of his strongest competition at either previous stop, but we can’t count on a dominant target share for a guy who has never achieved that through 7 pro seasons.
Cooper’s ADP has dipped into the 30s, with all the Watson uncertainty. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with taking a shot on him there. That factor arguably makes him the top target in this corps. We’d still lean away from investing much into this group, though.
Bell looks intriguing for the long term. But his shorter-range, less explosive game means that target volume will be even more important for his production than it is for Cooper or DPJ. We’d bet on Cleveland throwing more than previous with Watson behind center. But the team ranked 4th and 7th in rushing rate the past 2 years. So there’s a long way to go before it’s a positive volume situation.
It’s nice that the rookie has already been working in with the 1st team. But opening training camp with a foot issue that landed him on the PUP list doesn’t help.
Top Fantasy Target: Jerry Jeudy
We have Jeudy ranked ahead of Sutton in both PPR and half-PPR, so he’s the lean for this spot. It’s not a stance we’re drawing swords to defend, though.
The truth is, we don’t have much on which to measure any part of this WR corps – especially with its new QB. Jeudy was a 1st-round pick who got nice target volume as a rookie. He was wildly inefficient with those opportunities, though – 46% catch rate – and played without Courtland Sutton for basically the entire season.
Sutton, a former 2nd-round pick, stepped up as Denver’s lead wideout early last year. But he did so with Jeudy out. Sutton averaged 8.6 targets, 5.7 catches, 83.6 yards and 0.3 TDs per game over 7 contests after Jeudy’s Week 1 high-ankle sprain. Those numbers dropped to 3.8 targets, 1.8 catches, 19.1 yards and 0 TDs in 10 games shared with Jeudy.
Russell Wilson’s arrival dramatically changes the situation. Out is erratic Drew Lock and short-range soldier Teddy Bridgewater. In is 1 of the NFL’s most efficient passers of all time.
That boosts the floor and upside for all Denver pass-catchers. The problem is that we can’t really know how the targets will be distributed – plus the fact that fantasy-drafters are collectively excited about buying Wilson receivers in an offense that seems more likely to let him “cook.”
Complicating the whole situation further is Tim Patrick, who has fared better the past 2 seasons than Jeudy and Sutton drafters would have liked. There’s also an athletic pair of pass-catching TEs plus a strong backfield that will command touches.
Ultimately, neither Jeudy nor Sutton stands out as a “buy” when you compare ADP to our rankings. We have Jeudy projected higher, though, and he’s generally following Sutton off the board.
Other Draftables: Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick
It’s fair to posit Patrick as the primary “buy” here – especially if you’re not willing to pay the draft cost for either Jeudy or Sutton.
Patrick finished 43rd or higher across fantasy formats in total points last year. He beat Jeudy and Sutton in PFF receiving grade. And his 50 targets in 10 shared games narrowly trailed Jeudy (56) while more easily leading Sutton (38).
The team extended Patrick in November. We’ve since gotten a regime change, but Patrick will remain in 3-WR sets at the least. Along with spike-week potential, he carries handcuff upside should either Jeudy or Sutton go down.
Wondering why K.J. Hamler’s name didn’t appear yet? Well, you can stick Russell Wilson’s 4th WR at the end of your best-ball roster if you’d like. But there are plenty more attractive upside bets right now than a 3rd-year speedster coming off an ACL tear and stuck in a crowded pass-catching corps.
Top Fantasy Target: Brandin Cooks
Cooks finished 15th and 21st in half-PPR scoring the past 2 years. In the 9 contests he played with QB Davis Mills, Cooks averaged 16.2 PPR points. That would have ranked 13th at the position for the season.
Trade rumors emanated from Houston in the offseason. But instead of dealing Cooks, Houston guaranteed $36 million on a 2-year extension for the veteran.
Cooks checked in 11th among wideouts in target share in 2021 and continues to find little around him.
Other Draftables: Nico Collins
The 2nd-year wideout got an unfortunate boost when rookie John Metchie announced that he’s been diagnosed with leukemia. Collins does bring some intrigue of his own, delivering a 77th-percentile Burst score, 65th-percentile Agility Score and 95th-percenile catch radius in a 6’4, 215-pound frame.
We’re still talking about a 6th-round pick, though, in an offense that ranked 30th in Football Outsiders DVOA last season; 29th in passing DVOA.
It’s tough to find difference-making upside here.
Top Fantasy Target: Michael Pittman
Pittman dominated target share in his 2nd pro season. He ranked 14th among WRs in the 1st, with no other Colt inside the top 70.
The Colts then spent a 2nd-round pick on WR Alec Pierce but added little else at the position. Pierce looks good on tape, averaged 17.5 yards per catch for his college career and tested explosively. But there are some questions (especially why he couldn’t break out until his 4th year on campus) that keep Pierce from being a surefire prospect.
The uncertainty on him and Parris Campbell can only help the case for Pittman to approach WR1 territory again. He finished 17th in PPR points last year, though just 27th in PPR points per game and 26th in half-PPR. He produced efficiently despite inefficient QB play.
Better performance at that spot plus any bump in passing volume would help. If he doesn’t get both of those, however, who loses efficiency himself, Pittman could wind up lower in WR2 territory.
Other Draftables: Alec Pierce and Parris Campbell
Pierce is going late enough to be a late-round bet for TD and big-play upside. Expect him to be more useful on best-ball rosters than in lineup-setting formats.
Campbell has yet to play more than 7 games in an NFL season, after 3 tries. No one can know what to truly make of him yet. So he’s merely an end-of-draft consideration.
Top Fantasy Target: Christian Kirk
This could prove to be an open competition – or simply a committee.
Last year’s Jaguars found Marvin Jones (19.9%) and Laviska Shenault (16.6%) as the top 2 in target share. Kirk, meanwhile, led the Cardinals at 17.4%.
Jacksonville then paid Kirk $2.5 million more in annual average than any other free-agent WR; $8 million more than any not named Allen Robinson. He heads to camp as the easy favorite for target share but topped out at 20.6% across 4 Arizona campaigns. Does Kirk have true corps-leading upside?
Marvin Jones remains a highly paid and at least serviceable NFL wideout. Zay Jones got the 5th-largest annual average among free-agent WRs. And Laviska Shenault returns after entering last year as 1 of the team’s top 3 wideouts.
Kirk has been a decent player. He has seen significant time both outside and in the slot. His ADOT has gone over 11.0 yards each of the past 2 years, so he’s not just a short-range operator. Kirk will need QB Trevor Lawrence to rebound big time from an ugly rookie year if he’s to realize an attractive fantasy ceiling
Other Draftables: Marvin Jones, Zay Jones, Laviska Shenault
There are sensible levels of your draft for all these guys. It’s hard to envision anyone beyond Kirk becoming a player you feel good putting into a starting lineup, though. That makes this a much more attractive WR corps for best-ball formats than lineup-setting leagues.
Marvin Jones did garner the 4th most end-zone targets in the league last year. He’ll be more helpful if he can reprise that role. And there’s no obvious replacement for him as a red-zone warrior.
Zay Jones enjoyed a strong finish to his final Raiders season, ranking 28th among WRs in PPR points from Week 12 on. For the season, though, he ranked just 53rd in yards per route run and 48th in Pro Football Focus receiving grade among 68 WRs with 60+ targets.
Jacksonville paid him the 5th-largest annual average on the WR market, which could signal opportunity. Fantasy drafters haven’t been interested, though, leaving him on the board until the end (and even beyond) throughout draft season.
Shenault needs to generate some starting buzz in camp to be worth real fantasy-draft consideration. Jacksonville likely didn’t throw a bunch of money at Kirk, Jones and Evan Engram because the new staff expected big things from an incumbent.
Kansas City Chiefs
Top Fantasy Target: *shrug emoji*
It probably seems like a copout to not present any Chiefs WR as the top target here, but it’s actually just honesty. Here are the top 3:
JuJu Smith-Schuster: 30th in DS half-PPR rank, 27th in Underdog ADP
Marquez Valdes-Scantling: 49th, 44th
Skyy Moore: 51st, 47th
You could call any of the 3 the best gamble relative to price, and our numbers can’t argue strongly. And behind those numbers, we all have our own ideas about which actually makes for the best bet.
The case for Smith-Schuster is that he had the dynamic, historic start to his career. Now he lands with a QB upgrade and without a clear target leader at WR.
The case or MVS: The Chiefs invested more into him in free agency than they did Smith-Schuster. He was merely a long-range target in Green Bay and never a target-share winner. Early signals point to Kansas City believing there’s more to him than that, and there has already been some spring buzz on his connection with Patrick Mahomes
The case for Skyy Moore: He’s a strong prospect, whether you go by testing, college market shares, breakout age or tape. We like him best among the 3 long term. But it’ll be challenging to go from the MAC to operating as leading wideout for an NFL offense right away.
Ultimately, Moore and Valdes-Scantling make for comfier bets because they’re going later in drafts. We’d like to see training camp and preseason help us sort this situation a little further, though.
In the meantime, you could either take shots on your favorite or skip the muddled situation altogether. It’s highly unlikely than any of the 3 comes anywhere close to Tyreek Hill territory.
Other draftables: Mecole Hardman
Maybe he finally steps up over a full season. But Hardman has strictly produced as a Hill handcuff to date, enjoying his best usage when Hill has gone down. That would seem to portend a big upswing now that Hill’s gone for good, but K.C.’s actions in the WR market say the team doesn’t believe in Hardman as longer-term replacement.
Las Vegas Raiders
Top Fantasy Target: Davante Adams
Is Adams going to stay the target hog he was in Green Bay? Probably not. Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller each makes for stronger target competition than what faced Adams the past 2 years with the Packers. So having them both makes for a very different setting.
But the move puts Adams in what should be a faster-paced offense. The Packers have ranked just 18th, 32nd and 31st in situation-neutral pace in 3 years under HC Matt LaFleur. The Raiders also figure to face more close and trailing game scripts than the Packers of the past 3 seasons, fighting through the new star-studded AFC West.
Vegas’ moves also suggest a passing lean, an area in which Green Bay has rated middle of the league under LaFleur. All told, Adams could see a similar target count even on a lower target share.
We all know what he’s capable of with the targets that do go his way, and the QB change shouldn’t be a major downgrade. Derek Carr ranked 5th in the league in passing yards, 5th in completion rate and 7th in yards per attempt last season. Among 30 QBs with 1,000+ attempts over the past 4 seasons, Carr ranks 2nd in completion rate and 13th in yards per attempt.
And in case you haven’t heard, Adams and Carr played together in college. As The Athletic’s Tashan Reed pointed out to us on a recent podcast, the 2 have continued working together during their offseasons.
Other Draftables: Hunter Renfrow
Renfrow finished last season 10th in both PPR and half-PPR points, 14th in non-PPR. We certainly don’t expect him to get anywhere near that level in 2022, but neither does anyone else.
Renfrow drew targets all over the field but clearly benefited from TE Darren Waller missing time and WR Henry Ruggs abruptly removing himself from the offense. Vegas dramatically altered the landscape by trading for Davante Adams this offseason, importing a target hog. But the team also extended Renfrow at $16 million per year.
Josh McDaniels arrives with an offense that has been super-friendly to slot WRs. The 1st 2 Patriots offenses among his 13 years as OC there featured Reche Caldwell and then Randy Moss as the top-producing pass-catchers. Every other year was led by Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski or Jakobi Meyers.
Renfrow faces more of a volume challenge this year but should remain in 2-WR sets with Adams. At a WR3 price tag, he’s a fine PPR addition.
Los Angeles Chargers
Top Fantasy Target: Keenan Allen and Mike Williams
Allen sits 2 spots ahead of Williams in our PPR rankings. That flips to Williams 2 spots ahead in half-PPR. They reside nearly tied in ADP across multiple sites. So to distinguish either as the target here would be disingenuous.
Allen is the more proven commodity. He has finished among the top 18 WRs across fantasy formats for 5 straight seasons. Last year found him 11th in PPR scoring, despite missing a game; 15th in half-PPR and 16th in non-PPR. Allen has posted the 2nd and 3rd largest receptions-per-game averages of his career the past 2 seasons (with Justin Herbert).
Now 30, there’s certainly a chance he’s in decline. Allen’s yards per route run have decreased each of the past 4 years. Last season’s 1.78 ranked him just 28th among 89 wideouts with at least 89 targets. Williams beat Allen in that category and earned a higher PFF receiving grade (by 0.1 point). Last season also marked the 2nd straight year and 3rd time in 4 years that Williams generated a higher passer rating on balls thrown his way than Allen.
The biggest difference between the players is where their targets come. Despite losing more than 3+ yards off his ADOT last year vs. any of his 3 previous starting seasons, Williams still beat Allen by 2.9 yards in that category.
Williams has also beaten Allen in end-zone targets in each of their 4 shared seasons. (Williams saw limited playing time in his injury-riddled rookie year.) According to PFF, it’s a 50-38 edge overall for that span.
So it’s basically floor vs. ceiling here. The nearly 28-year-old (Oct. 4) Williams re-signed for $60 million over 3 years this offseason. That signals the Chargers at least believe he’ll continue on a similar path, with a shot at continued ascension.
Last year found the target distribution gap close between them. In 2020, Allen’s 28.6% share across 12 healthy games dominated Williams’ 16.5% in his 13 full outings. In 2021, that went 24.4% for Allen vs. 20.2% for Williams in their 16 appearances.
There’s plenty of room for both to remain good, especially in an offense that ranked 6th last season in both situation-neutral pass rate and situation-neutral play pace.
Other Draftables: Josh Palmer
Signs point to Palmer – a 3rd-round pick last year – moving ahead of Jalen Guyton as the 3rd WR here. Even that would still find him well behind Allen and Williams, though, in an offense that also figures to continue targeting RB Austin Ekeler heavily and including TE Gerald Everett at least as much as last year’s did Jared Cook.
In 2021, Palmer and Guyton combined for 97 targets on a team that attempted the league’s 3rd most passes. Palmer likely won’t be in line to absorb even all of that as the WR3. He’s stashable in case either Allen or Williams goes down, but it’ll take that scenario for him to be playable in most redraft leagues.
Top Fantasy Target: Tyreek Hill
This is a nerve-racking WR corps in which to spend early draft capital.
Hill was a fantasy monster with the Chiefs. And he was monstrous despite sharing the field with another high-volume target collector in TE Travis Kelce. But we haven’t seen him without Patrick Mahomes since 2017. That version of Hill did still rank 8th among WRs in PPR points per game, despite tying for just 23rd in targets. So we’d rather bet on him than against his QB or situation.
The greater challenge to Hill than any Tua Tagovailoa questions figures to be Jaylen Waddle. He set the rookie record for receptions (104), earning 23.3% target share after arriving as a 1st-round pick.
Both will have to contend with “TE” Mike Gesicki and free-agent addition Cedrick Wilson. But if those players factor strongly into Hill or Waddle being limited, then Miami’s new coaches are doing it wrong. (And Mike McDaniel sure comes across as smarter than that.)
Other Draftables: Jaylen Waddle and Cedrick Wilson
The unanswerable question here is total passing volume. That hasn’t been a high point for Kyle Shanahan offenses overall, the system that McDaniel hails from. But his 1st Miami offense sure seems to be building toward plenty of passing. The Dolphins acquired Hill, signed Wilson and franchised Gesicki. Even the most expensive RB addition was Chase Edmonds, whose strength is receiving.
We’re ultimately betting on Hill over Waddle in the fight for targets, which leaves us projecting the new guy as the better selection at their respective ADPs. That said, we certainly can’t rule out another terrific season for Waddle.
Wilson, meanwhile, is more of a best-ball consideration. He’ll likely need a Hill or Waddle injury to make him worthwhile in a lineup-setting format.
New England Patriots
Top Fantasy Target: There really isn’t one.
Draftables: Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, Tyquan Thornton, Nelson Agholor
That’s fair. The guy has added 40 targets to his total each of the past 2 years. He beat his nearest teammate by 51 targets last season, despite TE Hunter Henry and WR Kendrick Bourne playing just as many games.
The problem is that Meyers is a short-range target who’s not likely to see a huge rebound in TDs. And even his dramatic target lead last year amounted to just 23.6% of New England’s total pass attempts. He’ll need to get to 27% or 28% to have a truly difference-making season for your fantasy squad.
Meyers is a fine pick as a WR5, and even better as a WR6 or later. But he presents PPR floor rather than league-altering upside.
And the problem with everyone else is the target spread. If the crew’s dominator is only getting 23.6%, then the guys who could barely muster more than half Meyers’ total aren’t generating the kind of volume you’re likely to put into your weekly lineup.
Consider the rest of these players primarily late options for your best-ball rosters. In that scenario, they can go nicely with a late selection of QB Mac Jones.
New York Jets
Top Fantasy Target: Garrett Wilson
We love Elijah Moore the player, but so does everyone else in the fantasy football universe at this point. That’s why even though he’s down from low-WR2 territory in early best-ball drafting, Moore still sits 10 spots higher in Underdog ADP than he does in our half-PPR rankings.
Moore is certainly capable of outperforming our expectations. But you’ll need to either bet on him commanding a lot more target volume than we are, or on Zach Wilson dramatically improving his efficiency.
So we’ll lean instead to Wilson here. The 10th overall pick sits just 1 spot behind Moore in our half-PPR rankings but 19 spots lower in Underdog ADP. None of us has anything to go on in projecting the target distribution between them, so it’s pretty easy to favor the guy going nearly 4 rounds later. Especially when you consider that the Jets chose Wilson a full round earlier (with Moore and Corey Davis already rostered.
Wilson enjoyed a breakout 2021, delivering a 70-1,058-12 receiving line despite sharing the field with Chris Olave and Jaxson Smith-Njigba. He displayed excellent route-running and then tested fast (4.38-second 40) at the Combine.
Other Draftables: Elijah Moore and Corey Davis
Our only problem with Moore the player is the price. The situation doesn’t help, though. We got little time to evaluate Moore and Davis together last season, with each trading off games lost to injury. It was Davis dominating preseason target share from Zach Wilson, while Moore flashed in season after making his way to the lineup.
Ultimately, each is worth taking shots on where it makes sense. Davis is the least exciting player of the top 3 Jets wideouts, simply because he’s had a chance to show a lack of special upside in the NFL. But his range of outcomes still includes leading these Jets in targets. So he works as a late stash.
Top Fantasy Target: Chase Claypool
Why Claypool over Diontae Johnson as “top target” here? We have Johnson projected slightly behind his positional ADP. Claypool, on the other hand, checks in about 7 spots higher in our PPR rankings than he’s going in current FFPC drafting.
Both have done plenty of good so far. It’s possible we’re underrating Johnson after he finished 3rd among WRs in targets, 5th in receptions and 8th in PPR points last season. His 28% target share dominated Claypool’s 18.1%.
Claypool is the greater downfield threat, though. Despite the huge lead in target share, Johnson only led Claypool 32.4% to 27.2% in share of team air yards, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. Claypool has led Johnson by roughly 3 yards in ADOT each of their 2 shared seasons.
This year’s QB change should improve Pittsburgh’s ability to throw downfield. We all watched Ben Roethlisberger’s arm deteriorate, producing the 2 shortest ADOTs of his career the past 2 seasons.
The other benefit to Claypool’s later draft position vs. Johnson in Round 4: You can buy the upside without necessarily counting on the Pittsburgh passing offense to give you a starting wideout.
Other Draftables: Diontae Johnson, George Pickens
All that said about Claypool vs. Johnson, the latter remains a decent bet toward the bottom of WR2 territory simply because he was such a target hog last year. If he slips past ADP, there’s nothing wrong with grabbing him.
Pickens could be another threat to that target share, though. He hit Georgia as a highly touted recruit and broke out right away. Pickens then had a still-good sophomore year, despite missing 2 games of a COVID-shortened 2020. But then an ACL tear all but eliminated his junior season.
A fully healthy Pickens might well have landed in Round 1. The current version has already begun operating as the “clear WR3,” joining Johnson and Claypool in the lineup.
Pickens is fine as a late-round stash. He’ll likely need an injury to Johnson or Claypool, though, if he’s to become a starting consideration for lineup-setting fantasy formats.
Top Fantasy Target: Treylon Burks
Don’t bet too heavily on this passing game. Tennessee sported the league’s 2nd most run-heavy offense last year, and the 2nd most run-heavy offense the year before. Then the Titans traded away lead WR A.J. Brown and dumped veteran WR Julio Jones.
There’s not likely to be a lot of passing volume.
Burks, however, brings traits similar to Brown’s. He’s big (6’2, 225). He can operate downfield and create yardage after the catch. He averaged 16.4 yards per reception across 3 years in the SEC. Burks operated primarily from the slot at Arkansas, but he also showed well while increasing his outside exposure in his final season.
Burks generated some negative buzz around his conditioning in spring but has reportedly already improved his conditioning. We’re not downgrading him for any concern there, especially when you only need to pay mid-to-low WR4 prices to buy.
Other Draftables: Robert Woods, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Kyle Philips
Woods would probably be the top target here if he weren’t coming off an ACL tear. It’s good news that Woods didn’t land on the PUP list to open camp. HC Mike Vrabel has said that the veteran is already participating in “90 percent” of what the team is doing.
Westbrook-Ikhine and Philips enter view because of the uncertainties with the other 2. Even if Burks is in shape and ready to go, there’s the chance he struggles in his 1st season. And besides coming off the knee injury, Woods turned 30 in April.
Westbrook-Ikhine finished 2nd among last year’s Titans in targets – albeit with just 10.7% share. He and Philips are merely end-of-draft considerations, especially in best-ball formats.
Philips is an unexciting player type: short guy with below average speed, likely destined for the slot. But PlayerProfiler rated him 93rd percentile among WRs in college target share (at UCLA) and 80th percentile in dominator rating. That means his team was peppering him with targets, and Philips turned them into large chunks of the offensive production. His target shares went 21%, 28.7%, 28.7%.
This 5th-round pick looks similar to Hunter Renfrow and Cole Beasley. That’s not necessarily a fantasy difference maker, but someone to keep tabs on.