• Gladys Louise Tyler

It’s DeAndre Hopkins and Who?

Statistically Speaking Wide Receivers in your Fantasy Football Draft…. It’s DeAndre Hopkins and Who?

It’s fantasy football draft time and once again the running backs are running supreme. The first round of the majority of mock drafts being conducted is dominated by running backs. Wide receivers are falling too late first round or early second round. The first wide receiver off most boards is last year’s fantasy football number one wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. After that there is no consensus on who will be the second wide receiver off the board. Let’s examine the next five wide receiver options.

Davante Adams, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers

2018 stats: 169 targets, 111 receptions, 1386 yards, 13 touchdowns

Some statistical facts:

  • Current ADP has him as the number two wide receiver off the board

  • 28 touchdowns inside the 20 yards line over the past three seasons

  • Averaged 5.7 receptions per game

  • Averaged 11.3 targets per game

  • 31 red-zone targets in 15 games

  • 36% touchdown rate on red-zone targets

  • Has scored 10 or more touchdowns his last three seasons

  • Aaron Rodgers’ number one receiver has caught double-digit touchdowns in seven of his 11 seasons as a starter

Adams finished last season as fantasy WR2 in PPR formats. He averaged almost 22 PPR points per game and never scored below 16 PPR points. That’s the plus, along with the fact that his quarterback has stated he didn’t think they got the ball to Adams enough. Now for the…what if…portion, the Green Bay Packers will be playing under a new head coach, Matt LaFleur. LaFleur has the reputation of being an offensive minded head coach, although last season in Tennessee his offense was 27th in points, 25th in total yards and 29th in passing yards.

Yes, there is the argument that Tennessee has less talent, but an offensive genius should be able to make even a mediocre offense respectable, no? But then again Rodgers made it work under Mike McCarthy.

Odell Beckham Jr., Wide Receiver, Cleveland Browns

2018 stats (with NY Giants): 124 targets, 77 receptions, 1052 yards, 6 touchdowns

Some statistical facts:

  • Current ADP has him as WR5

  • Has missed 16 games the past two seasons

  • Per Next Gen Stats, got open by earning three or more yards of separation at the catch point---on 52 percent of his targets over the last three seasons

  • However, when Eli Manning’s wide receivers have gotten open over the last three seasons, he ranks 29th in success rate

  • AND his quarterback Baker Mayfield ranks fourth best in accurate throw rate

  • Mayfield has a 61.7% success rate, 8.8 YPA and a 1.8% completion rate above expectation when throwing to an open receiver last year according to NFL stats

  • Mayfield deep ball adjusted completion rate on throws 20 plus yards was 48% comparatively Manning’s was 35.8%

  • In eight games under Freddie Kitchens last season, Mayfield completed 68.4% of his passes

There is much to like about Beckham this season. He will be playing with Jarvis Landry working the slot, which will not allow defenses to singularly key in on Beckham. He is playing with a quarterback who has better accuracy on the downfield passes. The stats may seem to say a lot about Mayfield, but considering the wide receiver is dependent on his quarterback it is necessary. So there is more, Manning averaged 7.9 yards downfield on his throws; Mayfield averages 9.7. Mayfield’s red zone completion percentage was 66.7%, while Manning’s was 47.7%.

And consider this the Brown’s new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, made Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston look like superstars last season. Imagine what he will do when he gets a real superstar in his grasp.

Julio Jones, Wide Receiver, Atlanta Falcons

2018 stats: 170 targets, 113 receptions, 1677 yards, 3 touchdowns

Some statistical facts:

  • Current ADP has him being the 1st pick of the 2nd round

  • Over the last three seasons he has averaged 0.37 touchdowns, serious lack of touchdown productions

  • Has had only one season of double-digit touchdown receptions

  • However, averages 96.7 receiving yards per game

  • Led the league in targets with 170

  • Five consecutive seasons with at least 1400 receiving yards

Jones is one of the most productive wide receivers in the league, if you play PPR. If you are in a touchdown dependent league, he isn’t so great.

Michael Thomas, Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints

2018 stats: 147 targets, 125 receptions, 1405 yards, 9 touchdowns

Some statistical facts:

  • Current ADP has him as the 3rd wide receiver coming off fantasy draft boards

  • Saints offense finished 12th in total passing yards for the first time they haven’t finished fifth or better

  • Was targeted on 28.4% of passes last year

  • 82.9% catch rate last year

  • Has yet to score double-digit touchdowns in a season

  • Last season Thomas was 11th in targets while leading the league in receptions

There is no reason to believe that Thomas will not be the number one receiver this season. The acquisition of tight end Jared Cook should take some of the double teams away from Thomas (not that the double teams slowed down his production). The only worry is that the Saints are gradually throwing the ball less and while Thomas ran 25% of his snaps out of the slot last season his average target depth was only 7.93 yards.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers

2018 stats: 166 targets, 111 receptions, 1426 yards, 7 touchdowns

Some statistical facts:

  • Current ADP has him as the sixth receiver off the board

  • Finished the season as WR9 in standard scoring

  • Finished last season with a 57% success rate when targeted

  • In the red zone he had a 48% success rate…led Steelers with 29 red zone targets

The question is whether Smith-Schuster can be the number one wide receiver now that Antonio Brown is gone, and he will face the other teams’ best. That’s the what if. What we know is that he will see more targets now that Brown is gone, but targeted more than 166 times? Also last season the Pittsburgh Steelers threw the ball 67.39% of their total offensive plays.


There are many options for wide receivers, the urgency depends on the type of league you are in, standard, PPR, flex? It all matters. As always know your scoring system, then scout for your man.