Wide Receiver Key Considerations

by Shamin Shah – July 30, 2020 – 10 minute read

A few things to keep in mind of when analyzing WRs

Wide Receivers are truly one of the hardest positions to predict correctly in Fantasy Football. For the most part, the top 10-15 picks have guaranteed targets every week, but after that, it definitely can get very random. Seemingly every week there are a few players on the bench or waivers that end up as WR1’s, usually due to 1-2 big plays, or due to a matchup that’s being exploited. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few key considerations that we want to keep in mind when analyzing wide receivers in 2020.

  1. Targets are key for WRs. If your WR gets over 10 targets he is likely going to have a solid game. This is obviously a key upgrade to your player in ½ point or full point PPR leagues. Targets = catches = big plays = TDs. 
  2. Targets come from a few angles in fantasy football. 
    1. When coaches want to get a guy going early. These are going to be your #1’s on the team will be part of all game plans going into any game, irregardless of opponent.
    2. When the run game just isn’t working.
    3. When teams get into a lot of third downs. Unless it’s one or maybe two yards to go, the QB is chucking it
    4. When there is a good matchup to exploit. Coaches and Quarterbacks will target players early and often
    5. When a team needs to come back and time is not in their favor. Good ol’ garbage time points.
  3. Targets are low in the following scenarios
    1. When the running game is working, teams will stick to it and use play action to draw the defenses and then take a few shots. A coach’s dream.
    2. When the QB tends to spread the ball around a lot because there are a lot of “mouths to feed”
    3. When the O-line is getting demolished and the QB is being hurried or sacked a lot, and the offense simply isn’t clicking.
    4. When the WR relies on big plays and is used mostly to stretch the field
  4. Don’t get to “cute” with your WRs every week. It doesn’t matter if Julio Jones hasn’t scored in 6 weeks, or if Deandre Hopkins had 2 off weeks and your bench has been out-scoring him every week, you have to keep those kinds of players in your lineup at all times.
  5. A mix of high floor players who get a lot of targets and some big play receivers should bode well in the long run. For example, if you draft someone like Tyreek Hill, consider getting target monsters in later rounds like Adam Theilan or Jarvis Landry. Alternatively, if you draft someone like Devante Adams or Julio Jones who are almost guaranteed to have 7+ targets per game, you can go for riskier players like Marquise Brown or Will Fuller later on. The thinking behind that is if your risky player has a dud of a game, your safer WR has more of a chance to get you some points to not kill your week. However, if your risky play blows up, you are almost guaranteed to have a big leg up against your opponent no matter what your safe guys do that week. 
  6. TD opportunity can be random for a lot of WRs. There are only a handful of WRs that are targeted heavily in the red zone. For everyone else, it’s fairly random. We will take a look at red zone targets in another article.
  7. As mentioned a little bit earlier, matchup is pretty important for WRs. Most corners are solid players and many get help from safeties so you might not be able to recognize matchups to exploit a lot of times before the game. However, you can definitely identify and try to stay away from shutdown corners who are ear
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