Because the NFL has turn out to be increasingly pass-happy, the vast receiver place has grown into probably the deepest in fantasy soccer. Even within the late rounds of drafts, there are many sleepers that seemingly have boundless potential. That does not change the truth that annually, there is a sure group of fellows that stands above the remainder. In 2019, our top-tier WRs include eight gamers: DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, Julio Jones, Tyreek Hill, Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr., JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown. All need to be excessive picks, and all have a professional shot to complete because the No. 1 fantasy receiver.
Assuming Brown has toned down the loopy and is able to play Week 1, all eight of those wideouts ought to go inside the first two rounds of your fantasy draft. Earlier than we get too deep into it, the truth is that you would be able to’t actually go mistaken with any of those guys. Certain, there is a bit extra bust potential for some than others, however even that chance could be very low. Determining which of those receivers is finest on your workforce comes all the way down to your preferences, and we’re right here to provide you an concept of what to anticipate from every this season.
DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Final 2019 Fantasy Cheat Sheet
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DeAndre Hopkins fantasy outlook
Hopkins has a lot going for him as a fantasy soccer asset. Earlier than we even dig deeper into his numbers, it is the video games performed column that actually stands out. In six NFL seasons, Hopkins has missed just one sport. While you’re spending a first-round decide on a large receiver, you need him on the sector. All the things he is ever proven suggests Hopkins might be.
Now that I’ve in all probability jinxed Hopkins’ well being, let us take a look at what makes him so particular as soon as he is on the sector. Invoice O’Brien loves to make sure that Hopkins will get the soccer. In every of the final 4 seasons, he is been focused greater than 150 instances (averaging 167.5). With extra questions than solutions within the Houston backfield heading into 2019, there isn’t any cause Hopkins should not cross that threshold once more and repeat as one in every of soccer’s most focused gamers.
So, we have Hopkins on the sector, and we have the soccer heading his method (from one of many brightest younger stars within the sport, Deshaun Watson). For a constant go catcher, Hopkins can also be a big-yardage menace, placing up 14.1 yards per catch throughout his profession. He is reeled in double-digit touchdowns in every of the previous two seasons and three of the final 4. Virtually the whole lot about Hopkins factors to him being a secure choice who nonetheless has the upside to guide the NFL in each receiving class.
If there’s one factor to be involved about in Houston, it is the offensive line that enables Watson to be underneath almost fixed stress. Hopkins performed simply nice after Watson was damage in 2017, although, so even that does not appear to be it may knock Hopkins off his pedestal. A part of the hope was that this evaluation may lay out some cons to drafting Hopkins, however after crunching all of the numbers, the conclusion is as reassuring to a Hopkins drafter because it might be: There are not any. He is a stable mid-to-late-first-round decide.
Davante Adams fantasy outlook
Earlier within the offseason, I used to be writing about Adams and started to sort that there was some uncertainty surrounding Aaron Rodgers. In my head, the season Rodgers had final 12 months was an indication that issues might be on a decline. Certain, there have been some conflicts and now a brand new head coach (Matt LaFleur) is on the town, however there was nonetheless a heck of numerous good ol’ Rodgers in 2018. He is nonetheless on the shortlist of QBs you must really feel finest about throwing to your vast receivers.
That brings us extra absolutely into Adams. He is probably the most gifted WRs in soccer, however he is perhaps only a notch off of Hopkins or Julio Jones. Rodgers is the factor he has that these guys do not. In 2018, we noticed Adams take full benefit of working with one of many best passers ever. He’d all the time proven the flashes, with double-digit touchdowns and almost 1,000 yards in each ’16 and ’17. Final 12 months, Adams turned these glimpses into every-week occurrences. He shattered his earlier career-high in catches (75), grabbing 111 passes all through the season. That led to profession highs in yards (1,386) and touchdowns (13). This was not, “Will Davante Adams turn out to be Aaron Rodgers’ new No. 1?” As an alternative, he merely was.
The presence of LaFleur may change issues, although. With the asterisk that he is by no means labored with Rodgers earlier than, LaFleur’s final two seasons as offensive coordinator in ’17 with the Rams and ’18 with the Titans noticed comparatively few passes. The Titans threw the second-fewest passes in soccer, whereas the Rams the 12 months earlier than have been the ninth-fewest. Regardless of the presence of Rodgers, it is apparent that LaFleur is keen on a balanced assault. In idea, that would hurt Adams’ manufacturing a bit.
Inexperienced Bay’s up-and-coming secondary WRs may additionally suck just a few of the targets away from Adams. All three of Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantlng and Equanimeous St. Brown needs to be on the rise and battling for greater roles within the offense. Adams will retain his high standing, however even a bit of little bit of consuming into his manufacturing makes a distinction if you’re deciding between these top-tier wideouts.
Adams may need had a profession 12 months final season, however due to Rodgers, most homeowners really feel completely comfy drafting him and hoping for a repeat. He won’t be as constant, so maintain that in thoughts when you’re pondering of utilizing a first-round decide on him.
Julio Jones fantasy outlook
One of many greater mysteries within the trendy NFL is Jones’ lack of touchdowns. Fortunately, we do not have to fret about whether or not Jones can be as priceless a fantasy participant if he glided by his given title, Quintorris, however severely, the place are the touchdowns? The one time he is cracked double-digits is again in his second season, and for his profession, he is averaged 6.four TDs per season. How can this bodily freak — sooner and stronger than almost anybody within the NFL — be so efficient in each a part of the sector but inevitably fail to search out paydirt? Since touchdowns are price a lot in fantasy soccer relative to different counting stats, it looks as if a solution that may be importantt to search out.
The very first thing that is straightforward to see is that Jones is a big-play menace. If he for some cause could not create down-field separation or achieve yards after the catch, it could be simpler to know why he does not rating a ton of TDs. That is not the case, although, as he is averaged 15.four yards per reception in his profession. That is greater than current deep threats Mike Wallace and John Brown have averaged, and it is also greater than the apparent title over in Kansas Metropolis, Tyreek Hill. So, it isn’t an incapability to interrupt freed from the protection that has restricted Julio.
There’s additionally the matter of red-zone work. It is laborious to search out full leaderboards for these numbers, however Jones trailed Adams in targets each contained in the 20 and the 10 in 2018. There was a seven-week stretch final 12 months the place Jones wasn’t focused in any respect within the pink zone. Clearly, Atlanta must be contained in the 20 for Jones to have an opportunity at these targets, however this can be a high-powered offense with a stable working assault. It is not just like the Falcons had an inordinate variety of lengthy scores. In some way, it simply wasn’t Julio they referred to as on in these red-zone moments.
Jones will get reunited with offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter this season, who additionally stuffed that position with the Falcons from 2012-’14. That brings trigger for optimism due to how Jones carried out underneath Koetter in these years. He caught his career-high 10 TDs in Koetter’s first season as Falcons OC. After harm ended Jones’ ’13 early, he got here again to common 106.2 receiving yards per sport in ’14 (he was truly averaging 116 yards per sport in ’13 earlier than he bought damage). A brand new offensive coordinator may typically trigger fear, however on this case, Jones’ reunion with Koetter needs to be a great factor.
When it comes all the way down to it, Jones lack of touchdown-dependency makes him extra constant week-to-week. In 2018, Jones had 10 video games with no less than 100 receiving yards and one other with 96. Solely twice did he fall beneath 60 yards in a sport. In some way, whereas being probably the most bodily imposing gamers within the NFL, Jones finds a strategy to be boring. Nobody drafting a high receiver needs boring, however that is the great sort of boring that is simply actually efficient over and over. It is also actually laborious to see Jones ending his NFL profession with a single-season excessive of 10 touchdowns. Would not he simply must blow up one in every of these seasons and never solely catch 100 passes for 1,300-plus yards, but in addition seize 17 TDs? In case your draft slot is smart together with his late-first spherical ADP, it’d positively be enjoyable to be alongside for the experience to determine that out.
Tyreek Hill fantasy outlook
Hill’s fantasy prospects have been doubtful till a couple of month in the past when the NFL determined he would not be suspended. Hastily, he went from being an enormous early-season query mark to being the identical participant who averaged essentially the most commonplace fantasy factors per sport amongst vast receivers a 12 months in the past. Whereas there is a concern that Hill may get in hassle once more and the NFL can be much less merciful, that is considerably true of each participant, so now we have to deal with Hill as if he will play nearly all of video games.
In numerous methods, Hill seems like a supercharged model of prime DeSean Jackson. Two seasons in the past, he averaged 15.eight yards per catch, and as soon as Patrick Mahomes joined the equation, Hill boosted it to 17.zero per catch final 12 months. He added greater than a rush per sport and gained an extra 21 fantasy factors on the bottom. Clearly all of those top-eight WRs could make large performs, however Hill is a little more dependant on them for his worth than any of the others.
With large performs can come consistency points. In comparison with Jones’ 10 100-yard video games in 2018, Hill had six. When he has these large weeks, although, he can carry you to matchup wins. He had a three-TD week and 4 further two-TD weeks. Hill’s alternatives on this regard should not change a lot in ’19, for the reason that Chiefs’ passing-game weapons have not modified considerably.
This relative boom-or-bust nature that Hill brings to the sector raises an fascinating query concerning the goal of fantasy soccer. Clearly, in a broad sense, you’d wish to win each matchup you’ve gotten. So long as you make the playoffs and win your championship, although, you are in all probability comfortable about how the whole lot turned out it doesn’t matter what your common season report is. Jones had one 20-point fantasy sport in commonplace scoring final 12 months; Hill had 5. Every of the weeks your WR1 scores that many factors, you are off to an incredible begin towards successful. He can save your workforce with an enormous sport in per week that a few your different choices do not work. Jones is a superb start line to a well-oiled machine, whereas Hill is extra just like the drag-racing automotive that goes quick for a brief time frame earlier than needing its parachute to decelerate.
Hill received loads of homeowners their fantasy leagues in 2018. Of all of the top-tier receivers, it is his inconsistency that may be particularly irritating one week and exhilirating the following. Whether or not you select Hill ought to rely on how nicely you’ll deal with the massive highs and the comparatively disappointing lows. Both method, he’ll be off the board by the mid-second spherical (possibly the late first), so if you would like him, it would value you.
Michael Thomas fantasy outlook
Thomas led the NFL in receptions in 2018 with 125. He had by far the very best catch price amongst these top-eight vast receivers at 85 p.c. Thomas transformed all that quantity into 1,405 yards and 9 TDs. His scenario heading into ’19 hasn’t modified a lot, though the presence of Jared Cook dinner may take just a few seems to be away from Thomas. Generally, his scenario suggests a repeat, so essentially the most related a part of Thomas is perhaps whether or not gamers who’ve achieved what he is achieved have adopted up with related efforts.
We are able to use Thomas himself as the primary historic instance. In 2017, he acquired 149 targets (two greater than his 147 final season) and had a catch share of 69.eight p.c. That is a price extra in keeping with the opposite wideouts on this checklist. Thomas can count on to be barely boosted by the historic completion charges of Drew Brees, however possibly to not the extent we noticed final 12 months. For reference, Thomas had a 77- p.c catch price in his rookie 12 months.
The final two receivers to even high 80 p.c on catch price have been Randall Cobb in 2011 and Austin Collie in ’10. Neither of them got here close to that mark within the following season (and neither had reached the 85 p.c that Thomas did). What Thomas did final 12 months is mainly unprecedented in current historical past amongst WRs, and it is price noting he wasn’t remarkably efficient on a per-catch foundation, averaging 11.2 yards per reception. A few of that’s clearly by design with Thomas’ position within the New Orleans offense, nevertheless it does restrict his upside if he catches a decrease share of passes this 12 months.
Even with doubtless regression coming in receptions, Thomas continues to be an enormous PPR weapon. In that format, the amount of catches Thomas will get every week makes him a constant menace. Normal leagues render Thomas rather less distinguished, albeit nonetheless a surefire WR1. It is simply price being conscious when drafting that the chance of Thomas repeating his 2018 marketing campaign is low, which is why he ought to drop to the second spherical.
Odell Beckham Jr. fantasy outlook
Of all of the gamers on this checklist, Beckham is the one who enters into an clearly higher scenario in 2019. The improve from Eli Manning to Baker Mayfield cannot be missed, and, in concept, a extra balanced offense ought to create extra space for Beckham to function, too.
OBJ was on a outstanding tempo final season earlier than struggling a quad harm and lacking the season’s last 4 video games. He’d already tallied 1,052 yards in 12 video games (placing him on tempo for a full-season whole of 1,402 on 102 catches). He did that regardless of Manning’s ongoing decline that conceptually ought to have restricted Beckham’s upside.
Now in Cleveland, Beckham not solely will get to work with the rising star Mayfield, however he additionally enters an offense that can look to go a ton. Offensive guru Freddie Kitchens is the full-time head coach, and new offensive coordinator Todd Monken led a Tampa offense that led the league in passing makes an attempt in 2018. Even with a bevy of weapons round him, Beckham ought to threaten for the league lead in targets.
There’s by no means been any doubt to what Beckham can do as soon as he has the ball in his fingers. He is averaged 14.zero yards per catch in his profession and put collectively probably the most spectacular spotlight reels within the NFL. With the Browns, Beckham will get a excessive quantity of passes delivered extra persistently on the cash, permitting him to go to work extra typically. Possibly the brand new atmosphere will rejuvinate the moody Beckham a lot in the best way his rookie 12 months in New York did, when he averaged a career-best 108.eight yards per sport. There is a particular elevated danger of harm with Beckham relative to those different names, as he is missed 16 video games the previous two years, however his total manufacturing makes him not possible to go on within the second spherical — if he makes it that far.
JuJu Smith-Schuster fantasy outlook
There won’t be a extra referenced statistical narrative this offseason than the obtainable targets in Pittsburgh, nevertheless it’s laborious to speak about Smith-Schuster and never go there. There are greater than 200 obtainable targets in Pittsburgh because of the departures of Antonio Brown and Jesse James. Smith-Schuster was fourth within the NFL with 166 targets in 2018, so think about what he can do because the No. 1 now that the man who completed third in targets final 12 months is gone.
On one hand, how a lot can one participant actually develop from 166 targets? On the opposite, a few of the different guys on this checklist have nicely exceeded that as the highest choice with their very own groups. Hopkins has had seasons of 192 and 174 targets, and Jones had seasons of 203 and 170. Smith-Schuster ought to no less than increase his targets by just a few, and based mostly on these precedents, possibly it may rise by as many as 40.
Let’s decide a spherical quantity and provides Smith-Schuster 200 targets in 2019 and extrapolate his numbers from final 12 months. Smith-Schuster would put up 133 catches, 1,718 yards and eight touchdowns. It is laborious to think about Smith-Schuster can be fairly as environment friendly together with his targets when the amount is increased and the eye on him is elevated, however the apparent upside is there.
We noticed Roethlisberger try by far a profession excessive in passes final 12 months regardless of the effectiveness of Le’Veon Bell substitute James Conner. Brown’s absence may decrease the general makes an attempt barely, nevertheless it’s apparent that Pittsburgh has determined its finest probability for achievement at this stage of Roethlisberger’s profession is to sling the soccer round. Smith-Schuster is the seventh of those names coming off the board based mostly on ADP information, however he seemingly has an excellent excessive ground and an nearly boundless ceiling. When you get Smith-Schuster together with your second decide in drafts, you must really feel actually good about it.
Antonio Brown fantasy outlook
Who knew we might have to put in writing and fear a lot about Brown when he joined the Raiders? Certain, it regarded like a slight quarterback downgrade from Roethlisberger to Derek Carr, nevertheless it wasn’t sufficient to scare anybody away. If something, it may have been a optimistic since Brown clearly wasn’t on good phrases with Huge Ben. A happier Brown had the potential to be a extra productive Brown.
However that was earlier than Brown went right into a cryotherapy machine in France sporting solely socks on his toes; and that was earlier than Brown was staying away from the Raiders as a result of he needed to put on his outdated helmet. It was additionally earlier than Brown returned, wore an accepted helmet, then disappeared once more, drawing the ire of his GM earlier than exhibiting again up once more and sporting a brand new helmet amidst a brand new grievance submitting.
Briefly, it has been loopy.
Brown’s on-field capacity makes him definitely worth the headache for the Raiders, although. He is caught 100-plus passes in six-straight seasons. Every of these seasons led to no less than 1,284 receiving yards, and his low in touchdowns throughout that stretch was eight. Frankly, the preseason insanity offers a great probability to choose Brown at a slight worth — he is truly going ninth amongst WRs, behind Mike Evans. Brown nonetheless has the potential to guide wideouts in fantasy factors so long as he is on the sector.
The newest means that Brown will play, in an accepted helmet, and his frostbite is a non-issue at this level. Carr would possibly throw a bit lower than the Roethlisberger did final 12 months, however Brown might be such an unquestioned high choice that his numbers will come like they all the time have. When you’re anxious about his scenario, there are many different good choices close to the highest of fantasy drafts. At this level, although, the percentages are whoever drafts Brown will wind up comfortable — assuming Brown stays comfortable.