Fantasy football can be an analytical endeavor where you project players statistically for the season and then grab the guys that offer the most value at each pick. But, it is also a game and finding “your guys” and going after them in a draft can be fun too. Of course, “your guys” are also likely players you feel can be had at great value at their ADP, but because you are much higher on them than most of your league mates.
Below, I will give you my guys. These are wide receivers I may reach ahead of ADP to grab, as I believe in their talent and opportunity this year.
Thielen had a down 2019 due to a hamstring injury that forced him to miss six games. Was his injury a sign of injuries to come? Maybe, but he had been a bastion of health until last season. And for fantasy, the absence of Stefon Diggs should help concentrate targets his way as rookie Justin Jefferson gets up to speed with Kirk Cousins and the offense. Thielen is going off as the 13th wide receiver in drafts, but with his likely target share, his upside is Top-5.
DeVante Parker, Dolphins
Parker finally broke out last season after four years of underwhelming. Was his breakout a flash in the pan? Maybe, but now with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovalioa throwing to him behind an upgraded offensive line, I’m still on board. Add in the Dolphins losses at wide receiver in Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns, and Parker’s target share should remain high.
Robert Woods, Rams
Woods caught 90 passes for 1,134 yards and two touchdowns and also ran the ball 17 times for 115 yards and another touchdown last season. Those 90 receptions were the eighth-most in the league while the touchdowns were not. Those touchdown numbers should go up based on regression alone, but the team also traded away Brandin Cooks and his 72 targets. Last season was a down year for the Rams offense, as Jared Goff threw for just 22 touchdowns compared to 32 and 28 the previous two seasons. They also lost Todd Gurley, which should free up some more pass attempts near the goal line. Woods is going off the board as the 23rd receiver, which is too late for him.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts
Hilton had the worst season of his career last year, as he was only able to play in 10 games and caught 45 passes for 501 yards and five touchdowns from Jacoby Brissett. The previous season he went for 76/1,270/6, so we’re not far removed from an outstanding year, which happened to come with Andrew Luck at the helm. Hilton’s play has gone up and down with the ability of his quarterback, so Philip Rivers is a key factor. Rivers was not good in 2019, but he also was behind a poor line. He should be an upgrade on Brissett while Hilton is discounted to the 27th receiver off the board.
Brandin Cooks, Texans
The Texans passing offense will be without DeAndre Hopkins this season, which pushes new addition Brandin Cooks and old edition Will Fuller to the top of the depth chart. Cooks missed two games last season due to concussions, but did finish the season on the field, whereas Will Fuller once again missed multiple games due to injuries. Before last season’s concussions and overall poor offensive output from the Rams, Cooks had topped 1,000 yards in four straight seasons. Now he’s the No. 1 receiver on yet another team with a good quarterback and those 1,000 yards should be there again.