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Each offseason brings a good deal of veteran movement. In 2021, the wide receiver position was no different. We asked our staff to offer up the wide receiver on a new team they were most interested in.
Here are the names who were mentioned.
And here are all of the reasons.
Marvin Jones Jr is someone who is overlooked just about every season, and I'm sure that will be magnified now that he has moved on to Jacksonville. D.J. Chark Jr is the expected top target for this Trevor Lawrence-led offense, and Laviska Shenault Jr is the young dynamo garnering much hype, but don't expect a ton of loyalty with a new coaching staff coming to town. To that end, Darrell Bevell just oversaw two productive seasons from Jones, including a 76/978/9 campaign in 2020. Jones has tremendous career efficiency, including a touchdown rate of 7.3%, and could be the preferred red-zone target in this offense immediately. He is far too cheap right now.
Most of the veteran free agents landed in questionable fantasy spots. The aforementioned Marvin Jones Jr has his pluses, but he's going to a new team with plenty of other options and a focus on youth. Not ideal. On paper, there are three veterans who changed teams and project as the No. 1 in their new homes: Corey Davis in New York (Jets), Kenny Golladay in New York (Giants), and Tyrell Williams in Detroit. We don't know if Davis is mismatched as a No. 1; he was at his best last year playing a secondary role in a run-first offense in Tennessee. We know Golladay can handle WR1-level snaps, but he's not an efficient player and that was before he was catching passes from Daniel Jones. And Tyrell Williams is a No. 1 by default because of how barren things appear in Detroit. So who gets my pick as most interesting? Will Fuller V. Fuller was seen as an oft-injured vertical threat for years in Houston but flourished as an all-around contributor in DeAndre Hopkins' absence. Now he's in Miami but has competition from incumbent Devante Parker and newcomer Jaylen Waddle. Can Fuller carve out a significant enough role to be relevant? I'm not sure, but I'm interested in finding out.
Will Fuller V has been one of my favorite underrated receivers ever since being drafted in Round 1 by Houston years ago. Shifting to Miami on a one-year deal and a one-game suspension to start 2021, Fuller has a loaded passing game at face value, but questions abound. Jaylen Waddle was drafted in the Top 10, but rookie wide receivers are typically not higher impact options. DeVante Parker shed his bust label with a career year in 2019 but eroded back to the production pack last season. Fuller is one of the few wide receivers with a big-play profile to be a weekly fantasy starter on middling volume even if Parker or (lesser likely) Waddle is the WR1 for Miami this season.
John Brown deserves a mention as an underappreciated receiver over the years. Brown shifts to the Raiders, where the wide receiver depth chart is wide open with Henry Ruggs III entering Year 2, along with Day 2 Bryan Edwards, retread Zay Jones, and slot-centric Hunter Renfrow. Brown is a sneaky candidate for 100+ targets this season.
John Brown showed the upside many thought he had. Unfortunately, 2020 showcased his injury concern. I was worried heading into free agency could be a scary situation as an oft-injured 31-year-old, but Las Vegas is a nearly ideal situation. They have a passing game weapon in Darren Waller but few other established options. Brown has proven he can be a leading wide receiver for his team as a better version of 2020 Nelson Agholor. Brown having 110+ targets and a WR2 finish is not out of the question.
I've been glad to draft John Brown after pick 180 in early best-ball drafts. As a few guys have pointed out, he joins a Las Vegas wide receiver corps without a true No.1 option. Brown has added value to his targets as a downfield threat at every stop during his seven-year career, and Nelson Agholor leaves behind a team-high 1,130 air yards from 2020. If Brown is able to play at least 15 games, he's a safe bet for top-30 wide receiver numbers with some upside to boot.
I have to agree with Chad without sounding too much like a homer. Fuller is very intriguing in this new situation. Fuller does not need a lot of targets to be fantasy relevant, but it will be interesting to see if he has a sizable market share. The Dolphins have made it clear that they want to add more speed to the offense and to open up the passing game. He definitely has a strong chance to be the WR1 for the Dolphins.
Don't worry, Troy. Chad and I have your back on the Will Fuller V bandwagon. In 2020, Fuller had a career-high in yards per game (79.9), yards per target (11.7), and receptions per game (4.8). The critics will cite his positive PED test as a reason for the increased performance, but I think Fuller presents a rare upside where he is in the draft. Fuller and rookie Jaylen Waddle running 4-verts with Tua Tagovailoa at the helm could be a potent offense in 2021.
Corey Davis is someone who rings a bell for me. The Jets are starting over with a new coaching staff and a new quarterback, and they hand-picked Corey Davis to join their offense in the offseason. Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, and rookie Elijah Moore are also in the mix, especially the rookie, but the Jets brought in Davis to be a veteran presence and nine times out of ten, that veteran on a team of up and coming talent, is the one who leads the way, not just as a leader in practice, but on the field with production. Jamison Crowder is currently among the wide receiver corps, but the Jets may elect to release him due to his $11.4 million cap hit, which is the highest on the team currently and a $10 million base owed that is not guaranteed. The presence of Mims and Moore waiting in the wings may be the indicator that Crowder will be elsewhere in 2021.
It was tempting to go with Kenny Golladay...but is anything really interesting about the New York Giants' offense? Instead, keep an eye on Curtis Samuel. Samuel broke out for fantasy managers last year, finishing as the WR23, but that was his first season away from Ron Rivera. Them reconnecting is interesting in many ways. Will Rivera, and offensive coordinator Scott Turner, use Samuel more like he was in 2020, or could he waste away as he did in his first three seasons? A big part of Samuel’s growth was his usage in the running game but Washington has a pretty solid backfield. There are many things to watch develop here but if Samuel is this team’s WR2 behind Terry McLaurin, there should be plenty of big plays to around with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback.
Nelson Agholor is a name that continues to get dragged through the mud year after year and is coming off one of his best seasons with 48 catches for 896 and 8 touchdowns. I am not expecting great things in New England, but I am expecting good solid numbers. New England is always very specific on who they sign in free agency and they hit the market fast and scooped up Agholor while other bigger names were still available. Agholor finished as WR22 last season and had a rebirth to his NFL career, yet he is being treated as an afterthought in the fantasy circles.
I was going to talk about Curtis Samuel, but Ryan beat me to the punch. I guess it’s too much to expect a WR2 season from Samuel, given the inconsistencies of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Samuels' use in Carolina under a similar regime.
Rather than elaborate further on Samuels, let’s continue the train of thought Jason was on. Veterans who will be WR1’s on new teams. He missed Nelson Agholor, who I notice that James beat me to as well. Oh well, I already had pegged him as very interesting so let’s keep going. New England looks like it will focus a lot of its passing game around the new tight ends, but with the retirement of Julian Edelman, the cupboard is bare at wide receiver. Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers, and N'Keal Harry aren’t likely to be a threat to Agholor. He has become a true professional despite his awful reputation from Philadelphia. Agholor has six career hundred-yards-and-a-touchdown games and a further six with 80 plus yards, most with a touchdown. He projects as a much better best-ball option but may surprise with redraft value.
A lot of you have top-toed around Kenny Golladay without fully diving into his outlook, so I'll bite the bullet here. Prior to the draft, Golladay was looking to be in a prime position to bounce back to the dominant WR1 we saw in 2019. After a few mysterious injuries throughout the 2020 season, fantasy managers were quick to forget his back-to-back years with 1,000-plus yards, where he racked up 16 touchdowns. His athleticism and downfield ability seemed like a dream paired up with Daniel Jones's penchant for chucking the deep ball. With a surprising selection at 20th overall, the Giants draft Kadarius Toney and instantly muddied the waters. Toney is much smaller than Golladay and doesn't command the same respect downfield. But his ability to make plays from anywhere on the field and rack up yards after the catch will make him a focal point of the Giants' offense. A team that was expected to relentlessly feed Saquon Barkley the rock suddenly has two very viable receivers. Golladay's projected targets, yards, and touchdowns should all take a hit with Toney in town, pushing him from a rock-solid WR1 to a middling WR2.
This such a hard thing to address right now because, as Jason brings up, there's such an influx of new No. 1 wideouts that may or may not project that way on their new teams. Golladay is an elite catch-point type, but will never threaten 100 receptions. Davis may or may not be an attention-hog No. 1 guy himself; his resume was built as a situational weapon.
As always, I'll beat a drum for Will Fuller V, one of the game's most explosive and efficient threats of the past half-decade. Injuries have been his downfall, and it'd be foolish to chase a 16-game season from Fuller. (It certainly won't happen this year as he sits Week 1 under suspension.) But few receivers in recent memory have put up production so efficiently. Over the past four seasons, of the 94 wideouts to draw 80+ targets, Fuller has sat 22nd in per-game PPR scoring. That's not bad, but consider that he's been second on a per-target basis. Scoring a touchdown on 14% of your throws will do that, and Fuller's new team looks markedly better than his old one did last year. Fuller is a slight but truly explosive deep threat, capable of winning down the field, along the sideline, and even when mixed into the underneath/screen game. I'm not concerned over Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker being around, because I expect plenty of balls to be in the air in Miami. Fuller could put up easy WR2 numbers on a week-to-week basis, and his ADP may not reflect that once sexy rookies grab the headlines in camp.
It's also worth monitoring the market trend for A.J. Green as he steps into an exciting, fast-paced offense. There's a ton of value to be had if he slips too far into the WR4 ranks. No one wanted to roster Larry Fitzgerald or Dan Arnold last year, but they've vacated 117 targets. Christian Kirk may have maxed out as a situational No. 3, and the team has shown no confidence in Andy Isabella or KeeSean Johnson. Green's range of outcomes is all over the place, of course, but shrewd drafters will be watching his mid-round fall.