NFL Free Agency will begin on March 17th and there are several big storylines to watch for wide receivers in preparation for your fantasy teams.
JuJu Smith-Schuster enters free agency with an interesting profile. Smith-Schuster has been productive to start his career but has seen declining efficiencies over the past three seasons. These inefficiencies, along with his role as a primary slot option, will create questions about whether he is a true WR1. The declining efficiencies could be a result of a decline in quarterback situation in Pittsburgh, or the mark of a high-floor receiver who overachieved his physical limitations in good times but fails to elevate in neutral situations, a la Jordan Matthews.
Kenny Golladay was not franchise tagged by the Detroit Lions and will enter free agency as the Lions begin to rebuild. Golladay has two 1000-yard seasons on his resume but has only played 47 of a possible 64 games in his four-year career, including only five in 2020. These questions could create risk in the free-agent market particularly considering the team who has seen his health records let him walk into free agency.
Will Fuller V was on pace to have the best season of his career and realize his full potential in 2020 before a suspension prematurely ended his season. He will have to serve the final game of that suspension in week one of 2021 but offers rare explosive abilities in the passing game that should be coveted on the open market. The length of a contract offer will be particularly interesting with his durability history. Notably, Green Bay has reportedly been interested in trading for Will Fuller V on multiple occasions in the past two years, and a signing there would fill a hole at wide receiver that has existed in Green Bay since the departures of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
Corey Davis is a former top 10 NFL draft pick who has failed to live up to expectations to date. Bad variance, along with poor quarterback play, and a run-first approach have not been favorable to his production in his first four years. However, 2020 was his best season yet including a high-end 28.8% target share. Davis could be an attractive second receiver to an NFL offense and could be a value riser depending on the landing spot.
Curtis Samuel had a career season in 2020 after a disappointing and inefficient 2019 season. Samuel presents a speed and explosive element for an NFL offense, but may not have the target role to be a difference-making fantasy option. He may ultimately be more valuable in the NFL than a true difference-maker in fantasy.
Nelson Agholor had a rebound season in 2020 and had success stretching the field for Las Vegas. Ultimately a return to Las Vegas in an uncertain wide receiver depth chart could be the best bet for him to return a fantasy football value.
A.J. Green was disappointing in 2020 as he made his way back from injuries. On the positive side, his 1.07 points per target are bound for some positive regression, but he is unlikely to match his 104 target total in 2021 to capitalize on the regression. Look for a one-year prove-it deal based on his name brand.
Marvin Jones Jr finished as WR18 in 2020. He will play 2019 at 31 years old, but he still has fantasy value as a fantasy bridge player and should be attractive as a role player. Jones has rumored to want to reunite with Matthew Stafford with the Rams.
What might have been for Smokey Brown. He proved himself a legit WR1 in 2019, but like too many times in the past, Brown’s body failed to hold up in 2020. He can have a WR2-3 type range of outcomes with a good landing spot in 2021.
In 8 games with Tampa Bay, Brown averaged 14.6 points per game, in an offense that had Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Brown proved he is still capable of fantasy production if he can avoid self-inflicted harm.