Evaluating the wide receiver position without touchdowns is valuable in determining ranges of outcomes for the player the following season. With the touchdown rate volatile yearly, wide receivers that see a significant drop in scoring in non-touchdown scoring have dangerous profiles. Without a change in their target volume, they are prime regression candidates. Likewise, wide receivers who produce well in non-touchdown scoring have untapped potential.
Receivers Who Drop With Non-TD Scoring
Mike Evans – 18 spot drop
Mike Evans had the second-fewest receiving yards of his career, 1006, with a career-high in touchdowns, 13. This is the formula that gets you the highest on this list. While Evans had 2.3 points per target, well above the league average, his 0.44 points per route run align with his career average. Evans played through an ankle injury in 2020, which may have harmed his overall volume, but keep an eye on the passing game allocation of targets. Evans's 19% target share in 2020 was the lowest in his career. He may ultimately need an injury in the stacked set of Tampa Bay weapons to achieve top-10 seasonal finish upside in 2021.
Adam Theilen – 15 spot drop
Thielen had 14 touchdowns on only 74 receptions. With 106 targets, Thielen is on the precipice of a significant drop in fantasy scoring when he regresses in touchdown rate. On a positive note, his 22% target share was 14th in the league in 2020, but the Vikings ran designed passes on only 56.9% of snaps, 26th in the league. Thielen represents a volume trap, with a WR3 destiny if touchdowns regress in 2021.
A.J. Brown – 9 spot drop
Brown has been targeted on 21% and 25% of the Tennessee passing attempts in the past two seasons and scored touchdowns on 8 of his 52 receptions in 2019 and 11 of his 70 receptions in 2020. Tennessee only dropped back to pass 532 times last season, with 52.7% of their plays designed as passes, third-fewest in the league. If the volume does not go up, Brown will be dependent on a heightened touchdown rate for WR1 production.
JuJu Smith-Schuster – 8 spot drop
JuJu Smith-Schuster had his second-highest target in his four-year career in 2020 (128) but his fewest yards per target (6.5). Despite the addition of Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool, Smith-Schuster finished as the highest-scoring wide receiver for Pittsburgh, despite the lowest amount of yards per route run of his career (1.29). His WR16 finish dropped 6 spots to 22 when you exclude touchdowns from wide receiver scoring. Smith-Schuster’s inefficiencies are masked by the fact Pittsburgh led the league in passing attempts in 2020 (656), and the draft pick of Najee Harris should create some caution with Smith-Schuster’s passing game volume.
Chase Claypool – 10 spot drop
Chase Claypool came on quickly as a rookie, but his production was largely touchdown based with nine receiving touchdowns on 62 receptions and another two rushing touchdowns. Claypool’s WR22 finish dropped to WR32, excluding his touchdown production. Like Smith-Schuster, Claypool has a significant downside if the passing game volume drops in Pittsburgh.
Marquise Brown – 7 spot drop
Marquise Brown finished WR36 in 2020 with eight touchdowns and dropped to WR43 in non-touchdown scoring. The addition of Rashod Bateman may signal an increase in passing game volume from the lowest in the league, which will be necessary for Brown to become a difference-maker outside of positive touchdown variance.
Receivers Who Improve With Non-TD Scoring
Terry McLaurin - 7 spot increase
The 2020 Washington Football Team had the ninth-most passing attempts (601) with the 14th-highest rate of designed pass percentage (64.6%). The offense, led by Alex Smith after the failed Dwayne Haskins experiment, produced only 6.3 yards per attempt (29th in the league). Despite this, McLaurin finished 12th in wide receiver scoring without touchdowns, a 7 spot improvement over touchdown scoring. McLaurin’s profile is very sound and should benefit from the competent play of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Robby Anderson- 11 spot increase
Robby Anderson was significantly held back by a lack of touchdown production in 2020, producing 1097 receiving yards on 95 receptions but only 3 touchdowns. His non-touchdown scoring jumped to WR9 without touchdowns, an 11 spot improvement. The loss of Teddy Bridgewater, and his career 3.4% touchdown rate, could have been a benefit for Anderson, only to see Sam Darnold as a replacement. Anderson’s production has a strong floor profile but needs to see an uptick in touchdown production for difference-making upside.
D.J. Moore - 8 spot increase
Like Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore was held back by touchdown rate in the Carolina offense in 2020. His 1193 yards were ninth at the position, but his WR25 finish was held back by his four receiving touchdowns. Without touchdowns, Moore would finish as WR17, an eight-spot improvement.
Cooper Kupp – 10 spot increase
Cooper Kupp finished 10th in receptions in 2020 (92), with only three receiving touchdowns. Kupp saw 22.2% of the Rams targets, 17th in the league amongst receivers, while the Rams only ranked 23rd in designed pass percentage (60.1%). Kupp managed his production in 2020 despite only five red-zone targets. The addition of Matthew Stafford can change the trajectory of the offense and significantly benefit Kupp.
Cole Beasley – 9 spot increase
Notwithstanding Beasley’s continuous flow of vaccine stories, Beasley projects with a good floor in 2021, assuming he plays for the Buffalo Bills. Beasley’s 82 receptions on 101 targets were high efficiency and led to 2.01 points per target, despite only four touchdowns. His WR27 finish jumped to WR18 without touchdown scoring.
Jerry Jeudy – 7 spot increase
Jerry Jeudy struggled in 2020, but his WR46 finish saw a seven-spot jump in non-touchdown scoring. Jeudy’s upside for high passing game production is questionable because Denver finished only 19th in passing attempts with the potential of the aforementioned Teddy Bridgewater as the potential starter in 2021. Jeudy will need better quarterback play and an uptick in touchdown volume to approach difference-maker status.