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Usage and talent often coexist for wideouts in football. In general, the most talented receivers will command a higher volume of targets in most offensive schemes. But an offensive system can also limit talent, forcing square players into round roles and capping fantasy football upside. Entering last season, Mike Williams saw a scheme and role change before putting up his best statistical year in his career. Cases as drastic as Williams don't always appear, but a few candidates could benefit from offensive changes in 2022.
Kenny Golladay, New York Giants
Many have soured on Golladay after a disappointing 2021 campaign, but Brian Daboll's introduction to the offense couldn't have been more beneficial for him. Daboll's best quality as an offensive mind is the ability to simplify everything for his quarterback. Play action, empty formations, and pre-snap motion have been prevalent in his past offenses, allowing for more intermediate and deep concepts to come to fruition. Golladay's strength as a field-stretcher had former Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett forcing him into strictly a downfield role in 2021. The Giants' offensive line and Daniel Jones' ineptitude didn't allow the connection between him and Golladay to flourish. While the latter may still present issues, Daboll will utilize Golladay in the intermediate areas of the field - around 10-15 yards downfield - more often. Shortening the target depth while also using play action to free up that area of the field should result in more volume, higher efficiency, and better performance from the highly-paid Giants receiver.
With the simplification also comes manufactured touches. Stefon Diggs benefitted tremendously from those but currently provides more after the catch than Golladay. While the opportunity for more slants and screens is present, it's more likely that one of the slot receivers will reap the rewards of that reality. Daboll has stressed that he will seek input from his players to get the most out of them while highlighting their strengths. Golladay's strengths and Daboll's offense will likely mesh well.
Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
Pat Shurmur's offense should have been great for Sutton, in theory. Reliance on spread formations and allowing the wide receivers to set the tone for the offense makes his scheme as receiver-friendly as they come. But the quarterbacks didn't fit that scheme, and injuries prevented the best players from seeing the field. Out is Shurmur; in is Nathaniel Hackett. Hackett's offense highlighted here stresses a wide zone running scheme, which will also impact Sutton's role. Sutton works best on intermediate, deep, and primarily out-breaking routes. The wide zone scheme should incorporate a heavy dose of play action, allowing Sutton to work one-on-one matchups on the outside. Of course, the quarterback shift from Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock to Russell Wilson is essential, too. Wilson has traditionally preferred to throw outside the hashes, with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett thriving on the sidelines for him in Seattle. Hackett's most recent offense fed Davante Adams in creative ways, and while the structure of the passing attack will be different, Sutton should see a heavy volume of targets. With Russell Wilson's efficiency throwing Sutton's preferred route concepts and Hackett's introduction of heavy play-action passing, Sutton could be in line for a fifth-year leap that rivals the best statistical output in his career.
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