2020 Fantasy Football WR Rankings - Part I
1. Michael Thomas - New Orleans Saints
Current ADP: 1.06, WR1
I mean what changes, Thomas turned 27 this off-season. You want to talk about walking into the eye of the storm, he's in the eye of his prime
All this nonsense on Twitter about oh his aDOT, he's the Alex Smith of WRs like fam. What do you want him to do - their offense is designed to get the ball out of Drew Brees' hand quickly. You want to know why he doesn't get deep passes? Because Sean Payton is an offensive genius, and he outs Michael Thomas in the slot which is an outrageous mismatch because for some reason NFL DCs can't figure out that their best CB is actually allowed to move into the slot and you don't have to have your 3rd string CB or a safety covering MT. Anyways, yeah MT runs a ton of his routes from the slot - his target share when running routes from the slot = 34.8% - highest rate in the NFL - you wanna know who finished right beneath him, in terms of target rate when running routes from the slot - Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins, Cooper Kupp and Julio Jones.
Putting your best WR in the slot is the single biggest advantage an NFL team can use in the passing game.
Emmanuel Sanders is coming over sure, but he's a better real-life player now than fantasy, and TreQuan Smith ran 61% of his routes last year from the slot. Sanders only 35% - if you think the Saints, who have used MT to perfection and have ran this offense at an elite level over the LX # of years, are about to sacrifice the efficiency of Michael Thomas to account for Sanders' needs, you're crazy.
Anyways, nothing to see here, move along
2. Davante Adams - Green Bay Packers
Current ADP: 1.10, WR2
If y'all remember, I was so excited for Adams coming into last season. Beyond excited I thought he was going to have a Michael Thomas-like year. And I think it's possible I was a year early.
Let's take a look at Adams' 2019 season:
The way Davante started was really disappointing, because he got hurt in Week 4, but prior to the injury he didn't score a single TD. He did have two games over 100 yards, one of them being a 180-yard game. It was their first few games in Matt LaFleur's offense. We all remember shit started off a little funky for that offense, and I think it led to an offensive output not predictive of what we'll see moving forward and what we saw once Adas returned later in the season, that's why I included the playoffs in this chart. He had two MONSTER playoff games, the old, elite Adams we're used to:
vs. SEA: 11-8-160-2
vs. SF: 11-9-138-0
These are his target numbers last year.
You take out the start of the season and I think any negative thoughts you had about Davante are gone:
The biggest takeaway here of courses is that the Packers did absolutely nothing to this receiving group. No Robby Anderson, no first or second......or third fourth firth, sixth, 7th round WR. Adams is going to see the 30% target share, probably around a 35% RZ target share again. If they go even a little less heavy on the ground in the RZ, we'll see Aaron Jones' TDs come down a bit, and Adams back to his normal double-digit TD rate.
It would not surprise me at all, if Adams were to finish as the WR1 this year in fantasy.
3. Tyreek Hill - Kansas City Chiefs
Current ADP: 2.02, WR3
I really wanted to put Hill at WR2 but I think you just have to take the week over week consistency of Adams, and the monster target share.
I would be more than happy, obviously with Hill as my WR1, no two ways about it, but we don't know on a given week who the focal point of the offense is going to be. Is it Kelce, is it one of the running backs, is Mahomes gonna run a few in, or connect on a deep ball or two with Mecole Hardman or Demarcus Robinson.
Last year, Hill technically appeared in 12 games, he played on 10% of the snaps in two of them, Week 1 and Week 11, because of injuries, in all other games he's averaging 5.5 receptions, 81.3 yards and 0.7 TDs/game. Those were good for about top 3-4 numbers last year.
Also take into account Mahomes missed some time. Wild that their top QB, WR and RB all missed time if not significant time and they still just dominated and won the SuperBowl.
Hill is a game-breaker, he's a much better half PPR or standard pick then he is full PPR, given his style of play, but I expect much close to his 2018 numbers than 2019 numbers repeated in 2020. At the end of the day, Hill is unlike any player we've seen come into the NFL - attached to the best passing QB the game has to offer right now in ann elite scheme.
The one concern people might have, and I guess it's warranted, is Mecole Hardman. Hardman made the Pro Bowl last year surprisingly because he's so good in the return game, but they are looking to move him out of special teams and develop him more as a pass-catcher now. Through 16 games (five starts) last season, Hardman hauled in 26 receptions for 538 yards (20.7 yards per reception) and six touchdowns. I believe it was Ian Hartitz from Rotoworld on one of their recent podcasts said
"9 receptions of 20+ yards on only 26 receptions, 41 targets." That's absurd, 35% of his catches went for over 20 yards. If he plays more of a receiver role, assuming he jumps both Watkins and Demarcus on the depth chart, because he was indeed 4th among WRs in snaps, it could be a hit to Hill's WoW hailmary chances, but I mean, I think that's a stretch. Tons of WRs have been catching deep passes from Mahomes, and it hasn't impacted Hill's bottom line.
4. Julio Jones - Atlanta Falcons
Current ADP: 2.07, WR5
Julio is strictly at 4, because the downfall is coming. This is not me predicting it coming this year. Maybe this year, maybe next year, maybe 2022 maybe 3022. But there's a certainty to that. So, if you can draft a guy at the same spot, that doesn't have the red flag of father time happening, why wouldn't you? That's the only reason I have him ranked underneath these other guys. I'd actually say the smart money is betting on Julio to finish with more fantasy points. But for your season-long fantasy team, idk if that's a necessary risk-taking when you can get Tyreek HIill or Davante Adams at that pick instead.
We didn't see a drop-off in play from Julio. 1394 yards, would've hit 1400 for the 6th straight year if he played the full 16, and would've been byke to byke 100 catch years. Another disappointing szn in the TD category (6), drink but like Adams, Julio probably does have WR1 overall upside.
The offense under Koetter is going to pass like crazy. With Hooper, Freeman and Sanu gone, the Falcons have the most targets (16/game) open in their offense. Obviously Hurst and Gurley will account for most, but I personally think Calvin Ridley is the one that's going to pop this year, but that's for another video.
So yeah, under Koetter, very pass-heavy, another bad defensive year, so more shoot-outs. Looking at their schedule, like 75% of their games might be shoot-outs.