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WR3s With WR1 Potential (2018 Fantasy Football)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Aug 23, 2018

Despite a lackluster rookie season, Corey Davis presents WR1 upside

Do you not like what happens to your wide receiving corps when you decide to go RB-heavy early in drafts? It’s a problem that most have, but is there players out there who should make you feel better than you currently do? The answer is yes.

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Targets, targets, targets. Did you know the average amount of targets for a top-12 wide receiver over the last five years? 147.3 targets. That sounds like a lot because it is a lot. How many of them do you think finished with less than 100 targets? None of them. In fact, there were just 3-of-60 who finished with less than 114 targets.

So, when looking for the wide receivers who are drafted in the WR3 range, you have to find those who have 120-plus target potential, because if they don’t, they’ll be what we call an outlier, which is a player outside the norm. Below are some wide receivers who are being drafted outside the top-24 at their position but offer top-12 upside without anyone getting injured.

Corey Davis (WR – TEN) Current Cost: WR26
Everything we’re hearing out of Titans training camp is that Davis is clearly the go-to guy in the offense. While some may scoff at that, we saw what Davis was capable in last year’s playoffs when healthy, hauling in nine passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns in the two games. Him struggling last year likely had to do with him missing almost all of training camp as a rookie and never developing chemistry with his quarterback. Now in a new offense with an entire offseason of work under his belt, there’s star potential here.

Chris Hogan (WR – NE) Current Cost: WR27
I’m not sure why Hogan hasn’t moved up draft boards, as he not only has 120-target potential, but his would be coming from Tom Brady. With Brandin Cooks shipped off to the Rams, Julian Edelman suspended for the first four games, and Jordan Matthews being cut, there’s nothing standing in the way of targets for Hogan, who is now in his third year of the offense. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s seen seven of the 26 attempts that Brady has thrown this season, a robust 26.9 percent target share.

Marquise Goodwin (WR – SF) Current Cost: WR36
While the 49ers have added multiple pieces to the offense this offseason, the rapport between Jimmy Garoppolo and Goodwin appears to be at an all-time high. Over the final six games of the season with Garoppolo, Goodwin totaled 49 targets, 33 receptions, 462 yards, and one touchdown. Extrapolating those totals over a 16-game season would amount to 130 targets, 88 receptions, 1,232 yards, and three touchdowns. Again, regression is all but certain with Pierre Garcon coming back, but he’s also 32 years old and on the downturn of his career. Goodwin offers plenty of upside if Garoppolo is everything he’s cracked up to be.

Robby Anderson (WR – NYJ) Current Cost: WR40
Many will shoot this one down with Quincy Enunwa coming back to the offense, but did you realize that even Jermaine Kearse had 102 targets in this offense last year? It’s unlikely that both Kearse and the oft-injured Terrelle Pryor make the team, and it’s unlikely whoever wins that job will get close to the total that Kearse got last year. Anderson himself finished as the No. 16 wide receiver last year on just 114 targets, so we’ve already seen a high-ceiling out of him. If Sam Darnold can step-in and be even slightly better than Josh McCown, those numbers could improve. There’s risk with him, but it’s well built into his cost.

Devante Parker (WR – MIA) Current Cost: WR43
His cost should have an asterisk next to it, as it’s one that continues to fall after it was reported that he’s dealing with a broken finger and will miss some time. Rumors out of camp were that Xavien Howard was shutting him down, which tells me one thing. They had Howard (their best cornerback) on Parker, who they obviously view as their best receiver. Parker had 96 targets in 13 games last year, with Jarvis Landry on the roster, getting 161 targets. Again, Parker’s pace would have been 118 targets with Landry. If you haven’t heard, Landry isn’t on the team anymore. Parker’s slow start to camp is worrisome, but you’re taking very little risk at his cost for someone who could see 120-plus targets.

Kelvin Benjamin (WR – BUF) Current Cost: WR45
I feel gross even putting him here, but he’s someone who can see 120 targets without an injury. You can say that he’s got a bad quarterback throwing him the ball, but let’s be real – Cam Newton is not a great passer, either. After trading for Corey Coleman, you had to wonder if he’d be out there as a starter, but judging by last week’s preseason game, he’s fifth on the depth chart behind Benjamin, Zay Jones, Jeremy Kerley, and Andre Holmes. While I expect him to move up the ranks, Benjamin is the clear-cut No. 1 receiver in this offense.

Allen Hurns (WR – DAL) Current Cost: WR47
Another player who doesn’t strike you as a sexy draft pick, but getting someone this low who even has a shot at 120 targets is rare. Hurns was brought in to fill the No. 1 wide receiver role, even if he’s likely not best-suited to handle it. I’ve been hard on Hurns, but we cannot forget that he did have a 1,031-yard, 10-touchdown season back in 2015 on 105 targets, and we all know that Dak Prescott is an upgrade on Blake Bortles. If the Cowboys continue to leave Michael Gallup on the bench, Hurns is being severely undervalued.

Marqise Lee (WR – JAX) Current Cost: WR50
There’s not many people who realize that Lee ranks top-30 in targets among wide receivers over the last two years, but he does. He saw 105 targets while playing alongside Allen Robinson in 2016 and then saw 96 targets in 14 games last year, which would amount to 110 targets over 16 games. Yes, the Jaguars added Donte Moncrief (who hasn’t been practicing much) and D.J. Chark (rookie), but will they take more targets than Robinson/Allen Hurns did? Lee was granted a four-year, $34 million contract with $16.5 million guaranteed this offseason, highlighting just how much the Jaguars wanted to keep him around. He should be locked into a minimum of 100 targets with upside for 120 without any injuries around him.

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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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