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Best Ball Wide Receiver Dart Throws (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Josh Shepardson | @BChad50 | Featured Writer
Apr 23, 2020

By any measure, the following receivers are late-round options. Each of the receivers featured is outside the top-60 in average draft position (ADP) among their peers, according to our Best Ball Average Draft Position landing page (and after excluding Draft.com’s wonky ADP data). Further, only one of the three dart throws has an ADP inside the top-200 players.

John Ross (WR – CIN): ADP – 181.5, WR63

Last year, Ross turned in an injury abbreviated partial breakout campaign. In eight games, he showcased his big-play ability. Speaking to his field-stretching skills, among players targeted a minimum of 50 times, Ross’s 18.07 yards per reception were the fourth-highest total, according to Pro-Football-Reference. Further, the Bengals used him to take the top off of defenses. Among receivers and tight ends targeted at least 50 times, Ross’s average depth of target of 15.1 yards was tied for the seventh-deepest depth, per Sports Info Solutions (SIS).

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The usage makes sense for Ross as he’s possibly the fastest player in the NFL. Going back to 2006, his 4.22-second 40-yard dash time is the fastest. The following highlight package tweeted by Nate Tice illustrates some of the good and bad from Ross. In regards to his speed specifically, the plays that begin at the 1:43 mark and the final play in the highlight reel fully illustrate Ross’s giddy-up and what it can do on the field.

Any discussion of Ross has to include his drop problems. He dropped seven of 40 catchable balls last year. His 17.5% drop rate was the second-highest mark among tight ends and receivers targeted a minimum of 50 times, per SIS. A returning A.J. Green will bump Ross down to third or lower in the pass-catching pecking order this year, so he’ll need to make the most of his limited opportunities as an ancillary and non-focal point in the offense.

Thankfully, Ross needs just one play with his world-class speed to deliver a best-ball starter fantasy point total any given week. He should also benefit from the near-certain addition of Joe Burrow in the NFL Draft. Pro Football Focus’s (PFF) superlatives series quarterback piece placed Burrow atop the prospect heap in most accurate, best deep ball, and best outside the pocket categories. Burrow’s deep-ball skills and ability to keep plays alive while delivering quality throws outside the pocket play into Ross’s hands — literally. The fourth-year speedster’s volatility plays in best-ball formats, and he checks in inside my top-60 receivers as WR56.

Parris Campbell (WR – IND): ADP – 204.0, WR73

This year’s receiver class of prospects is drawing rave reviews, but after an injury-shortened rookie season for Campbell, it would be a mistake to overlook him while chasing the shiny new toys at the position. Last year, NFL.com’s prospect grades placed Campbell tied for second among receivers with Marquise Brown and A.J. Brown behind only D.K. Metcalf. NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein offered a Percy Harvin NFL comp in his glowing write-up of Campbell.

Among the weaknesses Zierlein pointed out in his write-up were Campbell’s limited experience with the route tree and his specialized usage on jet sweeps and catch-and-run plays. Being limited to only eight games due to a variety of injuries all discussed in Jim Ayello’s piece for the Indianapolis Star prevented Campbell from gaining much more in-game experience running the full route tree against the opposition. Having said that, in Ayello’s linked piece, he indicates Campbell answered questions about “his ability to run a more complex route tree,” while earning praise from the coaching staff. One play in particular mentioned by general manager Chris Ballard was Campbell’s only touchdown grab as a rookie against the Titans.

Campbell is a measurables dreamboat as you can see on his PlayerProfiler player page. The young receiver’s 4.31-second 40-yard dash time posted at last year’s NFL Draft Combine is tied for the eighth-fastest by a receiver since 2006. Unlike the aforementioned fellow burner John Ross, Campbell wasn’t routinely used to take the top off of defenses in his limited time on the field last year. SIS credits Campbell with an average depth of target of 8.0 yards downfield in 2019.

If Campbell’s used in a variety of ways in 2020, he’ll have a higher floor than being used strictly as a deep-ball threat. At the same time, his elite speed gives him the ability to make a house call from anywhere on the field on any given play. Also, Campbell quickly carved out a role in the team’s red-zone play calling. Campbell was targeted five times in the red zone in his eight games and hauled in all five of those targets scoring his lone touchdown shown in the tweet above on one of those snags, per Lineups.

The Colts were quiet in free agency and on the trade front regarding their receiving corps. They also traded their first-round pick to the 49ers for defensive lineman DeForest Buckner. They do still have a pair of picks in the top-50 selections with the second pick in the second round (34th overall) and the 12th pick in the second round (44th overall), but barring a trade back into the first round, they won’t be adding a first-round pick at receiver to the fold. In other words, Campbell should have a golden opportunity to battle for No. 2 receiver duties with Zach Pascal and perhaps a non-first-round pick at receiver. Campbell’s upside belies his ADP outside the top-200 picks, and I have him in the fringe top-60 receiver mix.

Andy Isabella (WR – ARI): ADP – 245.0, WR95

There’s a bit of a discrepancy between Isabella’s ADP depending on best ball host. He’s not being selected among the 112 wideouts popped in RTSports drafts, but he’s WR86 in ADP in MFL10 leagues. Regardless of your preferred best ball host, Isabella is available late in drafts — perhaps as late as the last round. At the time of writing this piece, I’ve partaken in four best ball drafts (all 12-team, 20-round drafts) and selected Isabella in two leagues at pick 209 and pick 230, respectively. He went undrafted in one league, and he was snatched up by a different gamer at pick 223 in another league. From March 21 — the day it was reported the Cardinals traded for DeAndre Hopkins — through April 19, Isabella’s ADP in MFL10 leagues is 235.48 with a minimum pick of 189.

The acquisition of Hopkins adds a legitimate No. 1 receiver to Arizona’s receiving corps. Christian Kirk’s name came up in trade rumors involving the Cowboys, but if he’s not dealt, he’ll be ahead of Isabella on the depth chart, too. And then there’s the ageless Larry Fitzgerald who will be 37 years old for the start of this season. Fitz led last year’s Cardinals in targets (109), receptions (75), receiving yards (804), and tied for the team lead in touchdown receptions (four). A cliff season is always possible at his advanced age, and Fitz hasn’t bested 11.0 yards per reception since 2015. However, his 7.4 yards per target last year was his best mark since that same 2015 season and a ho-hum tied for 83rd out of 155 qualified pass-catchers in 2019.

As the Cardinals are currently constructed, Isabella is battling for the No. 4 receiver duties behind Hopkins, Kirk, and Fitz. Good thing for Isabella the Cardinals aren’t shy about using four-receiver personnel groupings. The Cardinals led the NFL in 10-personnel (one running back, zero tight ends, and four receivers) usage in 2019 at 26%, per Sharp Football Stats. They also ran five plays with four receivers and a tight end and seven plays with five receivers.

Additionally, he’s yet another top-shelf burner who can hit home runs from anywhere on the field. Isabella is one of the receivers who tied the previously discussed Campbell for the eighth-fastest 40-yard dash time among receivers at the NFL Draft Combine since 2006 at a blistering 4.31 seconds. He was targeted only 13 times in his rookie season, but that was enough for Isabella to flash his burners with nine grabs for 189 yards and a touchdown on the following 88-yard reception against the 49ers.

In the preseason, he showcased his ability to get behind the defense and then adjust to make the grab with a defender in his grill on an underthrown ball.

You can also check out him using his speed to barbecue a corner while playing for Massachusetts in the following tweet from Matt Bowen of ESPN and the NFL Matchup Show.

Playing at UMass, Isabella didn’t face a bevy of top-25 programs. He did make the most of his chances against them playing one top-25 program each of his last three years in college.

Year Opponent (Rank) Receptions Receiving Yards Touchdowns
2016 Florida (25) 3 95 0
2017 Mississippi State (21) 7 158 1
2018 Georgia (5) 15 219 2

 
Adding some context to his eye-popping line against Georgia in 2018, Isabella’s first touchdown was a 75-yard reception with UMass trailing 13 to 59, and his second touchdown was a 45-yard reception with UMass trailing 20 to 66. Regardless, his trio of games in three years against top-25 teams — coincidentally all from the SEC — all display his big-play ability. I’m expecting some growing pains still in year two for Isabella, but his long-touchdown scoring capabilities fit well at the bottom of a best-ball roster.


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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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