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WR3s With WR1 Potential (2020 Fantasy Football)

Apr 4, 2020

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Over the last few weeks, we’ve looked into running backs and wide receivers that you should avoid at their current draft-day cost. Next up, we’ll mine for values, specifically, wide receivers outside the top 30 of our current Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) that have a shot at finishing as a WR1 in 2020.

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Q: Which current WR3 based on ECR has the best chance to finish as a WR1 for the 2020 season?

Anthony Miller (CHI)
Coming out of Memphis, Anthony Miller was highly coveted by the Chicago Bears. The current regime traded away future assets to select Miller in the second round in 2018 and bring him into their offense. Over the past two seasons, we’ve seen flashes of Miller’s upside, but the offense took a major step backward this past season. Mitchell Trubisky simply left too many plays on the field, and this hurt Miller’s overall fantasy upside. The Bears now appear to be moving forward with Nick Foles behind center, which is a massive upgrade for this offense. Not due to a huge talent gap, but simply the fact that Foles can execute this offense. If this happens, Miller will be put in situations to succeed routinely and should become a favorite target for Foles. The Bears believe he can be a huge part of this offense, and I absolutely believe he’s going to return value. With this offense most certainly going to improve on what it was last year, Miller has a great chance to finish as a back-end WR1 for fantasy football.
– Kyle Yates (@KyleYNFL)

Tyler Boyd (CIN)
The guy that I’m targeting outside the top 30 for wide receivers is Tyler Boyd of the Cincinnati Bengals. He is currently the WR33 in half-PPR rankings after finishing 2019 as the WR18 in PPR scoring. With the Bengals likely to draft Joe Burrow, this offense is quietly becoming one that could have some high-scoring potential, especially for fantasy purposes. Joe Mixon and veteran pass-catching back Giovanni Bernard will give Burrow a nice safety blanket out of his running backs for dump-offs. While A.J. Green is likely to return fully healthy, we will just have to wait and see how he looks. As we’ve seen in the past, he’s got elite fantasy upside.

Boyd has a chance to solidify himself as the top target on this Bengals’ offense after handling the WR1 role well last year on a team with an atrocious offensive line. Boyd saw 147 targets last season and totaled 1,046 yards on 90 receptions. This was despite bouncing around between quarterbacks with poor all-around offensive performance from the Bengals. If Burrow is as good as he looked at LSU, and he is in fact drafted by the Bengals, Boyd should be heavily involved once again. With just five touchdowns last year, he’s due for some positive regression in that category. Boyd now has two season of finishing as a mid-range WR2, and if this offense improves the way it’s looking like it will, there’s a decent chance he ends the 2020 season as a WR1.
– Aaron Schill (@aaron_schill)

Tyler Boyd, who has shown WR1 upside in the past, is the perfect candidate to make the leap from being drafted as a WR3 to finishing in the top 12 at the position. Last year, Boyd finished among the top-10 wide receivers in both targets and receptions. Some may be worried about A.J. Green returning to the field, but let’s remember that Boyd has actually been better with Green in the lineup. Over the past two seasons, Boyd has averaged 14.6 fantasy points in the eight games he’s played with Green while averaging 11.6 fantasy points in 23 games without Green. Granted, that was under a different regime, but things are trending up for the Bengals’ offense. It has been all but decided that the Cincinnati Bengals will select Joe Burrow first overall in this month’s draft. Adding Burrow to this offense will certainly help, as he had a catchable throw percentage of 86 percent in his two seasons with LSU (per Sports Info Solutions). Last year, Bengals quarterbacks combined for a catchable throw percentage of 69.5 percent. If Burrow is even a slight upgrade over the combination of Andy Dalton and Ryan Finley, Boyd is in for a major season.
– Sam Hoppen (@SamHoppen)

Alshon Jeffery (PHI)
I would’ve gone with Tyler Boyd here but wanted to offer a different perspective. When chasing WR1 production, there’s one thing you need that’s indisputable, and that’s targets. So, you need to find someone who’s going to get 120-plus targets when healthy, and it’s unlikely there’s any wide receiver who can out-target Alshon Jeffery on the Eagles roster. He’s dealt with injuries for the majority of his career, but when on the field, he’s targeted like a true WR1. The Eagles didn’t make a splash in free agency, and even if they draft a wide receiver, he’s unlikely to receive a massive target share right out of the gate. If the Eagles don’t cut him (it doesn’t appear that’s happening), Jeffery is being undervalued in early drafts. If he plays all 16 games, he’s a lock for top-24 production, and maybe top-12.
– Mike Tagliere (@MikeTagliereNFL)

Marvin Jones (DET)
While Kenny Golladay may be treated as the undisputed No. 1 wide receiver in Detroit, he’s actually a lot closer to Marvin Jones than people think. They were pretty even in target share in 2019, as Jones averaged seven targets per game while Golladay averaged 7.25 targets per game. Jones also scored more touchdowns per game, garnered a greater share of red-zone receptions, and had a higher true catch rate. While Golladay did outpace Jones in a host of other categories, they were quite close on a per-game basis. However, Jones has had trouble staying on the field; he has not played a full season since 2017, when he finished as the WR12 in PPR. Nonetheless, the reason I keep comparing the two receivers is that Golladay finished as the PPR WR9 last year, all while tallying very similar statistics compared to Jones. If Jones can stay healthy, I can see him having similar success and entering top-12 territory with a full 16 games of Matthew Stafford slinging the ball. With an ECR of WR41, Jones is one of my favorite receivers outside of the top-30 wideouts to see a potential explosion of WR1 production in 2020.
– Dan Ambrosino (@AmbrosinoNFL)

Darius Slayton (NYG)
Darius Slayton was not on the fantasy radar at all to open the 2019 season. He was a fifth-round pick who went 171st overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. That is not a draft position that earns a lot of attention in fantasy circles. He exceeded fantasy expectations when forced into action due to injuries to other wide receivers and posted 48 receptions for 740 yards and eight touchdowns. From Week 8 to Week 17, he was the 21st-ranked wide receiver in total fantasy points, and a Week 11 bye prevented him from tallying even more in that stretch.

The Giants’ offense should improve this year. Following a solid rookie campaign, QB Daniel Jones will have another year to improve. Slayton was also a rookie who should be better in 2020. RB Saquon Barkley was never really 100 percent last year due to an ankle injury; he should be better this year. It all adds up to an offense that could be on the upswing. If Slayton becomes the star deep threat, it could vault him from his current position ADP of 45 into an elite WR1 ranking. If he just plays like he did after Week 8 in 2019, he will be a WR2 next year. A WR1 finish would not be out of the question if he can improve on that effort. Slayton is a great fantasy value who should easily outperform his ranking, and his upside is through the roof.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)

Deebo Samuel (SF)
Free agency came and went and the 49ers didn’t bring in any competition for Deebo Samuel. In fact, they wound up losing Emmanuel Sanders to the Saints, which only increases Samuel’s opportunity for 2020. Yes, the team could very well add a receiver in April’s draft. Actually, I expect them to. Even if they do, however, there is such little competition behind Samuel, who was one of the league’s best rookies in 2019. Kendrick Bourne, Marquise Goodwin, and Dante Pettis don’t exactly scream “target monsters.” Samuel received double-digit targets twice last year and parlayed those opportunities into stat lines of 8-112 and 8-134. The 24-year-old is efficient and should only get better with increased opportunity next season. As the icing on the cake, he added 2.26 fantasy points per game as a rusher last year.
– Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma)

Will Fuller (HOU)
Some people might push the narrative that the departure of DeAndre Hopkins puts more defensive attention on Will Fuller, but the corresponding volume increase the speedster should see can more than make up for it. Hopkins’ 150+ targets every year have put a cap on other weapons in Houston, but with Deshaun Watson now needing to look elsewhere, Fuller should have a floor on his performances to complement the weekly ceiling he’s already displayed. Although it might not be the smoothest ride to finishing as a WR1 if he does make it happen, matchup-winning outbursts go a long way for a player’s final points tally. Staying on the field (albeit a very reasonable concern) is perhaps the only thing that would keep Fuller from having the best season of his career by a substantial margin in 2020.
– Peter Gofen (@PeterJaguars)

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