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Hunter Renfrow: Volume-Based Waiver Wire Pickup (2021 Fantasy Football)

Oct 12, 2021

The Las Vegas Raiders’ potent passing attack has been an early surprise this year. Heading into the season, many had their doubts about Derek Carr as a true franchise quarterback, considering his lackluster performance over the past few seasons. There were also doubts over whether or not the team had enough weapons surrounding Carr outside of star tight end Darren Waller.

Fast forward to Week 5, and the Raiders are currently sitting at 3-2 tied for second place in the ultra-competitive AFC West. If someone told me that the Raiders would have a better record than the Chiefs five weeks into the season, I’d be certain it had a lot more to do with the running game and defense than the passing game. As it turns out, it has everything to do with the passing game, not so much anything else. Carr has been spreading the ball around nicely and seems to have found his go-to wide receiver in Hunter Renfrow.

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Player Profile

The Raiders selected Renfrow in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He had an impressive college career at Clemson, especially his game-winning touchdown catch in the 2017 National Championship. Since entering the league, Renfrow has solidified himself as a trustworthy slot receiver, but he never saw enough opportunities to make him a true fantasy football asset. I think it’s time that we all accept the fact that this has changed.

Through five games, Renfrow leads all Raiders wide receivers in targets, receptions, touchdowns, and most importantly, fantasy points. It seems like every time the Raiders are in a big spot and Derek Carr needs someone to throw target, he looks Renfrow’s way, and the results speak for themselves. We’re only five weeks into the 2021 season, and Renfrow has 28 receptions. Before this year, his career-high reception total was 56, which means that he is well on his way to shattering all of his previous career highs.

State of the Offense

Entering this season, most experts expected the Raiders to run a ground-and-pound type of offense led by their running backs, Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake. That could not be further from the truth thus far. As we enter Week 6, Derek Carr has the third-most pass attempts in the NFL and the second-most passing yards.

While Darren Waller has definitely been the “star” of the offense, Renfrow is quietly keeping the chains moving by working as a consistent target for Carr in key situations.

As Jacobs continues to battle injuries and Drake fails to meet expectations, there is no reason to believe this offense will stop throwing the football consistently anytime soon.

Renfrow’s Outlook

Since Week 1, Renfrow’s snap percentage has risen in every game, and with the way he is playing, his snap totals should only increase from this point on. While the Raiders’ offense has gotten off to a hot start, they still manage to find themselves in shootouts quite often, which is a big reason why Carr has been throwing more often than ever — Las Vegas’ defense permits 24 points per game to opposing offenses. Even when the Raiders have a lead, they don’t seem content to run the football. They currently sit at 29th overall in rushing yards per game.

As the season continues, the competition will only get stiffer, and the pressure to put up more points will become even stronger. Renfrow is currently seeing 7.6 targets per game, which is already an impressive number, but I don’t think he has reached his ceiling just yet. With Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards struggling to remain consistent, Renfrow should only see more playing time and targets as we get deeper into the 2021 season. Regardless of which format you play in, Renfrow is a worthwhile addition to any fantasy roster.

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Eli Berkovits is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Eli, check out his archive and follow him @BookOfEli_NFL.

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