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Fantasy Football Draft Targets: Garrett Wilson, Jaylen Waddle, Terry McLaurin, Christian Kirk

It may not be possible to select a bona fide star such as the likes of CeeDee Lamb, Tyreek Hill or Ja’Marr Chase in drafts. The following list contains alternative options who, if all goes well, may be able to approximate the production of these players. Here are a few fantasy football wide receivers we’re targeting in our fantasy football drafts.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

Fantasy Football Wide Receivers: Must-Have Picks

Long gone are the days when running backs were the face of the fantasy football landscape. With workhorse RBs becoming more and more scarce across the league, the amount of high-end producers at the position is diminishing each season. What’s more, fantasy football managers have become more conscientious of the increased injury risk for tailbacks in comparison to other positions.

This decrease in running back value has been synonymous with an increase in wide receiver utility. Based on current half-PPR average draft position (ADP), eight of the 12 top-ranked players are wide receivers. This speaks volumes about the shift in positional value over the years. With this, it has never been more important to pinpoint the pass-catchers that can vault into fantasy football superstardom in the upcoming season.

Garrett Wilson (NYJ)

Make no mistake about it: 2023 was certainly a massive disappointment for Garrett Wilson fantasy managers. These managers likely invested in the sophomore WR with a late first or early second-round draft selection. Instead of improving upon his encouraging rookie numbers, Wilson took a step back in his second season as a pro. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), he saw a decrease in receiving grade, yards after catch per reception and yards per route run.

That being said, the eye test would suggest that Wilson’s struggles were to no fault of his own. His inability to provide consistent fantasy production was a result of porous QB play and a sub-par offensive line. Zach Wilson, Garrett Wilson’s starting QB for the vast majority of the season, was arguably the worst starter at the position in 2023.

Among QBs with at least 100 drop-backs, he ranked 39th in PFF passing grade. In comes Aaron Rodgers, who, at any rate, will represent a massive upgrade at the QB position. While he’s not the player he once was, the future hall-of-famer put together a respectable 26:12 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his most recent healthy season.

Garrett Wilson was also held back by the struggling offensive line unit. To this end, the Jets invested heavily in the offseason. Morgan Moses, Tyron Smith and Olu Fashanu will all be welcome additions. These pieces will give Rodgers enough time to scan the field and find Garrett Wilson downfield.

Wilson’s talent is undeniable. There’s a reason he was a lottery selection in the NFL draft and was named the offensive Rookie of the Year just one season ago. What’s perhaps more encouraging about his fantasy profile is his potential for elite volume. This is an offense with a very consolidated pass-catching group. Aside from Wilson and the newly-acquired Mike Williams, there aren’t any reliable receivers at Rodgers’ disposal. As the clear WR1 in this offense, Wilson will have the volume necessary to break through as an elite fantasy option in 2024.

Jaylen Waddle (MIA)

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why the current sentiment around Jaylen Waddle is so negative. Waddle played a hefty portion of the 2023 season, battling a variety of injuries. On multiple occasions, he was seen limping off the field and appeared to be in a lot of pain. To his credit, he managed to battle through these ailments and played 15 games. There’s no doubt that he wasn’t at full capacity and likely would have produced at a higher clip with a full bill of health.

With this in mind, Waddle still accumulated a respectable 74 receptions for 1,045 yards. The fact that this was considered a “disappointing” season highlights the extent to which Waddle’s ceiling is sky-high. The underlying metrics were very promising as well. Among WRs with at least 80 targets, he ranked fifth in PFF receiving grade and sixth in yards per route run.

Waddle’s four receiving touchdowns were the only disappointing aspect of his 2023 statistical profile. Touchdowns tend to be wildly unpredictable on a season-to-season basis. As a key component in this high-flying offense, he’s a prime candidate for positive touchdown regression. Raheem Mostert‘s absurd 21-touchdown season will regress to the mean in 2024, and some of these touchdowns will inevitably go Jaylen Waddle’s way.

While he remains firmly behind Tyreek Hill on the Dolphins depth chart, Waddle’s target share is as safe as it gets. The WR position was a mere afterthought in Miami’s offseason plans. Outside of journeyman Odell Beckham Jr., no WRs of note were added to this depth chart. At this point in his career, Odell does not have the explosiveness to compete with Jaylen Waddle for looks. While he may be the de facto WR2, Waddle will garner more targets than the WR1 on many other NFL teams.

Terry McLaurin (WAS)

Thoughout his five-year career, Terry McLaurin has been a consistent producer in the NFL. He’s put together four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He’s also averaged 4.7 yards after catch per reception and 1.85 yards per route run. By all accounts, McLaurin is among the league’s best at the position. That being said, this hasn’t translated to fantasy success as of yet.

McLaurin’s production has consistently been limited by sub-par QB play. He’s caught passes from 11 different QBs during his time in Washington and, as a result, has never been able to build a true connection with his signal-caller. With Jayden Daniels now in the fold, the future is looking quite bright for McLaurin’s fantasy outlook. Daniels has, by a comfortable margin, the best arm of any QB he’s ever worked with. During his final season at LSU, the second overall pick earned a 99.2 PFF passer rating on throws 20+ yards downfield. This bodes well for McLaurin, who excels as a downfield threat. Per PFF, his career average depth of target is 12.6 yards.

“Scary Terry” will remain the dominant target in this offense in 2024. As the WR room currently stands, his main competition for targets is Jahan Dotson. The latter showed alarming signs of regression during his sophomore season in the NFL. The departure of Curtis Samuel, Logan Thomas, and Antonio Gibson vacates an additional 218 targets in this system. New OC Kliff Kingsbury has never shied away from peppering his WR1 with targets (see DeAndre Hopkins’ 2020 season). McLaurin should easily eclipse 125 targets in 2024.

Christian Kirk (JAC)

Many maligned the Jaguars for signing Christian Kirk to a hefty four-year, 72-million-dollar contract in 2022. Kirk has done nothing but prove the naysayers wrong since his arrival in Jacksonville. He’s played a key role in Trevor Lawrence‘s development and has emerged as his most reliable target over the years. He earned 7.18 targets per game in 2023, which put him on a 17-game pace of 122 targets. None of the other WRs on this depth chart have nearly the same level of rapport with Lawrence.

What’s more, Kirk’s volume is likely to increase in 2024. The departure of Calvin Ridley vacates an additional 132 targets in this offense. While the pending arrivals of Brian Thomas. and Gabe Davis may be perceived as threats to Kirk’s target share, these players occupy drastically different positions on the field. Both Thomas and Davis will be relied upon as field stretchers, whereas Kirk profiles as more of a chain-moving WR. His 2023 average depth of target of 10.7 yards is indicative of this.

The last important factor to consider is the continued ascension of franchise QB, Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence recently signed a monstrous deal and will be expected to take another step towards stardom in 2024. If he does so, Kirk will be the primary beneficiary. After scoring only three touchdowns in 2023, he is yet another player who is due for some positive touchdown regression.

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