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How to Value Players on New Teams: WR (2024 Fantasy Football)

When players change NFL teams it often generates a lot of hype and excitement as fantasy managers spend time trying to decipher what it might mean for the individual as well as both the team they depart and the team they join.

In this article, we’ll explore how to value players on new teams. Specifically, how wide receivers have performed over the last three seasons when joining new teams via free agency or a trade. In the rest of this series, we’ve also looked at tight ends, quarterbacks and running backs.

2024 fantasy football draft kit

How to Value Players on New Teams

We see plenty of wide receivers change teams every year, but in recent years, the top-end players have changed teams more often than before. We’re looking across the last three years at some of the key names who changed teams and reflecting upon how they performed after doing so, starting with the 2021 season.

2021

2021 PPR Rank PPR PPG REC Yards/GP Yards/Route Scrim TDs
Corey Davis 65 11.7 54.7 1.74 4
A.J. Green 40 10 55 1.7 3
Emmanuel Sanders 49 9.4 44.7 1.23 4
Marvin Jones 36 9.9 46.5 1.26 3
Nelson Agholor 68 7.2 32.1 1.18 3
Kenny Golladay 81 6.5 38.4 1.27 0
Sammy Watkins 98 5.9 32.8 1.55 1
Will Fuller 180 4.3 13 0.53 0
Curtis Samuel 176 2 5.4 0.73 0

Corey DavisAfter four years in Tennessee, Corey Davis moved to the Jets on a three-year, $37.5 million deal, with the hope Davis might be the veteran receiver needed to help Zach Wilson land on his feet. Wilson was a complete disaster and Davis put up his lowest receiving yards since his rookie season (492). Davis had scored 11 touchdowns in his previous three years with the Titans but only managed six in the following two seasons combined before retiring in 2022.

A.J. Green – After 10 seasons with the Bengals, the future Hall of Famer played with another team for the first time, signing with the Cardinals as part of a Super Bowl push. Unfortunately, A.J. Green’s yards per route run of 1.7 was a significant dip from the well above 2.0 range he’d typically played at, and his three touchdowns weren’t helpful. Green put up 848 yards but at 10 points per game, he was a tricky start in shallower PPR leagues.

Emmanuel Sanders – Much like A.J. Green, Emmanuel Sanders was at the end of his career when he landed with Buffalo. As you’d expect for a 34-year-old receiver, Sanders saw a six-year low in receiving yards per game along with a career-low in yards per route run.

Marvin JonesAfter five years in Detroit, Marvin Jones headed to Jacksonville where he set a career-high in targets with 120, outproducing the rest of a miserable receiver room featuring Laviska Shenault and Laquon Treadwell.

Nelson AgholorAfter a season with the Raiders, Nelson Agholor landed in New England for the start of a two-year stretch after putting up a career-high 896 yards, with eight touchdowns and 18.7 yards per reception in Las Vegas. Agholor couldn’t keep the fire going though and regressed to pedestrian numbers.

Kenny GolladayThe Giants gave Kenny Golladay a four-year, $72 million contract after four years in Detroit where he flashed potential. Good wide receivers don’t often get out the door and Golladay recorded 43 catches for 603 yards with the Giants over two seasons before they cut their losses. Golladay hasn’t been seen in the NFL since.

Sammy WatkinsThe once prolific talent of Sammy Watkins landed in Baltimore after a four-year spell in Kansas City and everyone cried out “That’s so Raven(s)”, expecting them to turn around the fortunes of a veteran wide receiver once more. Instead, Watkins had 27 catches for 394 yards and one touchdown. Despite being only 28, Watkins looked cooked and would only play one more season before calling it quits.

Will FullerMiami signed Will Fuller to a one-year, $10.6 million contract only for him to manage two games, with four receptions and 26 yards… it wasn’t supposed to end like this. Fuller was never heard from again, disappearing away to retirement at 27 years of age. Fair play.

Curtis SamuelThe Commanders signed Curtis Samuel fresh off two years with 95+ targets in Carolina, but it got off to a rocky start with Samuel only playing five games in 2021. It wouldn’t be fair to call Samuel a bad signing, however, as he went on to earn 90+ targets in the following two seasons in Washington. Now paired with Josh Allen, we can chalk up another 90+ targets with very little worries.

2022

2022 PPR Rank PPR PPG REC Yards/GP Yards/Route Scrim TDs
Tyreek Hill 2 21.1 105.4 3.3 8
Davante Adams 3 20.3 90.2 2.5 14
A.J. Brown 5 17.9 87.6 2.6 11
Christian Kirk 13 13.9 63.1 1.7 7
Zay Jones 24 12.8 53.5 1.5 5
JuJu Smith-Schuster 27 12 59.9 1.8 3
DJ Chark 75 9.4 48.8 1.6 3
Russell Gage 57 9.4 34.3 1.2 4
Allen Robinson 81 8.5 33.9 0.9 3
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 53 7.3 41.3 1.2 2
Julio Jones 94 7 29.9 1.2 2
Jarvis Landry 102 6.7 30.2 1.3 1

The wide receiver trade market kicked into gear in 2022. With the elite players moving teams things changed dramatically, but not for their numbers.

Tyreek Hill – The Chiefs sent Tyreek Hill to Miami. Despite worries Tua Tagovailoa wouldn’t be able to support a top-tier talent, Hill set a career-high in yards per route run at 3.2 and then smashed that in 2023 with 3.82.

Davante Adams – Downgrading from Aaron Rodgers to Derek Carr hurt Davante Adams’ figures slightly, with his yards per route run dropping to 2.5 from 2.82 in 2021, but Adams put up 1,516 yards, the second-most of his illustrious career. Unfortunately for him, when Derek Carr moved on and Jimmy Garoppolo replaced him in 2023, Adams’ numbers dropped substantially.

A.J. Brown – On NFL draft night, the Titans traded Brown to the Eagles, much to the dislike of Mike Vrabel, and the impact was immediate for Brown, who has since been over 1,450 yards in back-to-back seasons in a prolific offense.

Christian Kirk – When Christian Kirk signed a four-year, $72 million contract with the Jaguars it was largely viewed as an overpay, but the Jaguars needed quality given that in 2021 they rolled out Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault and Laquon Treadwell. Kirk was coming off 984 yards and 1.81 yards per route run in Arizona, and immediately made an impact with 84 receptions for 1,108 yards and coming within a whisker of a top-12 fantasy finish as the WR13. He’s been the Jaguars’ most consistent wide receiver in the last five years.

Zay Jones – Zay Jones followed Kirk to Duval County, signing a three-year, $24 million contract. Jones set a career-high 1.44 yards per route run and crossed 700 yards for the first time as the Jaguars caught fire in the second half of the season. Unfortunately for Jones, injuries hampered his 2023 campaign and he was released this offseason.

JuJu Smith-SchusterAfter washing out in Pittsburgh, JujJu Smith-Schuster signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs hoping to rehab his image. Smith-Schuster posted 1.77 yards per route run, the highest rate he’d managed since his sophomore season in Pittsburgh and caught 78 of his 97 targets.

2023

2023 PPR Rank PPR PPG REC Yards/GP Yards/Route Scrim TDs
DJ Moore 8 17.3 81.3 2.3 9
Adam Thielen 15 14.2 62.6 1.6 4
Jakobi Meyers 31 13.1 49.7 1.5 8
DeAndre Hopkins 26 12.9 63.2 2.1 6
Brandin Cooks 41 10.5 41.2 1.3 7
DJ Chark 58 7.9 34.2 1 5
Odell Beckham 60 7.7 40.4 1.9 3
Robert Woods 75 6.4 30.4 1 1
DeVante Parker 86 5.9 32.3 1.2 0
JuJu Smith-Schuster 94 5.5 23.6 1.1 1
Nelson Agholor 77 5.5 21.4 1.1 4
Allen Lazard 96 4.3 22.2 0.7 1
Allen Robinson 91 3.9 17.5 0.7 0

DJ MooreThe Panthers traded away DJ Moore to acquire the number one pick, Bryce Young, in the 2023 NFL draft. It’s fair to say, mistakes were made. Moore had the best quarterback play of his career since late-career Cam Newton was his quarterback with the Panthers. Moore set career-highs in yards per route run (2.31), receptions (96) and receiving yards (1,364) despite Justin Fields being injured and occasionally erratic. The only question remains can he continue this with increased target competition around him in 2024?

Adam ThielenDespite breaking 1,000 yards for just the third time, it wasn’t all roses for Adam Thielen in Carolina. Thielen was the WR3 over Weeks 1-6, before dropping to WR39 from Weeks 7-17. The age cliff had been looming for Thielen in Minnesota and he couldn’t escape it in Carolina.

Jakobi MeyersThe Patriots opted not to re-sign Jakobi Meyers when his contract expired but gave an almost identical contract to Super Bowl winner JuJu Smith-Schuster (more on that soon). Meyers broke 800 yards for the third straight season, despite poor quarterback play and playing alongside Davante Adams. He managed to earn 106 targets and finish as a top-36 option.

DeAndre HopkinsBouncing back from two tricky years in Arizona, DeAndre Hopkins broke 2.0 yards per route run and topped 1,000 yards for the first time in three years on both accounts. Quarterback play was erratic, at best, but Hopkins drew targets in a stronger way than he’d managed for a couple of years.

Odell BeckhamOdell Beckham hit 1.92 targets playing in Baltimore, his highest mark since 2018 when he last played with the Giants. Sadly, though, the Ravens never had enough faith to play him more consistently, with even Rashod Bateman, who had no impact playing 8% more than Beckham’s 49% of snaps.

JuJu Smith-SchusterNew England chose poorly when they allowed Meyers to move on. Smith-Schuster managed 29 catches on 47 targets and only 260 yards. We’ve likely seen the best of Smith-Schuster.

Wide Receiver Conclusions

With the depth of every team’s wide receiver room, and the willingness to move top-tier options higher than ever, we likely continue to see plenty of receivers move teams each year. The evidence in this article suggests top-tier talent can survive mostly anywhere as long as their quarterback play isn’t truly awful. Meanwhile, the middle tier of receivers is a dart-throw situation. In dynasty leagues, you might be best using these moves as a sell-high window.

For 2024, Marquise Brown should be a target now that he’s with the Chiefs, as should Curtis Samuel with the Bills. Outside of them, there are risks all over.

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