Fantasy Football value is determined largely by two factors, opportunity and talent. And generally speaking, opportunity is easier to discern and more important in a given year. One of the best ways to find opportunity for the coming year is to look for which teams have the least returning from the prior year. At wide receiver in 2020, there are two distinct leaders; the New York Jets and the Houston Texans are the only two teams who have 150 or more wide receiver targets available from 2019. While both teams made a bevy of offseason moves, with no preseason games and an altered training camp it may make the most sense to simply target their top returning wideouts.
As you're surely aware, availability has been the biggest concern with Will Fuller. He's never played 16 games in a season and he hasn't even played 12 games since his rookie year. In 2019 Fuller produced one of the greatest games any receiver has had in recent memory, with 14 grabs for 217 yards and three scores. In his other 10 games (two of which he left early) Fuller caught 35 passes for 443 yards and no touchdowns.
With DeAndre Hopkins out of Houston, the Texans have 150 wide receiver targets to replace. The team signed Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb, and they still have Kenny Stills on the roster, so it doesn't all fall on Fuller's shoulders. But Fuller has the most experience in this offense and with Watson. If he could play 16 games, he could certainly see 120 targets. I'd be very happy to target both Cooks and Fuller in Round 8 as No. 3 receivers with upside.
One other thing to keep in mind is who the Texans received for Hopkins. David Johnson is one of the better pass-catching backs in the league. It could be that some of those 150 targets go to the running backs this season.
If there's one guy who gets overlooked too often based on last year, it's Jamison Crowder. In 13 games with Sam Darnold, Crowder caught 70 passes for 758 yards and six touchdowns. His 16-game pace with Darnold would have put him at 223 Fantasy points, just inside the top 20 in PPR. Now factor in that the Jets have 157 wide receiver targets to replace from 2019.
Yes, Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims will factor into the offenses, but again the shortened offseason means less time for them to develop rapport with Darnold. Also, the slot receiver has generally been the engine of the Adam Gase offense, and Crowder did a pretty good Jarvis Landry impersonation last year.
Perriman and Mims are fine sleepers, so is Chris Herndon for that matter. But Crowder should be the clear alpha in this attack, and he's a great bargain in Round 9.
Here are some other quick takeaways:
- The Dolphins suddenly have a lot of targets available with Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns opting out. It's not hard to imagine both DeVante Parker and Preston Williams topping 120 targets.
- Justin Jefferson, Jalen Reagor and CeeDee Lamb seemingly have a lot more room than Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs. The flip side of that is that someone on the Raiders and Broncos is going to lose if those rookies have a big impact.
- Speaking of someone losing, neither Arizona (84) nor Buffalo (18) have enough targets available for their acquisitions. Unless they throw a lot more, that's bad news for John Brown and Christian Kirk. It could also be bad news for Hopkins and Stefon Diggs.
- No team has more team targets available than Atlanta. That makes it easy to see Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst as top-12 options at their position.
- Washington has 190 total targets available, and we expect them to throw 100 more passes than they did last year. With even adequate quarterback play, Terry McLaurin and company have a lot of room for growth.
- The Bengals have 63 targets available. They get A.J. Green back and drafted Tee Higgins. Could be a couple of guys taking a big step back in 2020.
Here's the full Opportunity Index as well as each team's positional target rate in 2020: