The NFL is a passing league, mostly, and the bulk of your fantasy roster is made up from those pass catchers. Since there are so many of them on the field on any given play, they tend to slowly change over the years.
But they do change.
Wide receiver totals by year
As offenses become more complicated and sophisticated, how receivers are used will differ. The total usage of wide receivers is almost static in the number of catches and yards. There was an odd spike in receiving touchdowns in 2018 but then it regressed last year. On the upswing, wide receivers are turning in more rushing attempts and touchdowns but not so high as to merit consideration in valuing a player.
Top ten wide receiver totals by year
Surprisingly, the number of touchdown receptions by a wideout went down last year for those top-ten fantasy players. It tends to rise and fall each year at least incrementally, but the most interesting outcome was the average length of catches for the elite players. At 12.9-yards per catch, it wasn’t that much higher than tight ends. The deep game has taken a step backward for the elite receivers.
Tight end totals by year
No real change in the last few years for tight ends overall. There was a nice jump up from 2013 to 2015 in yards and touchdowns, but overall their usage remains closely aligned.
Top ten tight end totals by year
No major changes here as well, though interesting that the average yard per catch rose while wide receivers had theirs decline. There may not be a ton of fantasy-relevant tight ends, but there is always about ten that matter.
WR Larry Fitzgerald – 75-804-4
WR Christian Kirk – 68-709-3
WR Damiere Byrd – 32-359-2
The Arizona wideouts collectively improved nicely from 2018 when the team imploded. But, they have ranked poorly in tight ends for literally decades and the top two receivers ranked just No. 34 (Larry Fitzgerald) and No. 37 (Christian Kirk). It was the first year for HC Kliff Kingsbury and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray.
It would already be promising to have the team enter their second season in the new scheme and with a more experienced quarterback. But the Cardinals acquired DeAndre Hopkins. And they should see a better payoff from their 2019 rookies Andy Isabella (2.30), Hakeem Butler (4.01), and Keesan Johnson (6.01). This is a team loaded at wide receiver.
While the scheme did connect with eight different wideouts last year, over half of the wide receiver targets were shared by Kirk (29%) and Fitzgerald (30%). No one else received more than 12%. Those two were thrown over 100 passes while Damiere Byrd was third with just 46 targets.
Now Hopkins has to fit into that distribution and will obviously take the lead. It actually works out better for fantasy since the Cards will throw to a lot of different receivers but the top three are significantly busier than the rest.
Hopkins share could leave Kirk and Fitzgerald with only mediocre fantasy value. And Fitzgerald has been incredibly productive for a 36-year-old player. He’ll no doubt see a decline and the biggest loser here are those rookies drafted last year that have no path to significant playing time. Fitzgerald should end up in the slot from now on.
One caveat here – the offense looks explosive and is loaded with talent. The schedule is not a friend, and it wasn’t last year either.
Training Camp Needs: Just getting Hopkins integrated into the offense. There are no other new players or schemes to worry about, so the Cards are in a better spot than some other teams that have new elements to consider. Other than the top three receivers, all the rest can do is hope to get a shot at a starting gig next year when Fitzgerald retires (right? right?).
WR Julio Jones – 99-1394-6
WR Calvin Ridley – 63-866-7
TE Austin Hooper – 75-787-6
The Falcons ranked No. 1 with 683 pass attempts last year and only the Bengals threw a higher percentage of their passes to wideouts than the 78% in Atlanta. This was a standard offense only with a lot of passes to distribute. The tight ends usage improved markedly under OC Dirk Koetter’s first season just as he had used the position in Tampa Bay in his four seasons there.
Julio Jones was the No. 2 fantasy wideout and is perennially in the top five. Austin Hooper was the No. 6 fantasy tight end but has since left and was replaced by Hayden Hurst. Calvin Ridley missed three games at the end of the year with an abdomen injury. He fell behind his rookie year but was on a pace to break 1,000 yards.
The Falcons used their slot receiver often with Mohamed Sanu and eventually Russell Gage combining for 82 receptions. Gage gets the job for the full year but he averaged 9.1 yards per catch and scored only once. Both Jones and Ridley will again be the featured part of the passing game with Gage likey remaining below fantasy relevance. Also relevant was the No. 8 best passing schedule that the Falcons enjoyed in 2019. It drops back to only No. 28 this year.
The most interesting receiver remains Hayden Hurst who was never a big factor for the Ravens. Though he was their 1.25 pick in 2018, Mark Andrews took over despite his 3.22 selection that year. Hurst was the first tight end drafted in 2018 and already drew positive raves from the Falcons. They completed 93 passes for 989 yards and seven scores to tight ends with Hooper accounting for 75 receptions.
Training Camp Needs: Integrate Hurst into the offense and see if he can match what Hooper did last year. This offensive scheme likes tight ends and there’s no other real competition in the position.
TE Mark Andrews – 64-852-10
WR Marquise Brown – 46-584-7
WR Willie Snead IV – 31-339-5
This is a very odd situation. The wideouts combined for 17 touchdowns which were eighth-best in the NFL. But their 115 catches were not only the least of any team but 22 fewer than the second-worst Vikings. With 1,419 yards by the position, all combined they were about 300 yards less than Michael Thomas had by himself.
Marquise Brown was best of the bunch and scored seven times but no other wideout produced more than 31 receptions or 339 yards. Lamar Jackson could find them in the endzone, just not that often on the way to get there. They drafted Devin Duvernay (3.28) but there’s been no fantasy value from the wide receivers outside of the highly inconsistent Brown.
Their passing schedule was about average and maybe slightly worse this year, but the Ravens move the ball by rushing, not passing. Brown’s second season holds promise but there’s a cap on what he can do with so few passes thrown.
Mark Andrews was the leading receiver with 64 catches and ten touchdowns. The Ravens threw to their tight ends 41% of the time – highest in the NFL. The departure of Hayden Hurst leaves Andrews with very little competition and he remains the best receiver of the bunch.
Training Camp Needs: There are no new receivers aside from the rookie Duvernay and not much reason to worry about anyone other than Brown. OC Greg Roman did a great job with the offense in his first year and the need to throw more to the wideouts has been spoken but until Jackson stops taking off on a run so much, there’s no reason to follow much here. Brown knows the system now and if he can stay healthy, he could surprise. But no other wideout carries any upside.
WR John Brown – 72-1060-6
WR Cole Beasley – 67-778-6
TE Dawson Knox – 28-388-3
The Bills passing improved significantly last year, though still ranks below average. John Brown topped 1,000 yards as the first Bill wideout since 2015. Cole Beasley was limited to 778 yards but that’s pretty impressive for this low-end passing team. Dawson Knox was not only the most productive tight end, but he was also the third-best receiver overall.
The offense enters the third year under OC Brian Daboll and the team relies mostly on their defense and rushing effort to win games. This year holds more promise with the addition of Stefon Diggs as the instant No. 1 wideout but the Bills own below-average marks on every passing category. Their schedule also remains just below average as well.
Quarterback Josh Allen played all 16 games but only ended with 3,089 passing yards and he’s used his wide receivers on only 54% of his passes so far. That should increase with the addition of Diggs, but it remains to be seen if adding a new talent increases the totals or just lowers the production of others. Allen enters his third season with his best set of receivers to date. There is hope for at least an incremental increase.
The Bills only threw to their tight ends on 16% of their passes and completed only 46 in total. Knox remains the primary tight end but with no reason to expect any notable increase.
Training Camp Needs: Allen and Diggs need to establish their connection early and often in camp. There is the promise of the Bills wideouts finally reaching average or better versus the league, but Diggs has lowered the outlook for Brown.
WR DJ Moore – 87-1175-4
WR Curtis Samuel – 54-627-6
TE Greg Olsen – 52-597-2
There is plenty of change and the impact of the COVID-19 virus limitations will be felt more on this team than most. The coaching staff is a clean slate with HC Matt Rhule and OC Joe Brady both trying to bring their collegiate success to the NFL. Add in a new quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater who impressed while leading the high-powered offense of the Saints last year.
Notable is that Bridgewater hasn’t played a 16 game season since 2015 before he blew out his knee. And he won’t have pass-sponge Michael Thomas to use this time.
There is talent here. DJ Moore broke out in his second season with 1,175 yards on 87 catches for 2019. Curtis Samuel enters the final year of his rookie contract still looking to break 650 pass yards in a season but offering up a handful of rushes and otherwise gimmick plays that still keeps him dangerous, if only on the rare occasion.
Robby Anderson was added to the roster and he’ll step into the flanker role. He’s an upgrade to be sure and offers Bridgewater a reliable option along with Moore on every play.
The Panthers finally cut ties with Greg Olsen and will rely on third-year Ian Thomas who only managed 16 catches last season. This is a new scheme so the usage of the tight end isn’t yet certain, but allowing Olsen to leave and not replacing him doesn’t bode well for the position to do much more than block.
Training Camp Needs: Ian Thomas would be a very cheap draft pick so camp will help determine if there is any reason for the Panthers to start using their tight ends as receivers. Adding Anderson to Moore and Samuel upgrades the starters and could surprise. The Panthers have one of the lighter schedules, so they should have some advantage at least until opposing defenses can know how to prepare to face the wideouts. Anderson was a tactical add since Bridgewater has two reliable wide receivers along with Samuel who cannot be ignored.
WR Allen Robinson II – 98-1147-7
WR Anthony Miller – 52-656-2
WR Taylor Gabriel – 29-353-4
The questions here are more about who the quarterback will be than anything about the wide receivers. Allen Robinson stayed healthy and made good in his second year in Chicago. He ended with 98 receptions for 1,147 yards for the second-best year in his career (2015 – 1,400 yards, 14 TD). He was still almost twice as productive as any other receiver.
Anthony Miller turned in 52 catches for 656 yards but only scored twice as the other starter. Taylor Gabriel played the slot but is gone and wasn’t effective last year anyway. The offense relies heavily on the two starting wideouts and there just isn’t enough left over to yield a third player with fantasy value. The No. 3 wideout will be either Cordarrelle Patterson, Tedd Ginn, or Javon Wims. In the end, it doesn’t really matter.
The Bears added Jimmy Graham after tight ends only accounted for 46 catches and two scores last year. It was a curious hire since the 33-year-old Grahamcomes off his worst season since he was a rookie and he’s going on four years since his last significant fantasy year (two teams ago).
The Bears only threw 12% of their passes at a tight end last year. While the quarterback may change, the scheme will not, and Graham has lost a step since he was a reliable target.
Training Camp Needs: Either Mitchell Trubisky needs to clearly outplay Nick Foles in training camp and the preseason, or the receivers will be harder to rely on. There is an opportunity though, given that switching to Foles could improve the passing and the Bears enjoy the most advantageous passing schedule in the NFL.
WR Tyler Boyd – 90-1046-5
TE Tyler Eifert – 43-436-3
WR Auden Tate – 40-575-1
The Bengals enter their second season under HC Zac Taylor with an offense that was without A.J. Green who is healthy, again, for now. They did end up at No. 5 in the league with 615 passing attempts last year but that’s to be expected from a 2-14 season. At least that netted the No. 1 overall draft pick and a new quarterback in Joe Burrow.
The receivers could be much better this year but much will depend on what Burrow does as a rookie and team health. Green returns to pair with Tyler Boyd and that gives them two bonafide 1,000-yard receivers. John Ross has never met the expectations of his first-round selection and was limited to just 28 catches last year while missing eight games. Boyd reeled off 1,000-yard seasons the last two years while Green has been injured. Green topped 1,000 yards in any year that he played at least ten games.
The Bengals also drafted Tee Higgins (2.01) and the 6-4, 216 Clemson star brings yet another talented set of hands to the team. He’ll have a chance to grow along with Burrow. Green is a franchise player working for $17 million this year. If Higgins meets expectations, the Bengals could move on from the 31-year-old Green next season.
Tyler Eifert left for the Jaguars and the Bengals did nothing to replace him. C.J. Uzomah and Drew Sample will both play and Sample was a second-round pick in 2019 that will get a chance to climb the depth chart. But neither projects to be a fantasy starter.
Training Camp Needs: This is all about getting Burrow up to speed as the quarterback and Higgins needs the work as well. The rookie wideout isn’t needed to do much early in the season and is really just trying to learn the system and prepare for what should be a busier 2021. Sample is worth following in camp and preseason to see if he can take the next step up in his second season, but a rookie quarterback, the limitations of the COVID-19 situation, and an offense that hasn’t done much with the position under Taylor all work against him.
WR Jarvis Landry – 83-1174-6
WR Odell Beckham Jr. – 74-1035-4
TE Ricky Seals-Jones – 14-229-4
There is a lot of promise here. 2018 had the then-rookie Baker Mayfield posting record stats despite having little beyond Jarvis Landry as a weapon. Then last year, the Browns brought in Odell Beckham for what appeared to be the start of an even better offensive showing. That did not happen.
What did happen was that Beckham would play the year while suffering from a groin injury. Overall, the offense dropped in the face of the No. 31 passing schedule and No. 27 rushing schedule. The Browns looked as bad in 2019 as they looked good the previous season. The pendulum swings in their favor this year by facing the No. 9 passing schedule and No. 19 rushing schedule. That alone should be a major boost to the offensive effort.
Having a healthy Beckham will pay obvious dividends. The Browns are onto yet another coaching change with HC Kevin Stefanski leaving the Vikings offense to go to Cleveland. He had great success with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. The No. 3 wideout will be a mixture of either Rashard Higgins or Taywan Taylor but only the two starting wide receivers matter for Stefanski in Minnesota.
Jarvis Landry is a question mark after hip surgery at the end of February. He was said to need “6 to 8 months” to heal and that would stretch into the regular season. Landry is a summer watch and if he is unable to show for Week 1, it puts a hole in the passing game.
The Browns also added Austin Hooper fresh from his 75-catch, 787-yard season last year for the Falcons. He is added to David Njoku who was a first-round pick in 2017 but hasn’t met expectations and spent most of 2019 on injured reserve. Hooper is now the highest-paid tight end so he’ll be integrated into the offense. Last year, Stefanski had 23% of the passes thrown go to the tight end.
Training Camp Needs: Mayfield and company need to shake off a bad 2019 and get to work installing the new offense. Hooper needs to mesh with his new quarterback and Beckham just needs to stay healthy. Bad year to install something new, but the quality of the receivers appear on the upturn. Landry needs to prove healthy and if not, a close watch to see who will benefit the most.
WR Amari Cooper – 79-1189-8
WR Michael Gallup – 66-1107-6
WR Randall Cobb – 55-828-3
For only the third time ever and the first time since 2006, the Cowboys featured two wideouts with more than 1,000 yards in 2019. Both Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup hit the mark and Randall Cobb even ended with 828 yards as well. No other wideouts mattered and now Cobb is gone to the Texans. Both Cooper and Gallup fielded over 110 passes each and that was with Gallup missing two games.
The Cowboys turned to the draft to acquire CeeDee Lamb (1.17) in a surprise thanks mostly to the Raiders grabbing Henry Ruggs as the first wideout selected. Forget about Cobb’s magic year, Lamb was a beast the last two years at Oklahoma and now give the Cowboys three talented options. The Cowboys already had one of the top passing offenses last year. Now, they get even better and the No. 10 best passing schedule last year becomes the No. 8 for 2020.
Jason Witten has moved on, again, and he still accounted for 63 catches for 529 yards and four scores in 2019. Blake Jarwin moves up the depth chart to start as a third-year player. He ended with 31 catches for 365 yards and three scores last year, and the Cowboys totaled 95 receptions for 900 yards and seven scores to tight ends.
Jarwin has upside despite being an undrafted player from Oklahoma State where he only totaled 41 catches over three seasons. The addition of Lamb should turn the offense into a lot of three-wide but the tight end still was involved heavily last year. Jarwin is a lock to improve, the only question is how much?
Training Camp Needs: CeeDee Lamb gets the advantage of learning more slowly as the No. 3 wideout but any first-round pick is expected to contribute and Cobb already had success here last season. Jarwin is a known commodity after two years, but he needs to get comfortable as the primary tight end.
WR Courtland Sutton – 72-1112-6
TE Noah Fant – 40-562-3
WR Emmanuel Sanders – 30-367-2
The Broncos were into tear-down mode last year when HC Vic Fangio took over and he changes to OC Pat Shurmur this year so there is another new offense to learn. Drew Lock took over as the starting quarterback in Week 13 with predictably marginal results. Emmanuel Sanders was traded away at midseason and the state of the receivers was terrible outside of Courtland Sutton who ended with 1,112 yards on 72 catches and six touchdowns in his second year. He was the lone bright spot in an otherwise dismal season.
The Broncos used Fangio’s second season to reload the offense. Melvin Gordon was added to the backfield and then they used the draft to get more receivers. Jerry Jeudy (1.15) and KJ Hamler (2.14) are both projected to start along with the returning Sutton. Jeudy was the top receiver on many draft boards (just not the Raiders). Hamler will take the slot where his sub 4.4 speed can do some damage.
The Broncos drafted Noah Fant with their 1.20 pick last year and the 6-4, 249 pounder ran a 4.5/40 at the NFL combine last year. The rookie was held to a respectable 40 catches for 562 yards and three scores and twice turned in games with over 100 yards thanks to that speed.
There is a lot of talent here. And there is a lot of youth and inexperience trying to install a new offense with many new parts and players. The core of a potent offense is in place, now it’s just about getting it all to work together and meet the potential.
Training Camp Needs: Other than Sutton, all the receivers need work and better mesh with the second-year Lock as the quarterback. The schedule isn’t great like last year, and the offense will likely take time to get up to speed. Lock just needs to get in as much work as possible with Jeudy, Hamler and Fant.
WR Kenny Golladay – 65-1190-11
WR Marvin Jones Jr. – 62-779-9
WR Danny Amendola – 62-678-1
There are no new starters at receiver and OC Darrell Bevell enters his second season after the offense struggled once Matthew Stafford went to injured reserve at midseason. Stafford was on a pace for a 5,000-yard season and even with Jeff Driskel and David Blough used for the final eight games, the Lions still threw for 4,158 total yards and 27 touchdowns.
Injuries also slowed Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola but Kenny Golladay turned in his second-straight 1,000-yard season and scored 11 touchdowns. Jones turned in 1,101 yards and nine scores back in 2017 but spent the last two years missing time because of injury. Danny Amendola came over last season and managed a very standard 62 catches for 678 yards from the slot.
The Lions spent their 1.08 pick last year on T.J. Hockenson who missed four games and played injured in a few as a rookie. He ended with 32 catches for 367 yards and two scores and opened his career with a six-catch, 131-yard effort at the Cardinals in Week 1. Entering his second season, Hockenson will benefit greatly from a healthy Stafford. Hockenson was the highest-drafted tight end since Vernon Davis (1.06) in 2006.
2020 is looking up for the receivers. Stafford was already red-hot before he was hurt last year and the offense is fully installed by now. The Lions not only had the No. 9 best passing schedule in 2019, but they go up to No. 3 for this season. Hockenson should take the normal second-year leap while Jones and Golladay just have to stay healthy.
Training Camp Needs: This offense should be in good shape with a great schedule, a maturing offense and a healthy complement of receivers. Hockenson could use the most work and can boost his fantasy stock if he draws positive reviews in camp.
Green Bay Packers
WR Davante Adams – 83-997-5
WR Allen Lazard – 35-477-3
TE Jimmy Graham – 38-447-3
How the mighty have fallen. The Packers under Aaron Rodgers have long been a pass-heavy offense with good to spectacular results. Not so much under HC Matt LaFleur last year when they ranked no better than average in every passing category and Davante Adams fell to the No. 23 fantasy wideout in part due to injury. Despite his absence for four games, no other Packers wideout ended better than No. 68 (Allen Lazard).
Geronimo Allison flopped and now is on the Lions. Marquez Valdes-Scantling ended up benched. Jake Kumerow never got on track. Allen Lazard was an undrafted free agent that became the best remaining receiver because he caught 35 passes for 477 yards and three touchdowns. The only reason that the overall passing stats were average was thanks to 101 completions to the running backs.
The Packers amazingly ignored the richest wider receiver draft in over a decade. The only add was Devin Funchess who flopped in Carolina and Indianapolis and he projects to backup Lazard. The slot receiver doesn’t matter in this scheme.
The Packers parted ways with Jimmy Graham who never recaptured his previously productive ways. Now Marcedes Lewis and Jace Sternberger will sort out which one will be the primary receiver. The Packers under LaFleur only completed 63 passes to the position last year and Graham finished as just the No. 21 best fantasy tight end.
Training Camp Needs: Keep Davante Adams healthy because he’s the only Packer receiver that will carry enough fantasy value to merit a starting nod. Sternberger was a third-round pick last year and should end up as the better receiver at tight end. He worth watching to see if he will make any second-year leap into relevance.
WR DeAndre Hopkins – 104-1165-7
WR Will Fuller V – 49-670-3
WR Kenny Stills – 40-561-4
This perennially strong set of wideouts was mostly about one player – DeAndre Hopkins. Now that he’s gone, the outlook is far less clear or as certain to excel. The Texans brought in Brandin Cooks as the replacement and the 27-year-old veteran not only has six seasons of experience, he is onto his fourth NFL team. He served up four straight 1,000-yard seasons but then fell off in 2019 with the Rams.
Cooks is only 5-9 and 189 pounds. Hopkins is 6-1 and 212 pounds. Cooks doesn’t provide nearly as big of a target downfield as Hopkins did. Deshaun Watson has been a top-five quarterback the last two years and his passing schedule is roughly average for 2020 after facing one of the worst last season. So there is certainly hope that the receiver group can still deliver as well, if only by including other players and less reliance on just one.
The Texans also added Randal Cobb for the slot role. The 29-year-old ex-Cowboy had one of his career-best seasons in Dallas with 55 catches for 828 yards and three scores last year. Will Fuller will remain as the flanker as should provide at least three or four spectacular games before suffering his fifth-straight season-ending injury.
Kenny Stills is also in the mix but this is his third NFL team and has yet to break out of being just an average receiver with the occasional decent game.
The tight end role was shared by Darren Fells and Jordan Akins last year. Akins ended with 36 catches for 418 yards and two scores while Fells delivered 34 receptions for 341 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns. Chances are that both will see at least slightly increases as the Texans figure out how to replace Hopkins, but they share almost evenly each week and that holds down their individual potential.
Training Camp Needs: Camp is critical this year. Cooks and Cobb are the likely starters along with Fuller and will be the top wideouts after Fuller lands on injured reserve again. The scheme remains the same and the schedule is slightly better. But figuring out how to maintain a productive offense has to start in camp and then preseason games.
WR Zach Pascal – 41-607-5
WR T.Y. Hilton – 45-501-5
TE Jack Doyle – 43-448-4
Introducing Philip Rivers to the huddle is bound to help turn around a bad 2019 season that started with Andrew Luck retiring. Both the wideouts and tight ends fell in production and overall, the 3,357 passing yards by the Colts ranked just No. 30 in the NFL.
HC Frank Reich and OC Nick Sirianni enter their third season. Their first season (with Luck) resulted in 4,593 pass yards and 39 touchdowns. Rivers should interject some much-needed talent into the passing game and bring T.Y. Hilton back to the same form that saw him turn in five 1,000-yard seasons over his career. Hilton has struggled to remain on the field for the last two years but was durable for the first six seasons.
Parris Campbell was their 2.27 pick in 2019 but he had a very bad year to debut and he suffered hand and foot injuries that limited him to only seven games. He’s healthy again and looking for a do-over from the slot. Zach Pascal was an undrafted, second-year player who became a starter and led the Colts with 607 receiving yards. The expectations are that he’ll give up the flanker role to the rookie Michael Pittman (2.02) which gives much more promise to the receivers, if only by next year.
When this scheme started in 2018, Eric Ebron blew up for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns but he played with Luck and last year only managed 375 yards and three scores as he struggled to stay healthy. Ebron left for the Steelers and leaves Jack Doyle and the newly acquired Trey Burton as the starters.
Doyle has his own injury history but he’s been average even when healthy. Burton had one decent season with the Bears but otherwise has been marginal in his six-year career. The Colts threw 28% of their passes to tight ends last year to rank No. 4 but that reflected the quarterback situation and injuries to wide receivers. There will be fantasy value here, but no difference-makers.
Training Camp Needs: Rivers has to learn the new offense and get used to all his new teammates. There is a lot of promise here given that the Colts enjoy the No. 2 passing schedule and play half their games against the worst dozen defenses from last year. Campbell ran a 4.31 at the NFL combine in 2019. Pittman is a 6-4, 223 pound monster with 4.5 speed. This is a bad year to introduce new people to an offense, but the situation is ripe for these receivers to bounce back from 2019. And maybe with a vengeance.
WR DJ Chark Jr. – 73-1008-8
WR Chris Conley – 47-775-5
WR Dede Westbrook – 66-660-3
The Jaguars made up their mind about Gardner Minshew and while HC Doug Marrone enters his third season, OC Jay Gruden brings in his offense from the Redskins. They had a formidable passing game back when Kirk Cousins was there but it all fell apart without him.
DJ Chark broke out in his second season with 1,008 yards on 73 receptions to easily lead the team. Chris Conley comes off a career-best with 775 yards but he has five years that say he’s just an average receiver. Dede Westbrook remains in the slot so the same cast of starters returns from 2019. The Jags spent their 2.10 pick on Laviska Shenault. He may be at a disadvantage for this year with a lack of team time, but the Colorado product should end up with the flanker spot once he beats out Conway. That could easily happen during this season.
The Jaguars don’t rely much on their tight ends and last year, they only totaled 459 yards and three scores from the position. James O’Shaughnessy was the best with just 14 catches for 153 yards. The Jaguars acquired 29-year-old Tyler Eifert but aside from a freakish 2015 season, he’s been average at best and more often out injured.
The Jaguars had the No. 4 best passing schedule and drop to No. 15 this year. But Minshew and the wideouts are already experienced in the scheme and Shenault doesn’t have to produce immediately.
Training Camp Needs: Mostly just tuning up and getting ready for the season. Shenault should be watched to see if he can overtake Conway by Week 1, but chances are he’ll just end up as a lottery ticket you hope pays off later in the season.
Kansas City Chiefs
TE Travis Kelce – 97-1229-5
WR Tyreek Hill – 58-860-7
WR Sammy Watkins – 52-673-3
The overall stats were down last year but mostly from Patrick Mahomes missing a few games and a calming down from his astronomic first season as a starter. The Chiefs had one of the better passing schedules in 2019 but face a below-average one for 2020. If any team is better than their schedule, it would probably be the Chiefs.
Travis Kelce fell a bit but still remained the top fantasy tight end. He comes off his fourth-straight 1,000-yard season but he dropped from ten to only five touchdowns. Kelce fell only three receptions short of reaching 100 catches for the second straight season.
Tyreek Hill turned in a monster 1,479-yard, 12-touchdown effort in 2018 but then was limited to only 860 yards and seven scores but missed four games due to a shoulder injury and later pulled a hamstring. His nine catches for 105 yards were a big factor in the Super Bowl win.
Sammy Watkins only managed 52 catches for 673 yards and three scores over his 14 games played. His two seasons in Kansas City both produced only around 13 yards per catch – lowest of his career. He’s five years removed from his last significant season back in Buffalo.
Mecole Hardman was the 2.24 pick of 2019 who ended with 26 catches for 538 yards and six scores. He averaged 20.7 yards per catch thanks in part to his 4.33/40 speed. The Chiefs offense relies heavily on Kelce and Hill, so the best that Hardman can hope for is to cut into Watkins’ workload. Long touchdowns make Hardman an interesting best-ball pick but his final 13 games as a rookie never contained more than two catches.
Training Camp Needs: Hardman is the only receiver with a role that might grow, but it would do so at the expense of likely Watkins who has been only average in Kansas City. This is a mature offense, the same set of coaches and players and Hardman represents the only possible variation from last year.
Las Vegas Raiders
TE Darren Waller – 90-1145-3
WR Tyrell Williams – 42-651-6
WR Hunter Renfrow – 49-605-4
The Raiders 2019 plans were immediately dashed once Antonio Brown hopped on the crazy train and became a media obsession for everything other than actual football. That left Tyrell Williams as the No. 1 wideout but he still only managed his third straight season with almost exactly 650 yards and five scores. Hunter Renfrow was their 5.11 pick and the rookie finished the year with back-to-back 100-yard games and he averaged around five catches for his final six games.
Not unlike 2018 when Jared Cook became the No. 1 receiver, the Raiders again turned to their tight end when the wideouts were less effective. Darren Waller went from 18 receptions total in his three-year career to catching 90 passes for 1,145 yards and three scores. He ended as the No. 4 fantasy tight end. Jared Cook was No. 5 in 2018. This offense wasn’t meant to feature a tight end over the wideouts. But it happened – twice.
With a big hole to fill for the wide receivers, the Raiders elected to use their 1.12 pick on the position which was more than reasonable. The surprise was that they didn’t take a wideout with plenty of experience as a top receiver like Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb. They opted for Henry Ruggs who turned in a scorching 4.27/40 at the combine. At Alabama, Ruggs caught 96 passes over three years. Jeudy turned in 159 catches over the same time span while topping 1,000 yards twice. Ruggs never managed more than 746 yards. But he did so at a very, very high rate of speed.
Ruggs will start from Day 1 and is intended to be the No. 1 wideout. The Raiders have long been enamored with speed from their receivers and Ruggs will be their fastest. The Raiders faced one of the worst schedules in 2019 and while it remains below average, it will be better than last season. Changing to a new stadium in this COVID-challenged season is another obstacle.
The Raiders also drafted Lynn Bowden (3.16) and Bryan Edwards (3.17) so the effort to restock the shelves has the wideouts with far more talent, if only inexperienced.
Training Camp Needs: Ruggs is the central focus here and he’ll be the only part of the receivers that can separate them from the mediocre results last year. Bowden and Edwards and earn playing time with a good camp and preseason, but Ruggs will be the highest potential addition.
Los Angeles Chargers
WR Keenan Allen – 104-1199-6
WR Mike Williams – 49-1001-2
TE Hunter Henry – 55-652-5
Moving on from Philip Rivers for the first time in 14 years makes this season a big unknown. Tyrod Taylor is the likely starter but the Chargers spent their 1.06 pick on Justin Herbert who is a lock to show up eventually if not by Week 1. And that makes for yet more risk and uncertainty.
The Chargers made no changes to any of the receivers. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams remain the two starting wideouts and Hunter Henry starts at tight end after signing his franchise tag for $10 million. The Chargers were the No. 1 team for throwing to running backs, so there’s only enough passes leftover for those three starters. No other receiver totaled more than nine catches on the year.
Under Rivers, both Allen and Williams topped 1,000 yards in 2019. The Chargers also enjoyed a stellar schedule in 2019 but swing to below average for 2020.
Training Camp Needs: There are no changes to receivers, so camp is all about getting both quarterbacks integrated into the system and hopefully give a better idea of when/if Herbert becomes the starter.
Los Angeles Rams
WR Cooper Kupp – 94-1161-10
WR Robert Woods – 90-1134-2
TE Tyler Higbee – 69-734-3
The Rams let Brandin Cooks leave and didn’t add to the receivers other than drafting Van Jefferson (2.25). The rookie will remain as depth for at least this year and Josh Reynolds steps up to take the vacated slot role. That’s a big opportunity for the fourth-year Reynolds who has yet to catch more than 29 passes in any season. He should see a jump in production since Cooks turned in up to 80 catches for 1,204 yards. That’s unlikely, but Reynolds could end up as a deep fantasy start if only filling for bye weeks.
Cooper Kupp bounced back from his knee injury of 2018 and ended with 94 receptions for 1,161 yards and ten scores. He was the No. 4 fantasy wideout last year though he oddly gained over 100 yards in five of his first eight games and then not again for the rest of the year.
Robert Woods comes off his second-straight 1,000-yard season though he was held to only three touchdowns. He’s caught over 85 passes for the last two years. Other than covering for the departed Cooks, the wideouts remain the same and Sean McVay enters his fourth year running the show.
The Rams turned to their tight ends for 111 receptions for 1,154 yards. Most of that came in the final five games. After three and a half years as a mediocre option, Tyler Higbee blew up with four straight games over 100 yards. Over his last five weeks, he averaged 104 yards per game. He caught 43 passes over just his final five games. He only had 18 total by midseason.
Training Camp Needs: Reynolds starts this year but he’s been with the team for three years and already filled in for Cooks last year. Higbee’s head-scratching end to 2019 may continue or just be a Cinderella-ish footnote to 2019. Any signs that Higbee will remain even remotely as busy will help his outlook.
WR DeVante Parker – 72-1202-9
TE Mike Gesicki – 51-570-5
WR Preston Williams – 32-428-3
The Dolphins passing offense produced more than expected but needing to throw 611 passes was not surprising in a 5-11 season. The biggest impact on the passing game won’t come from the receivers – there are no new tight ends or wideouts. But drafting Tua Tagovailoa means he’ll take the reins sooner than later. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a capable starter but spending a 1.05 pick on a quarterback isn’t about sitting him for next year.
Devante Parker finally had a breakout season only five years into his career and produced 72 catches for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns. By comparison, he only managed 309 yards and one score in 2018. Preston Williams was an undrafted rookie from Colorado State who earned a starting role and was making progress with around four or five catches per game until he blew out an ACL in Week 9 when he had two touchdowns and five catches for 72 yards on the Jets. He’s due back and could be ready by the season opener.
Allen Hurns remains the starting flanker but he’s been mediocre for his six-year career other than 2015 with the Jaguars. He could lose his job to Williams by the end of camp. Albert Wilson mans the slot but he’s even less productive than Hurns and also open to losing his job.
The offense will be new with OC Chan Gailey coming out of retirement and for the second straight season, the Dolphins project to have the worst passing schedule. That’s No. 32 for two years and this unit cannot overcome that sort of opposition.
Third-year tight end Mike Gesicki was the No. 2 receiver for the Fins last year and ended up at the No. 12 fantasy tight end last year. After midseason, he drew at least six targets in all but one game. Since there are no new wideouts in the mix, a 6-5, 247-pound tight end may end up as Tagovailoa’s best friend for 2020.
Training Camp Needs: New offense and a rookie quarterback that will become the starter at some point – maybe Week 1. Terrible schedule and mostly mediocre receivers mean expectations are low for this season. The two notable players are Williams if he proves healthy and Gesicki who could surprise as a safe outlet for a rookie quarterback. Parker is the only safe fantasy play here.
WR Stefon Diggs – 63-1130-6
WR Adam Thielen – 30-418-6
TE Kyle Rudolph – 39-367-6
The Vikings featured Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen to great effect in 2018 but Thielen slumped terribly last year, gaining only 418 yards and missing six games due to a hamstring injury. Diggs held up his end with 1,130 yards but left for the Bills. This hasn’t been a scheme that involves more than two wideouts.
HC Mike Zimmer enters his sixth season with the Vikings but OC Gary Kubiak joins the team for an offensive overhaul. The Vikes had great success relying more on their backfield than their receivers last year and there is no reason to expect that to change – unless Dalvin Cook is not on the field for whatever reason.
The Viking spent their 1.22 pick on LSU’s Justin Jefferson as the replacement for Diggs. That gives the rookie an immediate start and chance to be a leading receiver from the class of 2020. The offense may not throw as much, but when it does, it always looks to the two starting wideouts first.
Kyle Rudolph led the tight ends with 39 catches last year but Irv Smith handled 36 as a rookie and could see a second-year increase that places him above Rudolph on the depth chart. Smith was the second-round pick last year and was more of a receiver at Alabama. Both players are most likely to just water down what the other does.
Notable too is that the Vikings have a great rushing schedule – no reason to slow down Cook – and yet go from the No. 14 passing schedule strength to only the No. 27. That makes expecting any return to their 2018 form more unlikely.
Training Camp Needs: Jefferson has a chance to challenge as the best rookie wideout. He needs to mesh with Kirk Cousins and the entire offense is learning a new scheme. This team is going to run as much as they can, but both Thielen and Jefferson have a shot at having a solid to great fantasy year.
New England Patriots
WR Julian Edelman – 100-1117-6
WR Phillip Dorsett II – 29-397-5
WR Jakobi Meyers – 26-359-0
There is change. And then there is swapping out a quarterback with 9,988 pass attempts for a guy with four career throws (two completions). Tom Brady kept the offense going despite a lackluster set of receivers and a tight end group that ended as the least productive in the NFL. Jarrett Stidham was their 4.31 pick in 2019, so he should prove two rounds better than the sixth-round Brady.
Amazingly, the Pats stood pat on their wideouts. Julian Edelman is 34 years old and in his 11th season (the first without Brady). Beyond him, the Patriots hope that their 1.32 pick last year of N’Keal Harry will net more than 12 receptions in his second season as the other starter. Mohamed Sanu should see work when they go three-wide though that’s not expected to be often. They added Marquise Lee and Damiere Byrd as depth but whatever happens with the wideouts will be all about Edelman and, hopefully, Harry.
That NFL-worst set of tight ends was upgraded – if only for the future – with draft picks of Devin Asiasi (3.27) and Dalton Keene (3.37). Matt LaCosse should start though the sixth-year player totals just 40 catches in his career.
This is a youthful team – far more than any Pats team in recent memory. 2020 training camp is crucial to get Stidham to work with the receivers, get both tight ends on board at least with blocking if not some receiving work. The Patriots passing schedule is also worse than last year.
Training Camp Needs: This is a bad year for the Pats to incur so much change to absorb and process. Merely switching from Brady to Stidham is already a monumental difference and the tight ends are starting from scratch after a terrible showing last year. The best news that can come from camp is that Stidham and Harry appear to be ready for much more work this year.
New Orleans Saints
WR Michael Thomas – 149-1725-9
TE Jared Cook – 43-705-9
WR Ted Ginn Jr. – 30-421-2
This is the most mature offense in the league with OC Pete Carmichael entering his eleventh season with the Saints. Drew Brees returns for at least one more assault on the NFL record book. Even with Brees out for five games, the Saints still ended No. 7 in pass yards (4,435) and No. 2 in pass touchdowns (36) in 2019.
Michael Thomas comes off the definition of a domination season – 149 catches for 1,725 yards and nine scores. His 185 targets were 29 more than any other player. Second-best wideout Ted Ginn only managed 30 receptions. Thomas ended with almost three times the catches of all other Saints’ wideouts combined.
The Saints brought on Emmanuel Sanders to help keep from throwing to Thomas on every play. The 33-year-old Sanders Is still productive with around 870 yards in each of the last two seasons and now he joins the best offense of his career. Tre’Quan Smith and Deonte Harris will be involved, but there is little chance that any wideout other than Thomas or Sanders has any fantasy relevance.
Jared Cook joined the Saints last season and ended with 43 catches for 705 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns. Cook also averaged 16.4 yards per catch – over three yards better than all other years. He was far more productive when playing with Brees than with Teddy Bridgewater. His pace over the final ten games with Brees would have been 944 yards over a 16 game season.
Training Camp Needs: The only new part of this offense is bringing in Sanders to help the wideouts. He is a veteran and should have no problems fitting in and meshing with Brees.
New York Giants
WR Darius Slayton – 48-740-8
WR Golden Tate – 49-676-6
WR Sterling Shepard – 57-576-3
The Giants are turning the soil again, hiring HC Joe Judge and OC Jason Garrett to import what worked in Dallas. The G-Men ended with just a 4-12 record but it was a rebuilding year that benched future HOF’er Eli Manning and gave Daniel Jones his first career starts. With Saquon Barkley hobbled, the passing effort was needed more than expected and even with a rookie quarterback, the results overall were not bad. It’s just that no one individual had a big year.
Both Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate missed about a third of their games. Darius Slayton was just a 5.33 pick from Auburn in 2019 but he led the team with 48 receptions for 740 yards and eight scores. There’s plenty of potential in the wideouts if they could just stay healthy. Slayton’s 4.39 speed can do some damage and he’ll figure in despite Tate and Shepard considered the starting two.
Evan Engram enters the final year of his rookie deal unless the Giants want to use the $6 million fifth-year option. After a promising rookie season when the Giants literally ran out of healthy receivers, Engram produces less every year while missing more games. He needs a healthy and productive season or the Giants could rethink their investment in him.
Training Camp Needs: New offense to install but it won’t be dramatically different under Jason Garrett. The most interesting part of the receivers is how much play Slayton gets after an impressive rookie season. Tate and Shepard start and Garrett’s offense doesn’t rely too heavily on a No. 3 wideout. But Slayton has earned playing time.
New York Jets
WR Jamison Crowder – 78-833-6
WR Robby Anderson – 52-779-5
TE Ryan Griffin – 34-320-5
The first year under HC Adam Gase produced mediocre results and even Le’Veon Bell wasn’t enough to energize the offense. Sam Darnold missed three games but didn’t so all that much when he was there.
Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson were the starters with Demaryius Thomas helping with only 36 catches. The wide receivers are revamped with Anderson and Thomas gone. Crowder is joined by Breshad Perriman and Josh Doctson. They also drafted Denzel Mims (2.27) to add to the mix. Quincy Enunwa has already landed on injured reserve.
Chris Herndon enters his third season after missing almost all of 2019 because of a suspension, rib injury, and hamstring strain. The former fourth-round pick of 2018 has received hype about how ready he looks to play and that he can break out this season.
The problem here is that the Jets languished last year with the No. 23 passing schedule and now faces the No. 31. There are a lot of new parts to get up to speed and Darnold hasn’t yet taken the next step up or played more than 13 games in a season.
Training Camp Needs: This is the same offensive scheme, but almost all the wideouts are new and need work. A bad schedule is no help and the Jets look like they will again rely on their defense to keep them in games.
TE Zach Ertz – 88-916-6
TE Dallas Goedert – 58-607-5
WR Alshon Jeffery – 43-490-4
Zach Ertz has been a top fantasy tight end for the last five years. Selecting Dallas Goedert in 2018 seemed like overkill but Goedert just added to the tight end stats with no drop by Ertz. The Eagles have featured the No. 1 set of fantasy tight ends for the last two years. This is the only team with their top two receivers as tight ends.
Of course, the continued decline in wideout production has forced that issue. The Eagles fell to only the No. 31 set of wide receivers and shockingly, Alshon Jeffery’s worst year since he was a rookie was still good enough to be the top wideout on the team. He missed six games with a Lis Franc injury that needed surgery. Jeffery is expected to be healthy for camp and the season, but he’s lasted all 16 games just once in the last five years.
DeSean Jackson is back after missing all of 2019 with a core injury that also needed surgery. Jackson opened his first season in Philadelphia with a 154-yard, two-touchdown effort against the Redskins but then was lost for the year. Jackson is 33 years old, but still has the speed that makes him dangerous.
The Eagles brought in Marquise Goodwin and drafted Jalen Reagor (1.21) to add to the offense. Reagor already projects to play the slot and could also offer special teams returns as well. Jeffery could be released next year and Reagor will see his role expand. He’s the only new element in the passing game that holds promise. Just keeping Jackson and Jeffery healthy will be a major upgrade from 2019, so anything that Reagor can add will make a difference in this unit.
Training Camp Needs: Both Jeffery and Jackson need to prove they are healthy and back to form. Reagor is the one to watch but chances are good that he’ll play a more limited role from the slot in an offense that loves to use two tight ends. Reagor could see more work if there is an injury to either Jackson or Jeffery, and recently that’s been an even-money bet.
WR Diontae Johnson – 59-680-5
WR James Washington – 44-735-3
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster – 42-552-3
In 2018, the Steelers new OC Randy Fichtner oversaw and offense that featured two 100-catch wideouts. Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster combined for 215 catches for 2,723 yards and 22 touchdowns. Last year, Ben Roethlisberger only lasted one full game, and Brown was gone. Smith-Schuster missed four games and played injured in several others with a knee problem. The Steelers amazingly had 3.02 draft pick of Diontae Johnson as the top receiver with only 59 catches for 680 yards. It was a lost year.
The good news is that all receivers and Roethlisberger are back and healthy again. The schedule improved if only slightly. They enter the year with Smith-Schuster and Washington on the outside and Johnson manning the slot.
Smith-Schuster caught 111 passes for 1,426 yards and seven scores in 2018 with Roethlisberger. Granted – Brown is gone and with that, the secondary mostly turns to Smith-Schuster. But he’s had a strong connection with Big Ben. Washington hasn’t had a chance to play with Roethlisberger as a starter either. The unit should see a dramatic upturn from 2019 so long as they remain healthy.
The Steelers also upgraded the tight ends with Eric Ebron and he’ll pair with Vance McDonald who caught 50 passes for 610 yards and four scores in 2018 with Roethlisberger. There is lots of potential for the receivers this year, but it all depends on their health and that of Roethlisberger.
Training Camp Needs: Ebron is the only new element in the passing game but Big Ben laid out a year. He needs to shake off the rust and try to erase the disaster of 2019.
San Francisco 49ers
TE George Kittle – 85-1053-5
WR Deebo Samuel – 57-802-3
WR Emmanuel Sanders – 36-502-3
George Kittle led all 49er receivers last season and he’s finished as a top-three fantasy tight end for the last two years. He is likely to make three straight seasons as the top receiver.
Deebo Samuel was the 2.04 pick last year that may challenge Kittle. The rookie caught 57 passes for 802 yards and three scores and his best games were all against NFC West opponents. Emmanuel Sanders is gone and the 49ers used their 1.25 pick to grab Brandon Aiyuk from Arizona State. He’s already projected as the starting flanker but this offense is very diverse and likes to throw to the running backs as well. Aiyuk and Samuel could make a formidable duo but no other wideouts carry nearly as much fantasy potential. Outside of Samuel, no other wideout managed more than 36 receptions.
Jalen Hurd is a wildcard. The ex-Baylor quarterback converted to a wideout but was out all of 2019 with a back injury. He doesn’t project as a starter but there’s talk of using the multi-talented player in many ways. He ran for as much as 1,285 yards in college. He’ll either be a dangerous weapon the defense can’t prepare to face or yet another talented player that a team never quite figures out how to use.
Training Camp Needs: Getting Aiyuk up to speed is critical since he’s expected to be starting flanker. Kittle will always be a pass-sponge and Samuel is a promising starter who could break out big in his second season. This is still a young team and needs to get all the receivers on the same page for the complicated offense to work right. Aiyuk holds the most interest in training camp and the preseason, but Kittle is the only one with zero questions about his role for 2020.
WR Tyler Lockett – 82-1057-8
WR DK Metcalf – 58-900-7
TE Jacob Hollister – 41-349-3
The Seahawks bounced back from a down 2018 when Tyler Lockett turned in a career-best with his first 1,000-yard season. The Seahawks also had an immediate return on drafting DK Metcalf (2.32) who gained 900 yards on 58 catches. The rookie even caught seven passes for 160 yards and a score in the wildcard win at the Eagles.
David Moore remains and Phillip Dorsett was added but the passing scheme only used the two starting wideouts to any effect. Lockett (82) and Metcalf (58) were the only wideouts with more than 17 receptions last year. Russell Wilson is always a top-ten quarterback and he does that mostly through his two starting wideouts that are already set and familiar with the offense.
Will Dissly teased with 105 yards and a score in the opener but for the second year in a row landed on injured reserve by October. The Seahawks addressed the issue by bringing in 35-year-old Greg Olsen who hasn’t lasted 16 games for the last three years. His last healthy season was back in 2016. Jacob Hollister came over from the Patriots last year and the 26-year-old caught 41 passes as the top tight end but only gained 349 yards (8.5 YPC) and three scores.
There’s always a chance that Dissly plays more than the first month. But it isn’t a very good chance.
Training Camp Needs: Not much other than just getting into playing shape. Metcalf already impressed and could pair with Lockett for a dual 1,000-yard set. The passing schedule is one of the best in the league this year, so the receivers should at least improve incrementally.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
WR Chris Godwin – 86-1333-9
WR Mike Evans – 67-1157-8
WR Breshad Perriman – 36-645-6
The No. 1 wide receiver unit for the last two seasons and their starting quarterback gets released. It was only 30 interceptions. No matter that Jameis Winston threw for over 5,000 yards, the Buccaneers opted for future HOF’er Tom Brady at the spry age of only 43. He’ll inherit the two most productive receiving duo from 2019 with almost nowhere to go but down. At least Brady’s last 30 interceptions took over four years to accomplish.
Chris Godwin and Mike Evans ended up at the No. 3 and No. 16 fantasy wideouts last year and that was with Godwin missing two games and Evans missed three. Breshad Perriman finally came to life after four seasons and three different teams when he ended last year with three straight 100-yard games. He’s a Jet now, so it was fun while it lasted.
Scotty Miller and Justin Watson will compete for the No. 3 role but it won’t account for much in OC Byron Leftwich’s offense. This is easily the best set of wide receivers that Brady has maybe ever played with unless you count Randy Moss as two players (and you could in 2007).
Beefing this all up, even more, was the addition of Rob Gronkowski fresh from a year of emceeing everything on television. His obvious connection with Brady should resume quickly but the Bucs did not use the position much in 2019. O.J. Howard fell off the map in this offense last year, catching only 34 passes for 459 yards and one score. Now he and Cameron Brate take an unproductive step backward to allow Gronk to serve as the primary tight end.
Training Camp Needs: Godwin and Evans are well-established veterans. Gronk needs to get back into playing form after the year off but the offense is going to be designed around Brady and what he does – like throwing to Gronk. This has been a top-three offense for the last two years but was filled with turnovers. Brady will reduce the mistakes, but how much he can bring to this unit will be worth watching. If all concerned can remain healthy, this will be a top offense again.
WR A.J. Brown – 52-1051-8
WR Corey Davis – 43-601-2
TE Jonnu Smith – 35-437-3
Switching over to Ryan Tannehill made a major difference last season. Marcus Mariota rarely did more than throw to his tight end or just take off on a run. Tannehill breathed all new life into the wide receivers and sent Mariota packing in the offseason. This is a rush-first team but Tannehill only needed a little more than half a year to bring the wideouts from worst to almost average.
The difference-maker was the rookie A.J. Brown (2.19) who had the rare break out as a rookie with 1,051 yards and eight scores on just 52 catches (an eye-popping 20.2 YPC). He finished the regular season with 100-yard efforts in four of his final six games. His biggest impediment to having a big game is that Derrick Henry will take over a contest and reduce the need to throw.
Corey Davis was the 1.05 pick from 2017 that has never met expectations. With Brown so successful, there is no reason to expect Davis to produce more than the roughly 600 yards he gains each year. Over three years, he only scored six times.
Adam Humphries takes the slot but the position only gets two or three passes in most games. The Titans don’t often go to three-wide because they prefer to run or throw to the two outside wide receivers.
Jonnu Smith was incrementally better in each of his three seasons and ended with 35 catches for 439 yards and three touchdowns in 2019. Delanie Walker is finally gone so Smith can be more featured this season. The Titans still throw about 25% of their passes to the position. The tight ends accounted for 76 catches for 946 yards and seven scores last year.
Training Camp Needs: This will be the first training camp that has Tannehill as the starter but he played 12 games last year. There are no real changes to any position to absorb, so the Titans just need a tune-up. More daunting will be swapping the No. 7 passing schedule to the No. 29 schedule this year.
WR Terry McLaurin – 58-919-7
WR Steven Sims Jr. – 34-310-4
WR Kelvin Harmon – 30-365-0
There is no part of this offense that isn’t a headache to figure out. The backfield will likely rely on four different running backs. Dwayne Haskins returns at quarterback after averaging 152 passing yards per game. There is no Case Keenum, so the Redskins won’t be tempted to turn to another quarterback until the 2021 draft.
The wide receivers were a mess going into the 2019 season and are no better for this year. Terry McLaurin was the 3.13 pick last year and offered a rare bright spot in the offense. The rookie caught 58 passes for 919 yards and seven scores while missing two games. He topped 100 yards three times. No other wideout gained more than 365 yards or caught more than 34 passes.
Trey Quinn enters his third year and took over the slot role. He suffered a concussion last year and missed the final four games. But he rarely had more than two catches in any week and never when Haskins was the starter.
Kelvin Harmon will start as the flanker but the sixth-round rookie from last year only caught 30 passes for 365 yards and never scored. And he is still the starter. Steven Sims was an undrafted rookie free agent in 2019 and actually ended with 34 catches for 310 yards and four scores. He’ll be in the mix but only McLaurin has been able to produce any fantasy value, even when Haskins played.
Antonio Gandy-Golden was the 4.36 pick this year and even he could show up since this unit is so young, inexperienced, and apparently short of talent after McLaurin.
Jeremy Sprinkle projects as the starting tight end but his third season only netted 26 catches for 241 yards for a career-best.
Training Camp Needs: Training camp is much needed to get Haskins off to a better start than when he was thrown into the fire. But this is an entirely new offense being installed by first-year OC Scott Turner so the significant amount of youthful players will be an issue again this year. The Skins have a good passing schedule this year (No. 5) so there are expectations of improvement. But this entire offense is very undefined and may change constantly this year as they determine who and what works best.