Late-season heroes: Wide receivers

Late-season heroes: Wide receivers

Fantasy football player analysis tips and advice

Late-season heroes: Wide receivers


Below shows the “points per game” ranking for wide receivers for Weeks 1 to 8, and Weeks 9 to 16 with a minimum of four games played. Overall shows the total points ranking for the season.  Points-per-game (PPG) and “Games” refer to Weeks 9 to 16.

While each one carries their own story of a unique season, the lack of Top-30 wideouts that were younger players is a bit of a surprise. The wideouts are very sensitive to their quarterback situations and occasionally weather later in the year.

Will Fuller (HOU / MIA) – What would fantasy football be without Fuller around to attract attention, spawn optimism, and then leave injured for the season. Fuller has the skill to make a difference, but his health has always worked against him. Now he has to find a way to wedge into the depth chart that already had DeVante Parker and just added Jaylen Waddle. So far in fantasy drafts, no one is expecting big numbers from Fuller.

Mike Evans (TB) – This was nice to see since it was the first season with Tom Brady as the starting quarterback. Starting in Week 9, Evans scored six times to finish the regular fantasy season that included 100-yard efforts in Week 15 and 16 while making the playoffs. He gained 119 yards in Washington in the Wild Card Round and scored in the next two playoff games as well.

Diontae Johnson (PIT) – Johnson has quietly been outstanding, particularly in the second half of last season. Hampered with back and toe injuries earlier in the year, he missed one game and turned in minimal stats in three others. Starting in Week 9, Johnson finished the fantasy season with two 100-yard efforts and four scores along with at least eight catches in five of his final six matchups. The playoff loss to the Browns saw him catch 11 passes for 117 yards. Ben Roethlisberger’s arm left him with short passes last year – most of those went to Johnson.

Justin Jefferson (MIN) – This is what you dream of from a rookie wideout. He was already playing like a WR2 through Week 8 with a couple of monster home games (TEN, ATL) that helped his stats. Starting in Week 10, he went on a hot streak the rest of the way other than one week in Tampa Bay. The second half of the year saw him with  six of eight games sporting at least ten targets. All scores came in home games which should change this season, but he’s already a much-used outlet in the passing game.

Brandon Aiyuk (SF) – This is another rookie wideout of note who showed up better later in the year than many realize. Limited to a couple of catches in almost all the early games, Aiyuk became a difference-maker as of Week 7 when he caught six passes for 115 yards at the Patriots. He scored in four of the next five and gained 119 yards in the only non-scoring matchup in that stretch. He averaged  seven catches per game between Weeks 7 and 15.

Curtis Samuel (CAR / WAS) – It’s all academic now with Samuel changing teams, but the second half of last year saw him used more as a receiver than any time in his previous four years. He became reliable for five catches per game and now heads to Washington with a chance to be the No. 2 wideout behind Terry McLaurin.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT) – Similar to Diontae Johnson, Smith-Schuster was much more productive in the second half of the year with six touchdowns starting in Week 9. His yardage rarely broke 60 yards and he never managed a 100-yard performance, but he scored seven times in the final ten games that he played.

Marvin Jones (DET / JAC) – He changed teams as well, so the 31-year-old Jones resets his career beyond his prime. To his credit, he scored eight of his nine regular-season touchdowns starting from Week 8. Now he’ll have to elbow his way up the Jaguars depth chart playing with a rookie quarterback.

DK Metcalf (SEA) – It was bothersome to see Metcalf decline last year after a thoroughly impressive start. Through Week 8, he scored seven times and gained 90+ yards in seven of his eight games. He only managed three more scores in the regular season, and five of eight games held fewer than 62 yards. His initial four games all were only four catches each and yet never lower than 92 yards. His 25.1 yard average in the first month fell much lower when secondaries realized they should never allow Metcalf to get behind everyone.

A.J. Brown (TEN) – He was a touchdown machine in 2020, partially because the defense expected Derrick Henry to run it in. Brown opened the year injured but in Week 5 returned to string five straight games with a touchdown. His stats suffered later in the year since he caught more than four passes in a game just twice starting in Week 8. That seemed likely to change with Derrick Henry potentially not run into the ground this year, but the addition of Julio Jones throws that into doubt.

T.Y. Hilton (IND) – Hilton was never the same without Andrew Luck. Now t 31 years old, he isn’t likely to see any significant upturn with a different quarterback for the third-straight year. After flopping for the first eleven weeks of 2020, he surprised with four straight games with at least 70 yards and scored four times in that stretch. He became reliable for 70+ yards starting in Week 12, so keep tabs on him this season to see if he warms up with Carson Wentz later in the year.

Nelson Agholor (LV / NE) – He’s never been better than a mediocre wideout useful for fantasy depth, but he certainly came to life later last year in Las Vegas. His eight touchdowns were evenly spaced during the season, but he managed 100-yard games in Weeks 14 and 16 with a score in each. He was still more of an “every other week” kind of receiver and now lands in New England. While it is a positive that he comes off a career best season, it still wasn’t enough to induce the Raiders to stick with him.


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