In this piece, I highlight wide receivers who stand out in our large suite of analytical fantasy tools, most specifically, our FantasyLabs Player Models. While the models are built for DFS contests, this is an all-purpose fantasy article with actionable information for all formats.
As news breaks throughout the week and we adjust our projections, player ratings in our Player Models will change. For updates, visit the models directly.
Top Wide Receivers in the FantasyLabs Models
There are four wide receivers atop the individual Pro Models that Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, and Ryan Hodge have constructed, as well as our proprietary Cash Game and Tournament Models.
Here’s where they place within our Week 10 Fantasy Rankings (as of Wednesday):
- Keenan Allen (9th)
- Amari Cooper (15th)
- Amon-Ra St. Brown (50th)
- Tyler Johnson (59th)
We’ll discuss why these four are popping in our models, as well as take a look at some other wide receivers in potential high-scoring games.
FantasyLabs Positional Breakdowns
- Quarterbacks on Tuesday
- Tight Ends on Thursday
- Running Backs on Friday
For more in-depth NFL analysis, check out The Action Network.
Top Model Wide Receivers
Keenan Allen ($7,000 DraftKings, $7,200 FanDuel): Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5) vs. Minnesota Vikings (52.5 total)
The best wideouts in our FanDuel models generally come in at or around 2.0 in Pts/Sal. In Week 10, Keenan Allen and Justin Jefferson are tied for the top at 1.9. I bring this up in a discussion on Allen to make a point, though. Since the Chargers’ Week 7 bye, Keenan has scored at least 2.27 points for every $1,000 of his current salary.
Normally, isolating a game or two doesn’t make a ton of sense compared to looking at the season on the whole. However, when it comes off a bye week, there’s a bit more to it. The Chargers seemed to recommit to Allen as their top wide receiver — he’s out-targeted Mike Williams 24-10 in the past two contests.
Allen always needs a large amount of volume to be productive in fantasy due to his low average depth of target (aDOT). Leading to fewer yards and touchdowns per catch. If the Chargers stick with the plan of feeding him the ball, though, his role is immensely valuable.
The Vikings pass defense is tough, ranking third in passing DVOA. That might actually be a boost to Allen, though. His best (FanDuel) scoring game came against a Patriots team that ranks sixth, while his worst games came against the 17th and 23rd rated units. Allen is basically an extension of the run game here, so the matchup isn’t one to fear.
The game script also projects nicely for Allen and the Chargers, who are playing in one of the three games in Week 10 with a Vegas total over 50. Theirs is the only game among them with a spread of less than nine, meaning it has the highest likelihood of a back and forth passing affair.
Allen stands out immensely on FanDuel, where he leads all five of the models surveyed. He’s a solid play on DraftKings, too. While he’s more expensive (relative to the field), his high catch rate makes him more valuable in full PPR formats like DraftKings. He is tied for the lead in Pts/Sal on both sites.
Amari Cooper ($6,200 DraftKings, $7,300 FanDuel): Dallas Cowboys (-9) vs. Atlanta Falcons (54.5 total)
Speaking of the Pts/Sal leaders, Cooper is tied with Allen over on DraftKings, where Cooper is a much better bargain than Allen. Cooper and the Cowboys will be looking to bounce back from a terrible offensive performance in Week 9 against Denver, in which they didn’t score until the final five minutes of the game. That could come via the passing attack, which has largely been under-utilized by the Cowboys during their six-game win streak prior to Week 9.
Cooper and CeeDee Lamb have been very hard to separate on a week-to-week basis this season. They are within one catch, one touchdown, and just over 100 yards from each other on the season. Since it’s so difficult to pick between them, sometimes just going with the cheaper option is the best choice. That’s Cooper this week. (The savings are much less on FanDuel, making this a tougher choice).
This seems like a good setup for the Cowboys’ passing attack in general. They have the slate’s highest implied team total against the Falcons’ 31st-rated overall defense. While they’re trying to establish the run as much as possible this year, it’s likely at least some of that scoring comes from the passing attack. Particularly if starting back, Ezekiel Elliot is banged up — he was seen holding a heating pad to his knee in Week 9 and exited the game on a few occasions.
There are minor concerns worth mentioning on Cooper, though. First, it’s entirely possible the Cowboys get off to an early lead and take the air out of the ball. Cooper is averaging only 12.1 DraftKings points in the Cowboy’s double-digit wins this season. Second, the presumed return of fellow receiver Michael Gallup from IR could further dilute the targets that remain.
Cooper is a bit thin for cash games but has the weekly ceiling to be a solid tournament option, especially on DraftKings. He leads one of our models there.
Amon-Ra St. Brown ($3,800 DraftKings, $5,400 FanDuel): Detroit Lions (+8.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (42.5 total)
St. Brown is the de facto WR1 for the Lions, leading the team’s receiving corps with 27 catches on the season. That’s not a great number through eight games, of course. However, the rookie has been showing signs of improvement throughout the season.
If we (perhaps at our peril) ignore the game against the Rams in which St. Brown wasn’t targeted (despite playing over 60% of the Lions snaps), he’s been a solid option since Week 4. In that four-game stretch, he’s averaging five catches for over 50 yards a game. That is nothing to write home about, but acceptable production at his current salary.
The Lions are coming off a bye, and rookies tend to do better off their bye week. Normally that’s a statement I’d like to support with solid data, but I’ve been unable to find any. Anecdotally at least, it seems to hold true. Perhaps quantifying that will be an off-season project.
Regardless, the extra week of prep should serve St. Brown some good. He runs the type of short-area routes that Jared Goff does well with. Success would be a strong word, but less failure? The Lions need to get something going offensively, and St. Brown is one of their best chances.
St. Brown leads our DraftKings Cash Game Model this week. His ceiling is fairly limited, with the Lions implied for only 17 points, but he’s a solid choice if the salary is getting tight.
Tyler Johnson ($3,300 DraftKings, $5,100 FanDuel): Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9.5) at Washington Football Team
Tyler Johnson leads one of our DraftKings models this week. As we discussed in the Quarterback Breakdown, Tampa has an ideal passing game matchup this week. The logic behind Johnson is fairly simple. If Antonio Brown misses again, Johnson is extremely underpriced given his expected share of that passing attack.
Last week, with Brown out, Johnson saw six targets on 40 Brady attempts while playing 64% of the snaps. He seems to have emerged as Brown’s direct replacement, with none of the Bucs other tertiary options playing more than 15% of the snaps.
We’re projecting Brady for more passing volume this week against the pass funnel Washington defense than he had last week against the slow-paced Saints. That could mean increased targets for Johnson — a steal at his near-minimum DraftKings price.
So long as Brown continues to miss time, Johnson is the preferred cheap wide receiver for cash games this week. If Brown is in, that honor probably goes to Amon-Ra St. Brown. As always, keep an eye on our news feed regarding Brown.
Other Wide Receivers With Week-Winning Upside
Chris Godwin ($7,100 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel): Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9.5) at Washington Football Team
Godwin has also benefited from the absence of Brown. His two highest-scoring games have been the last two weeks with Brown missing. These were also his two most heavily-targeted weeks. Voluminous though it may be, the Bucs passing attack has a hard time supporting three high-level fantasy options at wide receiver. Cut it down to two, though, and the situation changes significantly.
Interestingly, Godwin seems to benefit more than Mike Evans with the removal of Brown from the lineup. Evans has seen seven targets per game with Brown out, below his season average of 8.2 prior to that. Godwin saw his average jump from 7.8 (with Brown) to 11.5 (without.) This discrepancy is somewhat priced in this week, but Godwin is only $100 cheaper on DraftKings and $400 cheaper on FanDuel, making him the better play on both sites.
Editor’s note: Chris Godwin is uncertain for Week 10 with a foot injury.
Davante Adams ($7,900 DraftKings, $8,700 FanDuel): Green Bay Packers (-3.5) vs. Seattle Seahawks (49.5 total)
Our projections are still a bit low on Adams, given the quarterback uncertainty surrounding both the Packers and the opposing Seahawks. Ideally, both Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson are back, which significantly raises the likelihood of this game shooting out.
Adams trails only Tyler Lockett in Targeted Air Yards (now featured in our models!) on the calendar year. If this game blows up, it will be because of Adams. It’s also a cushy matchup against the Seahawks’ 24th ranked passing defense. Adams has one of the highest ceilings every week, but it could be even higher this week.
Based on the 29.5 total, betting markets anticipate both Rodgers and Wilson to play this week. Once that’s confirmed to be the case, you can roster Adams with confidence in contests of all types.
DK Metcalf ($6,800 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel) and Tyler Lockett ($6,500 DraftKings, $7,100 FanDuel): Seattle Seahawks (+3.5) at Green Bay Packers (49.5 total)
Similar to Adams, the success of these two hinges on getting Russell Wilson back. They both had success against the Jaguars in Week 9 without Russ, but those matchups don’t come along frequently. Green Bay is a solid 12th against the pass. Both of these teams play on the slower side, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the pace quicken considerably if somebody gets off to a hot start.
Metcalf is tied for the slate lead in Pts/Sal on DraftKings at 2.5, with Lockett narrowly trailing at 2.4. Both players are solid bets this week, although I’d suggest only playing one of them. Last week against Jacksonville was the only time this season they scored over 20 DraftKings points in the same game. (With Russ active, one of them topped 25 points in four-of-five games).
Justin Jefferson ($7,700 DraftKings, $7,500 FanDuel) and Adam Thielen ($6,700 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel): Minnesota Vikings (+2.5) at Los Angeles Chargers (52.5 total)
Jefferson and Thielen account for almost 70% of their team’s air yards in the game with the best odds of turning into a shootout. If it does, odds are one of the Vikings’ talented receivers will be a must-have in DFS lineups.
The Chargers are somewhat of a run funnel, ranking ninth against the pass but last against the run on the year. Even so, If the Vikings get behind as expected, they’ll have to throw the ball at some point. This matchup leans Thielen, but in two prior games against top-10 passing defenses, he’s outscored Jefferson 35.7-22.6. This fits my theory (see the section on Keenan Allen) about short-area receivers being better in tough matchups. Defenses get their high DVOA rankings primarily by limiting deep passing, which naturally opens the door for underneath receivers.
With that said, Jefferson’s price on FanDuel might be too good to pass up. Both Vikings receivers are better relative bargains there, but Jefferson has the maximum 99% Bargain Rating.
AJ Brown ($7,800 DraftKings, $7,600 FanDuel): Tennessee Titans (-3) vs. New Orleans Saints (44.5 total)
The Titans are being forced to lean much more heavily on Brown with Derrick Henry out for the (regular) season. He has 11 targets in each of the past two games, with Henry missing at least part of the time. With Henry fully active, he failed to top nine targets in any games. That being said, defenses aren’t stacking boxes to contain the big dog, so Brown’s efficiency could suffer. It’s a volume game, though, and the Titans will have to feed a lot of it to Brown.
He’s too expensive on DraftKings, considering the matchup with the slow-paced, ball control Saints. However, he has a 99% Bargain Rating on FanDuel, making him worth a look.