The Week 7 NFL main slate kicks off on Sunday, Oct. 25, at 1 p.m. ET.
In this piece, I highlight wide receivers who stand out in our large suite of analytical fantasy tools, most specifically our FantasyLabs Models. While our Models are built for daily contests, this is an all-purpose fantasy piece with actionable information for all formats.
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Top Wide Receivers in the FantasyLabs Models
There are seven wide receivers atop the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek), Ryan Hodge and I have constructed.
Here’s where they place within our Week 7 fantasy football rankings (as of Thursday afternoon).
- Stefon Diggs: No. 3 (PPR) | No. 3 (Half PPR) | No. 3 (Standard)
- D.K. Metcalf: No. 6 (PPR) | No. 5 (Half PPR) | No. 4 (Standard)
- Tyreek Hill: No. 8 (PPR) | No. 8 (Half PPR) | No. 6 (Standard)
- Terry McLaurin: No. 10 (PPR) | No. 10 (Half PPR) | No. 10 (Standard)
- Keenan Allen: No. 12 (PPR) | No. 13 (Half PPR) | No. 15 (Standard)
- Deebo Samuel: No. 35 (PPR) | No. 34 (Half PPR) | No. 33 (Standard)
- Christian Kirk: No. 38 (PPR) | No. 39 (Half PPR) | No. 39 (Standard)
UPDATE (Thu. 10/22): The Cardinals-Seahawks game has been moved to Sunday Night Football, and Buccaneers-Raiders has been moved to Sunday afternoon.
FantasyLabs Positional Breakdowns
Check in throughout the week as I publish the rest of the positional breakdowns.
Stefon Diggs: Buffalo Bills (-13) at New York Jets (45 Over/Under)
I have Diggs projected as my No. 1 receiver, and that might be aggressive given that the heavily favored Bills could have a ground-based game script against the Jets.
But I still think Diggs will see enough targets to produce.
He’s No. 7 with a 28% market share of targets and 9.8 targets per game and No. 8 with 16.2 expected fantasy points per game (per RotoViz NFL Player Statistical Summary). Diggs is one of just six wide receivers to have six-plus targets in six games this year. You know, the ol’ 666 club.
I’m not worried about Diggs’ volume, especially since teammate John Brown (knee) missed Week 5, hobbled his way to a catchless Week 6 on Monday Night Football and then sat out Wednesday practice.
It’s clear that Brown is far from healthy.
McDermott said all injured players from last night’s game (Cam Lewis, Cody Ford, Tyrel Dodson) are all week to week. Also said John Brown is still not 100% recovered from knee injury. #Bills
— Chris Brown (@ChrisBrownBills) October 20, 2020
Given his recent form and the shortened turnaround, there’s a real chance the Bills sit Brown for Week 7, and if that happens Diggs could explode with extra opportunities.
I’m not going to read too much into a one-game sample, but without Brown in Week 5, Diggs saw a ridiculous 16 targets (per RotoViz Game Splits App).
Even if Diggs doesn’t see extra targets, he could still produce. In every game this year he has either 80-plus yards or a touchdown.
- Week 1 (vs. NYJ): 16.6 PPR, 8.6 STD | 8-86-0, nine targets
- Week 2 (at MIA): 29.3 PPR, 21.3 STD | 8-153-1, 13 targets
- Week 3 (vs. LAR): 14.9 PPR, 10.9 STD | 4-49-1, six targets
- Week 4 (at LV): 17.5 PPR, 11.5 STD | 6-115-0, seven targets
- Week 5 (at TEN): 20.6 PPR, 10.6 STD | 10-106-0, 16 targets
- Week 6 (vs. KC): 16.6 PPR, 10.6 STD | 6-46-1, eight targets
And it’s not as if this production is out of nowhere. With back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2018-19, Diggs clearly put his playmaking talent on display, and the promise he flashed for years with the Vikings he has now translated into sustained output with the Bills.
And I love his matchup with the winless Jets. Even if the Bills get a big lead and run the ball to grind down the clock, Diggs could still go off. In Week 1 against the Jets, the Bills had a 27-17 victory that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score suggests, and Diggs still saw nine targets.
And I don’t think it’s certain that the Bills will rely on the running game in Week 7. The Jets have a funnel defense that ranks No. 14 against the run (-14.6 DVOA) but No. 31 against the pass (24.0% DVOA, per Football Outsiders). The Bills might decide that the path of least resistance is actually the most optimal.
And Diggs’ WR/CB matchup is fantastic. The perimeter cornerback trio of Pierre Desir, Blessuan Austin and Lamar Jackson (the other one) is almost certainly the league’s worst, at least based on their coverage grades and production allowed (per Pro Football Focus).
- Pierre Desir (six games): 49.3 PFF coverage grade | 19-262-5, 25 targets
- Blessuan Austin (five games): 39.9 PFF coverage grade | 11-119-0, 18 targets
- Lamar Jackson (three games): 44.9 PFF coverage grade | 13-213-2, 15 targets
I expect Diggs to face Desir for most of the game, but regardless of whom he faces on any given snap, Diggs will have a massive edge.
Against No. 1 wide receivers in particular, the Jets are No. 29 with a 31.3% pass-defense DVOA.
Because of the run-game risk, Diggs is probably best avoided in cash games, but he’s a highly desirable option in guaranteed prize pools, especially on FanDuel, where he’s projected as the No. 3 wide receiver but priced as the position’s No. 9 player.
And in season-long leagues he’s a high-end WR1.
Diggs is the No. 1 wide receiver in the Bales and Freedman Models for FanDuel.
D.K. Metcalf: Seattle Seahawks (-3.5) at Arizona Cardinals (56 O/U)
In 2020, the Seahawks have abandoned their 2018-19 run-heavy ways and are passing far more frequently than even the most optimistic prognosticator would have imagined.
My Updated 2020 Pass Rate Over Expectation:
Seattle and the #LetRussCook movement remains firmly on top following their bye.
— Michael Leone (@2Hats1Mike) October 20, 2020
Head coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer are finally letting quarterback Russell Wilson cook, and that means lots of food for Metcalf to eat.
With all that extra protein, Metcalf has dominated in his second NFL season.
- Week 1 (at ATL): 19.5 PPR, 15.5 STD | 4-95-1, eight targets
- Week 2 (vs. NE): 19.2 PPR, 15.2 STD | 4-92-1, six targets
- Week 3 (vs. DAL): 19.0 PPR, 15.0 STD | 4-110-1, eight targets
- Week 4 (at MIA): 14.6 PPR, 10.6 STD | 4-106-0, six targets
- Week 5 (vs. MIN): 27.3 PPR, 21.3 STD | 6-93-2, 11 targets
His soul-stealing performance against 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore in Week 2 was particularly impressive, but Metcalf has been great every week, either putting up 100-plus yards or scoring a touchdown in each game.
At a glance, you wouldn’t think that a guy with only 7.8 targets per game would be pacing for something pretty darn close to a 1,600-16 season this far into the year. How is Metcalf doing this?
The answer lies in the high quality of his targets. Even though Metcalf has already had a bye, he is tied for Nos. 3 & 5 at the position with six end-zone targets and 12 deep-ball targets of 20-plus yards. With each target, Metcalf has a relatively elevated chance of scoring a touchdown and picking up lots of yards.
That he’s No. 2 overall with 154.8 air yards and yards after the catch (AirYAC) per game speaks to the overall yardage-accumulating potential he has.
AirYAC is a leading and simple-to-understand indicator of fantasy output. You can find it in some tools at RotoViz.
Although Metcalf is not a technically proficient player — he’s not yet a nuanced route-runner — he is quickly becoming one of the league’s most commanding receivers thanks to his sheer athleticism, as exemplified by his 99th-percentile 133.3 Speed Score (per Player Profiler).
Last year, Metcalf flashed a world of potential. In a slow-paced, run-focused offense, he was 58-900-7 receiving with a league-high 18 end-zone targets in the regular season, and then in two playoff games he balled out with 11-219-1 receiving.
This year, he has transformed the promise of potential into the potency of production. The sample is small, but on his 39 targets, Metcalf has bestowed to Wilson an über-elite 14.1 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A, per RotoViz AY/A App).
Metcalf’s matchup with the Cardinals is not at all imposing. Former All-Pro No. 1 cornerback Patrick Peterson has a 51.2 PFF coverage grade and no longer shadows opposing receivers. Entrenched at left corner, he’s unlikely to see Metcalf for the majority of his snaps, and when the two do match up, Peterson is unlikely to provide much resistance.
The four perimeter receivers most comparable to Metcalf in talent to face the Cardinals this year have all done well.
- Terry McLaurin (Week 2): 25.5 PPR, 18.5 STD | 7-125-1, 10 targets
- Kenny Golladay (Week 3): 17.7 PPR, 11.7 STD | 6-57-1, seven targets
- Robby Anderson (Week 4): 17.9 PPR, 9.9 STD | 8-99-0, 11 targets
- Amari Cooper (Week 6): 20.9 PPR, 13.9 STD | 7-79-1, 10 targets
Although the Cardinals are a middle-of-the-road No. 17 with a 55.4 PFF coverage grade, Metcalf’s matchup with them looks advantageous.
Full disclosure: I’m looking to bet against the Seahawks.
Under Carroll, the Seahawks against the spread (ATS) have provided bettors with a nice return on investment (ROI) in three distinct situations (regular season only, per our Bet Labs database).
- As Underdogs: 36-22-3 ATS | 20.5% ROI
- At Home: 46-34-3 ATS | 12.2% ROI
- Outside Division: 57-42-6 ATS | 11.5% ROI
In this game, the Seahawks are on the opposite side of all three splits: They are divisional road favorites, and it has historically been profitable to fade the Seahawks as such.
As for the Cardinals, they are 11-4-2 ATS (34.7% ROI) as underdogs under head coach Kliff Kingsbury. You can bet on this game at DraftKings.
But that doesn’t mean I’m about to fade Metcalf. Win, lose, whatever: This guy is likely to produce.
Metcalf is a top-six WR1 in season-long leagues and the No. 1 option in the Koerner and Hodge Models for FanDuel, where he has a position-high nine Pro Trends.
Tyreek Hill: Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5) at Denver Broncos (46 O/U)
Hill has had something of a strange season. He’s yet to pop in any of our Models this year and is far outside the top five at the position with just 16.5 PPR and 12.3 STD points per game.
In previous years, Hill has been a notably volatile producer whose outlier-ish spike performances have pulled up his totals and averages. This year, though, he has been a much more consistent albeit boring player, routinely finishing as a low-end WR1 at best and high-end WR3 at worst (per RotoViz NFL Stat Explorer).
While Hill’s pivot to fantasy regularity might seem like a positive development, it’s very much not because it’s not accompanied by the attribute of reliability.
There’s a falsity, a fragility, to what Hill has done this year, and it’s immediately apparent if you peruse his game log.
- Week 1 (vs. HOU): 15.6 PPR, 10.6 STD points | 5-46-1, six targets
- Week 2 (at LAC): 21.8 PPR, 16.8 STD points | 5-99-1, 11 targets | 1-9-0 rushing
- Week 3 (at BAL): 21.2 PPR, 16.2 STD points | 5-77-1, six targets | 2-25-0 rushing
- Week 4 (vs. NE): 16.4 PPR, 12.4 STD points | 4-64-1, six targets
- Week 5 (vs. LV): 18.3 PPR, 15.3 STD points | 3-78-0, six targets | 3-15-1 rushing
- Week 6 (at BUF): 5.5 PPR, 2.5 STD points | 3-20-0, three targets | 1-5-0 rushing
First of all, Hill isn’t seeing the volume we’d expect of a No. 1 receiver. The carries are an added bonus, but even with them he has had double-digit opportunities in only one game.
In fact, he’s had more than six targets just once.
If we compare his 2020 campaign to his 2018-19 regular seasons, the difference becomes clear.
- 2018-19 (28 games): 23% share of targets | 39% share of air yards
- 2020 (six games): 18% share of targets | 33% share of air yards
Hill still has an incredibly high ceiling because he can turn any touch into a big-play touchdown, but his floor is now much lower and less sturdy because it’s not built on a foundation of volume.
On top of that, the big-play touchdown-creating ability that Hill has so marvelously displayed throughout his career: We haven’t seen much of that this year.
- 2018-19 (28 games): 12 touchdowns of 25-plus yards
- 2020 (six games): one touchdown of 25-plus yards
In theory, it’s good for a player not to be reliant on big plays to score. All the same, we’d still like to see playmakers make plays, and without his deuce-throwing long touchdowns, Hill hasn’t been much of a playmaker in 2020.
And that means his ceiling has been capped.
To summarize so far: This year, Hill has had a lower ceiling and a lower floor than in the past.
Although his game-to-game fantasy numbers might give the appearance of an elevated floor, his Week 6 performance gives the lie to what we’ve seen this year: In 2020, Hill has been a reduced-yardage, low-usage touchdown-dependent producer.
In Weeks 1-5, he compensated for his declining yardage and usage with face-saving touchdowns. In Week 6, he was exposed.
I’m not saying that Hill is a paper cheetah, but this year he hasn’t been the prey-devouring predator we typically see.
This week, though, perhaps Hill will hunt.
The Broncos are without No. 1 cornerback A.J. Bouye (shoulder, IR), and in two games against them last year (the first of which quarterback Patrick Mahomes exited early with a knee injury), Hill produced.
- Week 7, 2019 (at DEN): 16.4 PPR, 13.4 STD | 3-74-1, five targets
- Week 15, 2019 (vs. DEN): 23.8 PPR, 18.8 STD | 5-67-2, seven targets | 1-1-0 rushing
The Broncos are tied for No. 4 with a 67.6 PFF coverage grade, so the matchup doesn’t look great, but I think the Broncos aren’t as good as their numbers indicate.
In Week 1, A.J. Brown exited early with a knee injury, and in Week 6, the COVID-impacted Patriots were unable to get the 34-year-old Julian Edelman going.
But the three other No. 1 wide receivers to face the Broncos have done well.
- Diontae Johnson (Week 2): 23.2 PPR, 15.2 STD | 8-92-1, 13 targets
- Chris Godwin (Week 3): 17.4 PPR, 12.4 STD | 5-64-1, six targets
- Jamison Crowder (Week 4): 17.4 PPR, 10.4 STD | 7-104-0, 10 targets
Hill should be able to produce against head coach Vic Fangio’s defense.
And you know I’m betting on the Chiefs.
HC Andy Reid has markedly overperformed in two situations (regular season only).
- On Road: 37-19-1 ATS | 29.8% ROI
- In Division: 28-15-1 ATS | 27.7% ROI
On the road inside the AFC West, Reid is 16-5 ATS (49.8% ROI).
Mahomes is 26-13-2 ATS (30.7% ROI) for his career, including postseason. You can bet on this game at FanDuel.
With Mahomes, the matchup and his sheer talent, Hill might be able to overcome his diminished usage in Week 7.
A mid-tier WR1 in season-long leagues, Hill is the No. 1 wide receiver in the Bales, CSURAM88, Koerner, SportsGeek, Hodge and Freedman Models for DraftKings, where he has a position-high 10 Pro Trends and is priced outside the top 12 at the position.
Terry McLaurin: Washington Football Team (-1) vs. Dallas Cowboys (46 O/U)
This is McLaurin’s second straight week and fourth week overall this season to pop in at least one of our Models. We’re on McLaurin.
To open the year, he has faced an all-time brutal schedule of opposing No. 1 cornerbacks.
- Week 1: Darius Slay
- Week 2: Patrick Peterson
- Week 3: Denzel Ward
- Week 4: Marcus Peters
- Week 5: Jalen Ramsey
- Week 6: James Bradberry
He hasn’t run all his routes against these six defenders, but the point stands that McLaurin has had it worse than any other wide receiver to start the year.
And even with these matchups — Week 5 letdown aside — McLaurin has produced.
- Week 1 (vs. PHI): 11.1 PPR, 6.1 STD | 5-61-0, seven targets
- Week 2 (at ARI): 25.5 PPR, 18.5 STD | 7-125-1, 10 targets
- Week 3 (at CLE): 12.6 PPR, 8.6 STD | 4-83-0, eight targets | 1-3-0 rushing
- Week 4 (vs. BAL): 21.8 PPR, 11.8 STD | 10-118-0, 14 targets
- Week 5 (vs. LAR): 5.6 PPR, 2.6 STD | 3-26-0, seven targets
- Week 6 (at NYG): 14.4 PPR, 7.4 STD | 7-74-0, 12 targets
On the year, McLaurin is No. 2 with a 0.72 WOPR and No. 4 with 141.8 AirYAC per game.
Some fantasy investors might be worried about the recent change to quarterback Kyle Allen. I don’t think it matters. (Almost nothing matters.)
In his rookie year, McLaurin was 58-919-7 receiving in 14 games with quarterbacks Case Keenum, Colt McCoy and Dwayne Haskins, fired HC Jay Gruden and interim HC Bill Callahan.
If McLaurin could do that in 2019, he can certainly produce this year with Allen, who knows OC Scott Turner’s system from their years together with the Panthers.
McLaurin is one of just three players this year with seven-plus targets in every game. The other two are DeAndre Hopkins and Allen Robinson.
That’s what matters. That, and of course the matchup. This week, McLaurin finally has a matchup he can exploit.
The Cowboys are No. 32 with a 36.4 PFF coverage grade and have allowed a league-high nine WR1/2 performances. This is a flow-chart game for McLaurin.
Week 7 FF Flow Chart, showing which defenses are allowing the most and least top FF performances… pic.twitter.com/BJKYaTfWld
— Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23) October 20, 2020
From Week 1 on, the Cowboys have been dominated by perimeter receivers.
- Robert Woods (Week 1): 17.9 PPR, 11.9 STD | 6-105-0, eight targets | 1-14-0
- Calvin Ridley (Week 2): 29.9 PPR, 22.9 STD | 7-109-2, 10 targets
- D.K. Metcalf (Week 3): 19.0 PPR, 15.0 STD | 4-110-1, eight targets
- Odell Beckham Jr. (Week 4): 38.4 PPR, 33.4 STD | 5-81-2, eight targets | 2-73-1 rushing
- Darius Slayton (Week 5): 20.9 PPR, 12.9 STD | 8-129-0, 11 targets
- Christian Kirk (Week 6): 22.6 PPR, 20.6 STD | 2-86-2, three targets
This week, it’s McLaurin’s turn on this fantasy merry-go-round.
For the second week in a row, McLaurin is the No. 1 receiver in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Buy-Low Model.
McLaurin is a low-end WR1 in season-long leagues and the top option in the Raybon Model for DraftKings.
Keenan Allen: Los Angeles Chargers (-7.5) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (49 O/U)
As of writing (Thursday morning), we collectively have Allen (back) ranked on the WR1/2 borderline because he exited Week 5 early with spasms, but I expect that his ranking will rise throughout the week as we get positive practice reports.
Coming off the Week 6 bye, Allen got in a limited practice on Wednesday, which is a good sign for his availability on Sunday. By the end of the week, Koerner, Raybon and I will probably all have Allen as a top-10 receiver.
Despite what Allen did in 2017-19 …
- 2017 (16 games): 102-1,393-6, 159 targets | 2-9-0 rushing
- 2018 (16 games): 97-1,196-6, 136 targets | 9-75-0 rushing
- 2019 (16 games): 104-1,199-6, 149 targets | 3-16-0 rushing
… I was low on him entering 2020 because I expected a slow, run-focused offense with quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
And in Week 1, I looked like a genius.
But with first-round rookie Justin Herbert’s sudden insertion into the starting lineup in Week 2, Allen has returned to form.
In Weeks 2-4, his three healthy games with Herbert, Allen dominated.
- Week 2 (vs. KC): 16.6 PPR, 9.6 STD | 7-96-0, 10 targets
- Week 3 (vs. CAR): 30.2 PPR, 17.2 STD | 13-132-1, 19 targets
- Week 4 (at TB): 14.2 PPR, 6.2 STD | 8-62-0, 11 targets
For this three-week stretch, Allen was No. 1 among all wide receivers with 22.1 expected fantasy points per game, a 39% target share and a 0.89 WOPR.
As long as Allen is healthy in his Week 7 return, he should continue to produce, and he has a great matchup.
The Jaguars are No. 32 with a 37.5% pass-defense DVOA, and starting slot corner D.J. Hayden (hamstring, IR) is out. In his absence, starter Tre Herndon has shifted from the perimeter to the slot, where over the past two games he has allowed 10.0 yards per target and a touchdown.
Allen has 10-plus targets in each of his three full games with Herbert, and when he’s hit that threshold throughout his career, he has unsurprisingly outshined.
For season-long leagues, Allen is a locked-in WR1 as long as his practice reports are positive.
For DFS, Allen has a position-high +5.42 Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and is the No. 1 wide receiver in the Raybon Model for FanDuel.
Deebo Samuel: San Francisco 49ers (+1.5) at New England Patriots (43.5 O/U)
This is an intriguing spot for Samuel. After missing most of training camp and Weeks 1-3 with a foot injury and easing back into action in Week 4, Samuel has had decent usage over the past two weeks.
He hasn’t been especially productive, but he has gotten opportunities.
- Week 5 (vs. MIA): 4.2 PPR, 2.2 STD | 2-19-0, eight targets | 1-3-0 rushing
- Week 6 (vs. LAR): 18.0 PPR, 12.0 STD | 6-66-1, six targets, 1-minus 6-0 rushing
Some context is called for. In Week 5, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was notable hindered with an ankle injury, and he was mercifully benched for backup C.J. Beathard at halftime in a 43-17 loss.
Given that Samuel had an injured Garoppolo and mediocre Beathard throwing to him in Week 5, I’m not dissuaded by his lack of production. I actually think it’s encouraging that in his first full game back he tied alpha tight end George Kittle for the team lead with eight targets.
In Week 6, Samuel’s primary matchup was with No. 1 cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who unlike most shadow defenders has no issue with tailing receivers into the slot. This was a tough matchup, given that Ramsey has allowed just 4.5 yards per target and only 4.2 targets per game.
Even so, Samuel saw six targets, and he converted all of them into receptions and one of them into a touchdown — and he did that because 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan moved Samuel across the formation and figured out ways to get him on linebackers and safeties instead of Ramsey.
Here’s why this is important: The Patriots have the league’s most shadow-heavy defense, so it’s likely that Samuel will once again have another tough matchup, this time against cornerback Stephon Gilmore, the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year.
Gilmore has held receivers to a 50.8% catch rate and 6.6 yards per target in his three-plus years with the Patriots, and in his return from COVID-19 last week, he was his usual self with zero catches allowed on two targets.
But last week we saw Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick avoid Gilmore’s coverage often enough to go off for 4-101-0 receiving on eight targets, and we have recent evidence of Shanahan’s ability to scheme Samuel open.
As tough as this matchup is, it might not be tough enough to prevent Samuel from having another good game.
One hidden edge: Samuel might see some extra floor-elevating carries in this game with top running backs Raheem Mostert (ankle, IR) and Tevin Coleman (knee, IR) out and change-of-pace back Jeffery Wilson (calf) uncertain to play.
And his playmaking ceiling is known: From Week 10 to the Super Bowl last year, Samuel as a rookie was a dynamic 45-702-2 receiving on 67 targets and 15-224-2 rushing.
Over that 11-game span, he was No. 7 with 2.42 yards per route (per PFF).
With his matchup, season-long managers might be tempted to bench him this week, but I still think Samuel is a startable WR3/flex play, and in DFS he’s a viable tournament option as the No. 1 receiver in the CSURAM88 Model for FanDuel.
Christian Kirk: Arizona Cardinals (+3.5) vs. Seattle Seahawks (56 O/U)
Kirk missed Week 3 with an ankle injury, but since returning in Week 4 he is 10-183-3 receiving. That’s fine — but he has seen only five targets per game in that span, and he has been aided with highly advantageous matchups against the Panthers, Jets and Cowboys.
With his 0.43 WOPR and 0.95 RACR, Kirk hasn’t been massively behind teammate DeAndre Hopkins (0.61 and 1.08) over the past few games, but Kirk is still just a No. 2 receiver.
RACR (Receiver Air Conversion Ratio) is another metric created by Hermsmeyer. It measures the efficiency with which a receiver converts air yards and targets into receptions and yards after the catch.
But this week he’s facing the Seahawks, against whom opposing receiver units are No. 1 in the league with 38.4 fantasy points per game on 108-1,472-7 receiving on a league-high 157 targets in just five contests.
With a funnel defense that ranks ninth against the run (-18.1% DVOA) and No. 29 against the pass (22.4% DVOA), the Seahawks are utterly exploitable via the air.
Ocean’s Eleven callback: The list of guys who have already gone off against the Seahawks … well, it’s long.
- Calvin Ridley (Week 1): 33.9 PPR, 24.9 STD | 9-130-2, 12 targets
- Julio Jones (Week 1): 24.7 PPR, 15.7 STD | 9-157-0, 12 targets
- Russell Gage (Week 1): 20.4 PPR, 11.4 STD | 9-114-0, 12 targets
- Julian Edelman (Week 2): 25.9 PPR, 17.9 STD | 8-179-0, 11 targets
- N’Keal Harry (Week 2): 15.2 PPR, 7.2 STD | 8-72-0, 12 targets
- Damiere Byrd (Week 2): 13.2 PPR, 7.2 STD | 6-72-0, nine targets
- Amari Cooper (Week 3): 17.6 PPR, 8.6 STD | 9-86-0, 12 targets
- Michael Gallup (Week 3): 25.8 PPR, 19.8 STD | 6-138-1, nine targets
- CeeDee Lamb (Week 3): 11.6 PPR, 6.6 STD | 5-65-0, six targets
- Cedrick Wilson (Week 3): 27.7 PPR, 22.7 STD | 5-107-2, seven targets
- DeVante Parker (Week 4): 21.0 PPR, 11.0 STD | 10-110-0, 12 targets
- Adam Thielen (Week 5): 29.3 PPR, 20.3 STD | 9-80-2, 13 targets | 1-3-0 rushing
Most of these guys are established playmakers, but some of them — Gage, Harry, Byrd and Wilson — are just random guys.
And the Seahawks are dealing with major injury issues in their secondary. All-Pro safety Jamal Adams (groin) exited Week 3 early, missed Weeks 4-5 and did not practice on Wednesday out of the Week 6 bye, which is highly negative indicator. On top of that, slot corner Marquise Blair (knee, IR) is out for the year.
Against a secondary down two starters, the field-stretching Kirk could have a big performance in what figures to be a pass-heavy high-scoring contest.
Kirk has been a volatile producer with few booms and many busts in Kingsbury’s offense.
The historical odds are that Kirk won’t go off this weekend, but his potential to boom is certainly amplified against the Seahawks.
Kirk is an upside WR4/flex in season-long leagues and the No. 1 wide receivers in the SportsGeek Model for FanDuel.
Wide Receivers With Week-Winning Upside
In this section, I highlight some wide receivers I think will outperform expectations and whom I especially like as upside season-long and DFS tournament plays.
DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals (+3.5) vs. Seattle Seahawks (56 O/U): See Kirk, Christian. Every No. 1 wide receiver to face the Seahawks this year has had a fantasy WR1 performance. Hopkins has an NFL-high 47 receptions and 601 yards receiving.
Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (-3.5) at Houston Texans (57 O/U): The Packers have a slate-high 30.25-point implied Vegas total, and Adams’ shadow matchup with cornerback Bradley Roby is inconsequential. Arguably the NFL’s best wide receiver, Adams is another week removed from the hamstring injury that sidelined him for Weeks 2-5. Adams has position-high median, ceiling and floor projections in our Models.
Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) vs. Detroit Lions (55.5 O/U): Even with his zero catches on five targets in Week 4, Ridley is No. 1 in the league with 160.2 AirYAC per game. Ridley is slated for a highly exploitable matchup against rookie cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, who has allowed 19-299-0 receiving on 26 targets in limited action.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) vs. Detroit Lions (55.5 O/U): Despite his 8-137-2 receiving performance last week, Jones (hamstring) missed practice on Wednesday and is still dealing with his soft-tissue malady. But he’s expected to play, and the Lions allowed a league-high 503.2 AirYAC last year.
Will Fuller, Houston Texans (+3.5) vs. Green Bay Packers (57 O/U): The matchup is tough against cornerback Jaire Alexander (90.7 PFF coverage grade), but Fuller has either 100 yards or a touchdown in every game this year … aside from his soul-crushing hamstring-impacted zero-target Week 2.
The day I stop being optimistic about Will Fuller is the day I lie dead and buried six feet under in the coffin Will Fuller has put me in. https://t.co/2DekreuV99
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) September 23, 2020
We ain’t dead yet. Let’s live while we’re still alive.
Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (+2.5) at Atlanta Falcons (55.5 O/U): Every perimeter receiver comparable to Golladay in talent and usage to face the Falcons has had success.
- D.K. Metcalf (Week 1): 19.5 PPR, 15.5 STD | 4-95-1, eight targets
- Amari Cooper (Week 2): 16.0 PPR, 10.0 STD | 6-100-0, nine targets
- Allen Robinson (Week 3): 28.3 PPR, 18.3 STD | 10-123-1, 13 targets
- Davante Adams (Week 4): Injured, missed game
- Robby Anderson (Week 5): 19.5 PPR, 11.5 STD | 8-112-0, 13 targets | 1-3-0 rushing
- D.J. Moore (Week 5):19.3 PPR, 15.3 STD | 4-93-1, five targets
- Justin Jefferson (Week 6): 39.6 PPR, 30.6 STD | 9-166-2, 11 targets
- Adam Thielen (Week 7): 14.1 PPR, 11.1 STD | 3-51-1, five targets
Golladay has either 100 yards or a touchdown in his three games this year.
Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (-3.5) at Arizona Cardinals (56 O/U): With 6-83-0 receiving over his past two games, Lockett has recently disappointed, but he’s still pacing for his third straight 1,000-yard season. The Cardinals have allowed comparably top-tier slot receivers Jamison Crowder (8-116-1, 10 targets) and CeeDee Lamb (7-64-0, 11 targets) to produce over the past two weeks.
Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers (+7.5) at New Orleans Saints (51 O/U): Is one tweet sufficient?
So I woke up today, had two big cups of decaf coffee, went for a walk, took a shower, and then finally, while trimming my beard, looked myself in the mirror and said:
“Robby Anderson is the WR1 in Carolina, and D.J. Moore isn’t.”
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) October 8, 2020
Maybe one more tweet?
The over in Saints games w/ QB Drew Brees:
– At home: 68-49-2 ✅
– Off bye week: 18-11 ✅
– Off bye at home: 9-3 ✅✅
I look forward to all the incoming mentions about how this information doesn’t matter.
Data per @Bet_Labs.
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) October 21, 2020
The Coors Field of Fantasy Football, indeed. For his career Bridgewater is 15-2 ATS (72.5% ROI) as a road underdog. (You can bet on this game at William Hill.) Anderson is No. 2 in the league with 566 yards receiving.
Jamison Crowder, New York Jets (+12.5) vs. Buffalo Bills (45 O/U): In each of his four games this year Crowder has 10-plus targets, and since joining the Jets, he has had notable splits with real quarterbacks (in other words, without someone like Luke Falk).
Crowder (groin) is dealing with an injury but expected to play.
Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers (+1.5) at Tennessee Titans (50.5 O/U): To borrow from Austin Powers, shall we enshrine now, or shall we enshrine later? Claypool is 17-335-4 receiving and 6-21-2 rushing just five games into his NFL career. He’s No. 1 at the position with 3.49 yards per route. Now. Let’s enshrine now.
D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers (+7.5) at New Orleans Saints (51 O/U): Still pacing for his second straight 1,200-yard season, Moore is essentially the co-No. 1 receiver with Robby Anderson based on their WOPRs (0.64 vs. 0.65 WOPR). Moore is likely to match up most with cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who has struggled this year with his 45.2 PFF coverage grade and 15-254-3 receiving allowed on 19 targets in four games.
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals (+3) vs. Cleveland Browns (50 O/U): The veteran slot man is on the right side of his home/away splits since 2018 (per our FantasyLabs Trends Tool).
- Home (18 games): 17.0 DraftKings points | 66.7% Consistency Rating
- Away (17 games): 14.1 DraftKings points | 52.9% Consistency Rating
Against the Browns in Week 2, Boyd was 7-72-1 receiving on eight targets.
Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals (+3) vs. Cleveland Browns (50 O/U): Over the past four weeks, Higgins is 19-304-2 receiving on 32 targets with a team-high 0.57 WOPR.
So I woke up today, had a medium-sized cup of decaf coffee, did some jumping jacks and pushups, and then finally, while sitting down to write a fantasy article, looked at some stats and said:
“Tee Higgins is the WR1 in Cincinnati, and A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd aren’t.”
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) October 22, 2020
Only most of that is a lie.
Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans (+3.5) vs. Green Bay Packers (57 O/U): With 17-229-2 receiving on 21 targets over the past two weeks, Cooks is the Arbitrage Will Fuller. Cooks is slated for an advantageous matchup with either an injured Kevin King (quad) or a second-string Josh Jackson.
Emmanuel Sanders, New Orleans Saints (-7.5) vs. Carolina Panthers (51 O/U): No. 1 wide receiver Michael Thomas (hamstring) was expected to return from the ankle injury and disciplinary issues that have sidelined him since Week 1, but he suffered an injury in practice on Thursday.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 22, 2020
If Thomas is unable to play this weekend, the Saints No. 1 wide receiver will likely be Sanders, who is 23-289-1 receiving on 31 targets in four Thomas-less games.
Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (-7.5) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (49 O/U): If Allen doesn’t play, Williams will be a serviceable stand-in as the No. 1 option. In the mostly Allen-less Week 5 game before the bye, Williams was 5-109-2 receiving on eight targets. With one 1,000-yard season and another 10-touchdown season in two full campaigns, there’s case to be made — probably not a very good one — that Williams is better than Allen.
Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars (+7.5) at Los Angeles Chargers (49 O/U): I will probably have Shenault in this section all year long, and I don’t apologize. Just ignore his potential matchup with cornerback Casey Hayward Jr., who has allowed only 6.8 yards per target with a 50% catch rate this year. Also, let’s pretend I didn’t write this blurb.
Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions (+2.5) at Atlanta Falcons (55.5 O/U): The Falcons have a receiver-friendly funnel defense that ranks No. 8 against the run (-20.4% DVOA) but No. 30 against the pass (23.6% DVOA). You can use our FantasyLabs Correlations Tool to research the overlapping production of receivers and passers, and over the past year Jones and quarterback Matthew Stafford have a 0.52 correlation on DraftKings. For tournaments, use our Lineup Builder to stack Jones with his most passer.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (+3) vs. Cleveland Browns (50 O/U): Last week, Green was 8-96-0 receiving on 11 targets, and for the season he has a team-high 0.49 WOPR. Against the Browns in Week 2, he had an unreal 13 targets … for 3-29-0 receiving. I mean, I don’t know. Whatever.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers (-3.5) at Houston Texans (57 O/U): Oh, baby. MVS is amazingly No. 8 with 126.6 AirYAC per game …
AirYAC (air yards + yards after catch) per game going into Week 7:
1. Ridley: 160.2
2. Metcalf: 154.8
3. Crowder: 145.3
4. McLaurin: 141.8
5. A-Rob: 132.5
6. Hollywood: 130.2
7. Robby: 127.2
8. MVS: 126.6 👀
9. Thielen: 125.7
10. Amari: 124.5
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) October 21, 2020
… and he’s likely to run almost all his routes against the cornerback duo of Vernon Hargreaves III (45.8 PFF coverage grade) and Eric Murray (57.5 PFF coverage grade). Burn your money.
Damiere Byrd, New England Patriots (-1.5) vs. San Francisco 49ers (43.5 O/U): If you’re desperate, you could do worse than a guy averaging 6.5 targets over his past four games going against a defense missing starting cornerbacks Richard Sherman (calf, IR) and K’Waun Williams (knee/hip, IR). Pain isn’t about the injury you suffer. It’s about the way you respond.
Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5) at Denver Broncos (46 O/U): In the absence of teammate Sammy Watkins (hamstring) last week, Robinson was a nice 5-69-0 receiving on six targets. He’s at least on the field running routes while quarterback Patrick Mahomes is dropping back to pass.
Jeff Smith, New York Jets (+12.5) vs. Buffalo Bills (45 O/U): As a fill-in starter over the past three weeks, he has 24 targets. Since last year cornerback Josh Norman has allowed 9.8 yards per target.
The Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, Freedman is commonly called the Oracle & the Labyrinthian.