2019 Fantasy Football Booms and Busts: Wide Receivers
For the 2019 fantasy football season, HTN contributor Coty Van de Byl discusses booms and busts for RBs, WRs, and QBs in a three-part series.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is already a top 10 wide receiver both last season, and projected for this upcoming season. Smith-Schuster should be in your top three WRs for fantasy this year. With an average of 18.56 points per game, Smith-Schuster ranked 9th in average points and 8th in total points among wide receivers. The biggest thing to keep in mind with this stat is that Smith-Schuster accomplished this playing behind Antonio Brown, who was 2nd in average points and 5th in total points. If he performs as he did last season and picks up even a fraction of the burden that Brown carried, Smith-Schuster may end up being the top WR in fantasy this year.
In 2018, Smith-Schuster had 111 catches for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns. If he picked up even half of the 15 touchdowns Brown caught, Smith-Schuster would have been the number one wide receiver last year. Expect Smith-Schuster to step up this season as there is not really a significant WR2 in Pittsburgh with the likes of Donte Moncrief or James Washington. If you believe that Smith-Schuster will perform as he did last season, think about taking him at the turn of the first round in your fantasy draft.
It seems as though Tom Brady always has his favourite target downfield. With the retirement of Rob Gronkowski this past offseason, Superbowl MVP Julian Edelman is likely to takeover this role. While missing four games last year, Edelman still ranked 20th in total points and 13th in average points per game. Similar to Smith-Schuster and Brown, Edelman accomplished this playing behind Gronkowski.
Yes, Demaryius Thomas and N’Keal Harry were added in the 2019 offseason and Josh Gordon has also been reinstated, but Edelman is due for a great season. Edelman only had 74 catches last year, but if he plays all 16 games, then it is easy to predict that he will break 100 receptions this season. Edelman only dropped below 10 points last year once. Consistency in your fantasy receiver corps is nearly a necessity and Edelman can provide that reassurance. Julian Edelman should easily be in your top 10 WRs on your fantasy big board this year.
In part one of this three part Booms and Busts series, Marlon Mack was a boom for running backs. Where one player excels, usually another player suffers; that player who suffers is T.Y. Hilton. With the retirement of Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton is going to have a harder time producing fantasy points with Jacoby Brissett throwing him the football as he did in the 2017 season.
In 2017, when Andrew Luck was sidelined from surgery, Hilton recorded only 57 receptions for under 1,000 yards and recorded a mere 4 touchdowns. Hilton is likely to repeat this stat line for the upcoming season. To try and win more games, the Colts should focus on their ground game and short passes to take some pressure off of Jacoby Brissett. This means fewer targets for Hilton along with fewer receiving yards. Unless Brissett can come up huge this season, Hilton should be ranked around your 20th overall wide receiver.
Ranking 16th in total points, Tyler Lockett ranked outside the top 20 in average points per game with only 13.90 points last season. Lockett recorded less than 10 points only twice last season and more than 20 only once. This shows that Lockett is consistent to say the least. Then why is Lockett considered a bust? The simple answer is touchdowns. Lockett was one of seven receivers to record 10 touchdowns or more in the 2018 season.
Lockett only had 57 receptions and less than 1,000 receiving yards last season. The main reason why Lockett was in the top 20 for total points was the double digit touchdowns he recorded. Without these points, Lockett’s rankings would severely drop. Receivers with similar 2018 rankings recorded at least 20 more catches and most of them broke the 1,000 yard threshold. If Lockett were to perform similar this year to his 2018 season, but record fewer touchdowns, Lockett would struggle to make the top 25 WRs. This situation is likely with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny in the Seattle backfield, so be very careful drafting Tyler Lockett this coming season.