The simple phrase: “invest in good offenses” isn’t enough in today’s fantasy world. While great attacks are easy to spot for the casual fan, the important task is to find and label the consistent offenses and load up on what they excel at.
Passing offenses seem to be the thing in today’s NFL and several teams have found a way to support not only one but two top fantasy options at the wide receiver position. Last year, there were five NFL teams able to produce two fantasy top-24 wide receiver combinations.
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Pittsburgh Steelers – Antonio Brown WR5 and JuJu Smith-Schuster WR8
Los Angeles Rams – Robert Woods WR10 and Brandin Cooks WR15
Atlanta Falcons – Julio Jones WR2 and Calvin Ridley WR20
Minnesota Vikings – Adam Thielen WR7 and Stefon Diggs WR11
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans WR9 and Adam Humphries WR24
Simple math tells us that if five teams double-dipped in the top 24 fantasy wideouts, then there are 13 teams that failed to even have at least one wide receiver capable of a top-24 finish.
Here are the teams that were left out of the fantasy relevant wide receivers dance with their highest player and position listed.
Washington Redskins – Josh Doctson WR67
San Francisco 49ers – Kendrick Bourne WR64
Miami Dolphins – Kenny Stills WR56
Baltimore Ravens – John Brown WR45
Oakland Raiders – Jordy Nelson WR40
Chicago Bears – Allen Robinson WR39
New York Jets – Robby Anderson WR37
Carolina Panthers – DJ Moore WR36
Buffalo Bills – Zay Jones WR35
Jacksonville Jaguars – Dede Westbrook WR33
Arizona Cardinals – Larry Fitzgerald WR30
Tennessee Titans – Corey Davis WR27
Philadelphia Eagles – Alshon Jeffery WR25
There seem to be two key metrics that help to understand these results.
First, volume looks like the primary key in securing top-tier fantasy wide receivers. Four out of the five teams that had more than one top-24 wideout finished in the top six in pass attempts. The only outlier was the Rams who finished 14th. On the opposite side, of the 13 teams that didn’t have a top-24 WR, all 13 were ranked 15th or below in passing volume.
The second metric that seems to correlate with top-tier fantasy production is obvious: passing touchdowns. All five teams with two fantasy-relevant wide receivers were in the top ten in passing touchdowns on the season. The Eagles finished 11th in passing touchdowns while the Panthers and Bears finished 14th and 15th, respectively. Outside of those three teams, all other ten bottom-dwelling fantasy wideout teams finished in the bottom half of the league in touchdown passes.
Now that we have looked back and learned from the past, let’s look forward and figure out what to expect in 2019. I have ranked the teams below in order of who is most likely to produce two top-24 wide receivers in 2019 with my explanation on why.
1 – Minnesota Vikings (Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs)
The Vikings seem the most likely to repeat because they have continued to show that they are not committed to the run. Thielen and Diggs don’t have any issues with a third player taking away targets and Kirk Cousins’ passing volume isn’t going anywhere.
2 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Mike Evans and Chris Godwin)
Bruce Arians and Jameis Winston won’t total a lot of wins this year but one thing is certain: a vertical passing game. Godwin finished as the WR26 last year and with Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson gone, his role in the slot will receive crazy volume. Evans has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in all five of his NFL seasons and 2019 should be his best yet.
3 – Atlanta Falcons (Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley)
Ridley barely made it into the top 24 last year but his double-digit touchdowns are hard to ignore. If he can garner more targets in his second year, then this could be the new top receiving duo in the NFL. The fact Jones is also trying to get a new contract should be music to the ears of all fantasy owners.
4 – Los Angeles Chargers (Keenan Allen and Mike Williams)
With Tyrell Williams gone, look for Mike Williams’ volume to increase dramatically from only getting 66 targets last year. Williams had ten touchdowns and finished as the WR32, so it would not be much of a stretch for him to get an additional 11 fantasy points to jump into the top 24. Allen has been a top-12 wideout two years in a row and this trend will continue as long as Philip Rivers is under center.
5 – Cleveland Browns (Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry)
Even though Beckham only played in 12 games – with Eli Manning as his QB – he still finished as the WR17. The Browns attempted the 12th-most passes in 2018 and that offense will have no issue supporting two top-flight wide receivers in Beckham and Landry.
6 – Cincinnati Bengals (AJ Green and Tyler Boyd)
Last year, everyone got a glimpse of what this offense could look like with two great wideouts and an effective run game, but as soon as Green went down in week nine, everything came to a halt. Even with Andy Dalton under center, this duo should be able to put up great numbers in 2019.
7 – Los Angeles Rams (Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp)
Why in the world are the Rams this low on the list? Because if all three wide receivers stay healthy, they could keep each other out of the top 24. It is entirely possible they get all three into the top 24 but that seems like a stretch.
For more follow @JL_Chapman.
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