Drafting a wide receiver on a bad defense can be highly beneficial in fantasy football. If that defense can’t stop a nosebleed, your wide receiver will have extra opportunity to rack up catches and points because the offense will just start passing more to keep up or catch up. No huddle is even better, because more plays will be run than normal in a set period of time. Garbage time is also a good thing, when the team tries to boost morale at the end of a game to end on a not-so-bad note in a loss by trying to score a meaningless touchdown. These players are more of a benefit in PPR because if these teams also have bad offenses and can’t score, they can at least rack up catches and not leave you stranded. Here are five receivers who can benefit this year in PPR:
Willie Snead is someone I’d be very happy to have on my team. His current price in the late 6th round is perfect, and I’d even pay a little more. The Saints defense is bad; they’ve given up the second most points in the league last year, only behind the 49ers. This puts them in a bunch of positive game scripts for Drew Brees and the passing offense. Snead had an instant rapport with Brees posting similar stat lines during his first two years in the league. In this upcoming year, the offense will be without Brandin Cooks, who accounted for 117 targets. We can’t expect all of those to go their new speedster Ted Ginn, who’s just not as talented as Cooks and won’t be as much of a focal point. I can see Snead being a winner because of that, and his 104 targets increasing to somewhere around 125. You want a part of this passing offense, and if you don’t want to pay up for Michael Thomas, Snead as your PPR WR3 is a good way of getting in.
The 49ers gave up the most points in the NFL last year, and that sets up good for Garcon, who got PAID this offseason. He’s their #1 receiver, and should get plenty of Brian Hoyer’s targets. Hoyer likes his guys, and there’s not much else to like at the wide receiver position in San Francisco. Remember when Deandre Hopkins had that ridiculous stretch in 2015? That was Brian Hoyer peppering him with targets. Not to say Garcon is at Hopkins level as far as talent, but Garcon is the most talented receiver on the 49ers, and we can see Hoyer peppering Garcon with pass after pass while trying to catch up and keep up with opposing offenses. Another thing to note: Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the Redskins when Garcon led the NFL with 113 receptions in 2013. Garcon is currently being drafted in the 8th round in PPR, and he’s a gem in that spot.
The Jets are in full tank mode. Their defense gave up the 5th most points last year, and they just released David Harris who was the backbone of that defense. Their defensive line is intact, but that secondary (both rookies) and linebacking core are very suspect at this point. This means they are a candidate to give up even more points this year. With Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker now gone, that leaves a huge void of targets left for the remaining receivers. Quincy Enunwa had somewhat of a breakout season last year, with 58 receptions for 857 yards and 4 TDs. He had a very healthy 14.8 yards per reception. He can make plays all over the field, whether its short, intermediate, or deep. He’s a big guy who looks more like a tight end, and that creates a lot of mismatches when small corners are on him.
Robby Anderson had a bunch of targets last year, but that’s only because Bryce Petty believed that Anderson was the only receiver on the field. This year, early signs say that the starting QB will either be Josh McCown or Christian Hackenberg. I expect the Jets to pass the ball a lot this year in the second half of games, and looking at what they have at receiver, I would also expect Enunwa to get a 20-25% target share of those attempts. I don’t expect McCown to be QB all year if he’s the early starter, so we have to be careful with Enunwa and have clear expectations. The risk here is that the Jets offense is a complete abomination with Hackenberg under center. However, if these guys are forced to throw the ball a ton, we can expect someone to reap the benefit, and I think it’ll be Enunwa.
Keep an eye on Corey Coleman and Mike Williams
Both Browns WR Corey Coleman and Chargers rookie WR Mike Williams have injury concerns this offseason. Coleman, who has a bit of a history with soft tissue injuries, has an issue with his hamstring and will be out at least until training camp, and Mike Williams has a herniated disc, which will cause him to miss some offseason training as well. If these guys miss time in camp and preseason, Kenny Britt and Tyrell Williams become must-adds. Britt has history of production, and will be the only reliable and experienced wide receiver on the Browns. Tyrell Williams had some real chemistry with Philip Rivers last season, so I would expect him to make an immediate impact with Mike Williams not being able to gain a rapport with Rivers early in the season. I would at least draft these guys for them to become trade bait if they have a good start to their seasons, expecting their production to drop off a bit once their counterparts are back on the field. Both of these defenses were not good last year. The Chargers have a decent defense, but injuries got in the way. I don’t expect them to be a great defense either, so expect the Chargers to need to put up some points this year. The Browns will be bad, as usual, and they will need to throw the ball. Their QB situation isn’t great, but if there’s just one main guy who’s getting a large percentage of targets, that player is almost always fantasy relevant.