Figuring out the top-end guys is relatively easy. The low-end wideouts are much harder – and more valuable. Each week, I’ll discuss five wide receivers under $5,000 on the DK main slate who I project for at least five targets.
1. DeSean Jackson, $4,900: Buccaneers
In theory, Mike Evans’ suspension should open up a bigger role for DeSean Jackson. The problem is he’s not the kind of wideout you funnel possession targets through. He’s the kind of wideout who complements a player like Evans perfectly by being capable on shorter routes but truly dominating in a field-stretching role. So I’m hesitant to go nuts on Jackson’s target projection, especially when we know Cameron Brate, Adam Humphries, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard all will be involved — and especially when weak-armed Ryan Fitzpatrick is under center. Jackson also now is likely to draw shadow coverage from top Jets CB Morris Claiborne, who is Pro Football Focus’ No. 19 overall CB. All that said, Jackson is certainly underpriced at $4,900.
Projection: Eight targets
2. Corey Davis, $4,000 and Rishard Matthews, $4,700: Titans
With Corey Davis (hamstring) finally healthy, we have clear-cut roles in Tennessee. Davis and Rishard Matthews are the top-two wideouts while Eric Decker is the No. 3/slot man and Taywan Taylor is an afterthought. Note that Davis played on 75 percent of the snaps and 84 percent of Marcus Mariota’s dropbacks last week – his first game since Week 2. On Wednesday, the Titans said they expect Davis’ snap count to rise. Given Davis’ talent and role, his $4,000 tag is far too cheap. The problem is another difficult matchup, this time with a Bengals team ranked 29th in overall pace and fourth in fantasy points per game allowed to wideouts. Still, both Davis and Matthews are in play here as wideouts with solid floors relative to price.
Projection: Seven targets for Matthews, seven targets for Davis
3. Marqise Lee $4,100: Jaguars
Lee goes overlooked because he rests his knee at practice weekly and Blake Bortles is his quarterback. But the knee always seems fine on Sundays, and Lee is quietly producing — even in tough matchups. He put 8-75-1 on the Bengals last week and 5-83-0 on the Rams two weeks before that. Overall, Lee is averaging 8.3 targets per game over the last seven; a massive number for someone who costs just $4,100. The matchup this week against the Chargers is difficult, as corners Casey Hayward and Trevor Williams both are having standout seasons. But Lee repeatedly has proven he can overcome quarterback play and matchups.
Projection: Seven targets
4. Marquise Goodwin, $3,800 and Aldrick Robinson $3,600: 49ers
A home game against the Giants is a strong spot for any offense. Unfortunately, this 49ers pass game is scraping the bottom of the barrel. Overwhelmed C.J. Beathard will start again, this time without top wide receiver Pierre Garcon (neck), top tight end George Kittle (ankle) and slot man Trent Taylor (rib). If Beathard can get something going against the league’s No. 26 DVOA pass defense, it will be through Marquise Goodwin, Aldrick Robinson and tight end Garrett Celek. Robinson has been dreadful with Beathard, catching just five of his 16 targets over the last four games for 99 yards. Goodwin hasn’t been much better, with eight catches on 21 targets during that span. Still, they’re both extremely cheap, will be in on almost every snap and have an excellent macro matchup – even with Janoris Jenkins back for the Giants.
Projection: Seven targets for Goodwin, six targets for Robinson
5. Adam Humphries, $3,100 and Chris Godwin, $3,000: Bucs
Adam Humphries has run 83 percent of his routes from the slot this season, and I don’t expect that to change even with Mike Evans suspended. Humphries will stick in his slot role and should see a bump in target share, but not role. The big role change goes to Chris Godwin, a third-round rookie who was one of the most impressive wideout prospects on tape coming out of Penn State last season and tore up the Combine. Godwin projects as the starter in place of Evans, who was playing on 89 percent of the snaps and averaging 9.1 targets per game. Both Humphries and Godwin have reasonable matchups, as they’re unlikely to face Morris Claiborne (see DeSean Jackson above).
Projection: Six targets for Humphries, five targets for Godwin
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