Figuring out the top-end guys (read here) is relatively easy. The low-end wideouts are much harder — and more valuable. Each week, I’ll discuss wide receivers under $5,000 who I project for at least five targets.
Josh Reynolds, LAR at DET, $4,900 — Reynolds is a bit overpriced at $4,900, but his role is better than many give it credit for. In the Rams’ most recent game, Reynolds played on 78-of-80 snaps, was in the slot on 30 of them and posted a very reasonable 17 percent target share. He’s seen an elite five red-zone targets in his past two full games and produced to the tune of 61-1,039-12 in his final season at Texas A&M in 2016. Now comes a spot against a Lions team that has zero capable corners outside of Darius Slay. We can expect Slay to spend most of his day on Brandin Cooks.
Projection: 6 targets
Taylor Gabriel, CHI at NYG, $4,200 — Gabriel continues to play a version of the Tyreek Hill role for Matt Nagy. He’s seen 17 targets over his past two games, is averaging 6.2 per game on the season and has a solid aDOT (average depth of target) of 11.8 yards. It’s a quality role for someone priced at $4,200. This week’s matchup against the Giants is a good one as they’re 16th in yards per pass attempt allowed and 28th in pass defense DVOA.
Projection: 7 targets
Bruce Ellington, DET vs. LAR, $3,500 — With Golden Tate traded and Marvin Jones (knee) on IR, the Lions remain extremely thin at wideout. That’s allowed Ellington — just signed off the street three weeks ago — to grab onto a big role. The slot man has ran a route on 38 of Matthew Stafford’s 40 dropbacks on Thanksgiving and saw seven targets. In his two games as a Lion, he has an eye-opening 22.5 percent target share. The ceiling is going to be very low because of a truly pathetic 3.56 aDOT, but Ellington is very likely to catch 5+ balls against the Rams. We can’t often say that for someone priced at $3,500.
Projection: 7 targets
Marcell Ateman, OAK vs. KC, $3,600 — Ateman was one of #DraftTwitter’s favorite sleepers coming out of Oregon State. He only ran a 4.62 at the Combine, tanking his stock into the seventh round of the draft. But his 6’5/216 size yields big-play upside, as evidenced by a huge 18.4 yards per reception average over his final 25 games at Oklahoma State. With Martavis Bryant and Brandon LaFell done, Seth Roberts strictly in a slot role and Jordy Nelson (knee) more withered than ever, Ateman is functioning as a primary receiver for Derek Carr. He’s run a route on 69 of Carr’s 72 dropbacks over the past two weeks and 15 targets during that span. The Raiders almost certainly will be trailing against the Chiefs on Sunday, setting up plenty of soft coverages for Ateman to show better efficiency on.
Projection: 7 targets
Chris Godwin, TB vs. CAR, $3,900 — Mike Evans got humiliated by James Bradberry a month ago and will see him again. O.J. Howard (knee) is done, leaving mere red-zone specialist Cam Brate behind him. DeSean Jackson (thumb) had to seek a second opinion this week and has been struggling for nearly two months now. It’s time for the Bucs to free Godwin, whose rotational role sadly has crippled his viability this season. Still, Godwin is averaging 2.02 yards per route run — 26th among 104 qualifying wideouts in the league. He’ll be a leap-of-faith play betting on increased playing time if Jackson is healthy. If we get word Jackson is out or limited, Godwin will be a premier value.
Projection: 7 targets if DeSean Jackson is out or limited
Injuries worth watching:
— If Sammy Watkins (foot) can’t go, Chris Conley ($3,800) would project for 5+ targets.
— If Pierre Garcon (knee) and Marquise Goodwin (personal) can’t go, Dante Pettis ($3,800) would project for 5+ targets.
— If Devin Funchess (back) can’t go, Curtis Samuel ($3,900) would project for 5+ targets.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is adamlevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.