Figuring out the top-end guys (read here) is relatively easy. The low-end wideouts are much harder — and more valuable for fantasy football. Each week, I’ll discuss wide receivers under $5,000 who I project for at least five targets.
Devin Funchess, CAR at ATL, $4,700 — Greg Olsen’s foot injury is a big one for the Panthers. The veteran tight end averaged 9.7 targets per game over the final four of last season (the only time he was truly healthy) and was at 7.8 targets per game in 2015-16. Fourth-round rookie Ian Thomas ($2,900) is an intriguing athlete and has raw upside, but it’s difficult to project him for a meaningful target share. He’s just not ready. So we can start spreading targets out to the Panthers’ established weapons, which is exactly what we saw last season.
In the nine games Olsen missed, Funchess averaged 7.7 targets per game. In the seven Olsen played in, Funchess was at 5.8. So we can project an expanded role here for the oversized wideout who already posted a solid 20 percent target share last week. Projection: 8 targets
Randall Cobb, GB vs. MIN, $4,600 — One of the easiest layups of mid-round season-long drafting went off in Week 1, as Cobb put 9-142-1 on a quietly strong Bears defense. Of course, a lot of that came on a 75-yard touchdown with two minutes remaining. But despite trade rumors and other bad vibes around him late in camp, Cobb was in his usual slot role for 42 snaps and was in on 52-of-60 snaps overall Week 1.
With Davante Adams ($6,800) nursing a shoulder injury and Xavier Rhodes looming on the outside, there’s even more reason to think volume will be funneled toward Cobb Sunday. Of course, Cobb is only in play if Aaron Rodgers ($6,800; knee) ends up playing. Projection: 8 targets
Kenny Golladay, DET at SF, $4,800 — Golladay was one of the most exciting wideout prospects to come into the league last year. Some nagging injuries and an un-prioritized role held him back, but this has the look of a breakout season. If you followed preseason usage, you knew the Lions toyed with Golladay as their No. 2 wideout. Regardless, this team projects to run as many 3-WR sets as anyone in the league, and Golladay continues to take huge chunks out of Marvin Jones’ ($6,200) target share.
In the Monday night loss to the Jets, Golladay was in on 65-of-70 snaps and posted a 23 percent target share. There’s no reason for Marvin to be $1,400 more than Kenny G this week for the plus matchup at San Francisco. Projection: 7 targets
Chris Godwin, TB vs. PHI, $4,600 — DeSean Jackson left the Week 1 win with a concussion and a shoulder injury. So we can project an already sizable role for Godwin to become even bigger. Remember, Godwin impressed the Bucs so much in the offseason they named him a co-starter and repeatedly insisted he’ll have a big role. It’s not a surprise, as Godwin had the measureables that most closely resembled an elite fantasy wideout out of everyone in the 2017 class.
Godwin has also produced every time he’s gotten the opportunity in the NFL. As noted by Evan Silva, Godwin has played 40+ snaps in his career four times and has gone 5-68-0, 3-98-0, 7-111-1 and 3-41-1. This week’s matchup against the Eagles is not ideal, but volume will be funneled to the air as the Bucs have no prayer of running against this Eagles front seven. Projection: 7 targets
Quincy Enunwa, NYJ vs. MIA, $4,700 — A lot of people forgot about Enunwa because he missed the entire 2017 season due to neck surgery. Then he missed some time in camp with a thumb issue. But this is quietly athletic guy who goes 6’2/225 with 4.45 speed and posted a solid 58-857-4 line in 2016 as a role player. Enunwa burst back onto the scene Monday night by putting 6-63-1 on the Lions while seeing an absurd 47 percent target share from Sam Darnold ($5,100).
Jermaine Kearse ($4,000; abdomen) is expected to return for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins, but his role is uncertain after missing more than three weeks of practice. Enunwa has talent and the always fruitful “big slot” role working in his favor. He lined up in the slot on 24 of his 40 snaps in Week 1 — a game Darnold was forced to throw in only 21 times. Projection: 6 targets
Dante Pettis, SF vs. DET, $4,000 (if Marquise Goodwin is out) — Goodwin ($4,800) suffered a deep thigh bruise in Week 1 and wasn’t able to finish the game. At this point, he’s looking very questionable for Sunday. If Goodwin can’t go, expect Pettis to fill in on the outside opposite Pierre Garcon ($5,000) with Trent Taylor ($3,900) in the slot.
Pettis, who Kyle Shanahan and the Niners traded up for at No. 44 overall in the draft, caught a 22-yard touchdown in Week 1 and sported a 16 percent target share. In a game against the Lions in which Jimmy Garoppolo ($6,000) projects for far more efficiency and attempts than he got off against the stout Vikings, Pettis is someone to monitor. Projection: 6 targets if Goodwin is out
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.