When Is It Time To Officially Fade A Wide Receiver In Fantasy?

Whether it is dynasty or redraft understanding when the cliff typically comes for a fantasy asset is key to staying ahead of the game. What we did was review the last 10 seasons of wide receiver production by age to see when the drop off comes for wide receivers. A couple key nuggets that you need to know before we get started.

  1. The years sampled were 2011-2020 for the wide receiver position only.
  2. The analysis benchmark we will be discussing today is 100 targets. Every wide receiver ages 21-37 had to have at least 100 targets to qualify
  3. When conducting the analysis it was important to have a baseline for targets as many wide receivers who don’t make it typically only play 3-4 years in their early 20s. That means if you don’t have a target baseline in the analysis then you’re including a lot of young wide receivers who don’t pan out. This would prevent us from getting a better idea of how age becomes a factor since we want to identify the wide receivers who were able to sustain some level of relevance throughout the years

Like we always promise we will give you the high-level data first and you can take it for what it is worth. The first chart will include the wide receivers (WR) age, the average total fantasy points those wide receivers had at that age and the average points per game those wide receivers (PPG) had at that age.  If you want a deeper dive, we have included more information later in the article.

Reviewing Points and Points Per Game (PPG)

WR Age Points PPG
21 177.7 11.3
22 182.9 12
23 183.5 12
24 174.5 11.3
25 191.3 12.2
26 205.5 13.3
27 185.3 12
28 191 12.6
29 194.1 12.6
30 177.6 11.5
31 182.5 11.6
32 171.4 11.6
33 179.4 11.5
34 183.2 11.6
35 154.4 10.1
36 131.9 8.5
37 144.9 10.4

 

As you can see for the wide receiver position there is no major drop off. What we end up seeing is a lot of stability over the years. Wide receivers age 25-29 peak at age 26 but they remain stable up until their age 30 campaign. Meanwhile once they hit 30 instead of a steep decline, we find a slight drop in fantasy production, but it quickly stabilizes similarly to wide receivers in their late 20s. When you breakdown the production 25-29 vs. 30-34 wide receivers age 30-34 still produce at just over 92% in points and PPG vs. their late 20 counterparts.

Overall, only a few wide receivers make it to age 35 let alone reach 100 targets at that age. However, when they do, we can still see some level of production as they produce at roughly 75% vs. age 25-29.

Finally, the drop off isn’t as steep as we might have thought. This slight dip in production followed by a stability period does show that wide receivers in their early 30s who are still producing at a high level probably have a few more years left in the tank. 

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The third and final feature of this draft capital trilogy is the tight ends. If you missed the running back article, click here and if you missed the wide receiver article, click here! What we did was look back over the last 10 years (2011-2020) to see how many consistent fantasy contributors came out of each round of the NFL draft. We aren’t going to be talking about one hit wonders. Instead, we are highlighting the players who were able to sustain some level of fantasy success over their careers.

In this article we are reviewing the tight end position. The benchmark used was 6.5 points per game (PPG) in half point per reception (PPR) for their career. Even with the extremely low point total of 6.5 you will see very few tight ends ever become consistent fantasy contributors. Another key factor why the benchmark is a lot lower for tight ends is how poorly they perform as rookies. For example, notable tight ends George Kittle (5.7) and Mark Andrews (5.6) and T.J. Hockenson (5.4) all failed to hit 6 PPG in their rookie seasons.

Below you will find a chart breaking out draft capital by round for tight end. The chart is broken out into four columns:

  1. Round Drafted – Identifies the round in the NFL draft that the tight end were drafted
  2. Total tight end drafted – This is the total number of tight end drafted in that round over the past 10 years
  3. Career 6.5 PPG in .5 PPR – This column represents how many tight end drafted in that round hit the benchmark of 6.5 PPG for their careers in .5 PPR
  4. % Hit Rate – The final column shows what percentage of the tight end drafted in that round hit that benchmark

Feel free to just review the chart only and take what you want from it. If you want some additional insight on how we feel about 2021 prospects based on this data, it will be included later in the article!

Round
Drafted
Total Tight Ends
Drafted
Career
6.5 PPG in .5 PPR
% Hit Rate
1 8 6 75%
2 18 5 28%
3 24 4 17%
4 24 1 4%
5 19 1 5%
6 21 1 5%
7 25 0 0%
Total 139 18 13%
Total after Rd 3 89 3 3.40%

 

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The illustrious wide receiver Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons will be taking the Dirty Bird to the Music City. Will the 32-year old wideout make a dent for your fantasy team by swapping Matt Ryan for Ryan Tannehill? What does this mean for Calvin Ridley, who becomes the de facto #1 target in Atlanta? And how can you profit off this in the early fantasy football season? Join me after the jump and learn why you’ll be moaning over Julio Jones. 

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Team: Atlanta Falcons

New Play-Caller: Arthur Smith

Scheme: West Coast

 

Historical Overview

The change from former Falcons Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter’s pass first Air Coryell attack to Arthur Smith’s run first play action pass offense is going to be drastic. However, Matt Ryan has a lot of familiarity with this offense Smith is bringing over. Back in 2015 and 2016 former Titans Offensive Coordinator Matt Lafleur was the Quarterbacks coach in Atlanta for two seasons.  In those seasons the Falcons ran a similar scheme to what Arthur Smith ran in Tennessee after taking over for Matt Lafleur in 2019. Matt Ryan enjoyed his lone MVP season in 2016 running this system amassing 4,944 pass yards and 38 TDs. That season the Falcons produced a Top 3 quarterback, Top 6 running back and a Top 6 wide receiver.

In this article we will breakdown by position the impact of this coaching change, and how we believe the fantasy relevant players will perform in the new offense.

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The fantasy regular season is in the books and I already laid out rankings for the playoffs. So what else is there to do but look ahead into the crystal ball and see what 2021 could have in store. As always, this is not format specific but a general ranking based simply on who I’d rather see on my roster in 2021. I am happy to talk specifics in the comments, as the note section is not meant to be a thesis explaining the position of each ranking. 

I have included some choice rookies for 2021, although in all likelihood there will be more that make their way into the top 80 by season’s end. This year there are currently 5 rookies in the top 50 WR in fantasy points per game. With offenses using more 3 and 4 wide formations, rookies can get on the field early and often. Earning snaps is the biggest hurdle for most rookies but that is not as hard as it used to be when only 2 WRs were featured. Rookie receivers should continue to be assets even in redraft leagues, so I have been generous in my rankings with 2 rookies already in the top 36. 

Read all of the QB, RB and TE Razzball Rest of Season Positional Rankings now!

And without further ado… 

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Your WR top 80 14.0 is here!  This is a playoff specific edition of the WR ranks, with extra weight given to the next 3 matchups specifically. Nothing matters but the path ahead so a few players jumped up because of their schedule. Additionally guys who are currently injured might as well be off the list, although some are straggling around like Kenny Golladay, but there is no guarantee he’ll suit up for our fantasy teams.  

This list is not league or format specific, but it is based on 2020 rest-of-season projection only. When thinking through tiers and rankings I asked myself simply – “all things considered who would I rather have on my roster?”

Read all of the QB, RB and TE Razzball Rest of Season Positional Rankings now!

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Team: Atlanta Falcons

Opponent: New Orleans Saints

WR1: Julio Jones

Shadow Coverage Matchup: Marshon Lattimore

Julio Jones vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All Other Opponents 22 7.2 109.5 0.5 17.6
Vs. Shadow Coverage 16 6 81.3 0.4 13.4
vs. Marshon Lattimore 1 3 79 0 9.4

Historical Production vs. Shadow Coverage

Ok, let’s try this again! After Lattimore missed week 11 and Julio left early we still don’t have much to go on when these two play each other. Back in 2018 the Saints used Marshon Lattimore on Calvin Ridley and tried to double Julio with Eli Apple as the primary CB. Let’s just say that didn’t go well as Julio went for 11-147. In 2019 the Saints wised up and used Lattimore on Julio; however, Lattimore left the game early due to injury and only played half the snaps. Still Julio only finished with a modest 3-79 all of which came after Lattimore left the game.  Later in the year Julio missed the second game vs. the Saints so you see we truly don’t know how this matchup will pan out.

Week 13 Recommendation – WR3/Flex

With Julio dealing with another injury in 2020 it is hard to trust him as his usual #1 self in week 13. The good news for Julio is Lattimore has only shadowed Mike Evans in 2020 and with his counterpart Janoris Jenkins out the Falcons should be able to move the football more this week. Most fantasy teams won’t have the depth to fade Julio and with his career 13.4 PPG vs. shadow coverage, Julio should do enough to get the job done in season long leagues

DFS Recommendation – Price FD $8,000 / DK $6,600

Julio is priced as a top 8 option on FD making him a full fade at that price. On DraftKings you are able to get him at a reduced cost at roughly top 16 value, but even at that price playing on a bum wheel it might make him tough to trust. Players I would pivot to include Allen Robinson vs. DET and Adam Thielen vs JAX.

 

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Your WR top 80 13.0 is here!  Even though week 12 hasn’t ended yet, we’re on to the final countdown. If you’re 7-5 or better you can probably coast but a playoff seed may be on the line. If you’re rolling at 6-6 or in some leagues maybe even 5-7 this is do or die. Obviously “rest of season” doesn’t really mean much with one game left in the regular season but this is still a relative ranking of the best WRs in our game. As a rule, injuries will always bump guys down. I am generally pessimistic that players will return on time at full strength without a setback. 

This list is not league or format specific, but it is based on 2020 rest-of-season projection only. When thinking through tiers and rankings I asked myself simply – “all things considered who would I rather have on my roster?”

Read all of the QB, RB and TE Razzball Rest of Season Positional Rankings now!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Your WR top 80 13.0 is here!  As a rule, injuries will always bump guys down. I am generally pessimistic that players will return on time at full strength without a setback. 

This list is not league or format specific, but it is based on 2020 rest-of-season projection only. When thinking through tiers and rankings I asked myself simply – “all things considered who would I rather have on my roster?”

Read all of the QB, RB and TE Razzball Rest of Season Positional Rankings now!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

 

Shadow Coverage Tracker
WR Finish Total
1 13
2 7
3 7
4+ 25
Grand Total 52

 

Team: Houston Texans

Opponent: New England Patriots

WR1: Will Fuller

Shadow Coverage Matchup:  Stephon Gilmore

 

Will Fuller vs. Shadow Coverage
Opponent Games Rec Yards TDs PPG
All Other Opponents 23 4.8 70.5 0.5 12.6
Vs. Shadow Coverage 4 3 45 0.3 7.5

Historical Production vs. Shadow Coverage

As we discussed in prior articles Will Fuller hasn’t seen much shadow coverage in his career due to DeAndre Hopkins. However, when he has seen it over the past two and a half seasons there is a notable dip. This includes a 1-8 performance vs. the Patriots just last season. In 2020 Will Fuller has shined in his new role, and was able to find the end zone in his lone shadow coverage matchup securing 3-35-1 vs. Jaire Alexander in week 7

Week 11 Recommendation – WR3/Flex

With Stephon Gilmore nursing a bump knee it is fair to question of effective he will be slowing down Will Fuller. This season Gilmore has only shadowed one elite WR all season which was D.K. Metcalf in week 2. Metcalf did get loose for a long TD finishing with 4-92-1 on the day. I do believe Gilmore will be able to slow down Fuller, but playing at home with no David Johnson, Watson will be expect to throw a lot in week 11.

DFS Recommendation – Price FD $7,100 / DK $6,900

On both sites Will Fuller is priced as a WR1 and will cost you well over 10% of your budget. This makes him a DFS fade as his best performance to date in shadow coverage was 11 points which won’t get it done in DFS. Players I would pivot to include Kenny Golladay vs. CAR and Diontae Johnson vs. JAX

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