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Fantasy WRs Set To Improve in 2021

Analyzing WR Targets
by Ani Sridhar – Twitter: @anisri23

Which WR’s were target monsters last season? Who could see a decrease in targets and who could see an uptick in production at the WR position? Let’s dive in!

Analyzing WR targets is crucial when drafting wideouts in fantasy football.  Just like how we want to draft RBs that will get the majority of the carries in their offense, it’s important to draft WRs that will receive the majority of targets on their team.

Targets = Catches = Fantasy Points

Let’s look at some of the target leaders from last season and where they are being drafted right now in best ball drafts.

In 2020, Keenan Allen had 147 targets in only 14 games with rookie QB Justin Herbert and that number is bound to only go up this season.   With the departure of TE Hunter Henry and the arrival of new offensive coordinator  Joe Lombardi, Allen could see north of 165 targets this season.  Lombardi was the QB coach for the Saints and worked with Drew Brees in New Orleans.  His coaching style prioritizes the passing game and that is a huge boost to Allen and Herbert.  Allen is currently being drafted in the middle-late 3rd round and sometimes in the early 4th, but could produce Top 5-7 WR numbers this year, especially in PPR formats.  In comparison, Davante Adams saw 149 targets last season, and has an unsure QB situation looming, but is one of the first three WRs being drafted.

A player who is garnering a lot of hype right now is Calvin Ridley since Julio Jones has been traded to the Tennessee Titans.  Ridley saw 143 targets in 15 games last season but that was also due to the fact that Julio Jones only played 9 games last year resulting in Ridley being the WR1 for a majority of the season. Ridley could see an uptick in targets but I think it will remain relatively the same and the trade could even be a downgrade for Ridley’s fantasy production since he will now see the top CB from opposing defenses.

An absolute value in drafts this season is Robby Anderson.  He quietly saw 136 targets last season with Teddy Bridgewater and was a Top 20 fantasy WR.  He now gets an upgrade at QB with Sam Darnold and a new offensive coordinator in Joe Brady.  Brady was the passing game coordinator at LSU who worked with Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase.  When Anderson was with the Jets, he saw 94 & 95 targets in his 2 seasons with Sam Darnold.  Anderson already has a connection with Darnold and I think will see 150+ targets this season.  He is currently the 33rd WR off the board and has an ADP in the middle of the 6th – 7th round.  Anderson is being drafted as a back end WR2/WR3 with WR1 upside.

A couple of WRs who upgraded at QB this offseason are Terry McLaurin and Robert Woods.  In 2020 with a carousel of starting QBs, McLaurin saw 134 targets in 15 games.  Even though McLaurin has already cemented himself as an elite wideout, with Ryan Fitzpatrick in DC, McLaurin’s targets will go up and this could be the season he finishes as a Top 12 Fantasy WR.  His ADP fits his outlook as McLaurin is currently the 12th WR being drafted in best ball drafts

Robert Woods saw 129 targets last year and should see at least 150 with Matt Stafford in 2021.  He is currently the 16th WR off the board and is a solid WR2 and has WR1 upside if you start your draft with 3 straight RBs and grab Woods as your first WR in the 4th round.

A WR that is the ultimate dart throw right now is Brandin Cooks.  He saw 119 targets in 2020 but the uncertainty of whether or not Deshaun Watson will be his QB in 2021 muddies his fantasy outlook.  With Watson at the helm, Cooks would see north of 130 targets this year especially with the departure of Will Fuller and no real competition at the WR position.  If Tyrod Taylor or Davis Mills is the QB for the Texans this year, the upside is limited with Cooks.  He is currently the 39th WR off the board and I think he is worth the risk if you already drafted a couple of solid WRs before him.

Good luck in all your drafts and keep it locked in with us here at RosterWatch!

One Comments

  1. Before watching this video or reading this post, I have already completed maybe a hundred mock drafts. Every WR you mentioned is my thoughts exactly. Based on perceived value versus their current ADP. It’s funny that Sam Darnell is an “upgrade” to Bridgewater yet Robby Anderson was so much more productive with Bridgewater than he ever was with Darnell. Hopefully Darnell lights it up now that he has a fresh start in Carolina. If Robby Anderson matches his output from last season or gets even close he will be a steal. I worry a tad about Ja’marr Chase seeing consistent targets because Higgins and Boyd are still there. I also like Tyler Lockett where he’s being drafted. I can imagine D. J. Chark possibly returning to his prior glory from the season before last too perhaps. I really like the call on Brandin Cooks!

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