Potential 2020 Mid & Late Round Gems to Target: Wide Receivers
Injuries, suspensions or holdouts can happen at anytime, be that during preseason or the regular season. You hope it doesn’t happen to your fantasy players players but it seems as though it is inevitable as least one or two players will be lost for a period of time. This leaves fantasy owners having to start players that they have very little faith in, especially in leagues with larger rosters and thin waiver wires.
Therefore, it is important to find those mid or late-round gems. Guys that can step in and perform. Sure, they most likely won’t lead your team in points, but they can produce enough to sustain your team and keep you from tanking. I’ll be recommending certain players that have an ADP after Round 6 who can step right in and produce. Some leagues can be won or lost in these critical rounds.
With a plethora of wide receiver talent in the mid and late rounds, it provides plenty of potential targets. Many drafters adhere to the early running back strategy in redraft leagues, leaving their starting WR core picks to these critical rounds in the middle or back-end of drafts. In this article we will look at five options that could be crucial contributors for your fantasy team in 2020.
Jamison Crowder | New York Jets
In his first year with the NY Jets, the slot receiver finished with 122 targets, 78 receptions and 6 TDs. Considering Sam Darnold missed four out of the first five games of the season these numbers are solid. The Jets receiving core had an overhaul in the offseason. They added Breshad Perriman (free agency) and Denzel Mims (draft), while letting Robby Anderson walk. With training camp and preseason up in the air still, Crowder will have an advantage after building some trust with Darnold last season.
In 7 of the 16 games in 2019, Crowder scored over 15 fantasy points (PPR). There is a good chance we see even more of those performances this season with a healthy Darnold, a new offensive line, and hopefully a better running game.
Marvin Jones | Detroit Lions
Jones has become firmly established as one of the most underrated fantasy players at any position on a seemingly continual basis. While he is the second option in the passing game on his team, has a nose for the endzone, averaging 6.5 touchdowns per season in Detroit. In the past three years he has been a top-30 option at the position twice, including ranking fifth at the position in 2017. The one year he ranked outside the top-30 he only suited up for nine games and in 2019 he ranked 27th despite only playing in 13.
With Matthew Stafford back in the saddle and a talented rookie running back in D’Andre Swift, the passing game should come alive, and with it so should Jones. Injuries have been a factor in his numbers the last two seasons but when he is on the field his effectiveness and ability is without question. Jones averaged just under 15 points per game in his 13 outings last season. Entering the final year of his contract, Jones has all the motivation he needs to put up big numbers this season. Kenny Golladay will command the focus of the defense, giving Jones plenty of opportunities to make plays and find openings.
Brandin Cooks | Houston Texans
Cooks has been shipped around like a journeyman, yet is anything but that when it comes to talent on the field. In 2020 he joins the Texans, instantly becoming a reliable target for Deshaun Watson and possibly taking the mantle as the #1 receiver.
While injuries plagued him last season, Cooks had four straight 1000-yard seasons from 2015 to 2018. Cooks is a year removed from the best statistical year of his career in which he averaged over 15 fantasy points per game in PPR formats.
There is legitimate reason for concern with the recent history of concussions but predicting injury may not be the right approach for a player who has played all 16 regular season games in four of the six years he has been in the league.
In terms of opportunities, the departure of DeAndre Hopkins creates a massive amount of available targets. Will Fuller has an opportunity also to step up and be a force, yet soft tissue injuries have plagued his career, meaning he has never played a full 16 games in his career. Both players are very talented but Cooks is arguably the more reliable option. This team has the potential to put up some big offensive numbers and Watson to Cooks should be the connection that leads the way.
Sterling Shepard | New York Giants
Who is the number one receiver for the New York Giants? That question remains to be answered, but the name that shines the brightest is Sterling Shepard. While injuries cost him six games last season, Sterling averaged just over 14 points per game in PPR when on the field. His upside may be limited by other receiving options on his team, but his floor feels safe while in the lineup.
Daniel Jones will be in his second season and should make improvements when it comes to his turnover issues and overall play. Shepard averaged 8.5 targets per game and appears to have a good conection with Jones. If he is on the field for 16 games, then100 targets should come easily. If you are going to wait on receiver, Sterling is a great option with his ADP coming in at around round 10.
Mike Williams | Los Angeles Chargers
Williams is a talented play maker who can score at will and make contested catches. He was drafted seventh overall in 2017 for a reason. If you are one of the people who think Keenan Allen will fall flat, then who on the Chargers will benefit?
Williams has plenty of upside. He went from 66 targets and 664 receiving yards in 2018 to 90 targets and 1001 yards receiving last year. His average yards per reception increased by five yards, up to 20.4. While a touchdown regression was expected from 2018, going from 10 to 2 was a bit extreme. He should comfortably surpass that this season, even with the question marks at QB. Whether it is the veteran Tyrod Taylor or the rookie Justin Herbert, this talented receiver will have some big games. Finding this kind of upside after round 10 is unheard of, grabbing him at this point is an easy call.
Drafting these names should give you some upside and consistency in the middle rounds. When looking to fill in those last starting spots that is exactly what you should be looking for. Don’t be surprised to have a few of these players outscore earlier draft picks.
Fantasy Football Analyst
Norman Bún was raised in Northern California and now resides in a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina with his beautiful wife and two children. He is a school teacher and writer who is passionate about his faith, golf, MMA and fantasy football.
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