Hunter Renfrow Is Undervalued in Fantasy Football
The Kansas City Chiefs are coming off of a Super Bowl victory after easily winning the AFC West, and the Las Vegas Raiders' actions in the NFL Draft indicate they're looking to keep up offensively as opposed to slow down their division rivals.
They spent three of their first four picks on offense, including pick 12 on receiver Henry Ruggs, pick 80 on gadget-type player Lynn Bowden, and pick 81 on receiver Bryan Edwards. Meanwhile, the club also enjoyed a breakout from tight end Darren Waller in 2019, and Tyrell Williams is back to provide a vertical threat.
But despite all that, Hunter Renfrow is the receiver to own in fantasy and is coming off of a quietly excellent rookie year.
The Raiders spent the 149th pick in last year's NFL Draft on Renfrow, and he didn't pay immediate dividends. Through his first six games, Renfrow totaled only 26 targets, 14 receptions, 115 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns. He reached the 30-receiving-yard threshold only one time during that stretch. Yikes.
Renfrow flipped the switch after that, though. He played in seven of the Raiders' last 10 games and balled out. Among receivers from Week 8 through Week 17, Renfrow ranked 58th in targets (45), T-37th in receptions (35), 40th in receiving yards (490), and T-16th in receiving touchdowns (four), according to Pro-Football-Reference's Play Index Tool. The sum of his work over that span resulted in ranking 37th among wideouts in fantasy points for point-per-reception (PPR) formats despite playing in only seven of a possible 10 games.
Renfrow's efficiency was breathtaking. Among receivers targeted at least 30 times over that stretch, his 10.89 yards per target ranked eighth.
Furthermore, even including his early-season struggles does little to take away from his top-shelf efficiency in year one. To that end, as Evan Silva of Establish The Run points out in the following tweet, Renfrow measured up quite well against fellow rookie receivers over the last decade in yards per route run.
Only 18 NFL WRs have averaged over 2.0 yards per route run as rookies (min 40 targets) over the last 10 years. Pretty good group to be in.
The 18: pic.twitter.com/e6NZ9rbbKh
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) February 22, 2020
Renfrow ranked well in numberFire's proprietary metric Target Net Expected Points (NEP) per Target, too. Out of 81 receivers targeted at least 50 times last year, Renfrow's 0.49 Target NEP per Target was tied for 15th-best. Outstanding work from the rookie, but it was weighed down by his first six games.
Surely recency bias as a result of a big finish from a young player has inflated Renfrow's average draft position (ADP), right?
Not so much.
In 1,284 PPR fantasy football mock drafts held from May 11 through May 14 at Fantasy Football Calculator, Renfrow is the 71st receiver off the board with a paltry ADP of 164.1. He's also going in the same range of 12-team BestBall10 drafts this month (160.3).
The lack of love for Renfrow isn't limited to just the average drafter, either. Renfrow currently has an expert consensus ranking of WR63 at FantasyPros. It appears the pundits aren't sold on Renfrow carrying over his electric finish to his sophomore season.
Yes, the influx of pass-catching talent through the draft -- let alone the return of Waller and Williams and the free-agent additions of old-man Jason Witten and Nelson Agholor -- poses competition to Renfrow this year. Having said that, Renfrow's being grossly undervalued.
The second-year wideout's a slam-dunk top-50 receiver in PPR formats for me. At his current cost, though, he doesn't require a top-50 receiver investment in fantasy drafts. Renfrow's one of my favorite late-round dart throws, and I'd reach more than a round ahead of his current ADP to make sure I secure his services.