Fantasy Football Slack and Forth: Receivers to Fade in 2020

The receiver position is incredibly deep this season. I mean, deeeep. But that doesn't mean you should love every wideout at their current price.

Last week, Elisha Twerski and I went back and forth chatting -- on Slack -- about some running backs we're staying away from in 2020. Now we're doing the same thing for receivers.

Which wideouts are we fading this season?

Austan Kas: The receiver position is loaded for 2020. I have to scroll down pretty far in the positional ADP from BestBall10's July drafts to find wideouts I feel yucky about. With that said, there are some guys who I think are overpriced at the moment. Who is someone at the position that you're out on for 2020? Can be an early-round pick or a cheap player.

Elisha Twerski: Odell Beckham is the WR11 in ADP, and I just can’t wrap my mind around that. The guy was the WR25 in 2019 despite playing all 16 games. In terms of points per game in half-PPR, he was the WR32. In fact, in half-PPR, OBJ had 11 games last year in which he scored less than 11 fantasy points. That’s…not very good.

Last year, the Browns had a pass-to-run ratio of 1.47. That was middle of the pack. Last season newly hired head coach Kevin Stefanski was in his first year coordinating a Vikings offense that had a ratio of 1.04, the fourth-lowest. The season before Stefanski, Minnesota’s ratio was 1.81, the fourth-highest. All that's to say Cleveland could be throwing a lot less in 2020, not more.

The fact that the Browns added Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills Jr. -- two guys who excel at run blocking – should clue people in that they want to pound the rock. From 2018 to 2019, Stefon Diggs experienced a per-game drop in targets of 3.7, while Adam Thielen's drop was even larger, at 4.8 per game. Does any of that make you want to go out there and spend one of your first three picks on Beckham? I haven’t even mentioned the fact that the Browns signed tight end Austin Hooper and retained the services of Kareem Hunt. Jumping on the OBJ ship yet? Additionally, for some odd reason, Jarvis Landry, despite averaging 2.2 more points per game than Beckham last year, can be had 38.8 picks later.

Yes, I know Beckham played through injuries in 2019, but it still makes zero sense to me. Am I missing something here? How do you feel about OBJ?

Austan Kas: So I agree with a lot of what you said. To play devil's advocate a bit, OBJ is still just 27, and he had terrible touchdown luck last year -- scoring just four times despite 74 catches and 1,035 yards. And like you said at the end, he was reportedly pretty banged up.

For me, there's a clear top seven at wideout this season (not in any order) -- Michael Thomas, Davante Adams, Julio Jones, Tyreek Hill, DeAndre Hopkins, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. Outside that group, I can see why people would give OBJ the best chance to put up an elite season. If he stays healthy, gets better touchdown luck, and Baker Mayfield isn't so bad, he could have a really good season. That's a few ifs, though, and I think you made several good points there.

Elisha Twerski: Touchdown regression makes sense if he was guaranteed to get the volume he got last year, but he could see a dip in looks. That's concerning to me.

Who are you down on?

Austan Kas: Cooper Kupp is my biggest receiver fade at wideout this year, and anyone who reads numberFire on the regular probably knows that already. I'll try to regurgitate some of the info from those two linked pieces in a new way.

Last season Kupp was the PPR WR2 from Weeks 1-8. From Weeks 9-16, he was the WR43. Week 9 was the Rams' bye week, and they emerged with a different plan of attack post-bye -- namely getting their tight ends more involved. Tyler Higbee benefitted big time while Kupp came out on the other end. Per, Kupp had a 28% target share the first half of the year, and that clip dropped all the way to 14% from Week 9 on. Four touchdowns over the second half of the season really saved Kupp from completely bottoming out.

I don't think Kupp will be WR43 this year, but I do think the change in the Rams' offense post-bye was for real, and some of it will carry over. Coach Sean McVay has actually talked this offseason about wanting to get Gerald Everett more involved, too.

The loss of Brandin Cooks will help some, but I think this passing game is going to run through Robert Woods and Higbee. I don't see the upside for Kupp, and I am worried about the floor, as well. Kupp is the current WR16, two spots before Woods comes off the board. I'd take Woods all day over Kupp.

What do you think about Kupp? Am I overreacting to his weird second half of 2019?

Elisha Twerski: I don't think you're overreacting -- his playing time dwindling down the stretch is not a great sign.

In this case, I think it's a bit of Kupp being overvalued and Woods being undervalued. I have Woods as my WR13, six spots ahead of Kupp. He's not the sexiest pick, which is why you can currently get him at WR18, but that's a great value.

As for Kupp, I'm okay taking him top-20 at the position. He played 60% of the snaps in all but one game, and Cooks leaving is a huge plus. The only guy going below him that I'd definitely take ahead of Kupp is Woods. The rest of them are all in the same tier for me as far as floor and ceiling are concerned.

Aside from Woods, who else in that range would you pick ahead of Kupp?

Austan Kas: A.J. Brown, Tyler Lockett, Keenan Allen, D.J. Chark and Stefon Diggs are all guys going after Kupp that I'd take before Kupp.

Maybe not Chark.

But I do like those other guys more than Kupp for 2020.

Elisha Twerski: Whoa. I'm not sure I'd take any of those ahead of Kupp. I'd consider Brown and Lockett, but that's about it.

Austan Kas: Maybe I'm too down on him. We'll see. Our model has Kupp as WR23. I think there's a cluster of guys in that range who are all about the same -- I just listed a lot of them -- but I'm really off Kupp for 2020, obviously.

OK, so who is another wideout you're passing on?

Elisha Twerski: I'm fading D.K. Metcalf. I understand the intrigue, but I think the hype is going a bit overboard.

Metcalf was the WR41 last year in terms of points per game. He finished higher than WR23 on just three occasions. He ranked as the WR35 or worse 10 times. For some reason, he's currently coming off the board as the WR21.


It's not like Seattle is a high-volume passing offense. The Seattle Seahawks also added Greg Olsen and Phillip Dorsett in the offseason, and Will Dissly will be returning from injury. That increased competition isn't exactly going to help Metcalf. You can currently get guys like Chark, Allen, Terry McLaurin, DeVante Parker, Diggs, and T.Y. Hilton after Metcalf. How do you feel about Metcalf in 2020?

Austan Kas: I nearly picked DK as one of my fades. I'm fully on board here. I wish Seattle would join us in 2020 and let their great quarterback throw it. But that's not what they do, and it caps the upside here as well as lowering the floor.

Elisha Twerski: Why have him throw it when you can have him running for his life on every second drop back? That's the Seattle motto.

Who else are you down on?

Austan Kas: Darius Slayton is someone I can't figure out why he's being valued where he's at. Right now, he's the WR41, and our model has him as the WR54. I'm much more aligned with our projections here than I am with Slayton's ADP.

I think a lot of people are expecting Daniel Jones to take a step forward in Year 2. While that may happen, Jones didn't show me too much as a rookie to make me buy in. He ended 2019 with -0.03 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, which was fifth-worst among quarterbacks with 100-plus attempts. I think this very well could be one of the league's worst attacks again in 2020.

And then there's the issue of target competition. Our model has Slayton third in targets among the Giants' receivers, forecasting him for 84.8 looks, behind both Sterling Shepard (111.2) and Golden Tate (98.9). But by ADP, it's flipped, with Slayton coming off the board 20-plus picks before Tate and Shepard.

On top of that, Slayton was already due for some negative touchdown regression.

I just can't buy in on Slayton at this price.

What are your thoughts on him?

Elisha Twerski: I wouldn't touch Slayton at his current price, but as the WR41, it's not like you'll piss away your draft if you do select him.

In that range, wideouts like Shepard, Anthony Miller, John Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, and Jalen Reagor are much more enticing for my tastes.

Austan Kas: Yep. Like you said, he's cheap enough that it's not a big deal, but he's still a guy I'm not wasting a pick on.

Aight. Is there anyone else you wanted to highlight, or are you good to go?

Elisha Twerski: I'm not gonna go in-depth on these guys, but I'm passing on Diontae Johnson and Mecole Hardman at their current price tags. I think those two are classic cases of players who are considered "sleepers" to the point where there's little value left at their ADPs.

How about you? Anyone else you want to touch on?

Austan Kas: I -- and all of my dynasty shares -- really wanted Hardman's breakout to happen this year, but I think we'll have to wait for at least 2021.

But nah, I'm good. Thanks for making the time to chat with me.

Elisha Twerski: Of course! I'm looking forward to our tight end chat next week where I can tell you that I'm fading your boy Jack Doyle haha.

Austan Kas: Leave the TE1 for the rest of your league. How kind of you.