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Saturday, October 16, 2021

All 3 Rams Receivers Are in Play

In this piece, I highlight wide receivers who stand out in our extensive suite of analytical fantasy tools, most specifically, our FantasyLabs Player Models. While the models are built for DFS contests, this is an all-purpose fantasy article with actionable information for all formats.

As news breaks throughout the week and we adjust our projections, player ratings in our Player Models will change. For updates, visit the models directly.

Top Wide Receivers in the FantasyLabs Models

There are four wide receivers atop the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, and Ryan Hodge have constructed.

Here’s where they place within our Week 6 Fantasy Rankings (as of Tuesday evening):

  • Davante Adams (1st)
  • Tyreek Hill (2nd)
  • Robert Woods (10th)
  • Van Jefferson (52nd)

We’ll discuss why these four  are popping in our models, as well as take a look at some other quarterbacks in potential high-scoring games.

FantasyLabs Positional Breakdowns

  • Quarterbacks on Tuesday
  • Tight Ends on Thursday
  • Running Backs on Friday

For more in-depth NFL analysis, check out The Action Network.

Top Model Wide Receivers

Davante Adams ($9.000 DraftKings, $8,500 FanDuel): Green Bay Packers (-4.5) at Chicago Bears (45 total)

It’s a little crazy to call a $9,000 wide receiver “too cheap” on DraftKings, but we might be at that point. Of course, Davante Adams is even cheaper on FanDuel, where he’s clearly mispriced. His league-leading 42 receptions plays slightly better on DraftKings, but he should still be marked up considerably on both sites.

Adams’ role is like no other wide receiver in the league:

Adams is somehow only fourth and fifth (DraftKings and FanDuel) in receiver scoring on the season, but that’s largely due to some bad touchdown luck. Adams has only two so far, while the players above him have at least four.

Of course, as we (should) know, touchdowns are somewhat random (rather, touchdowns per opportunities/yardage is, at least). That means we can expect Adams to positively regress back to his normal rate. He’s scored 60 touchdowns over his last 75 games, and much of that was with stiffer target competition.

The Packers’ Week 6 matchup against the Bears isn’t particularly enticing — Chicago has a solid defense, and the Vegas total is low. However, that doesn’t really matter for a player of Adams’ caliber. Paying up at wide receiver is, of course, slightly more volatile than at running back, but he’s about as safe as can be.

Adams is the only wideout to lead models on both DraftKings (two) and FanDuel (three). He also leads all non-quarterbacks in Floor, Median, and Ceiling projections on both sites. It’s slightly challenging to find the salary for Adams (at least on DraftKings) but should also prove to be necessary.

Tyreek Hill ($8,500 DraftKings, $8,700 FanDuel): Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5) at Washington Football Team (55.5 total)

TyFreak ranks just behind Adams in our projections this week and is the only other wide receiver to lead any FanDuel Model. His Chiefs are projected for the highest point total on the slate.

Especially with starting running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire set to miss time, the Chiefs offense will likely flow through Hill and Travis Kelce. That duo has already accounted for over 50% of the team’s targets, and there’s no reason to believe that will change.

The matchup against Washington is a solid boost to Hill’s projections. The Football Team plays at the league’s sixth-fastest situation-neutral pace and is 29th in DVOA against the pass. Washington is also 15th in DVOA against the opponent’s top wide receiver but a solid sixth against tight ends. This is probably not very predictive, but it’s still a point in Hill’s favor if we’re debating between him and Kelce. (Defense vs. position debates have raged in DFS discussions since time immemorial. I’ve never seen one based on DVOA vs. position, but perhaps it’s a project worth tackling in the offseason).

Hill is a bit scary as a cash game play. He’s the definition of boom-or-bust: This season alone, he has two games over 40 DraftKings points (one of which went over 50) and three below 15 points. A 14.8-point effort (his score last week) is normally solid for a receiver, but it’s not one you’re spending north of $8,000 in salary on.

This, of course. makes Hill a tremendous tournament play. His projections are naturally dragged down by his low-end games, but the difference between Hill scoring 10, or a similarly priced receiver scoring 20, are largely irrelevant for tournaments. We need him to hit his ceiling to win the big one. We can ignore the floor.

Hill trails only Adams in Ceiling Projection this week and will likely come in at significantly lower ownership, particularly on FanDuel. This is a perfect “pay up to be contrarian” spot for tournaments.

Robert Woods ($6,100 DraftKings, $6,900 FanDuel): Los Angeles Rams (-10.5) at New York Giants (47.5 total)

Bobby Trees was the proverbial “squeaky wheel” in Week 5, seeing 14 targets after getting 23 combined in the first four weeks. All he did with those targets was get 12 catches for 150 yards. Not bad for the offense’s WR2.

Our projections clearly expect Woods to keep the volume high in Week 6. On full-PPR DraftKings, he leads the slate in Pts/Sal. His salary is very reasonable for a player seeing almost 24% of his team’s targets, with the second-highest team total on the slate. For context, his target share is 26th in the league, meaning many team’s top wideouts don’t see the volume Woods does.

Even though the Rams overall passing volume has been down — quarterback Matthew Stafford ranks 16th in the league in pass attempts — they have been throwing it more than the game script would predict. Los Angeles’ pass rate over expectation is sixth in the league, which means we don’t have to fret too much about the Rams being big favorites in this one.

Woods’ role is still a bit scary for me for cash games. It’s hard to say with any degree of certainty that he’ll continue with his Week 5 volume, but he makes a ton of sense in tournaments. This game will surely not be among the more popular stacks on the slate with the Giants without any viable offensive players, so ownership on the team, in general, will be low. With Cooper Kupp lighting the world on fire, much of that ownership will flow to him before Woods anyway.

Woods leads two of our Pro’s Models on DraftKings. He’s fine on FanDuel too, where he projects as the fourth-best Pts/Sal receiver.

Van Jefferson ($3,400 DraftKings, $5,400 FanDuel): Los Angeles Rams (-10.5) at New York Giants (47.5 total)

With all the attention being paid to Woods and Kupp, it’s easy to forget about Jefferson. He’s managed to put up at least 16 DraftKings points twice already this season, which is a huge performance at his current salary.

With pricing being what it is, Jefferson is clearly only in play on DraftKings. He trails only Woods in Pts/Sal there, though, so he needs to be discussed.

Jefferson is seeing a decent (for his price) 4.4 targets per game so far in 2021. What stands out about him, though, is his role. Jefferson’s average depth of target (aDOT) of 14.86 is far deeper than his more heralded teammates, so each target for him is more valuable than for most receivers. Our models feature a “fantasy points per opportunity” metric — he’s head and shoulders above Woods (1.53) and Kupp (1.89) with his 3.07 over the past year.

Deep targets, of course, lead to lower catch rates, making Jefferson a volatile play. He’s worth considering even in cash, though — all he needs is one deep touchdown to pay off at his current salary.

Of course, the biggest appeal is the salary relief he offers. No other player under $4,200 has a better Median or Ceiling projection.

Jefferson leads Chris Raybon’s model on DraftKings this week.

Other Wide Receivers With Week-Winning Upside

Cooper Kupp ($7,900 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel): Los Angeles Rams (-10.5) at New York Giants (47.5 total)

While his teammates lead in some of our models, we still need to mention Kupp.

He’s had a quiet last two weeks, scoring under 16.2 DraftKings points in both of them. Even so, he’s still the alpha in this Rams offense and the PPR WR1 on the season. Across his two “down” weeks, he still saw 23 targets and hasn’t drawn fewer than 10 looks in a game all season.

There has probably been an element of defenses tilting their coverage to limit Kupp, but Woods is enough of a threat (as seen in Week 5) to make that strategy unlikely to work out for long. Kupp offers a significant discount from Hill and Adams — especially on DraftKings — but would anybody be shocked if he led the trio in scoring this week?

Justin Jefferson ($8,000 DraftKings, $7,900 FanDuel): Minnesota Vikings (-1) at Carolina Panthers (46.5 total)

Kupp is my preferred pivot from the top wideouts on DraftKings, but Jefferson stands out on FanDuel. His projections trail the receivers priced around him significantly, but he has an outside shot of outscoring them at reduced salary and (likely) ownership.

In Jefferson’s 18 games as a full-time starter, he has topped 20 FanDuel points on five separate occasions. No receiver on the slate is projected to go over 20 this week. It’s not a particularly juicy matchup, but he could still get there with the Vikings’ concentrated passing attack.

Mike Williams ($8,100 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel): Los Angeles Chargers (+3) at Baltimore Ravens (51.5 total)

Big Mike is right up there with Jefferson as a solid FanDuel pivot.

The game sets up beautifully for him. The Chargers are underdogs, and their matchup with the Ravens has the slate’s second-highest total.

With the Ravens defense struggling (20th in pass DVOA), there’s a lot to like about the Chargers’ newly minted top wideout. Williams trails Keenan Allen ($6,400 DraftKings, $7,100 FanDuel) in overall targets by two, but his role is far more valuable, with Williams aDOT being more than three yards deeper. Particularly on yardage and touchdown heavy FanDuel, Williams stands out — he leads the league in receiving touchdowns.

Value Wide Receivers

Based on our projections, we’re a bit thin on value at this point in the week. Still, we need to identify some potential plays. Given the strength of high-priced Adams, Hill, and Kelce at tight end, salary will be at a premium this week. Be sure to check our models later in the week — injuries and other news could open up value on other players.

As always, these players are better suited for DraftKings, where the minimum salary is lower and finding value is more critical.

John Ross ($3,100 DraftKings, $5,400 FanDuel): New York Giants (+10.5) vs. Los Angeles Rams (47.5 total)

We currently expect Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton to all be inactive for the Giants this week. That leaves Ross as the second option, and worst, in this depleted Giants receiving room.

Ross has already seen nine targets over the past two games, which he turned into 16.7 DraftKings points when Daniel Jones was throwing him the ball. With Jones out, his five targets in Week 5 only resulted in one catch for 13 yards.

Monitor the health of Jones (and the rest of the Giants) in our news tab since Ross is a much stronger play with him under center.

Darnell Mooney ($4,300 DraftKings, $5,600 FanDuel): Chicago Bears (+4.5) vs. Green Bay Packers (45 total)

Mooney is the rare budget-player who’s actually a better deal on FanDuel (56% Bargain Rating.) It’s not an extreme dichotomy, so use him on either site, but it was worth mentioning.

Mooney has been the top wideout in Chicago since Justin Fields took over, out-targeting incumbent Allen Robinson 24-18. Of course, those targets haven’t been worth a ton, thanks to Fields’ extreme inefficiency. Either way, the Bears could be chasing points in this one, leading to expanded passing volume.

At his price, one or two deep balls are enough to feel good about Mooney being in your lineups.

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