Wide Receivers to Target
Target Practice is a new series chronicling what players we feel should be your targets in redraft this year. Today, we will be looking at the wide receivers. The crop of wideouts is deep this year, and that can be used to your advantage as you stock up on other positions early on in your drafts. We have a good mix of some upside guys that you can take early, as well as some steady old veterans that can be had with a bargain. It all depends on the flavor of the player you are looking for. Let’s take a look at three WRs that I believe should be on your radar this season.
Stefon Diggs was the Bills’ big free-agent acquisition during the 2020 offseason. He had made a name for himself in Minnesota, but people were unsure about how productive he would be in Buffalo. Third-year quarterback Josh Allen was more of an athlete than a skilled passer, and we didn’t know if there would be enough targets to go around in the tun first offense. All Diggs did in 16 weeks’ worth of work was lead the NFL with 127 catches and 1,535 yards while hauling in eight touchdowns, aided by Allen’s ascension into the upper tier of Qbs in the league. At 6-0, 191, and with 4.46 speed, Diggs has the speed to get down the field, but he has absurd body control, crisp route running, and excellent hands. Diggs has been locked in as the WR1 in that offense. Allen might regress from his MVP-quality season, but Diggs should still see at least 150 targets. In his prime, look for Diggs to continue his ascension into the conversation for overall WR1 in fantasy, and don’t be surprised if it happens as soon as this year.
Robert Woods is the premiere case of the lunch pail player that just shows up to work and gets the job done. Criminally undervalued when it comes to fantasy draft capital, Woods has produced even with sub-par QB play. Woods did establish a career-best with eight touchdowns, two of which came on the ground, and that bodes well for the future with a new sheriff in town. Matthew Stafford is the new QB in LA, and Woods owners should be very excited. Woods, who is 6-0, 195 pounds and runs 4.51 mph, relies on route running, solid hands, and comprehension of Sean McVay’s scheme, and he excels in all three areas. He’s also been a picture of health for the Rams, appearing in 47 of their last 48 games. Woods is going to have some competition for targets in a suddenly crowded room. Cooper Kupp is the more prolific receiver, and should again start opposite Woods. Van Jefferson, a second-year player, should get more playing time as the number 3 receiver, and the signing of Desean Jackson and the drafting of Tutu Atwell should help spread the field. Woods is the rock and center of the offense, especially with the injury to running back Cam Akers. Robert should get a similar volume to last season, but with improved efficiency with Stafford at the helm. The bonus of his seldom-used rushing ability offers even more potential that would be quite useful if he could find his way onto your fantasy team.
Russell Gage has always been in the background in the Atlanta offense. The third-year receiver was often and rightfully overshadowed by Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones. Julio leaving for Tennessee this offseason seemed to open the door for Gage to grat a large share of the work. That hope lasted until the 2021 NFL draft when Atlanta used its first pick on star TE prospect Kyle Pitts. All of the sudden, Gage was once again pushed to the side. Should he be? Gage had 72 receptions for 786 yards and four touchdowns in his third season with the Falcons in 2020, with at least 50 receiving yards in five of his final seven games. Gage was able to step in when Julio went down with an injury and performed very well when called upon. He even had some trick plays designed for him as he scored a passing touchdown and would have had two if Jones hadn’t dropped it. Gage has the versatility to play inside or outside in the formation. He can line up anywhere and produce, which should be a boon to his fantasy value now that Jones is gone. When he can line up opposite Ridley, Gage will see more single coverage than most other WR2s. He has an incredible statistical end to the season last year, and he is eager to show it wasn’t a fluke. He is also in the last year of his deal, and he knows a payday awaits if he can perform. Russell Gage is in it for that contract, and I want him as a key depth piece that has WR2 upside on my team.