25 WR Stats from 2020 (Fantasy Football)
The Fantasy Footballers are in the middle of the annual TRUTH episode series and we writers are chipping in with our 25 Statistics article series. For the second year in a row, it’s my pleasure to bring you 25 stats that shine some light on the wide receiver position for fantasy football over the past season. Some stats are exactly what you’d expect, some are surprising, and some are just plain fun. It was tough to limit the count to 25, but if you read between the lines you can probably find a few extra. I could’ve found 25 stats on Davante Adams alone, or maybe 25 stats on the phenomenal rookie wideouts, but I made sure to spread it around and include the likes of Richie James, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Tyron Johnson along the way. Let’s dive into the 25(ish) WR stats from 2020.
Unless otherwise noted, all ranks and points are based on Half PPR scoring
1. Davante Adams finished the season as the WR1 in all of fantasy football with 300.9 fantasy points, just barely topping the 300.1 fantasy points that earned Michael Thomas the honor last season. Adams did this while only finishing as the WR1 on two individual weeks, bookending the fantasy season by accomplishing the feat in Week 1 and Week 16.
2. Adams only played 14 games, averaging a ridiculous 21.5 fantasy points/game. He led all wideouts in receiving touchdowns (18), target share (34%), receptions/game (8.2), receiving yards/game (98.1), and yards after catch (597).
3. The only non-quarterback to score more touchdowns than Adams in 2020 was Alvin Kamara, who found the endzone 16 times on the ground and five times through the air.
4. Adams was the first wide receiver to average at least 20 fantasy points/game since Odell Beckham Jr. did it, as a rookie, in 13 games in 2014. Both Antonio Brown and Julio Jones were close in 2015, each averaging 19.6 fantasy points per game that season. But Adams averaged over 21 fantasy points per game…the last wideout to accomplish that was Randy Moss in his record-setting 2007 season.
5. The fact that Adams put up so many points in just 14 games may be the most impressive. He’s the first player to lead receivers in fantasy points in fewer than 15 games played*.
*Jerry Rice technically led the league in 1987 when he scored 23 touchdowns in just 12(!) games but it was a strike-shortened season.
6. Tyreek Hill was the WR2 on the season. He finished 29.5 fantasy points behind Adams in full PPR formats but nearly caught him in standard scoring, where he scored just 1.5 fewer fantasy points than Adams on the season.
7. Hill’s 51.4 fantasy points in Week 12 were the most fantasy points for a wide receiver since Jimmy Smith went for 54.6 in Week 2 of the 2000 season.
8. Stefon Diggs led the NFL in targets* (166), receptions (127), and yards (1,535) but only finished as the WR3 on the season. Eleven wideouts caught more than the eight touchdowns that Diggs hauled in on the season.
*For everything else target-related, make sure to check out my 2020 Full Season Target Report.
9. Despite finishing as “only” the WR3 on the entire season, Diggs was the highest-scoring wideout during the most important stretch. During the fantasy playoffs in Weeks 14-16, he totaled 81.3 fantasy points. That was 14.9 more points than the next closest receiver, Davante Adams.
10. Calvin Ridley, the WR4 on the season, led the NFL with 2,042 air yards. That accounted for 41% of Atlanta’s total. By contrast, Michael Thomas led the league with a 44% team air yard share, but he did so with just 540 air yards.
11. Two separate teams had top-ten fantasy wide receivers on the season. Both Justin Jefferson (WR6) and Adam Thielen (WR8) accomplished the feat for Minnesota, while DK Metcalf (WR7) and Tyler Lockett (WR9) made the cut for Seattle. The Pittsburgh Steelers had three receivers finish as top-24 fantasy wideouts: JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR18), Chase Claypool (WR19), and Diontae Johnson (WR22).
12. Three teams had multiple WRs finish as the WR1 on a given week. The Packers (Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling), Seahawks (DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett), and Vikings (Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen)
13. Corey Davis finished as the WR1 in Week 13, something that his teammate A.J. Brown wasn’t able to do once in 2020. Meanwhile, 49ers wideout Richie James finished as the WR104 on the season but was the WR1 in Week 9.
14. The five rookies displayed in the table below finished as top-36 fantasy wideouts in 2020.
Five rookies also finished inside the top-36 last season: A.J. Brown, Terry McLaurin, Deebo Samuel, DK Metcalf, and Darius Slayton. Brown finished the highest as WR15 with 191.1 fantasy points in 2019.
15. Jefferson broke the rookie receiving record with 1,400 yards, topping the previous record of 1,377 receiving yards set by Anquan Boldin in 2003. He did it on 40 fewer targets and 13 fewer receptions than Boldin, though Boldin did score exactly two more fantasy points than Jefferson in their respective rookie seasons.
16. The 2020 rookie wideout class was objectively great, but only Jefferson topped 1,000 receiving yards. CeeDee Lamb was the next closest with 935, good for 28th most all-time by a rookie.
18. Brandon Aiyuk’s rookie season was hampered by nagging injuries and a stint on the COVID-IR but he was dominant during stretches on the field. In the six games he played from Weeks 7-15, he was on a 16-game pace of 120 receptions, 1,515 yards, and 10.7 touchdowns, which translates to 17.2 fantasy points per game.
19. Rookie Jerry Jeudy’s 92-yard touchdown catch in Week 17 was the longest of the season and the only reception to go 90+ yards in 2020. Two running backs had longer rushes: Derrick Henry (94 yards) in Week 6 and Ronald Jones (98 yards) in Week 10.
20. Marquez Valdes-Scantling was the only player in the NFL (minimum 25 targets) to average at least 20 yards per reception. The Chargers’ Tyron Johnson just missed the cut, averaging 19.9 yards per reception on 26 targets.
21. Johnson, the undrafted wideout who spent 2019 bouncing around NFL practice squads before breaking through with the Chargers in 2020, had the highest quarterback rating when targeted this season (156.7).
24. Cordarrelle Patterson led all WR eligible players with 232 rushing yards this season, followed by Curtis Samuel with 200. Robert Woods (155) and Tyreek Hill (123) were the only other wideouts to top the century mark.
Bonus #FootClan WR Stats:
– Keelan Cole had exactly 55(!) receptions in 2020. He also had a 55(!) yard touchdown catch in 2019, so he knows how to make his way into this article on a consistent basis.
– Six receivers had 55(!) yard catches in 2020.
Do you have a favorite wide receiver stat that I missed? Let me know on Twitter @aalarson.