If you’re doing research for your 2019 fantasy drafts and you find yourself saying “no way was ______ THAT good last year”, you’re certainly not alone. The list of the top fifteen fantasy receivers at season’s end always has a few surprises, since some players specialize in the “boom or bust” type of play. In a typical season, there’s always a small group of pass catchers that you’d never believe finished in the top tier, so it’s easy to worry about them repeating it the next year. Thankfully the #FootClan is well trained in how to avoid these traps and the Ballers have spent plenty of time investing in consistency charts in the Ultimate Draft Kit. This type of resource is vital to dominate your draft, but it’s important to dive deeper into certain narratives because it’s not always as straight forward as the data may seem.
We explored three of the top fifteen running backs last time. On to the pass catchers!
Robert Woods – 2018 Finish: WR9
The entire Rams offense we’ve come to know and love is a bit of a question mark this season, especially at the running back position. In terms of pass catchers, it’s likely we see a similar hierarchy with Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp. Woods has been one of the criminally underrated fantasy players in recent years, but he’s starting to get the ADP recognition he deserves. He ended the year in the top ten while reaching a career high in receptions, yards, targets, and touchdowns. Woods has improved in every major category each of the last three seasons and provides a high level of consistency for fantasy owners.
The only real threat to his production would be if Kupp is able to stay on the field for a full sixteen weeks. Brandin Cooks has typically worked the deep part of the field so Kupp and Woods will likely move in and out of the slot soaking up the mid-range targets. As long as the Rams continue to play at a high pace (third highest number of plays per game in the NFL), then Woods should be able to see significant work. As long as Jared Goff can remain somewhat consistent behind center, this trend should continue into 2019. Woods will be a lock for top-12 production once again.
T.Y Hilton – 2018 Finish: WR13
When it comes to predicting T.Y Hilton, I need to channel my inner Dennis Green: HE IS WHO WE THINK HE IS.
Hilton has been the poster child for unpredictable weekly finishes for multiple years now, especially with Luck behind center. Hilton had over 100 receiving yards in five different games last year but failed to even reach double-digit fantasy points in six others. He was someone you were jumping up-and-down cheering for one week and cursing out loud the next. In the back half of the year, however, Hilton had a 35+ yard catch in every game but one and was able to compile four of those five 100+ yards games in the same time frame. Once his quarterback was back to full strength, he went wild for fantasy teams and was a lot more consistent than the full season might tell you.
The Colts are a trendy pick to win the AFC South and for good reason. Hilton will be an integral piece of the offense and a healthy Andrew Luck bodes well for his fantasy outlook. He’s very likely to repeat a similar campaign inside the top 15, but given the nature of his unpredictability – not much higher. With the addition of rookie Parris Campbell and the return of Jack Doyle, Hilton may lose some of those extra targets on early downs. Even if he’s delegated to only make a living on go routes, that should be more than enough to keep him in the WR15 range. I may be against a couple of the Ballers on this one as they have him ranked inside the top-8 in their latest rankings. Guess I’m #TeamJason on this one.
Tyler Lockett – 2018 Finish: WR14
Between D.K Metcalf showing up shirtless and Doug Baldwin using a Game of Thrones reference to retire, I don’t even know what to make of the Seattle receiving corps. It’s been well documented that the Lockett/Wilson connection was historically efficient and a couple of people actually think it can continue.
I’m definitely not one of them. Lockett only had five weeks in 2018 where he DIDN’T score a touchdown and never saw double-digit targets in a single week. Combine this with the addition of a highly touted rookie prospect and all signs point to a decline in his fantasy outlook. The Seahawks offensive philosophy hasn’t made much sense to a lot of people since they treat Russell Wilson as if he’s a shell of his true self. They were predominantly a run-first team that wanted to control the clock and throw the ball as little as possible. Even if Lockett were to lose one or two targets per game to D.K Metcalf, that would be enough to knock him down quite a few spots next season. I’m not completely out on Lockett in fantasy leagues overall, but the chances he repeats a top fifteen performance are very small.