Fantasy Footballers Show Recap: The TRUTH about Fantasy WRs in 2020, Part 1

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The Fantasy Footballers spent the previous two weeks diving into the TRUTH about fantasy QBs and RBs; this week the WRs are up and this article recaps the Part 1 episode.  If you’re new to the concept, finding the TRUTH involves comparing a player’s end-of-year fantasy finish and how consistently they put up fantasy points relative to the position.

You can find even more wideout facts and figures from the past season in my recent 25 WR Stats from 2020 article and my Target Report for the 2020 Season.

Quick Explanation

The Fantasy Footballers base WR fantasy points on 0.5 PPR Scoring. Consistency scores are based on a player’s Great, Good, and Bust games. The scores are calculated using the following parameters:

Great Games are more than 20 points or more fantasy points scored.
Good Games are more than 12 points or more fantasy points scored.
Bust Games are fewer than 8 points fantasy points scored.
*Missed Games don’t count against consistency score

1. Davante Adams (ADP: WR2 / 1.10) – Consistency Rank: 2

1st half of season consistency rank: 10 | 2nd half of season consistency rank: 2

14 games – 148 targets for 115/1374/18
Great 57% | Good 79% | Bust 14%
Defenses: -10.47 fantasy points on average against Top-16
Home/Road Split: -3.81 fantasy points on average at Home

Adams finished as the WR1 overall on the season and the second-most consistent fantasy wideout. He managed to score more fantasy points in just 13.5 games than Michael Thomas did in a full 16 games as the WR1 in 2019. A big part of his top finish was the 18 touchdowns he hauled in… more than the combined WR touchdowns of 20 other NFL teams. Touchdowns are difficult to predict year-to-year but Adams may be an exception; he’s had double-digit receiving TDs in four of the last five seasons. He seems destined to be the first fantasy receiver off the board in 2021 and will look to become the first back-to-back WR1 since Antonio Brown in 2015-16.   

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2. Tyreek Hill (ADP: WR3 / 2.04) – Consistency Rank: 1

1st half of season consistency rank: 4 | 2nd half of season consistency rank: 1

15 games — 135 targets for 87/1276/15 — 13/123/2 rushing
Great 33% | Good 80% | Bust 7%
Defenses: +2.81 fantasy points on average against Top-16
Home/Road Split: -4.34 fantasy points on average at Home

Hill has become known as a boom-or-bust wideout but that narrative was soundly false in 2020. He finished as the top wideout in the consistency ranks while busting just one time on the season. Much of his consistency is thanks to Andy Reid and the Chiefs finding creative ways to get the ball in his hands on handoffs, tap passes, and screens. Of course, he’s also one of the most dangerous deep threats in the NFL, as highlighted against Tampa Bay in Week 12. Reid and Patrick Mahomes aren’t going anywhere, so Hill remains a top weapon in one of the most fantasy-friendly offenses in the league.

3. Stefon Diggs (ADP: WR27 / 6.05) – Consistency Rank: 3

1st half of season consistency rank: 4 | 2nd half of season consistency rank: 3

16 games — 166 targets for 127/1535/8
Great 31% | Good 81% | Bust 13%
Defenses: -0.83 fantasy points on average against Top-16
Home/Road Split: -5.58 fantasy points on average at Home

Did Diggs break out because of Josh Allen’s marked improvement, or did Diggs’ arrival in Buffalo ignite Allen’s breakout? It’s probably a little bit of both, but either way, they were one of the best duos in football this season. Diggs shot down the narrative that wide receivers changing teams struggle by leading the NFL in targets, receptions, and receiving yards. He was an absolute steal at his ADP of WR27 headed into the season; we should see that corrected in 2021.

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4. Calvin Ridley (ADP: WR14 / 4.02) – Consistency Rank: 4

1st half of season consistency rank: 11 | 2nd half of season consistency rank: 5

15 games — 143 targets for 90/1374/9
Great 27% | Good 73% | Bust 20%
Defenses: -7.08 fantasy points on average against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +5.87 fantasy points on average at Home

Headed into the season Ridley was a Ballers favorite to break out, and he came through in a big way. He finished as the WR4 and ranked fourth in consistency despite putting up a goose egg in Week 4, exemplifying just how much variance there can be for fantasy wide receivers. We may have witnessed a changing of the guard in Atlanta as Julio Jones struggled through injuries and Ridley thrived. The gap between Ridley and Jones in fantasy drafts will be a storyline to follow as the 2021 season approaches. 

5. DeAndre Hopkins (ADP: WR5 / 2.07) – Consistency Rank: 13

1st half of season consistency rank: 7 | 2nd half of season consistency rank: 26

16 games — 160 targets for 115/1407/6
Great 25% | Good 56% | Bust 25%
Defenses: -1.09 fantasy points on average against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +4.47 fantasy points on average at Home

Hopkins is the first receiver on the list to have a significant discrepancy between his fantasy finish and his consistency ranking. He finished as a top-12 fantasy wideout eight times but also had seven finishes outside of the top-36. He set a career-high with 115 receptions, but only brought in six of them for touchdowns. The key to Hopkins’ success in 2021 may hinge on whether he sees more usage in the red zone or if Kyler Murray continues to rely on his legs as Arizona nears the end zone.

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Getty Images / Christian Petersen

6. Justin Jefferson (ADP: WR51 / 11.09) – Consistency Rank: 19

1st half of season consistency rank: 41 | 2nd half of season consistency rank: 8

16 games — 125 targets for 88/1400/7
Great 25% | Good 56% | Bust 38%
Defenses: -6.92 fantasy points on average against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +8.58 fantasy points on average at Home

Jefferson’s consistency ranking is a bit misleading. Over the first two weeks of the season the rookie didn’t start, only played on 61% of the offensive snaps, and was targeted just three times per game. If you remove those weeks, he vaults up to number nine in consistency. He broke the rookie receiving yardage record and appears to have leapfrogged Adam Thielen as the top receiving option in Minnesota.

7. DK Metcalf (ADP: WR19 / 4.09) – Consistency Rank: 8

1st half of season consistency rank: 3 | 2nd half of season consistency rank: 24

16 games — 129 targets for 83/1303/10
Great 25% | Good 63% | Bust 25%
Defenses: -5.75 fantasy points on average against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +6.33 fantasy points on average at Home

It was a tale of two seasons for Metcalf, and the Seattle offense in general. He was the third-most consistent fantasy receiver in the first half of the season and was being discussed as the top wideout to roster in dynasty. In the second half of the season, however, Seattle’s offense did a complete 180, stopped letting Russ cook, and ran the ball into the ground. Metcalf was just the WR25 from Week 10 on. He’s too talented to disappear, but it’s depressing to hear that the Seahawks want to run the ball more in 2021

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8. Adam Thielen (ADP: WR9 / 3.06) – Consistency Rank: 18

1st half of season consistency rank: 15 | 2nd half of season consistency rank: 27

15 games — 108 targets for 74/925/14
Great 27% | Good 53% | Bust 33%
Defenses: -3.48 fantasy points on average against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +2.37 fantasy points on average at Home

Thielen’s 2020 season is a perfect example of the importance of the TRUTH series. His finish as the WR8 looks great, but his consistency ranking of 18th gives a deeper understanding of his season. He was extremely touchdown dependent, scoring 14 touchdowns on just 74 receptions. He had nine different games with four or fewer receptions and busted in a third of his games played. It’s impressive that the Vikings managed to produce two top-eight fantasy wideouts in a run-first offense with Dalvin Cook. Looking ahead to 2021, can that happen again? And will Thielen or Jefferson be a better draft value? 

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