The Path to a WR1 Fantasy Football Season: Chris Godwin
In this next installment of the “Path to a WR1 Series“, we will dive into what that path may be for Chris Godwin to finish as a WR1. Godwin is currently ranked just outside of the top 15 wide receivers in the UDK consensus wide receiver rankings. After having a WR1 season just two years ago, what may the path look like for Godwin to get back to being a top-12 wide receiver? Let’s look at his previous season and what may need to happen to get back into the top-12!
2020 Season Recap
Chris Godwin entered the 2020 season with high expectations after posting his first WR1 season in 2019, finishing as the WR2 overall in PPR and standard scoring. He also was getting a new quarterback in Tom Brady. Many in the fantasy community touted Godwin as the biggest beneficiary of Brady’s arrival since he would play a heavy role in the slot but had fears that Brady would be a worse fit for the Bucs star receivers for fantasy purposes. Covid-19 caused cancellations of team camps and the NFL pre-season, so Brady didn’t have much time to develop any chemistry with his new teammates.
Injuries hindered Godwin during the season, including a nagging hamstring injury and a finger injury that required surgery. He missed 4 total games in 2020 and finished as the WR31 after posting 65 receptions for 840 yards and 7 touchdowns.
2021 Path to a WR1 Season
One of the keys for Chris Godwin to finish as a WR1 in 2021 would be for him to stay healthy. In 2020, Godwin averaged 13.2 fantasy points per game in half-point PPR scoring, tied for WR15 in fantasy points per game. Allen Robinson also averaged 13.2 fantasy points per game, and he finished as the WR12 overall. Chris Godwin was on pace to finish near that top-12.
The Buccaneers were 6th in team passing attempts in 2020. Godwin was targeted 84 times and had a target share of 18.9% (46th), according to PlayerProfiler.com. Increasing that target share will be important when it comes to another potential WR1 season for Godwin. Unfortunately, Tom Brady is known to spread the ball around, and there are plenty of other weapons on the team for him to do just that.
Chris Godwin was 2nd on the Bucs in target share percentage in games played. Mike Evans was close with 18%, but Antonio Brown led the team with 19.9%. Brown’s target share was calculated in his eight games played from weeks 9-17. In those games, Brown out-targeted Godwin 61 to 55. The good news is that even with Brown’s emergence in the offense, Godwin was still the WR14 during weeks 9-17.
Chris Godwin had 840 yards on 65 receptions in his 12 games played in 2020. Godwin’s yards per game averaged out to 70 yards, which was 17th in the NFL on a yards per game basis for wide receivers. Godwin also had 12.9 yards per reception, which would rank 21st among receivers who had at least 50 receptions.
As mentioned in many articles before this one, touchdowns are hard to predict and can be volatile. Chris Godwin had seven touchdowns in 2020 in 12 games played. Tom Brady threw for 40 touchdowns last season, and Godwin’s 7 scores would be 17.5% of the Bucs receiving touchdowns. Every year it’s predicted that Brady will start to decline, and although it is a possibility, that offense should still have plenty of scoring upside. Even if Brady regresses to 30 touchdowns, a 17.5% touchdown share would-be five touchdowns. Godwin should have a safe floor and high ceiling when it comes to scoring.
Strength of Schedule
Based on the strength of schedule in the UDK, the Buccaneers have the 16th easiest schedule for wide receivers in the NFL. While things will undoubtedly change during the NFL season as we learn which defenses are legit among other variables, such as injuries, it’s good to see that Godwin will have a favorable schedule while being a part of such a high-powered offense.
Chris Godwin has proven to be an efficient wide receiver over the years. According to pro-football-reference.com, Godwin was 13th in yards per target in 2020 and ranked 8th among receivers in YPT with at least 50 receptions. According to PlayerProfiler.com, Godwin was 8th in fantasy points per target (2.27). Godwin was highly efficient despite his lower aDOT (average depth of target) of 10.3 yards (52nd). Godwin also was 4th among receivers in catch rate percentage (77.4%) and 9th in contested catch rate (70%).
WR1 Probability for 2021 (Maybe 25-49%)
I took to Twitter to poll many on the probability of Chris Godwin finishing as a WR1. Below, you will see the results of the poll. 49% voted “maybe” (25-49%) that he finishes as a WR1, while the next highest vote in the poll was “unlikely” (10-24%) with a 30% vote.
I’m working on another piece for @TheFFBallers “Path to a WR1” series. I will be writing on Chris Godwin. What chance do you give him to finish as a WR1 in 2021?
— Ryan DeVaney (@WhyDoIEvenTryFF) June 23, 2021
The most significant factors for Chris Godwin to return to the top-12 wide receivers in 2021 are health and target share. In my opinion, Godwin has one of the best chances for wide receivers outside of the top 15 in the UDK consensus rankings to finish as a WR1.