As fantasy GMs, we want to target and draft players that we can rely on to produce each and every week. We don’t want to hem and haw over who to start only to realize halfway through the game that your bench is having a fantasy party. That helps no one except your opponent.
Each position in fantasy football comes with its own varying degrees of uncertainty. After all, the unpredictability of the game is what makes it either outrageously fun or disastrously awful. However, we don’t want to deal with this kind of decision making for every position on our team. It’s much easier to leave that to the streamable players we drafted for matchup-based weeks based on the wide receiver rankings.
This article will cover three WRs you can trust in the 2019 season. Before we get into the names, it is important to qualify what we mean by “trust”.
For the purpose of this article, we are looking at players outside of the top-10 and also outside of the first 2 rounds of your draft. It’s easy to say that you can trust DeAndre Hopkins or Davante Adams. You will be taking these players if you are able to anyway, making an article covering them redundant.
Instead, we will look at players you can take and trust in Round 3 and later. These guys will be value-players who have the best chance to finish as the WR1 or WR2 each week.
Consistency Charts can be found in the 2019 Ultimate Draft Kit. Dark Green denotes a WR1 finish and Light Green denotes WR2 finishes in the 2018 season. Statistics and ADP are based on half-PPR scoring.
1. Julian Edelman – ADP 4.03
As the WR1 for the New England Patriots, Edelman is about the only consistent staple in the offense besides Tom Brady. Josh Gordon’s reinstatement is up in the air, Rob Gronkowski has retired, and the supporting cast of pass-catchers consist of James White, Phillip Dorsett, Demaryius Thomas (on the PUP), Maurice Harris, Dontrelle Inman, and rookie N’Keal Harris, just to name a few.
It seems the only name that truly stands out as a reliable target is Edelman who provides a sure-fire target all over the field. Even missing four games due to suspension, he still finished the regular season with 108 targets, 74 receptions for 850 yards and six touchdowns. If we stat that out over an additional four games, we could have seen Edelman finish with 144 targets, 91 receptions, 1,134 yards, and eight touchdowns.
Out of his 12 games, Edelman finished as a WR2 or better ten times and WR1 four times. There were only two games he finished outside the top-24, giving your WR corps a stable player you won’t have to think about each week.
2. Robert Woods – ADP 4.06
The Los Angeles Rams run an 11-personnel squad more than any other team in the NFL. Between Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks, and even Todd Gurley getting involved in the passing game, Robert Woods may not seem like a player you should feel comfortable relying on to get you points each week. However, with the recent news of the Rams incorporating a two tight-end split to keep Kupp’s workload limited and the ongoing news of Gurley’s knee issues, we can surmise that this leaves Cooks and Woods as the guys who should see the most snaps.
In 2018, Cooks saw 989 snaps or 89.1%, which is a hefty number, but Woods was on the field for 1041 total snaps equaling 94.6%. The sheer volume of snaps and the opportunity that creates makes me lean toward Woods as the WR to draft in LA. He had three WR1 finishes and seven WR2 finishes, landing outside of the WR1/WR2 mark only three times. Woods averaged 8.1 targets a game, over five receptions, 76.2 yards, and 0.4 TDs.
Sean McVay’s offense is explosive and should continue to be a fantasy force in 2019. The Ballers have Jared Goff in their Top-10 QB Rankings for 2019 so the WR who is on the field the most out, who remains without injury, and can consistently score you points should be on your squad.
Can’t get enough? Find out who this year’s Robert Woods could be.
3. Tyler Lockett – ADP 5.02
The Seattle Seahawks have solidified their identity as a run-first and run-heavy offense, but that still doesn’t mean their passing game is nonexistent. After all, they have QB Russell Wilson, who is more than capable of using his massive arm to help win games.
Lockett burst onto the scene in 2018, crushing his career numbers across the board with 70 targets, 965 yards, 16.9 yards per reception, 10 touchdowns, and a whopping 81.4% catch percentage. He finished eight games as the WR2 or better with Doug Baldwin still on field as target competition. In 13 games, Baldwin drew 73 targets for 50 receptions and five touchdowns. Those targets have to go somewhere, even in a run-heavy offense.
Aside from Lockett, Wilson has David Moore and rookie D.K. Metcalf as his primary WR targets. Expect Lockett to continue being targeted, gobbling up even more looks now that Baldwin is gone. With hyper-efficient hands and his uncanny ability to find the end zone, Lockett should see more WR2 or better games in 2019.
Honorable Mention: Dede Westbrook ADP 8.11
Westbrook is looking to be the beneficiary of a new offense with Nick Foles and his former QB coach and current OC in John DeFilippo. DeFilippo was fired from the Minnesota Vikings due to the lack of a run game in the offense. DeFilippo has also never been in an offense or coached in an offense that passed the ball less than 60% of the time.
Nick Foles has a good relationship with DeFilippo and the OC knows his QB’s strengths, which resides between the line of scrimmage and the 20-yard line. If Westbrook continues to line up in an equivalent position as Nelson Agholor did for the Eagles, Westbrook should be heavily targeted every game.
Read Nick Foles + How the Jags Offense Will Function for more information and statistics on Jacksonville’s passing game in 2019.