Top Sleepers for 2019 Fantasy Football - Wide Recievers
How we livin big dogs, we're diving into some my top sleepers for 2019 fantasy football, draft day targets, must draft players, undervalued fantasy football players, draft steals, however tf you wanna look at them. I love all three of these yong wide receivers, and I give the big facts on why ya'll should too.
Tyler Boyd - Cincinnati Bengals
2018 Fantasy Rank: WR16
Current ADP: WR25, 64
2018 was Boyd's third NFL season. He was left for dead after the Bengals took John Ross in the top-10 of the 2017 NFL Draft, and a major dropoff in his sophomore season after a sprained MCL cost him 6 games. By most measures though, his 54-catch, 660-yard rookie season was nothing to look down on. He made sure in 2018 that we know his name. In just 14 games, Boyd was able to break the 1,000-yard receiving mark (1,028), catching 76-of-108 targets and seven touchdowns.
"Oh, but A.J. Green was hurt last year, that's the only reason Boyd caught bodies."
WRONG. He was far better when A.J. Green was on the field. I'm sure those skewed numbers also look like this thanks to Dalton hitting the I.R. just a couple of weeks after A.J. Green did. But that's fine, we see a great sample size of Boyd with Dalton & Green on the field. And Green is far from a lock to stay healthy for a full 16 anyways, he's missed over 21% of the team's games over the last five seasons.
Hella props to Matt Kelley of the RotoUnderworld Podcast because he was 100% the ONLY person that called a breakout from Boyd this year. He runs PlayerProfiler, and he looks at two stats when predicting future success for wide receivers.
That college dominator rating, the percentage of teams yards and touchdowns in college, and the breakout age. Boyd was in the 86th % or above in both. His best comparable player is Adam Thielen in here. Makes total sense. You see the other metrics on the screen, his 40-yard dash, that stuff. Not good. But this fits perfectly for the way the NFL goes today, as a slot WR (71.4% of routes from slot). Think about the guys that success in the NFL today, in the slot. It's the bigger slot wide receivers - Adam Thielen, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Cooper Kupp:
Look at this chart. All of them are tall, 6-1 or 6-2. They're all the same weight, JuJu's a bit bigger. And look at their 40-yard dash times. None of them are sub 4.54, that's not impressive unless you're 6-2, 225. As a slot receiver, you don't need elite straight line speed, you have way more cushion, and finding the holes in a zone are far more valuable. But, here's the big thing. Matt Kelley always says the best thing to look at is that both the CD percentile and the DR percentile are above 50%. It's a good indicator for the future success of WRs. Now, this, in particular, will be very useful for y'all dynasty footballers. This doesn't predict success right out of the gate obviously. So don't start drafting Tyler Boyd types ahead of Saquon Barkley's in rookie drafts, but these guys breakouts already happened, so the success is likely to continue.
In my opinion, what makes this season from Boyd so impressive is the Bengals offense. And how well he did despite how anemic Cincinnati was last year. Boyd went over 1000 yards in 14 games, despite Cincinnati totaling the 7th fewest yards/game, and they've run a ridiculously low number of plays.
The Bengals went from 32nd in the NFL in total offensive plays to 29th in 2018, an increase of just 11 plays. Per FO's, Cincy ranked 31st in total TOP as an offense, 30th in YPD and 28th in PPD. Among ALL NFL WRs last year, Boyd had the 7th best Production Premium per PP, 11th best target premium, 11th dominator rating, and the 8th best qb rating when targeted.
Extra medium Marvin is gone so this offense is in for a major overhaul led by new HC Zac Taylor (former Rams QB Coach). Reports say that Taylor's offensive scheme will be an attack similar to the one Jay Gruden employed before being plucked away by the Redskins.
I think this Cincy offense is ready for a bounce-back, and it looked headed that way in September last year, but they eventually fell apart, injuries to Green and Dalton, to the defense. Absolutely love Boyd as a mid-round pick with a high floor, and a higher ceiling than I think most people realize.
Christian Kirk - Arizona Cardinals
2018 Fantasy Rank: WR58
Current ADP: WR42, 105.5
Another player highly touted by the Podfather, is Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk.
You see the CD (73rd %) and breakout age (93rd %). He was a beast in college at Texas A&M, catching at least 70 passes, for 900+ yards and 7+ touchdowns in all three seasons, averaging almost nine scores a season. Kirk was quietly very good during his rookie year for the Cardinals despite only playing in 12 games as he was placed on the I.R. with a broken foot late after Week 13. The foot scares me, but he has plenty of time to recover. We'll assume he's fully healthy by the summer.
Kirk was Arizona's best playmaker last year, finishing with 590 yards on 43 receptions and three scores, and breaking a few big returns as well. Rosen didn't play in the first two games, but once he was in, him and Kirk had a great chemistry, and Kirk averaged over 9.5 FPs/game (half ppr) in the 10 play games that they did play together. This was on the absolute worst offense in the NFL, the worst offensive scheme, the worst pass-blocking line, and similar to Tyler Boyd last year, this offense ran no fuckin offensive plays, ranking 31st in offensive plays on the year, 56 plays/game. This was a year after Arians left and the Cardinals offense ranked 5th in the NFL, running 66.2 plays/game, a full 10 plays per game/more. I expect the two numbers to meet halfway in 2019, which will itself be a big boost to all of the fantasy players on Arizona.
Again y'all, listen to this. Kirk averaged 9.6 FPs/game in the 10 games with Rosen, in the leagues worst offense. That's right around the WR36 mark, so a WR3 in 12-team leagues. If you buy into Kirk being a good player at all, and you think he improves, let's say to 11.0 FPs game, 1.5 more/game, considering he had 3 touchdowns I think that's reasonable, he would've flirted with top-25 fantasy WRs numbers this year, the highest fantasy scoring season ever for WRs, last year, that would've made him likely top-20.
The big change here is Kliff Kingsbury coming in as HC. I broke him down in depth in my 2019 NFL Coaching Changes video, KK ran offenses in college that consistently ranked among the top in the NCAA. "
From 2013 to 2018, Kingsbury's quarterbacks had the second-most completions, attempts, yards, touchdowns, completions over 20 yards and passing first downs nationally, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Red Raiders' offense also was ranked third nationally in yards per game, second in passing yards per game, fourth in total first downs, third in third-down conversion percentage and eighth in points per game." They are fast-paced, a lot of passing, the literal opposite of what the Cardinals had last year. This is what intrigued me most:
Five consecutive years under Kingsbury we have a now-NFL-slot-WR having big, big years.
The question does become, however, does Kirk move into the slot after Larry Fitz resigned on a 1-year, $11-million deal for 2019. Fitz played in the slot on 69% of his routes in 2018. Fitz isn't moving outside. Inversely, Kirk was mainly a slot WR in college, although he played outside some too, played outside on 69% of his routes in 2018. However, in these Kingsbury type offenses, a lot of time you'll have four wide, two slot WRs, so I like Kirk's slot % to skyrocket this year, which should. But, tbh, he also proved really well on the outside, especially as a deep threat. He saw 10 deep targets in 10 games with Rosen (more than MT, Keenan Allen, catching 6 of them, 6th highest rate (60%) in the NFL.
If this offense can add offensive lineman, I really think they can have a big turnaround. I went back last week, on NFL Game Pass, to watch the condensed version of the majority of the Cardinals games, it's fantastic you can get through them in like 8 minutes, and listen, Josh Rosen did about as good as you could have for what he was given. The worst offensive line pass-blocking, he was hurried so often and sacked at a ridiculous rate. He was very sharp on short/immediate throws. Yes, his stats were awful. But given the coach and supporting cast, I'm not surprised. His arm looked very strong, he had lots of touch on his deep balls, a lot of them got PI calls or just had great plays made on them by defenders.
This video you're watching right now is all in one drive. A drop on a nicely touched deep ball. Two plays later, a beautifully thrown back shoulder where the WR couldn't get his foot in bounds. The very next play, a strong strike right to Fitz. The next play, another strong strike to Fitz who drops it.
Listen, I know that any way you look at the numbers, Rosen's came out awful. Not even I, the king of manipulating big facts, can do so. But sometimes you've gotta turn to the eye test. And sure, Rosen made some bad plays and messed up at times. He was a rookie But from what I saw, it was far more good than bad. In a new, uptempo offense, I pray they add offensive lines pieces, Rosen and Kirk clearly already had chemistry in their rookie year, came in the league together, I think the Cardinals as a team represent immense value later in fantasy drafts. I think Larry Fitz will be great value as well.
Chris Godwin - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2018 Fantasy Rank: WR25
Current ADP: WR25, 64
95-59-842-7 (14.3 YPC)
Averaged 6.67 targets w/ Winston vs w/o him.
Played on 64% of snaps, 3rd on the team behind Evans and Humphries. There were five games he played fewer snaps than Jackson, and 8 games he played fewer snaps than Humphries. still finished as a top 24 fantasy WR.
Humphries is gone in FA. Jackson is likely gone, too, unless Arians can convince him otherwise. Obviously, that opens the door for third-year wideout to step in and take over an every-down role.
He had a quiet rookie year, a step-forward sophomore year, now he's ready to take that next leap forward in year three.
Three games with 100+ receiving yards. That wasn't much considering last year was all-time for WRs, but if you look back at 2017, only 8 WRs in the NFL had more than 3 100+ yard receiving games.
What intrigues me most is the report we heard from Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds last week, suggesting Godwin could be the prime guy to fill the slot role that Humphries leaves. I already talked about why I liked Boyd, big slot receivers in today's NFL's game,
He perfectly fits that 6-1, 205lb mold, and look at his other metrics. I think Godwin would dominate that fit. Hmm, what has Arians done with other big-body slot WRs? Oh, right. Fitz in Arizona.
We saw how much Winston likes using his slot, evidenced by Humphries usage in 2018, the best part is that Winston loves using him down by the endzone. Godwin had a 28.6% endzone target share last year. That's a big number considering he only played on 64% of the snaps. He was tied for 3rd in the NFL among WRs with 11 targets inside the 10-yard line last year. So, you'd be getting the high target rate inside the 20s, but also a big target that Winston has already shown he loves throwing to in the endzone.