Fabiano's 2017 fantasy football projections: WRs

Print



Fantasy football analysis continues to develop and evolve as we become more and more advanced. No longer is it limited to a simple look at the rank of defenses against the pass and the run to determine starts or sits, as it was back in the late 1990s. (Wow, that seems like so long ago!) Now in the Information Age, the level of statistical projections, algorithms, metrics and research used to project a player's points and fantasy value are almost on the level of an NFL scout. While some information can be paralysis by analysis, a lot of it is useful in our quest to become champions.

In an effort to be a one-stop shop for the most important information as it pertains to your fantasy draft preparation, here's a look at my wide receiver projections for the 2017 season. I've also included a few of the more vital team stats from last season, including each team's wide receiver target and reception totals, the percentage of overall team targets and receptions that went to wideouts, and the percentage of overall team red-zone targets that went to the position. And of course, fantasy points against (strength of schedule) information is also included at the end.

Also included are a few nuggets, tidbits and analysis (for those who might be sick of all the numbers) on the most important fantasy players, in addition to the tendencies and trends of their coaches and coordinators. In some cases, you'll even see a quick historical breakdown of how well players have done (based on points) under the coaches and coordinators who'll be calling their plays in 2017.

With all of this information, you'll be able to enter your fantasy football draft with confidence.

NOTE: The projections for the players are listed twice, once in the image and once in straight text, as the images don't display in some formats.

Arizona Cardinals


Projections
Larry Fitzgerald: 90 rec, 1,009 yards, 6 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 134.9 fantasy points
John Brown: 54 rec, 765 yards, 5 TDs, 17 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 108.2 fantasy points
J.J. Nelson: 42 rec, 610 yards, 4 TDs, 57 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 88.7 fantasy points

The Cardinals ranked second in wide receiver targets and tied for fifth in red-zone targets last season. ... Larry Fitzgerald was the team's most targeted wide receiver (151). He's the lone wideout to score more than seven touchdowns in a single season under coach Bruce Arians in Arizona. ... J.J. Nelson was second in targets with 74. ... John Brown averaged 4.8 targets a game, but that total should rise as he returns from sickle cell trait. He's a potential middle- to late-round value. ... Arians was either a head coach or offensive coordinator in six consecutive seasons before taking over in Arizona. During that time, his system produced at least one top-20 fantasy wide receiver per season. However, Mike Wallace (2010-2011) was the lone wideout to finish better than 15th. ... In the last four years with the Cardinals, Arians' offense has produced just one top-10 wideout (Fitzgerald, 2015).

Atlanta Falcons


Projections
Julio Jones: 101 rec, 1,498 yards, 8 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 195.8 fantasy points
Taylor Gabriel: 53 rec, 622 yards, 5 TDs, 43 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 96.5 fantasy points
Mohamed Sanu: 55 rec, 626 yards, 5 TDs, 38 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 96.4 fantasy points

The Falcons finished 18th in wide receiver targets overall and 12th in red-zone targets. Surprisingly, superstar receiver Julio Jones finished 53rd at the position in red-zone chances. Veteran Mohamed Sanu led the Falcons wideouts with a mere 13 red-zone targets. That ranked 39th among wideouts around the league. Sanu would finish with just four touchdown catches, two behind Jones for the team lead among wide receivers. ... The Falcons ranked third in total red-zone targets (93), but almost a third of them went to running backs. ... Jones' 9.2 overall targets per game were down from the 12.7 he saw the previous season. However, those totals seem destined to rise under new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. ... Taylor Gabriel averaged five targets a game in his last seven games, but he averaged a touchdown per contest. He scored a sixth touchdown on his four rushing attempts.

Baltimore Ravens


Projections
Jeremy Maclin: 69 rec, 863 yards, 6 TDs, 6 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 120.9 fantasy points
Mike Wallace: 63 rec, 806 yards, 5 TDs, 21 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 112.7 fantasy points
Breshad Perriman: 50 rec, 639 yards, 4 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 87.9 fantasy points

The Ravens threw the ball more than any other team in the league last season, but their wideouts were targeted just 52.6 percent of the time. That ranked 31st in the league. Baltimore also finished 28th in terms of wideout red-zone targets. On the flip side, Ravens running backs were 13th in total target percentage and seventh in red-zone target percentage. ... In Marty Mornhinweg's last 10 seasons as a coach or offensive coordinator, his wide receivers have ranked in the top 20 in fantasy points just four times. Wallace was 24th under his watch one season ago. ... Jeremy Maclin ranked 38th, 12th, 32nd and 27th in his four seasons with Mornhinweg during their time together in Philadelphia. He averaged 64 catches for 863 yards and six touchdowns in those campaigns. ... The Ravens lost 102 targets from their pass attack from last year when Steve Smith Sr. decided to retire.

Buffalo Bills


Projections
Jordan Matthews: 64 rec, 809 yards, 5 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 110.9 fantasy points
Zay Jones: 63 rec, 717 yards, 4 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 95.7 fantasy points

The Bills finished 32nd in wideout targets and tied for 31st in red-zone chances last season. ... The team's three most-targeted wideouts, Robert Woods (76), Marquise Goodwin (68) and Sammy Watkins (52) are no longer on the roster. Watkins was dealt to the Rams during training camp, which means more targets for Jordan Matthews and Zay Jones. They're both worth late rounders. ... New offensive coordinator Rick Dennison has had a combined six top-20 fantasy wideout performances in his last six seasons in that role between Houston and Denver. That includes Andre Johnson, who ranked in the top 12 three times during their time together with the Texans. ... Matthews and Jones are worth late-round choices in most re-drafts, but neither should be selected as more than a fourth fantasy wideout in an offense will continue to lean on LeSean McCoy and the ground attack.

Carolina Panthers


Projections
Kelvin Benjamin: 65 rec, 974 yards, 6 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 133.4 fantasy points
Devin Funchess: 50 rec, 704 yards, 5 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 98.4 fantasy points
Curtis Samuel: 38 rec, 427 yards, 3 TDs, 144 rush yards, 1 rush TDs, 79.1 fantasy points

Carolina ranked tied for 17th in wide receiver targets and tied for 19th in red-zone targets a season ago. ... Kelvin Benjamin led the team in targets (118) and finished 20th in fantasy points among wideouts, but he put up double-digit fantasy points just five times. ... Mike Shula has been an offensive coordinator for nine seasons at the NFL level. During that time, Benjamin is the lone wideout to post 1,000 or more yards in his system. Over the last five seasons, just two Panthers wideouts (Benjamin - 2014-2016, Steve Smith - 2013) have seen 100-plus targets. What's more, tight end Greg Olsen has seen more targets than any wideout on the team since 2013. ... Ted Ginn, who ranked second in wideout targets, is no longer on the roster. That should mean more opportunities for Devin Funchess and Curtis Samuel, but neither is worth more than a late-rounder in drafts.

Chicago Bears


Projections
Kevin White: 66 rec, 698 yards, 5 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 97.8 fantasy points
Kendall Wright: 51 rec, 569 yards, 4 TDs, 23 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 75.2 fantasy points
Markus Wheaton: 43 rec, 592 yards, 3 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 75.2 fantasy points

The Bears finished 11th in wide receiver targets and eighth in red-zone targets in their first season under offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. That had much to due with injuries to tight end Zach Miller and the lack of a pass catcher in the backfield. ... In addition to the two seasons he filled that role in Tennessee, Loggains' top wide receiver has averaged 111 targets. ... Cameron Meredith led the Bears in total targets a season ago, but a torn ACL in the preseason will keep him on the sidelines for the entire 2017 campaign. ... Kevin White, a former first-round pick, has missed all but four games in his first two years due to injuries. While he's now back at full speed, White is still worth no more than a middle- to late-round choice. ... Kendall Wright, Markus Wheaton and Victor Cruz are also in the mix for targets, but none of the trio have much draft value at this point.

Cincinnati Bengals


Projections
A.J. Green: 91 rec, 1,332 yards, 8 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 181.2 fantasy points
John Ross: 40 rec, 523 yards, 4 TDs, 79 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 82.2 fantasy points
Brandon LaFell: 38 rec, 410 yards, 2 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 53 fantasy points
Tyler Boyd: 45 rec, 427 yards, 2 TDs, 11 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 53.8 fantasy points

Cincinnati ranked 14th in wideout targets and 19th in red-zone chances in their first season under offensive coordinator Ken Zampese. ... A.J. Green was on pace to finish with 160 targets before he went down with an injured hamstring. That would have been his highest total since 2013. Green was also on pace for 105 catches and 1,542 yards, which would have both been career highs. His projected 16 red-zone targets would have ranked tied for 18th among wideouts. ... Brandon LaFell led the Bengals with 107 targets, but 61 (or 57 percent) of them came over the final seven games of the season during which time Green was injured. ... The addition of rookie John Ross will mean fewer targets for both LaFell and Tyler Boyd, neither of whom is worth more than a late-round flier in deeper leagues. As for Ross, he's worth a late look in drafts but has to be monitored after shoulder surgery.

Cleveland Browns


Projections
Kenny Britt: 65 rec, 931 yards, 5 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 121.1 fantasy points
Corey Coleman: 61 rec, 742 yards, 5 TDs, 23 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 106.5 fantasy points

The Browns finished 21st in wide receiver targets and 24th in red-zone target totals under the watch of head coach Hue Jackson. .... In six full seasons as either a coach or offensive coordinator at the NFL level, Hue Jackson has produced just one top-10 fantasy wideout (A.J. Green, 2015). The next best fantasy players at the position were Laveranues Coles (13th, 2003) and Roddy White (14th, 2007). ... From 2005-2016, the Browns have had just three wideouts (Josh Gordon - 2013, Braylon Edwards - 2007, Terrelle Pryor - 2016) finish in the top 25 in fantasy points. ... Pryor led the team in targets (144) a season ago, but he's no longer on the roster. Those opportunities figure to go to Kenny Britt, who finished 26th in fantasy points among wideouts with the Rams last season. ... Corey Coleman averaged 7.3 targets a game as a rookie and will push Britt for the team lead.

Dallas Cowboys


Projections
Dez Bryant: 78 rec, 1,157 yards, 8 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 163.7 fantasy points
Cole Beasley: 63 rec, 737 yards, 4 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 97.7 fantasy points
Terrance Williams: 47 rec, 621 yards, 4 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 84.1 fantasy points

The Cowboys ranked 29th in wide receiver targets and 26th in red-zone target chances last season. ... Scott Linehan has produced nine top-10 fantasy wideouts in 15 seasons as either a head coach or offensive coordinator. Of course, he's coached elite receivers like Randy Moss, Torry Holt, Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant in that time. The lone "non-elite" wide receiver who's finished in the top 10 under Linehan was Chris Chambers (ninth, 2005). ... Bryant has missed 10 games over the last two seasons due to injuries. Projecting his average numbers during that time over 16 games, he would finish with 122 targets, 59 receptions, 871 yards and eight touchdowns. He had averaged 144 targets, 91 receptions, 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns in his previous three seasons, so his numbers have declined. ... Cole Beasley led the team with 98 targets a year ago, which was 23 more than his previous career best (2015). He's worth a late rounder, especially in PPR formats.

Denver Broncos


Projections
Demaryius Thomas: 88 rec, 1,108 yards, 6 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 144.8 fantasy points
Emmanuel Sanders: 80 rec, 1,094 yards, 5 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 137.4 fantasy points

The Broncos were tied for sixth in wideout targets and seventh in red-zone targets last season, which should be a surprise to no one when you consider the team's lack of an effective pass catcher at running back and tight end. Despite those high totals, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders still combined to post just 10 touchdown catches and neither finished in the top 15 in fantasy points among wideouts. ... In eight seasons as either an offensive coordinator or head coach, Mike McCoy has produced five top-20 fantasy wideout performances. That includes three top-seven finishes and one season (2012) with a pair of top-seven wideouts (Thomas - fifth, Eric Decker - seventh). ... Thomas averaged a solid 12.6 fantasy points per game with Peyton Manning. Without him, he has averaged 7.6 points. ... Thomas' target totals have now declined in each of the last three campaigns.

Detroit Lions


Projections
Golden Tate: 85 rec, 982 yards, 6 TDs, 33 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 135.5 fantasy points
Marvin Jones: 56 rec, 895 yards, 5 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 119.5 fantasy points
Kenny Golladay: 41 rec, 506 yards, 4 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 75.6 fantasy points

The Lions offense was tied for eighth in wide receiver targets and third in red-zone targets last season. ... Anquan Boldin, who is no longer on the roster, finished third in total targets and led the team with 23 red-zone targets. Those important opportunities should now be spread out to Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and tight end Eric Ebron. ... In Detroit's first season since the retirement of Calvin Johnson, Tate led the Lions with 135 targets and was second behind Boldin in red-zone chances (18). He could push up the No. 2 fantasy wideout ranks this season. ... Marvin Jones scored a combined 44.3 fantasy points in Weeks 2-3, but put up a total of 64.5 fantasy points (two touchdowns) in his final 13 games. ... Rookie Kenny Golladay is projected to open as the third wideout on the roster, but he's worth little more than a late-round flier as the Lions are likely to use more two tight-end sets.

Green Bay Packers


Projections
Jordy Nelson: 90 rec, 1,211 yards, 10 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 181.3 fantasy points
Davante Adams: 68 rec, 893 yards, 8 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 135.3 fantasy points
Randall Cobb: 58 rec, 692 yards, 6 TDs, 58 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 111.0 fantasy points

To the surprise of no one, the Packers ranked first in wideout targets and red-zone opportunities at the position a season ago. ... Jordy Nelson led the offense with 152 targets (9.5 TPG), while Davante Adams finished second with 121. The duo combined to post 26 touchdown catches, ranked second and seventh, respectively, at the position and were the highest-scoring wideout teammates (based on fantasy points) in the league. Touchdown regression is a concern for each of them, however. ... Coordinator Edgar Bennett's offense did spread the ball around, as four different players (Nelson, Adams, Randall Cobb, Ty Montgomery) finished with 40-plus catches. ... Aaron Rodgers has now had at least one top-20 fantasy wideout in all but one of his seasons as the Packers starter. ... Cobb has seen his reception, yardage and touchdown totals decline in each of the last three seasons.

Houston Texans


Projections
DeAndre Hopkins: 77 rec, 1,089 yards, 6 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 144.9 fantasy points
Will Fuller: 58 rec, 772 yards, 5 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 107.2 fantasy points

Houston finished 23rd in wideout targets and 25th in red-zone targets in 2016, as the passing offense finished as one of the worst in the NFL. ... Head coach Bill O'Brien will now serve as the team's player caller, and the trade of Brock Osweiler should improve the prospects of DeAndre Hopkins. He experienced declines in targets (minus-41), receptions (minus-33), yards (minus-567) and touchdowns (minus-8) compared to his 2015 totals, while also falling from sixth to 36th in fantasy points. Hopkins' 3.2 yards after the catch was also in the bottom half of the league. ... In three games where Tom Savage led the Texans in pass attempts, Hopkins averaged 11 targets, six receptions and 84 yards. He averaged nine targets, 4.6 receptions and 54 yards in the other 13 games where Osweiler started. .... Will Fuller is out two to three months due to a broken collarbone.

Indianapolis Colts


Projections
T.Y. Hilton: 81 rec, 1,233 yards, 7 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 163.3 fantasy points
Donte Moncrief: 57 rec, 773 yards, 8 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 123.3 fantasy points

The Colts ranked 22nd in both targets and in red-zone targets among wide receivers last season. ... T.Y. Hilton led the team with 155 targets, which was 96 more than the next best wideout (Phillip Dorsett, 59), but that total could decline at least somewhat with Donte Moncrief back in the mix. He missed a total of seven games due to injuries. A touchdown machine at the pro level, Moncrief visited the end zone seven times despite catching just 30 passes. What's more, 70 percent of his red-zone targets resulted in touchdowns. ... In his last six seasons as either a head coach or offensive coordinator, Rob Chudzinski had produced four top-six fantasy wide receivers. That includes Braylon Edwards (third, 2007), Steve Smith Sr. (sixth, 2011), Josh Gordon (first, 2013) and Hilton (fifth, 2016). What's more, Chudzinski has produced at least one top-20 fantasy wideout in all but one season.

Jacksonville Jaguars


Projections
Allen Robinson: 77 rec, 996 yards, 7 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 141.6 fantasy points
Marqise Lee: 57 rec, 678 yards, 4 TDs, 45 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 96.3 fantasy points
Allen Hurns: 46 rec, 630 yards, 4 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 85 fantasy points

The Jaguars finished fifth in wideout targets and 11th in red-zone targets a season ago, but that didn't keep Allen Robinson from putting up a disappointing campaign. While his targets remained high (151), his yardage (minus-517) and touchdowns (minus-eight) experienced a major decline. That can be blamed in part to a decrease in the number of targets he saw that were 20 or more yards (compared to 2015). Robinson also averaged 5.4 fewer yards per catch. ... Allen Hurns also saw declines across the board compared to his previous season, and his 6.9 targets-per-game average was just 0.3 more than Marqise Lee. New offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett failed to produce a top-20 fantasy wideout in two seasons in that role with the Bills. ... With rookie running back Leonard Fournette now in the mix, the Jaguars and Bortles figure to throw a whole lot less in 2017.

Kansas City Chiefs


Projections
Tyreek Hill: 77 rec, 854 yards, 5 TDs, 161 rush yards, 2 rush TDs, 139.5 fantasy points
Chris Conley: 48 rec, 461 yards, 3 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 62.1 fantasy points

The Chiefs finished 30th in wide receiver targets and tied for 15th in red-zone targets a season ago, which isn't a surprise on a team whose top-targeted player was a tight end (Travis Kelce). ... Jeremy Maclin, who averaged a team-high 6.3 targets per game among wideouts, is no longer on the roster. ... In three seasons in Kansas City, head coach Andy Reid has produced two top-20 fantasy wideouts but none in the top 10. He has also had just one 1,000-yard wideout (Maclin, 2015), and his leading player at the position has averaged just 101 targets, 66 receptions and 777 receiving yards in that time. ... Tyreek Hill figures to take over the role of Kansas City's No. 1 wide receiver. Over his final eight games of last season, he averaged 6.6 targets and another 1.6 rush attempts. Overall, Hill averaged 9.7 yards per catch and 11.1 yards per rush attempt. He'll be a breakout candidate.

Los Angeles Chargers


Projections
Keenan Allen: 81 rec, 987 yards, 7 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 138.7 fantasy points
Tyrell Williams: 61 rec, 854 yards, 6 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 121.4 fantasy points
Mike Williams: 38 rec, 452 yards, 4 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 69.2 fantasy points

The Chargers ranked 24th in targets and 23rd in red-zone targets among wideouts last season. Those stats reflect a team that saw two tight ends (Hunter Henry, Antonio Gates) record 30 red-zone targets and 16 touchdowns. ... Ken Whisenhunt has been a head coach or offensive coordinator for 13 seasons at the NFL level. In that time, he's coached six top-10 fantasy wideouts and 10 top-20 receivers. However, he's had just two (Keenan Allen - 2013, Tyrell Williams - 2016) finish higher than 18th in points in his last five seasons. ... Allen has missed 23 contests over the last two years due to injuries. In his nine active games, however, Allen recorded 96 targets, 73 receptions and 788 yards. ... Tyrell Williams is coming off a career season, but the Chargers also have Mike Williams, Dontrelle Inman and Travis Benjamin. The rookie could miss extended time due to a bad back, however.

Los Angeles Rams


Projections
Sammy Watkins: 70 rec, 1,056 yards, 5 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 135.6 fantasy points
Robert Woods: 51 rec, 649 yards, 3 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 82.9 fantasy points
Tavon Austin: 34 rec, 377 yards, 2 TDs, 156 rush yards, 1 rush TDs, 69.3 fantasy points
Cooper Kupp: 41 rec, 486 yards, 3 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 64.6 fantasy points

The Rams finished last season tied for 18th in wideout targets and 27th in red-zone targets, and their highest-scoring player at the position (Britt) ranked just 26th in fantasy points. ... Britt, who is no longer on the roster, left 111 targets behind. ... New head coach Sean McVay served as the offensive coordinator in Washington for three seasons. During that time, just one wideout (DeSean Jackson - 2014) finished in the top 20 in points at the position. Furthermore, their best receiver finished 36th (Pierre Garcon) and 30th (Jamison Crowder) in 2015 and 2016, respectively. ... Watkins figures to lead the team in targets, catches and receiving yards if he can avoid injuries, but his statistical ceiling is limited with quarterback Jared Goff under center. Target him as a borderline No. 2 or 3 wideout in your fantasy drafts. ... Woods and rookie Cooper Kupp are worth late-round draft fliers at best.

Miami Dolphins


Projections
Jarvis Landry: 85 rec, 980 yards, 5 TDs, 23 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 130.3 fantasy points
DeVante Parker: 67 rec, 856 yards, 6 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 121.6 fantasy points
Kenny Stills: 45 rec, 704 yards, 5 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 100.4 fantasy points

The Dolphins ranked 25th in wide receiver targets and 30th in red-zone targets, so the team didn't use their wideouts nearly as much inside the opponent's 20-yard line. That's evident in the red-zone stats of Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker, who combined for 18 targets and eight touchdowns. Landry ranks ninth in targets among wideouts over the last two years, but his eight combined scores are tied for just 44th. ... In his four seasons as either a head coach or offensive coordinator, Adam Gase has produced four top-eight and six top-25 fantasy wideouts. The lone season that Gase failed to produce a top-25 wideout was in 2015, when his top option at the position (Jeffery) missed seven games. If you project Jeffery's totals over a full season, however, he would have finished with 96 catches, 1,434 yards and seven touchdowns. Those totals would have put him ninth at wideout.

Minnesota Vikings


Projections
Stefon Diggs: 83 rec, 1,007 yards, 6 TDs, 9 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 135.6 fantasy points
Adam Thielen: 70 rec, 897 yards, 4 TDs, 38 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 116.2 fantasy points
Laquon Treadwell: 36 rec, 414 yards, 2 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 51.2 fantasy points

The Vikings finished 19th in wideout targets and 21st in red-zone targets a season ago. ... Despite missing three games, Stefon Diggs still led the offense in targets (8.6 TPG) and averaged almost 70 yards a contest. Now entering his third NFL campaign, Diggs is a viable draft bargain if he can avoid injuries. A season with 90 catches, 1,000-plus yards and five touchdowns is not out of the question. ... Adam Thielen posted career highs across the board, but 45 percent of his receiving yards came in just three games. ... Pat Shurmur has been a head coach or offensive coordinator in each of the last eight seasons. During that time, he's had just two top-10 fantasy wideouts (DeSean Jackson - 2009, Maclin - 2010) and three other top-25 performances at the position. Thielen ranked 29th in 2016. Furthermore, his leading fantasy wideout ranked 20th or worse in all but one of those eight seasons.

New England Patriots


Projections
Brandin Cooks: 84 rec, 1,067 yards, 7 TDs, 48 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 151.1 fantasy points
Chris Hogan: 53 rec, 698 yards, 6 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 108.9 fantasy points
Danny Amendola: 40 rec, 512 yards, 4 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 73.2 fantasy points

The Patriots ranked 27th in targeted wide receivers and 10th in red-zone chances in 2016, as the team had four players at the position with at least 10 red-zone targets. Julian Edelman led New England in both targets (160) and red-zone targets (15), but an injured knee in preseason has knocked him out for the 2017 campaign. Cooks averaged 123 targets in his last two seasons in New Orleans, which is 65 more than Chris Hogan had last season. Hogan, who is worth a late-round pick in drafts, was the Patriots' second-most targeted wideout. ... Josh McDaniels has produced four top-20 fantasy wideouts in his last seven seasons as an offensive coordinator or head coach, including two top-10 finishers in Brandon Marshall (2009) and Brandon Lloyd (2010). However, no Patriots wide receiver has ranked in the top 20 at the position since 2013 (Edelman, 18th).

New Orleans Saints


Projections
Michael Thomas: 88 rec, 1,196 yards, 9 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 173.6 fantasy points
Ted Ginn Jr.: 65 rec, 807 yards, 5 TDs, 76 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 118.3 fantasy points
Willie Snead: 63 rec, 846 yards, 5 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 112.6 fantasy points

The Saints finished fourth in targets and tied for fifth in red-zone chances at the position last season. ... Michael Thomas led the team in total targets (117) and touchdown catches (9), but Cooks was a close second in both categories. ... Willie Snead, who finished third on the team in targets, could have pushed for a new career high in targets before being suspended for three games. He's still worth a late rounder. ... Pete Carmichael's offense has produced at least one top-20 fantasy wideout in six of his eight seasons as the team's coordinator. That includes a 2016 campaign that saw Cooks (eighth) and Thomas (ninth) finish in the top 10. Carmichael has also had at least one wideout score eight or more touchdowns in six of his eight seasons. ... Ginn might not see a huge volume of targets, but his deep-threat capabilities make him a nice late-round choice with Drew Brees under center.

New York Giants


Projections
Odell Beckham Jr.: 92 rec, 1,269 yards, 10 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 184.9 fantasy points
Brandon Marshall: 65 rec, 820 yards, 7 TDs, 17 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 122 fantasy points
Sterling Shepard: 53 rec, 652 yards, 4 TDs, 22 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 91.4 fantasy points

The Giants finished last season ranked 10th in wideout targets and 13th in red-zone targets. ... Odell Beckham Jr. led the team with 169 targets, which is the most he's seen in a single season. He has also scored 42 percent of New York's wideout touchdowns during his three years in the league. Beckham's target totals could see a decrease this season, at least somewhat, with the addition of veteran Brandon Marshall and rookie tight end Evan Engram. ... Marshall has averaged 135 targets and eight touchdowns in his last three seasons. Beckham Jr. is the lone wideout on the G-Men to hit that target mark since 2014, however, while Sterling Shepard (2016) and Rueben Randle (2015) had eight scores a piece. ... In three seasons as the head coach or offensive coordinator, Ben McAdoo's second-highest scoring fantasy wideout (behind OBJ) has finished no better than 28th.

New York Jets


Projections
Robby Anderson: 57 rec, 794 yards, 4 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 103.4 fantasy points
ArDarius Stewart: 46 rec, 559 yards, 3 TDs, 23 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 74.2 fantasy points

In 2016, the Jets ranked third in wide receiver targets and were fourth in red-zone opportunities. However, no team did less in the stat sheets with more chances to produce. Marshall, now a member of the Giants, led the team with 128 targets but finished 51st in fantasy points among wideouts. Quincy Enunwa, who was second in targets with 105 targets, finished 41st. Their combined wide receivers scored 15 touchdowns, or one more than Jordy Nelson. ... With Enunwa now expected to miss the entire season, Robby Anderson could finish with around 60 catches under new offensive coordinator John Morton. He'll be worth a late pick. ... ArDarius Stewart and Charone Peake will also compete for targets in the offense. Unfortunately, neither wideout will be worth more than a late flier in an offense that could see Christian Hackenberg make significant starts for the Jets.

Oakland Raiders


Projections
Amari Cooper: 85 rec, 1,147 yards, 6 TDs, 28 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 151.5 fantasy points
Michael Crabtree: 84 rec, 940 yards, 8 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 140 fantasy points

The Raiders ranked in a tie for sixth in the NFL in targets and finished second in red-zone targets among wide receivers a season ago, as both Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper finished in the top 12 in fantasy points at the position. ... Crabtree led the team in both targets (145) and touchdown catches (8), but he scored just one more fantasy point than Cooper. ... Cooper's one downfall, at least in fantasy football, has been in the touchdown department. He's scored just six times in his first 155 NFL receptions. That's one touchdown for nearly every 26 receptions. Furthermore, Cooper ranked third on the Raiders in red-zone targets behind both Crabtree (22) and Seth Roberts (21) in 2016. ... The team promoted Todd Downing from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator in the offseason, but the same system that former coordinator Bill Musgrave left behind will remain intact.

Philadelphia Eagles


Projections
Alshon Jeffery: 75 rec, 1,045 yards, 7 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 144.5 fantasy points
Torrey Smith: 58 rec, 841 yards, 4 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 108.1 fantasy points
Nelson Agholor: 40 rec, 448 yards, 3 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 60.8 fantasy points

The Eagles finished 26th in targets and tied for 13th in red-zone targets among wideouts a season ago. ... Jordan Matthews led the team in targets (116), but he finished a meager 49th in fantasy points at wide receiver and is no longer on the roster. ... Jeffery, who has missed 11 games over the last two years, averaged 94 targets and 53 receptions with six touchdowns in that time. Those totals should rise under offensive coordinator Frank Reich, though the former NFL quarterback has not had a lot of luck with wideouts. In fact, he's never had a wide receiver finish higher than 29th in fantasy points in his three seasons in that role. To his credit, however, Keenan Allen was on pace for a top-10 finish under Reich before going down with a lacerated kidney (2015). Jeffery should be picked as a No. 2 fantasy wideout. ... Torrey Smith is worth a late flier, but Nelson Agholor is likely to be undrafted.

Pittsburgh Steelers


Projections
Antonio Brown: 112 rec, 1,377 yards, 11 TDs, 22 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 205.9 fantasy points
Martavis Bryant: 69 rec, 923 yards, 8 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 138.3 fantasy points
Eli Rogers: 26 rec, 348 yards, 2 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 44.8 fantasy points

Pittsburgh ranked 15th in wideout targets and 20th in red-zone opportunities last season. ... Antonio Brown led the team with 154 targets, which was his lowest total since 2014 but was still enough for him to rank third in fantasy points. Brown has also seen more targets (528) than any player in the league over the last three years. ... Martavis Bryant will return from a season-long suspension, and he's a breakout candidate in fantasy land. The talented wideout has scored 15 total touchdowns in his 21 NFL games, including 14 scoring catches in 76 receptions. ... Wideouts have had success under Todd Haley in his time as an offensive coordinator or head coach, as Brown (2013-2016), Dwayne Bowe (2010) and Larry Fitzgerald (2007-2008) have ranked in the top seven among wideouts in their respective years. Brown, Bowe and Fitzgerald all ranked first or second in their time under Haley.

San Francisco 49ers


Projections
Pierre Garcon: 83 rec, 987 yards, 5 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 128.7 fantasy points
Jeremy Kerley: 54 rec, 590 yards, 2 TDs, 18 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 70.8 fantasy points
Marquise Goodwin: 34 rec, 429 yards, 2 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 52.9 fantasy points

The 49ers finished 28th in wideout targets last season, and no team gave its wide receivers fewer red-zone chances. As a result, it's no surprise that Jeremy Kerley was the team's best fantasy wideout - at No. 59. That should improve under new head coach Kyle Shanahan, however. In his nine seasons as an offensive coordinator, Shanahan's receivers have finished in the top 20 in fantasy points six times. That includes Julio Jones, who finished sixth and second in his two years under Shanahan. ... Garcon had his best fantasy season under Shanahan while the two were together in Washington, as he recorded career highs in targets (181), receptions (113) and yards (1,346). The veteran finished 13th in fantasy points among wideouts that season in standard scoring leagues, and could be a nice bargain in 2017. ... Goodwin and Kerley are projected to be second and third on the depth chart.

Seattle Seahawks


Projections
Doug Baldwin: 83 rec, 1,061 yards, 8 TDs, 31 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 155.2 fantasy points
Tyler Lockett: 48 rec, 673 yards, 4 TDs, 47 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 94 fantasy points
Paul Richardson: 38 rec, 513 yards, 3 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 69.3 fantasy points

Seattle ranked 20th in wide receiver targets and tied for 17th in red-zone chances at the position last season. ... For the second straight season and just the second time in the last five years under offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, the Seahawks had a wideout who finished better than 28th in fantasy points at the position. That was Doug Baldwin, who ranked 10th and saw career highs in targets (125), receptions (94) and yards (1,128). He'll be a low-end No. 1 wideout in drafts. ... Aside from Baldwin, Bevell's wideouts have not made a major impact in the world of fantasy football. In fact, the best finish that any No. 2 Seahawks receiver has had in the last five seasons is Golden Tate -- he ranked 36th at the position in 2012. The average finish of their second-best fantasy wideout is 46th. Keep that in mind before reaching for either Tyler Lockett, Jermaine Kearse or Paul Richardson.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Projections
Mike Evans: 89 rec, 1,235 yards, 10 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 181.5 fantasy points
DeSean Jackson: 63 rec, 977 yards, 5 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 125.7 fantasy points

The Buccaneers were tied for eighth in targets and ranked 16th in red-zone targets among wide receivers last season. ... Mike Evans dominated the target share, leading his team (and the league) with 173. That was 88 more than Adam Humphries, who ranked second in Tampa Bay. Evans' targets could decline somewhat, as the Buccaneers added DeSean Jackson and rookie tight end O.J. Howard to a pass attack that should be improved over last year's version. Jackson has never had more than 126 targets in a single season, though, and he's averaged just 98 targets, 47 catches, 901 yards and five touchdowns over the last three years. ... In his last 10 seasons as a head coach or offensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter has produced three top-10 fantasy wideouts. All four have come in the last five years and include Evans (2016), Julio Jones (2012, 2014) and Roddy White (2012).

Tennessee Titans


Projections
Eric Decker: 53 rec, 776 yards, 7 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 119.6 fantasy points
Corey Davis: 58 rec, 748 yards, 6 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 110.8 fantasy points
Rishard Matthews: 53 rec, 712 yards, 5 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 100.4 fantasy points

The Titans finished 31st in targets and 29th in red-zone chances at the wideout spot a season ago, but the offense promises to look much different under offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie. ... The team added Corey Davis in the NFL draft, and Decker was signed late in the offseason to add even more talent to what is now a deep group of receivers. ... Rishard Matthews, who led the team with 108 targets and finished 14th in fantasy points at the position last season, will be hard pressed to reach his 2016 totals. The same goes for Tajae Sharpe, who won't duplicate the 80 targets he saw during his rookie campaign. ... No Tennessee wide receiver besides Matthews has scored more than six touchdowns in a single season over the last three years, but Decker has averaged 8.5 scores over his last six seasons and Davis scored 46 times in his last three college years.

Washington Redskins


Projections
Terrelle Pryor: 81 rec, 1,076 yards, 6 TDs, 30 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 144.6 fantasy points
Jamison Crowder: 76 rec, 988 yards, 5 TDs, 13 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 128.1 fantasy points
Josh Doctson: 55 rec, 658 yards, 4 TDs, 0 rush yards, 0 rush TDs, 87.8 fantasy points

The Redskins ranked 12th in wideout targets and ninth in red-zone chances last season, but the team lost a combined 214 targets with the departures of DeSean Jackson and Garcon in the offseason. ... The team added Pryor, who saw 141 targets from five different quarterbacks in Cleveland, to become their new No. 1 wideout. The upgrade at quarterback to Kirk Cousins and the prospect of a more productive pass attack makes Pryor a breakout candidate. ... Jamison Crowder, who finished 30th in fantasy points among wideouts in 2016, is a good sleeper candidate with added value in PPR leagues. His target share average should move upward of seven per game. ... Josh Doctson missed all but two games as a rookie but remains a worthwhile flier. ... In six seasons as either a head coach or offensive coordinator, Jay Gruden has produced five top-20 fantasy performances at the position.

NFL Fantasy season is here! Get in on the fun and join or create a league for FREE.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

Print