Fantasy points per touch: 2017 wide receiver recap

Fantasy football is all about points. The more you score, the better chance you have to win.

(It ain't rocket science, folks).

While the final scoring leaders offer a look at how well a player performed in the stat sheets, it fails to offer us a complete picture on how good the player really was for fantasy fans. Case in point, JuJu Smith-Schuster ranked 23rd in points among wide receivers this past season. However, he averaged more points per touch than all but two wide receivers in the league (minimum of 50 touches). So, the rookie from USC was a prolific player every time he stepped onto the gridiron. In fact, his full-season projections (based on his 14 games) would have put him ahead of wideouts like Mike Evans and Demaryius Thomas.

So, let's take a deeper look into the numbers to see how our heroes performed when the football was in their hands. In the case of the wideouts, here's the position's top 30 players ranked based on a combination of receptions and rush attempts and the positive points that resulted via receiving and rushing yards gained, receptions and total touchdowns.

1. Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions (3.69 FPPT): Jones is coming off the best season of his career, finishing 11th in PPR points among wide receivers. Aided by the fact that he found the end zone once every 6.7 times he caught a pass, it's no surprise that the California product led all qualifying receivers in points per touch. In this case, Jones recorded all of his points as a receiver (he didn't record a single rush attempt). Fantasy owners should expect him to be valued as a No. 2 fantasy wideout next season, though the potential for Kenny Golladay to see more targets could hurt Jones' bottom line in 2018.

2. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles (3.44 FPPT): Much like Jones, Jeffery's high touchdown total and modest catch numbers made him a standout in our point-per-touch research. The South Carolina product scored one touchdown for every 6.3 receptions in what was a crowded Philadelphia pass attack. He also scored an additional six points on two-point conversions, but the reception and yardage stats from those plays are not counted in the box scores. Jeffery, who is expected to be back in time for the start of next season after surgery to repair his rotator cuff, figures to be in the WR2 conversation in drafts.

3. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers (3.41 FPPT): So much for that trend of Southern California wideouts floundering at the NFL level! At least for 2018, the league had several Trojans making a big fantasy impact. No one was better than Smith-Schuster, who averaged just four receptions in his first seven NFL games before busting out in the second half. In fact, he saw an average of eight targets in his final seven contests and found the end zone four times. Smith-Schuster, who scored one touchdown for every 8.2 receptions as a rookie, will be a very popular middle-round selection in 2018 fantasy drafts.

4. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (3.23 FPPT): The fact that Hopkins is this high on the list of point-per-touch performers is nothing short of amazing when you consider his volume. The talented wideout had 96 catches on 174 targets this past season, and he still averaged more than three PPR points every time he touched the football. Compare that to his 2016 campaign, when he caught 78 passes and averaged 2.5 PPR points per catch, and it's evident just how big of an impact Hopkins made in the stat sheets. He'll be one of just two wide receivers (Antonio Brown) who warrants a first-round selection in PPR drafts.

5. Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers (3.10 FPPT): There's an obvious trend here, as Funchess is yet another wide receiver with a high touchdown to reception ratio (7.8). He saw his value rise once the team traded Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo, too. In fact, the Michigan product had a five-game stretch where he scored four touchdowns and averaged an impressive 3.7 PPR points per catch. The Panthers are expected to make a move to add another wideout either via free agency or the NFL draft, so Funchess' value is difficult to determine. For now, he's on the No. 2 wide receiver radar in most PPR fantasy drafts.

6. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (3.08 FPPT): Hilton's 2017 fantasy campaign was one to forget, as he finished 28th in PPR points among wide receivers due in large part to the loss of Andrew Luck for the season. His 57 catches were his lowest total since his rookie season, and his four touchdowns were a career low. He still managed almost 1,000 yards and averaged 16.9 yards per reception, however, which kept him among the better wideouts in the league in points per touch. If Luck is able to return to action in 2018, Hilton should be back on the radar as a high-end No. 2 fantasy wideout across the board.

T-7. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (3.07 FPPT): The top-scoring wide receiver in fantasy football, Brown produced 310.30 PPR points despite the fact that he missed two games due to injuries. He was a points explosion waiting to happen each time he touched the football, and his high number of opportunities (101 catches on 163 targets) didn't keep his points-per-touch average down like it does for so many other offensive skill players. Based on his production and durability, one can make an argument that Brown should be the No. 1 overall pick in PPR leagues. At worst, he's going to be a top-five selection.

T-7. Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles (3.07 FPPT): How about those Trojans? Agholor is the second USC product in the top seven, as he produced his best season in the NFL with eight touchdowns and 193.50 PPR points. Much like his teammate Alshon Jeffery, Agholor was average in the catches department with 62 (tied for 26th among wideouts) but found the end zone eight times. That amounts to one end-zone visit for every 7.7 receptions. A big part of Philadelphia's Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots, Agholor will be picked as a No. 3 fantasy receiver (assuming Carson Wentz is back for Week 1) in 2018.

9. Robby Anderson, New York Jets (3.03 FPPT): Did you know that Anderson scored just 3.1 fewer PPR points than Mike Evans last season? Much of his success came during a torrid five-game stretch that saw him score a combined five touchdowns and 107.8 PPR points, including a stout 3.85 point-per-touch average. Unfortunately, Anderson's offseason got started on the wrong foot as he was arrested for several traffic violations and reportedly threatening the wife of the arresting officer. The incident is likely to lead to some sort of league discipline, but Anderson looks likely to be on the WR3 radar in drafts.

10. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (3.02 FPPT): Green also finished 10th in total PPR points among wide receivers, but he wasn't very consistent in the second half of last season. In fact, he failed to score a touchdown in four of his last five games of the fantasy season, During that time, he averaged just 2.67 points per catch (which is less than Dez Bryant's season total). Green was much better to start the season, however, as he scored three touchdowns and averaged over three PPR points per reception. He'll be worth a second- or third-round selection in drafts next season regardless of the format.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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