Fantasy Football

Fantasy Points Per Touch: Wide receivers

The wide receiver position has taken a backseat to the running backs in the terms of overall fantasy value at the top of drafts, but it's still a very productive and deep position. In fact, 25 wideouts topped 1,000 receiving yards in 2019. That's tied for the most in a single season in NFL history. With points being scored at such a high rate in the high-scoring NFL, let's dig a little deeper into who was the most productive (from a fantasy football perspective) when the football was in their hands.

And no, I'm not talking about just overall points scorers.

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 of how good the player really was for fantasy fans. In the case of the wideouts, here's the position's top 25 players (minimum 50 touches) ranked based on a combination of receptions and rushing attempts and the positive points that resulted in 2019.

  1. A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans (3.95): Brown was a superstar in the second half of last season, averaging nearly 18 fantasy points per game in his last eight contests. He was also fifth in yards among wide receivers and averaged 14.1 yards per catch. Brown figures to be picked as a high-end WR2 next season, assuming the Titans are able to retain Ryan Tannehill during the offseason.
  1. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (3.82): Golladay was an obvious star with the football in his hands, but imagine what his totals would have been had he not lost Matthew Stafford after eight games? Well, he averaged more than four points per catch in the games Stafford started! Do the math. Babytron will be a megastar in 2020 and should be considered on low-end No. 1 wideout in 2020 drafts.
  1. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3.47): Evans wasn't the most consistent wideout in terms of week-to-week production last season, but when he was good, he was awesome. This is also the third straight campaign that Evans has seen his fantasy points per touch average rise, from 2.86 in 2017 to 3.38 in 2018 to nearly 3.5 last season. He'll be a mid-range WR1 in 2020 fantasy drafts.
  1. DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins (3.42): Parker was one of the top waiver-wire adds in fantasy football last season. In fact, he averaged 19.3 points over his final eight games. Only Michael Thomas averaged more during that time. While his fantasy stock is clearly on the rise, Parker's efficiency in those eight impressive games will be very difficult to replicate over an entire NFL season.
  1. Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins (3.31): McLaurin posted a solid rookie season, finishing as the WR29 while averaging 13.7 fantasy points a game. He was better in the first half with Case Keenum under center though, averaging 14.8 points in Weeks 1-8 compared to 12.6 in the final eight weeks. With a full year of experience under his belt, McLaurin could bust out big time in 2020.
  1. Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (3.23): Williams actually led all wideouts in points per touch (3.60) in 2018, so he saw a slight decrease. He was unable to meet expectations though, as Williams scored just two touchdowns after putting up 11 total scores the previous season. While he still has room for added statistical success, Williams won't be more than a No. 3/4 wideout in 2020.
  1. Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys (3.22): Gallup was impressive during his sophomore season, posting over 1,100 yards and a 16.8 yards per catch average in 14 games. He also averaged 15.2 fantasy points per game, which tied Calvin Ridley for the 18th-most among wide receivers. Gallup figures to be drafted as a No. 3 fantasy wideout in 2020, assuming Amari Cooper remains in Dallas.
  1. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3.17): Godwin made good on his high statistical expectations last season, finishing second in fantasy points per game (19.7) among wide receivers. He also averaged a solid 15.5 yards per catch, which led all wideouts with at least 80 receptions. Godwin figures to be selected in the second round as a No. 1 fantasy wide receiver in 2020 fantasy drafts.

T-9. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings (3.12): Diggs saw a nice increase in his fantasy point per touch average, but he also experienced a sharp decline in his catch total (63) compared to 2018 (102). On a positive note, Diggs ranked second in terms of yards-per-catch average (17.9) among wideouts who caught at least 60 passes. He'll be in the WR2/3 range for most fantasy owners next season.

T-9. DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks (3.12): Metcalf had a nice rookie year, finishing 33rd in fantasy points among wide receivers. He was better in the second half, averaging nearly 13 fantasy points per game (that's more than Odell Beckham Jr. had all season). The sky is the limit for Metcalf as a sophomore, so expect him to be chosen as a borderline WR2/3 fantasy receiver in most 2020 drafts.

  1. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys (3.08): Cooper was an absolute star in the first half of the season, averaging nearly 19 fantasy points per game. He got dinged up afterwards, though, causing his production to drop from 3.10 points per touch down to 2.77. Assuming the Cowboys are able to retain him, Cooper will remain in the WR1 conversation. Otherwise, his stock could see a slight decline.
  1. Robby Anderson, New York Jets (3.06): Anderson was tough to start in the first half of the season, averaging just 8.3 fantasy points and 2.76 points per touch. He was better in the second half, though, averaging 11.6 points and 3.26 points per touch. Slated to become a free agent, Anderson might benefit from a change of scenery. At this point, he's a borderline WR3/4 wideout for 2020.
  1. Golden Tate, New York Giants (3.04): Tate averaged nearly 14 fantasy points on a Giants team that had a number of injuries among receivers. He'll be taken as a No. 4 wideout in most 2020 drafts, thought he could also be the third Giants wideout picked after Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton.

T-14. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons (3.03): Ridley's fantasy points per game average went from 12.9 points in the first half to nearly 19 in the second (though he missed three games). If the Falcons lose Austin Hooper as a free agent, Ridley could end up producing high-end WR2 numbers in 2020.

T-14. Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions (3.03): Jones ranked 21st in fantasy points per game (14.9) among wide receivers in 13 games a season ago. A big part of that came via the touchdown, as he scored nine times (or a touchdown for every 6.9 catches). Jones will be a borderline No. 3 or 4 fantasy wideout.

  1. D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars (3.01): Chark was a monster in the stat sheets in the first eight weeks of last year, averaging nearly 18 fantasy points and 3.49 points per touch. Unfortunately, those totals dropped to 11.8 points per game and 2.44 points per touch in the second half.

T-17. Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos (2.97): Sutton saw his numbers rise almost across the board in his sophomore season, and he still hasn't come close to hitting his statistical ceiling. In fact, Sutton is going to be drafted as a high-end No. 2 wideout with top-12 receiver potential in 2020 drafts.

T-17. John Brown, Buffalo Bills (2.97): Brown was a great draft bargain a season ago, averaging 14.7 fantasy points. The speedster put up career bests in targets, catches and yards while also averaging 14.7 yards per catch. He'll be drafted as a No. 3 fantasy wideout in 2020.

  1. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos/San Francisco 49ers (2.88): Sanders played in 17 games between the Broncos and 49ers. He did see his numbers decline in the second half of the season, though. A free agent this offseason, Sanders will be on the WR4/5 radar depending on his landing spot.
  1. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (2.85): Hill, who ranked tied for seventh in fantasy points per touch among wideouts a season ago, saw a decline in 2019. That occurred despite the fact that he saw big declines in targets and catches compared to 2018. Still, Hill remains a firm WR1 in drafts.
  1. Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns (2.83): Landry averaged a modest 11.6 fantasy points in the first half of last season, but that total rose to 17.3 points in Weeks 9-17. He'll be a WR3 in 2020.
  1. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (2.82): Kupp saw a big dip in his points per game average from the first half (20.9) to the second (12.8), but his fantasy points per touch total was steady.
  1. Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills (2.76): Beasley is coming off his best season in the stat sheets, posting 106 catches, 11.6 yards per catch and six scores as the security blanket for Josh Allen.
  1. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (2.73): Lockett averaged more than 16.3 fantasy points in the first half of the season, but that total declined to barely over 13 points from Weeks 9-17.
  1. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (2.71): Jones saw a slight decline in his fantasy points per touch total compared to 2018 (2.84), but he still ranked third among wideouts in points per game.

Notes: Where did Michael Thomas finish in fantasy points per touch, you might ask? Well, he was 33rd at the position he led in fantasy points. That's what happens when you break the NFL record for catches. ... Odell Beckham Jr. went from averaging 2.81 fantasy points per touch in his final season in New York to 2.61 points per touch in his first year in Cleveland. He's now considered more of a No. 2 fantasy wideout. ... Davante Adams, who missed a few games for the Packers due to injuries, saw his fantasy points per touch average decline from 2.97 in 2018 to 2.56 a season ago. However, he still finished sixth in fantasy points per game average among wideouts at 17.7. ... DeAndre Hopkins has seen his fantasy points per touch average decline in each of the last three seasons, from 3.41 in 2017 to 2.88 in 2018 and 2.53 in 2019. ... Among the wide receivers who had 90 or more touches last season, the highest point-per-touch performers were Kupp (2.82), Jones (2.71), Allen Robinson (2.58), Hopkins (2.53) and Thomas (2.50). The rest of that list includes D.J. Moore (2.48), Keenan Allen (2.44), Julian Edelman (2.37), Tyler Boyd (2.37) and Robert Woods (2.18).

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTubeand Instagramfor the latest fantasy football news and analysis!

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