D.J. Moore, Calvin Ridley Fantasy Football breakouts

D.J. Moore and Calvin Ridley are quality mid-round bets to make at wide receiver in 2019.
D.J. Moore

There is no shortage of name brand options residing in wide receiver tiers 3-5, territory where high-end talent is typically available. Because this landscape has more landmines than usual, I’ve made a concerted effort to secure a solid foundation at wide receiver within my first three picks. And in most cases, I still need to make an aggressive play on some of the undervalued assets that slip into the middle rounds. I discussed Chris Godwin in detail, but D.J. Moore and Calvin Ridley have caught my eye as well.

Cat-quick in Carolina

The Panthers’ 2018 implosion may have overshadowed D.J. Moore’s development. I’m willing to invest a little extra based on his  October and November. Over that eight-game span, Moore caught 36 of 44 targets (81.2 percent) for a robust 14.2-yard average. Of course, those are peak numbers, so I’m not going to extrapolate them, but I’m excited nonetheless. The element of Moore’s game I love is his ability after the catch. It will allow him to appropriate top-flight receivers in the catch rate and catch average departments. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner will design high-percentage targets that allow him to use his legs to rip off extra yardage. All he’ll need at that point is volume, something he should receive atop the Panthers’ wide receiver depth chart.

Another Falcon takes flight

What’s not to like about Calvin Ridley’s situation? 2018 first-round pick, strong rookie season, pass-focused offense, MVP quarterback … the list is long. I’m bidding on Ridley as if his floor is 20 percent of a potential league-leading volume of passing. That lands him in the neighborhood of 130 targets, more than enough opportunity for him to do damage. Ridley’s reported work ethic is perhaps the most encouraging piece of this entire equation. In “real life”, people who put in the time and effort to improve at their craft often get rewarded. The same applies to football, and Ridley is combining that discipline with talent and opportunity. Those ingredients usually yield tasty fantasy football production. The only thing left for him to do is ready his plate.

CWi Last Word: D.J. Moore, Calvin Ridley

In D.J. Moore and Calvin Ridley, I have two high upside wide receivers to target in the middle rounds after fading the majority of choices from WR8-WR23 (according to Fantasy Football Calculator). I genuinely expect both Moore and Ridley to emerge as shrewder investments than the likes of Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Kenny Golladay and a handful of other more highly regarded and higher priced options.

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Chris Godwin serving Fantasy Football profit

Chris Godwin is one of the more profitable receivers available in 2019 Fantasy Football drafts.
Chris Godwin

I hopped on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers bandwagon the minute Bruce Arians was named head coach. I’m buying everything about this offense, from on-the-rise coordinator Byron Leftwich to mercurial quarterback Jameis Winston and the Mike Evans-Chris Godwin-O.J. Howard pass-catching trio in between. 

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Michael Thomas a prime Fantasy Football fade

Michael Thomas will produce a disappointing return to those who sink a first-round investment into him.
Photo credit: USA Today

Michael Thomas was dominant in 2018, it’s no surprise he’s a popular draft pick heading into the upcoming season. However, there are a number of reasons I’m fading him completely at his current average draft position.

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Wide Receiver Tiers: Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr.

Mike Evans edges Odell Beckham Jr. to round out my top 10.
Photo credit: Tampa Bay Times

Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr. enter 2019 in situations expected to be conducive to production. Wide receiver tiers and rankings generally express this sentiment, but not quite to a degree that captures the profitable ceilings of each.

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Wide Receiver Rankings: DeAndre Hopkins heads trio

DeAndre Hopkins leads a dominant trio of wide receivers.
DeAndre Hopkins leads a dominant trio of wide receivers heading into 2019.

Once the top three (or four) running backs are off the board, the conventional move has been to look toward the perimeter. Wide receiver rankings have DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones and Davante Adams situated as the top three options.

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A.J. Brown stands out as profitable late-round target

I’m not typically aggressive in my pursuit of rookie wide receivers, but A.J. Brown has emerged as an appealing late-round lottery ticket.

Considering his raw talent and the thin selection of weapons behind Corey Davis*, I fully expect Brown to receive the opportunity to deliver an immediate impact and perhaps assume clear No. 2 receiver duties shortly thereafter. 

You can sell yourself on potential with Brown in this case because you’re paying next to nothing in draft capital. As someone who’s so electrifying after the catch and capable on both the inside and outside, Brown possesses the versatility and big-play ability necessary to excel in an offense not that far away from being interesting.

*Who’s going to command a higher target share than Brown? Delanie Walker will be 35 in August and only deemed himself “85 percent” in May coming off a dislocated ankle suffered in Week 1 of the 2018 season. I also expect the Titans to continue running a high percentage of multiple-tight end sets, keeping secondary receivers off the field (key word: continuity).

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