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3 Wide Receivers to Avoid in 2023



Jaylen Waddle - WR11, 17.9 (2nd Round)


Waddle was 1st in yards per target over expectation, which means he's good, but it also means he could be in store for a slight negative regression. He also had the highest differential in expected fantasy points vs actual fantasy points.


Waddle only had a 20% target share last year, while Tyreek led the league alongside Davante Adams with a 28% target share. His target and air yards share lined up with that of a WR2 rather than a WR1.


With all that being said, he's going to have his huge blow-up games that wins you a few weeks. Just for those who might think a healthy Tua is the answer: he only averaged 6.4 targets and 4.1 catches per game with Tua at the helm. WR11 off the board is too high for me.

 

Tee Higgins - WR14, 24.8 (2-3 Turn)


Ja'Marr Chase missed Weeks 8-12 last year, and Tee Higgins ended up averaging 18.8 PPR fantasy points during that span. Unfortunately, he has to compete with Chase, which limited Higgins to only a 21% overall target share (adjusted for injured games).


Higgins should be a solid WR2, but he's being drafted as a high-end WR2 right now. There's a pretty wide tier-gap between the low-end WR1 and the high-end WR2s, but there isn't enough of an ADP gap between the two tiers.


It is possible that Higgins takes a Year 3 leap along with Joe Burrow in a pass-first offense, but missed time for Burrow in camp due to his calf strain isn't helping.

 

Michael Pittman Jr. - WR36, 70.2 (6-7 Turn)


Michael Pittman has the talent profile of an alpha WR1. He has the size and separation skills that any QB would love. The target share should be there for Pittman, but there will be questions around whether Anthony Richardson will be able to keep him propped up as a solid WR2 for fantasy.


His 1.44 yards/route run was terribly inefficient last year - that ranked 30th of 34 among WRs with 100+ targets. I think that was a product of the QB situation, but while I think Richardson will allow Pittman to work more downfield, we might see inconsistencies. His 24% target share and 30% air yards share is usually indicative of more production; in fact, his 925 yards on 99 catches last year was the least yards ever for anyone who has had 99+ catches in an NFL season.


Pittman will go as far as Richardson goes, because there is no question about Pittman's ability. Side note: If Jonathan Taylor does in fact get traded, the offense will take a hit... but that could mean we see more targets for PIttman.

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