WR11 - Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints
As a rookie, he was stuck between Davante Adams and Amon-Ra St. Brown in yards route run among WRs with 100+ targets. He ranked 6th in the NFL in that category. Since 2006, there were only four WRs who had more yards per route run than Chris Olave in their rookie years. The other three? OBJ, Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase. And by the way, those guys had WR6 finishes or better in their second year. And Chris Olave is getting a QB upgrade.
FantasyLife's Dwain McFarland also points out that only one other player had a 25% target share and 40% air yard share last year besides Davante Adams - you guessed it, Chris Olave. And we just saw Derek Carr give Davante Adams a career high 180 targets. We're about to see Olave get peppered this season.
By the way, if you're worried about Michael Thomas, why? Worrying about Michael Thomas is like betting that he will stay healthy. He hasn't been able to be that guy for three seasons in a row now, and he's already 30 years old. Olave is the alpha on that offense, and has Top-5 upside.
WR21 - Drake London, Atlanta Falcons
Drake London hit the 2 yards/route run threshold we love to see for rookie WRs, as it's indicative of higher chance for future fantasy WR1 years. We know he's good... he's just not in the ideal offensive environment for him to thrive. The offense is run first, and he also has a shaky QB situation
There is no doubt the talent is there, and as far as that goes, he's on the same tier as Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. And if that's true, it's possible he overcomes this situation. If I had to bet on one player between him and Kyle Pitts to have a big year, it's London. When you have a 27% target share and 33% air yards share during your rookie year, and you combine that with a 2.07 yards/route run, you have yourself an alpha WR1.
Let's hope Desmond Ridder is not as bad as Marcus Mariota. Don't let London fall too far in your drafts - at some point you have to bet on the talent.
WR32 - Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Too much talent to fade, right? Godwin was the WR16 in FPPG last year, yet is being drafted as the WR30. I think we're overcorrecting here, although he's not too far from that in my rankings.
The QB situation is super iffy, and we'll see split targets between him and Mike Evans from sub-par QBs like Baker Mayfield and maybe even Kyle Trask. Could these two be this year's Tyler Lockett and Mike Evans? That's only if we think Baker can have a career resurgence like Geno Smith. What are the chances that happens? Not sure we see something like that two years in a row.
It is worth noting that Godwin had the highest percentage of designed plays specifically for him (25.4%) among all receivers with 100+ targets last year, and it wasn't close. 20% target share last year isn't going to wow anyone, though, and his 18% air yards share was pretty bad. It seems like he took a hit in usage once Bruce Arians retired.
Godwin is a year removed from his ACL injury, but it's hard to buy into WRs on the Bucs offense right now.
WR54 - Adam Thielen, Carolina Panthers
With rookie Bryce Young under center and an average complement of weapons around him, Thielen’s ceiling just isn’t going to be that high this year. The WR room – while it boasts no standouts – is relatively crowded, and at this point in his career, Thielen isn’t in any position to separate himself from the rest of the pack with his talent.
However, age is a double-edged sword: as the oldest WR in the room, he’s also the most experienced, and it seems like Young has been able to depend on Thielen throughout camp and into the preseason. Young’s lone touchdown went to Thielen in the final week of the preseason.
It’s unlikely that Thielen sustains any consistent Top-24 production at any point this year given his situation and target competition, but there’s a chance for him to sneak in as a value given his very low ADP. If you do take a shot on him, understand that his value rests in the floor he presents and not his upside.