Sunday, June 16, 2024

Fantasy Football Week 4 Wide Receiver Rankings: Historic rookie trio stands out

Fantasy Football Week 4 Wide Receiver Rankings: Historic rookie trio stands out

Chris Towers walk through his wide receiver rankings for Week 4


Entering Week 4, we’ve got three rookie wide receivers with at least 200 receiving yards, which is more impressive than you might think. Only 25 rookie wide receivers have had that many yards through the first three weeks of the season, and 2019 is the only time we’ve had three different players do it. Chris Olave lees the way with 268, with Drake London and Garrett Wilson sitting at 214 each – with a couple of touchdowns thrown in for good measure.

But those three aren’t the only rookie wide receivers making an impact. Jahan Dotson has three touchdowns for the Commanders, while Romeo Doubs took advantage of some injuries for the Packers to put up 73 yards and a touchdown in Week 3 and should be one of the most-added players in Fantasy ahead of Week 4. Treylon Burks has arguably looked like the Titans best receiver so far, and while we haven’t seen much production from George Pickens yet, he made arguably the best catch of the season last week and has been an every-down player for the Steelers from the first snap of the season.

And Jameson Williams, arguably the most talented of the bunch, has yet to play. He’s on the Non-Football Injury list as he recovers from a torn ACL from last year’s NCAA Championship, but he’s eligible to be activated as early as Week 5 and is worth stashing anywhere you’ve go an IR spot to play with – and even if you just have a spare bench spot, given that his return could be near. Williams could be a big-time difference maker down the stretch in a surprisingly feisty Lions offense.

We usually preach patience with rookies, especially wide receivers, but this year’s class has hit the ground running, and could just be getting started. Wilson, Olave, and London are already top-30 wide receivers in my Week 4 rankings, and I don’t think they’ll be the only members of this class to enter the must-start discussion. It looks like those of you who took a chance on the young guys are going to be handsomely rewarded. 

Here are my WR rankings for Week 4. 

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  1. Cooper Kupp @SF
  2. Stefon Diggs @BAL
  3. Justin Jefferson @NO — My assumption is to dismiss Jefferson’s two bad games in a row as an aberration, but now he faces another very tough matchup in Marshon Lattimore. I’m giving Jefferson the benefit of the doubt because he’s an elite player, but I can’t say there are zero worries here. There isn’t much, but not zero.
  4. Ja’Marr Chase vs. MIA — The Bengals are going to have to figure out a counterpunch with Chase, as opposing defenses have made taking away the deep ball a focal point so far. His average depth of target is down from 12.6 yards to 7.9, and his catch rate has actually fallen from 63.3% to 60%. I think Chase is too good to be held in check like this for long, but the Bengals have some stuff to figure out with him.
  5. Davante Adams vs. DEN — Adams is getting the targets, the downfield looks, and the red zone opportunities, but he has caught just 50% of passes thrown his way. I have to believe that is going to improve moving forward, so I’m still viewing him as an elite Fantasy option.
  6. Deebo Samuel vs. LAR
  7. Amon-Ra St. Brown vs. SEA
  8. Tyreek Hill @CIN — The Bills did a good job of keeping Hill in check in Week 3, but don’t panic — the Dolphins ran just 39 offensive plays in a weird game where Buffalo dominated the close. Hill and Waddle are dominating targets so far — 57% of Miami’s passes have gone their way so far! — and that could lead to big numbers in what might be a shootout this week. 
  9. A.J. Brown vs. JAX — Brown has a 33% target share in an offense that has thrown the ball 30-plus times each game. When healthy, he’s on the short list of best WRs in the league, and he’s healthy right now. A superstar.
  10. Keenan Allen @HOU — Allen was reportedly close enough to playing in Week 3 that I’m going to assume he makes his return this week. And that’s a good thing, because this offense hasn’t been quite as productive as expected without him. He should slot back in as Justin Herbert‘s No. 1 option if he plays.
  11. Tee Higgins vs. MIA — The only concern I have about Higgins is that he left Sunday’s game briefly after taking a hit to the head. He was able to return, but wasn’t featured much after that and did play a lower than usual snap share, so hopefully there are no lingering issues there. As long as there aren’t, I’m viewing him as a top-2-ish WR.
  12. Michael Pittman vs. TEN
  13. Jaylen Waddle @CIN — Waddle is dealing with a groin injury and he was listed as a DNP in Monday’s practice, but he’s going to play Thursday, and I’ll be starting him. 
  14. Marquise Brown @CAR — The Cardinals have dialed back the deep shots for Brown the past two games, and he’s caught 20 passes for 208 yards. It’s surprising to see such a short YPR for a guy like Brown, but we’ll take the production. He might actually have more upside when DeAndre Hopkins is back from suspension and they can afford to take more chances down the field.
  15. Diontae Johnson vs. NYJ — With double-digit targets in each game so far, the idea that Johnson was, somehow, a product of Ben Roethlisberger has been put to bed. He’s just a great receiver, elite at getting open and drawing targets. He’s held back a bit by the Steelers still getting mediocre-to-bad QB play from Mitchell Trubisky, but he’s also still a must-start Fantasy option — and he might actually be a buy-low candidate if you believe that Kenny Pickett can potentially unlock some upside with this offense.
  16. Christian Kirk @PHI
  17. Courtland Sutton @LV — Week 3 was the first time we’ve really seen Sutton command a significant target share while Jerry Jeudy was active — though it is worth noting Jeudy’s snap share and usage were down a bit coming off his rib injury. Still, is the one part of this passing game that is working right now, and the fit with Russell Wilson has been excellent so far. He looks great.
  18. CeeDee Lamb vs. WAS
  19. Brandin Cooks vs. LAC — Cooks has been a disappointment so far, but I’m willing to chalk that up mostly to natural variance, because he’s still averaging nearly 10 targets per game, with seven in Week 3 representing the floor so far. He averaged 7.7 yards per target last season, but he’s down to 5.4 in the early going — when that regresses, he’ll be just fine.
  20. Drake London vs. CLE — London has at least 54 yards in each of his first three games, with 25 targets and two touchdowns. He’s showing the ability to make plays after the catch, as he did on his touchdown in Week 3, but he’s also making plays down the field. It’s going to be hard not to start him.
  21. Mike Williams @HOU — I’m just reminding myself that Williams goes through stretches like this from time to time, including last season, when he had a three-week stretch with just six catches for 104 yards on 15 targets. Hopefully, this is just another weird stretch like that where he and Justin Herbert aren’t’ on quite the same page yet — that’ll happen with receivers who see downfield targets like Williams does. 
  22. Amari Cooper @ATL — The Browns have funneled 31% of their passes to Cooper, and if that’s going to remain the case, he’s just going to be a high-end Fantasy option all season long. Now, I’m not projecting a 31% target share for him, but it’s not unreasonable — Jarvis Landry had a 26.4% share in 2020 after Odell Beckham’s injury with this coaching staff, and he isn’t nearly as good as Cooper. Cooper might just be one of the best values in the league this season.
  23. Curtis Samuel @DAL
  24. DeVonta Smith vs. JAX — After being held without a catch in Week 1, Smith has 249 yards in the past two games, with a healthy 25% target share through three games. This is a very heavily concentrated passing offense, and as long as that remains the case, he should be a viable Fantasy option even with A.J. Brown dominating as the No. 1
  25. Garrett Wilson @PIT — Wilson was pedestrian in Week 3 compared to his big breakout in Week 2, but there’s still a ton to like here — 10 targets yet again being the big thing. However, with Zach Wilson likely to take over for Joe Flacco at QB this week, that injects an element of uncertainty — we just haven’t seen the Wilsons play together yet. Garrett Wilson is an iffy start, but one with obvious upside.
  26. Chris Olave vs. MIN — Michael Thomas (foot) and Jarvis Landry (ankle) both left Week 3 with injuries, and Olave responded with a massive game. His usage early on in the season has been incredible — a 24% target share and a massive 18.7 yard average depth of target suggest that his Week 3 upside may not have been a fluke. In a rookie class that looks very good, Olave has a chance to be the best of the bunch.
  27. D.J. Moore vs. ARI — I’ll admit, I didn’t think Baker Mayfield would be worse than Sam Darnold. Nothing in his track record suggested that he would be, even if you don’t believe in Mayfield. It seems like every pass to Moore is off-target — usually too high — and there’s just been no real room for him to succeed in this offense. The rot here goes a lot deeper than Mayfield, but he needs to play better for Moore to be useful. 
  28. DK Metcalf @DET — I don’t really have much new to add about Metcalf — he had 64 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets in Week 3, and it just kind of feels like that’s the best you can hope for most weeks. There’s always the potential for a big play with him, but he’s stuck in a bad offense with a co-No. 1 WR, which just makes him a frustrating player to try to trust.
  29. Tyler Lockett @DET
  30. JuJu Smith-Schuster @TB — It was nice to see Smith-Schuster bounce back this week, but I’m still not sure I feel confident trusting him yet. He’s playing only about 70% of the snaps and has an 18% target share, both of which are pretty middling even in an offense like this. He’s a decent PPR option, but I’m not viewing Smith-Schuster like a must-start guy yet.
  31. Terry McLaurin @DAL — McLaurin has hit on enough big plays through three games to be pretty good in Fantasy in each of them, but there are red flags in his profile, namely his 15% target share. Carson Wentz will take deep shots, but with Curtis Samuel’s emergence and Jahan Dotson earning targets as well, I still don’t feel great about trusting McLaurin now. I’m probably starting him, but there’s bust potential in his profile.
  32. Adam Thielen @NO — There would be some real panic about Thielen if he hadn’t scored last week — and, for what it’s worth, his touchdown came after Justin Jefferson drew a pass interference in the end zone. Theilen does have 15 targets over the past two weeks, so there’s a solid role here, even if he is no longer necessarily a big-time playmaker. 
  33. Allen Robinson @SF — Robinson got two end zone targets and another in the red zone that saw him get down to the 2-yard line, and they seem intent on featuring him down there. That’s good for his Fantasy value, but Robinson’s limited overall role remains an issue, one that makes it tough to trust him as anything more than a WR3.
  34. Rashod Bateman vs. BUF — Bateman has been as productive as you could have hoped for, but there are red flags in his profile that make him a sell high candidate for me — he doesn’t play a full complement of snaps, his target share is only 19%, and he’s been incredibly big-play dependent. He should hit plenty of those, but when he doesn’t, it could be pretty frustrating in this offense.
  35. Brandon Aiyuk vs. LAR — Aiyuk has had decent usage so far, with eight targets in the past two games, but he’s averaging a career-low 7.5 yards per target so far. I think that’ll turn around eventually, making him a solid buy-low candidate now that Jimmy Garoppolo is the starter.
  36. Gabe Davis @BAL — It’s hard to hold Week 3 against Davis, considering he was coming back from that ankle sprain, however he played a full complement of snaps, leading the Bills receivers in routes for the second time in as many games. Despite that, he has a pretty middling 13% target share, and even his big-play abilities will make it tough for Davis to be a must-start receiver at that level.
  37. Jerry Jeudy @LV — Jeudy had a good Week 1, got hurt in Week 2 and wasn’t playing a full snap share in Week 3, so it’s hard to know what to make of him right now. This offense just hasn’t looked right, but getting Jeudy going is one way they could turn that around. He’s more like a low-end starter at this point, but I’m still holding out hope for some upside.
  38. Elijah Moore @PIT
  39. Russell Gage vs. KC
  40. Tyler Boyd vs. MIA
  41. Julio Jones vs. KC
  42. Robert Woods @IND — It was good to see Woods get going in Week 3, with four catches for 85 yards on nine targets. It’s not enough to trust him as a starter, but it should be enough to keep most from dropping him.
  43. Zay Jones @PHI — Jones has sandwiched a pair of big games around a three-catch, 23-yard performance in Week 2, so I’m not quite ready to trust him just yet. However, it’s hard to ignore games with 11 and nine targets, and the Jaguars clearly have a role for him. If you’re desperate, Jones is worth adding and potentially starting in a game where they could be forced to throw a ton.
  44. Allen Lazard vs. NE — Lazard is playing a ton of snaps (90%) in Week 3, but his production has left a lot to be desired through two games. I think that is likely to remain the case moving forward, though the trust Aaron Rodgers has in him near the end zone will keep him Fantasy relevant. He’ll be touchdown dependent, though.
  45. Treylon Burks @IND — Here’s a mantra to repeat when thinking about young players: “Progress is not always linear.” Burks saw his route participation near 100% in Week 3, but he was targeted just twice after earning a healthy target share on more limited usage in Weeks 1 and 2. The important part is the routes and snaps — targets should flow from them for a player as talented as Burks, who remains worth stashing in all formats. If anything, Burks having a quiet game while the underlying usage was promising makes this a perfect buy opportunity.
  46. Greg Dortch @CAR — Dortch is going to be a viable starter as long as Rondale Moore is out — he has 23 targets in three games, including two with at least nine. 
  47. Mack Hollins vs. DEN — Hollins has been pretty awesome over the past two weeks, and he at least showed an ability to beat one-on-one coverage in Week 3, something he should see plenty of opposite Davante Adams. If Hunter Renfrow (concussion) is still out, Hollins is a worthwhile flier.
  48. Corey Davis @PIT — Moore just hasn’t been able to get going with Joe Flacco at QB, and his 11% target share is especially disappointing. However, Zach Wilson is going to be in at QB this week, and that injects an element of uncertainty into the whole offense. That doesn’t mean Moore is guaranteed to get going, but it’s a reason to keep some faith in him — though preferably not as a starter this week.
  49. K.J. Osborn @NO
  50. Chase Claypool vs. NYJ — There were some interesting things happening with Claypool’s usage in Week 1, when he had six carries, but the Steelers have pretty much abandoned that strategy, with one carry in two games since, and that leaves Claypool as a six-target-per-game guy on a bad offense. Not much to get excited about here, at least not until they make the move to bring in Kenny Pickett, that is.
  51. Darnell Mooney @NYG — Until the Bears show they are willing to trust Justin Fields to put the ball in the air even 25 times in a game, you can’t trust Mooney. This offense just isn’t working right now in a way that will make Mooney worth using.
  52. Robby Anderson vs. ARI
  53. Romeo Doubs vs. NE — If you’re looking for something to be excited about in the Packers passing game, Doubs’ Week 3 performance is the first sign we’ve gotten. He played 89% of the snaps and led the team in targets, catches, and receiving yards. I’m not ready to trust him in most leagues, but Doubs should be rostered, at the very least.
  54. Isaiah McKenzie @BAL — Of the three teams the Bills have played so far, the Dolphins (their Week 3 opponent) are the only ones to rank higher than 26th in man coverage rate — they are second. McKenzie might just be matchup dependent in how the Bills are using him. Their Week 4 opponent, the Ravens, rank right in the middle of the pack in man coverage rate. 
  55. Nico Collins vs. LAC
  56. Jahan Dotson @DAL
  57. DeVante Parker @GB
  58. DJ Chark vs. SEA
  59. Donovan Peoples-Jones @ATL

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