By Hayden Winks, Rotoworld
Special to Yahoo Sports
Let’s go through some more players that our writers are split on. We started with the quarterbacks and running backs; now we’re moving to the wide receivers. It’s a good exercise to see which situations are most uncertain. For a lot of players on these lists, it’s a combination of injuries and changes of scenery that cause the most debate, but in the end, we’re talking about a difference of a half dozen or so spots in positional ranks so we’re really just splitting hairs at this point into our offseason research.
Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
High: Nick Mensio (WR5), Hayden Winks (WR7)
Low: John Daigle (WR13)
Thielen’s target projection is undoubtedly huge, potentially top-five in the entire league. Where the debate lies is within his 58-778-8 receiving line across his last 16 games. If Thielen is still aching due to the various injuries that compounded across the last two seasons, it will be hard for him to post WR1 numbers, but if he’s near full health, he has a clear path to high-end production. I’ll be shocked if Minnesota finishes 30th in pass attempts like they did in 2019, largely because it’s unlikely that they repeat as the sixth-ranked offense in percentage of snaps with a lead after losing Stefon Diggs and so many pieces on defense this offseason.
Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
High: Patrick Daugherty (WR6), John Daigle (WR6), Nick Mensio (WR7)
Low: Josh Norris (WR14), Hayden Winks (WR14)
Rotoworld has always been big fans of Golladay, and our overall rankings continue to show that. In the eight games with a healthy Matthew Stafford last season, the Lions Offense was absolutely cooking (25.5 points per game). Golladay was the WR9 over that stretch with Stafford checking in as the QB5 overall. Those numbers are within their range of outcomes, but I’m a little lower because of regression. Over that same stretch, Golladay was the WR17 in my expected fantasy points model that adjusts for value-adjusted usage. If we meet in the middle, Golladay will be a borderline WR1/2.
Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions
High: Nick Mensio (WR23), Hayden Winks (WR29)
Low: John Daigle (WR44), Patrick Daugherty (WR40)
Not only do we disagree on Golladay’s outlook, but Rotoworld also sees Jones’ 2020 projection differently, mostly because we disagree on target shares. Even as a Jones truther, I understand that Golladay is emerging while Jones is beginning to fade, but last year’s numbers with Stafford — he was the WR11 through the first eight weeks of 2019 on WR27 usage — are enough for me to bet on another WR3 season from Jones. Of course, the fact that Jones is 30 years old and has missed 10 games over the last two seasons are valid reasons to fade last year’s per-game production.
Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams
High: Hayden Winks (WR11), Nick Mensio (WR12)
Low: Patrick Daugherty (WR21), Josh Norris (WR19)
There aren't injury nor change-of-scenery issues surrounding Woods, but he’s still a hotly debated commodity. That’s probably because of our views of Jared Goff and the identity of the Rams 2020 offense. Last year, we watched coach Sean McVay toy with two-TE sets (that would help Woods) but it’s impossible to be confident in projecting the Rams’ 21-personnel usage this season. Regardless, all five of us have Woods ranked above Cooper Kupp.
Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
High: Josh Norris (WR18), Hayden Winks (WR18)
Low: Patrick Daugherty (WR26), John Daigle (WR26)
Lockett’s uncertain outlook surrounds how he played in the second half of 2019. He spent time on the injury report with a leg injury and a bad case of the flu, which ultimately got DK Metcalf more looks down the stretch. Lockett’s chemistry with Russell Wilson is undeniable, but there’s debate whether or not Metcalf takes a bigger share of the pie in 2020. In fact, the Rotoworld writers are split two to three on ranking Lockett over Metcalf.
Henry Ruggs III, Oakland Raiders
High: Josh Norris (WR36), Hayden Winks (WR39)
Low: John Daigle (WR52), Nick Mensio (WR51), Patrick Daugherty (WR49)
This isn’t a surprise because Ruggs was the most polarizing receiver prospect of the 2020 draft season. His production isn’t typical of a first-round player, but Ruggs has 4.3 speed, insane college efficiency, and was competing against multiple first-rounders for targets on his own offense. Ruggs is viewed as a deep threat by some because of his 40-time, but Norris and I see a player who can win underneath. How (and how much) he’ll be utilized right away is the main debate within Rotoworld.
CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
High: John Daigle (WR39), Hayden Winks (WR41)
Low: Patrick Daugherty (WR59), Nick Mensio (WR53), Josh Norris (WR52)
Figuring out how to project rookies in a pandemic-shortened offense is already something to be split on. Adding a first-round talent into a crowded but explosive offense only adds to the debate. With Lamb, Daigle and I just want pieces of this Cowboys Offense, one that I project to be top-five in scoring and yardage this season. I’m uncertain if it will equate to consistent fantasy production, but I’m confident that Lamb has top-30 potential if he can earn more looks in the second half of 2020. Fading his WR4/5 ADP comes down to how you think targets are split between him, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Ezekiel Elliott, and Blake Jarwin. At least the Cowboys have the second-most available targets (190) from last season.
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