Fantasy Football WR Report: Renfrow Rising
Justin Vreeland takes a look at whose stock is rising and whose is falling in this week's WR breakdown.
He has the fame and you know the name, Hunter Renfrow was one of the most polarizing players in college football during his time at Clemson. Not only for his look of a middle-aged science teacher, but also for his production on the field. While he never had any big seasons in his four years at Clemson, topping out at 602 yards (2017) and six touchdowns (2016), he was consistent and shined bright on big stages and made a name for himself with two big time performances in National Championship games against Alabama. The first one came as a freshman when he caught seven passes for 88 yards and two scores. The second came the following season when he caught 10 passes for 92 yards and two scores again. His second touchdown was the game winner with just one second remaining in the game. He finished out his college career with a second National Championship ring and also took home the Burlsworth Trophy, which is given to the best college player who began his career as a walk on.
Fast forward to 2019 and the Raiders selected Renfrow in the 5th round of the NFL draft with pick number 149. At the time, he wasn’t expected to be a very relevant fantasy option this year. But, unsurprisingly (given how he went from college walk on to NFL draftee), he is making waves in training camp. The Raiders coaching staff has been impressed with him and Gruden even stated “I’m glad we drafted him. That was a great pick.” He has vastly outplayed Ryan Grant for the Raiders starting slot receiver job and, in fact, he is listed as the starter on their first depth chart. So what does it mean for fantasy? Let me start by saying rookie wide receivers usually do not do that great for fantasy, but the transition to being a slot receiver is an easier adjustment to make than being an outside receiver is. Renfrow’s ceiling is limited and he isn’t going to go off for 1,000 yards or anything like that, but he does have an uncanny ability to get open and move the chains with a nice pair of hands. He is best suited for deep PPR leagues as a weekly line of about 4-to-5 receptions with maybe 40-50 yards seems likely. His current ADP is at 284, which is up eight slots from where it was last week. That is a number that I expect will continue to rise, given the recent reports. Keep an eye on how he produces in the preseason.
Here are some other notable WR stocks to take note of!
Will Fuller , HOU – Fuller is climbing up draft boards and for no particular reason other than the fact that he is currently healthy (outside of recovering from last season’s injury). His ADP over the last week is at 75, up four from the previous week. We have seen so much upside from him that it makes sense that people want to take a chance on him. Last season he had 503 receiving yards on 32 receptions with four touchdowns and he only played seven games. If you expand that production to 16 games, you’re looking at a receiver with over 1150 yards and nine touchdowns. Health is a very big issue though, as he has missed 17 games already in his three year career, failing to play all 16 in any season. His ADP will likely continue to creep up the longer he stays healthy.
Tyler Boyd , CIN – As news gets worse about A.J. Green seemingly daily, Boyd’s ADP continues to climb. This week he moved up another four spots since last week from 59 to 55. Should Green’s absence have a positive impact on Boyd for fantasy though? Consider this; in the six games without Green, Boyd averaged 4.5 receptions, 68 yards, and 0.33 touchdowns on seven targets per game and in the eight games with Green, Boyd average 6.1 receptions, 77.5 yards, and 0.63 touchdowns on 8.5 targets per game. Opposing defenses having to deal with Green makes it a lot easier for a number two receiver like Boyd to get open. I have to be honest; I don’t love Boyd at his current price.
Donte Moncrief , PIT – There has been a lot of news surrounding Moncrief and the Steelers that he will be the number two receiver in their passing attack and their unofficial depth chart supports that. With that, his ADP continues to climb and it went up another 14 spots today to 114 from 128 last week. Being the number two receiver in the Steelers offense could bode very well for him as a fantasy asset. That being said, I am a little gun-shy here as I am not entirely sure that he can keep the job even if he wins it. He was a starter for a high explosive Colts offense and didn’t put together any good seasons in four tries. He was a starter for a lousy Jags offense last year and once again did not have a good season, barely catching 50-percent of his 89 targets.
A.J. Green , CIN – As mentioned above for Boyd, news seemingly gets worse daily for Green. At first, he was expected to miss about four games, but now there are talks that he may miss half the year with his ankle injury. With that, his ADP continues to plummet, going from 40 last week to 56 this week. I expect that number to continue to drop, considering he is missing a very large chunk of the fantasy football season and who knows if he even gets back as early as they expect. In a recent industry draft that I took part in, Green went at pick 80 and I would say that’s a more reasonable number than 56. He is not someone I will be drafting this year.
N’Keal Harry, NE – The Patriots first round pick was seen as someone with a good bit of fantasy upside a few weeks back, but now his ADP is going the other direction, dropping to 131 this week from 120 last week. The drop in ADP started with his early struggles at training camp where it was reported that while he was making some flashy catches, he was having major issues with drops. Things got worse yesterday when he came up limping and injuries are always scary, but it does appear that he is fine. Taking young Patriots players is always a risk as, unlike other teams, they really don’t care where you were taken in the draft. Being a first round pick does not guarantee him playing time. That being said, I think he’s a pretty solid gamble given that the Pats lack an outside threat.
Golden Tate , NYG – Tate has seen his ADP start to drop since news broke of his four-game suspension and rightfully so. Last week his ADP was 107, but this week it was 116. If you haven’t read the story on it, you should, because it seems pretty ridiculous that he was given the full four-game ban in this situation. Having to wait four weeks for his return to action will be a bummer from a fantasy standpoint, but he should be a reliable asset once he does that make return; especially given the Giants lack of receiving options.
Stocks to Watch
Marqise Lee , JAX – Lee’s stock as well as the next guy’s stock both have me baffled. Lee is currently going at pick 256, which, for some reason, is down 19 picks from last week’s mark of 237. Not entirely sure what I am missing here. There hasn’t been any news of a setback. He was expected to be the Jags number one receiver last year, before his preseason injury, and they haven’t upgraded their wide receiver core at all. In fact, it was arguably the worst group in the entire NFL last season as they led the league in drops, despite having one of the lowest pass attempt totals in the league. Yes, coming back the first year from an ACL injury isn’t ideal, but there is no competition here. Would it surprise anyone if he was number one or two receiver for this team? He was a pretty solid player in 2016 and 2017 and this passing attack/offense as a whole should be better with Nick Foles under center. He could be a bargain at this late of a pick.
James Washington , PIT – Another Stock I don’t understand is Washington’s, who has seen his ADP go from 112 last week to 108 this week, despite nothing but negative news surrounding him. Every bit of news that has come out about Washington has been him sliding down the depth chart. First it was him losing the number two job to Moncrief, now its rookie third round pick Diontae Johnson who is reportedly pushing for the third starting spot in the wide receiver group. It’s not like Washington looked good as a rookie last year either, hauling in just 16 of his 38 targets for an abysmal 42-percent catch rate. I don’t understand this ADP at all and this is not someone I would be taking in any draft at this ADP.