Vacated Targets Could Help Identify 2019 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Sleepers

TAMPA, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 02: Chris Godwin #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates with Jameis Winston #3 after a touchdown during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium on December 02, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images)
Will Vragovic/Getty Images

The key to fantasy football value at most positions is volume. It doesn't matter how efficient a player can be — if the ball doesn't go their way, they won't get the chance to produce.

This means that targets are often the most important thing for a wide receiver, in both standard and PPR fantasy football leagues. Targets correlate very strongly with fantasy production, so while last year's heavily targeted WRs are generally going off the board early in fantasy football drafts, finding players in line to see increased volume can help us identify sleeper wide receivers for 2019.

As always, there has been plenty of roster turnover in the NFL this offseason, and that has freed up some serious passing game volume in a few offenses.

Let's take a look at which wideouts should benefit the most.

5. Donte Moncrief, Pittsburgh Steelers

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 11:  Donte Moncrief #10 of the Jacksonville Jaguars catches a pass against Indianapolis Colts in the fourth quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 11, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It's no surprise that losing Antonio Brown is going to re-shape the Pittsburgh Steelers' passing game, as Brown has caught 100-plus passes in six straight seasons. Second-year wideout James Washington has been getting some love this offseason, but veteran Donte Moncrief looks set to benefit the most from the available volume. Moncrief has only topped 100 targets once in his five NFL seasons, but stepping into Brown's starting spot could earn him enough volume to suggest some huge fantasy football value at his average draft position (ADP) of WR55.

4. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 02: Chris Godwin #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers catches a touchdown pass thrown by Jameis Winston #3 during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium on December 02, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images)
Will Vragovic/Getty Images

Chris Godwin's potential breakout isn't exactly news at this point, but it's nice to see another positive indicator. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers look set to throw with a ton of volume again, and the departure of both Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson primes Godwin to soak up a ton of those looks. He already saw 95 targets in 2018, and the thinned-out receiver room could lift his value to new heights in 2019.

3. Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 16: Dede Westbrook #12 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs for yardage during the game at TIAA Bank Field on December 16, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Dede Westbrook already led the Jaguars with 101 targets in 2018, and both the second- and third-most targeted players (Moncrief with 89 and T.J. Yeldon with 78) are gone for 2019. Westbrook was also out-snapped by Moncrief last year, and getting more consistency in both his playing time and targets could point to his WR40 ADP being far too low.

2. Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - AUGUST 08: Marquise Brown #15 of the Baltimore Ravens warms up prior to the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at M&T Bank Stadium on August 08, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens' situation requires some heavy speculation. Marquise Brown still isn't 100 percent healthy, but he was the first WR selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, and it's not likely the Ravens paid so much for Brown without the intention to feature him. Lamar Jackson struggled as a passer in his rookie season, but reports are that he's made strides this offseason, making the vacated targets in that offense potentially more valuable than they were last year.

1. Tyrell Williams, Oakland Raiders

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Tyrell Williams #16 of the Los Angeles Chargers warms up prior to their game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 11, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

AB is the obvious favorite to lead the Oakland Raiders in targets, but he was going to be in for that kind of big volume no matter where he signed. With the league's most vacated volume available, there is room for Tyrell Williams to also step into a big role in Oakland. He's been incredibly efficient over his career, and getting to play a bigger role in the Raiders' offense could point to a 2019 breakout.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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