Leveraging the NFL’s Most Volatile Receivers for GPP Upside in Week 13

by Matthew M. Stevens · Upside Plays

Unlocking the potential of weekly player volatility in daily fantasy football gives gamers a competitive edge. A key metric on PlayerProfiler, Weekly Volatility measures a player’s week-to-week fantasy point scoring oscillation. This article will track the most volatile wide receivers and provide insight on when to deploy them in large-field GPPs. Using matchup and usage data combined with advanced stats to pinpoint the best plays yields the best ROI from volatile players. The focus will be on those highly volatile players with cheap salaries and low projected rostership who make screaming plays with tournament winning upside.

Thielen Healing Waters

Adam Thielen returns from a stint on the COVID-19 list to find himself in a smash spot against Jacksonville. The Jaguars secondary allows +12.00 fantasy points above the mean to opposing receivers. That’s the fifth-highest mark in the league, and the group faces adversity due to a myriad of injuries. In Week 12, Jacksonville played without four of its top five cornerbacks. Likely to manifest itself again, that scenario raises Thielen’s ceiling by a significant margin. Against Cleveland last week, the Jaguars allowed Jarvis Landry to dominate them to the tune of 8-143-1 on 11 targets.

In a game with the second-highest projected total on the main slate (51), Thielen oozes upside with a modest DraftKings salary ($7,300) for someone with a 30-point fantasy ceiling.

No stranger to the boom-or-bust life, Thielen scored two TDs in each of his past two games. He recorded 32.3 fantasy points in Week 12 and 20.2 in Week 11. Prior to that, however, he notched two straight games with five fantasy points. His up-and-down weekly oscillation distils out in the form of a 10.6 (No. 9 among qualified wide receivers) Weekly Volatility score.

Primed to feast against the Jaguars, Thielen returns to his No. 1 role alongside talented rookie Justin Jefferson. But Jefferson ($6.900) projects as a chalky play meaning Thielen, who boasts a 40.6-percent (No. 1) Dominator Rating, offers leverage. He also owns a 41.3-percent (No. 3) Air Yards Share and has seen 15 (No. 4) Red Zone Targets, catching 13 of them. It marks a return to form for the veteran, who struggled with injury and played just 10 games last season.

Keenan Crush Factor

The NFL’s target leader with 122 through Week 12, Keenan Allen ($8,100) operates as the focal point of the Chargers offense. Given that he saw 10 targets against Buffalo with Austin Ekeler activated, his Target Share won’t suffer with the dynamic back in the lineup. A volatile fantasy asset with an 8.4 (No. 23) Weekly Volatility mark, Allen finds himself on a hot streak. He’s scored in five consecutive games. During that span, he notched his best fantasy finish of the season: 34.5 points in Week 11 when he earned WR1 honors.

Check out our best Keenan Allen lineups on PlayerProfiler’s DFS Lineup Genius:

Allen attacks defenses with a deadly combination known informally as Air YAC (Air Yards plus yards after catch). He’s recorded 472 (No. 19) Air Yards with 403 (No. 3) Yards After Catch. He’s also drawn 13 (No. 6) Red Zone Targets and caught 10 of them. Allen’s 54 routes run in Week 12 marked a season high, and he averages 0.52 (No. 9) Fantasy Points per Route Run.

A volatile fantasy asset with an 8.4 (No. 23) Weekly Volatility mark, Allen finds himself on a hot streak. He’s scored in five consecutive games. Poised for another blowup game, Allen draws a beatable matchup against the Patriots. Projected at a total of 47.5 points, Vegas expects a close game (New England -1). He faces primary coverage from Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones, who’s allowed five TDs this season. Jones ranks No. 63 in PlayerProfiler’s cornerback rankings and carries a -0.9 Coverage Rating. It’s an exploitable matchup for Allen, who’s rostership projects to be lower than 10-percent.

Cardinals Deserve Contrarian Consideration

In what Vegas projects to be a close contest, Arizona’s receiving corps faces a tough test against the Rams, who allow the fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers. But this NFC West showdown carries divisional implications with the Rams and Cardinals sitting at second and third, respectively. While the projected total of 48.5 doesn’t scream shootout, that scenario falls well within the realm of possibilities for this game. Further, the Rams show signs of cracks in their armor. They just allowed Deebo Samuel to catch 11-of-13 targets for 133 yards in Week 12.

Christian Kirk Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

With that in mind, both DeAndre Hopkins ($7,800 salary on DraftKings) and Christian Kirk ($5,200) offer potential leverage plays at low projected rostership. Both players fluctuate in their fantasy scoring, evidenced by their Weekly Volatility ratings of 8.4 (No. 23) for Hopkins and 7.8 (No. 35) for Kirk. In a matchup of premier talent at both positions, Hopkins finds himself with his hands full against Jalen Ramsey, PlayerProfiler’s No. 2-ranked cornerback. However, Nuk shares a trait with the aforementioned Samuel that should prove useful. Both receivers thrive on yards after catch, and Hopkins ranks No. 5 with 382 YAC.


Kirk draws a less intimidating matchup. He’ll face primary coverage from Darious Williams, who allows 13.5 (No. 52) yards per reception and has given up three TDs this season. Kirk’s recent usage suggests a blowup week looms on the horizon. He’s seen no fewer than six targets over the past five games, and he enjoyed his highest Snap Share of the season in Weeks 11 (95-percent) and 12 (89.7-percent). Despite the consistent volume and usage, Kirk hasn’t found the end zone since Week 9 against Miami. But he’s also seen a combined 155 Air Yards over the past two games.

Fantasy gamers should also consider Andy Isabella ($3,200) if COVID-19 forces Larry Fitzgerald to miss another game. In Week 12, Isabella notched season-highs with a 60.3-percent Snap Share, 28 routes run and six targets.