3 top buy-low wide receivers for fantasy football dynasty leagues

by Eric Lindberg ·

The fantasy championship round is upon us, and 2016 underachievers Todd Gurley, Marvin Jones, and Nelson Agholor have rewarded owners who believed they would bounce back from disappointing seasons. Each season there are multiple players who overcome adverse circumstances from the previous season to become useful fantasy assets. It always seems blindingly obvious after the fact, but predicting potential breakouts and comeback seasons before the fact is the difficult part. The following three players are poised for dramatic bounce back seasons and ascents up the fantasy dynasty ranks in 2018 based on advanced stats, metrics, and analytics player profiles. 

Will Fuller, WR, Texans

Will Fuller is a textbook example of a player you should be acquiring in dynasty leagues. When Fuller was healthy and catching passes from Deshaun Watson, he was the most productive wide receiver on a per-target basis with a ridiculous +49.5-percent Target Premium (No. 1). Unfortunately for current Fuller owners, he has failed to score a touchdown or reach 50 receiving yards in a game since Watson suffered a torn ACL after the epic duel in week 8 against Seattle. In the upcoming offseason, Fuller will get the “injury-prone” tag applied to him after missing 7 games in 2017 due to a clavicle fracture suffered in the preseason and a rib fracture in week 10. The combination of an injury-prone label surely headed Fuller’s way and a lack of production to finish out the 2017 season due to poor quarterback performance makes Fuller a screaming buy in the offseason.

In terms of elite speed and phenomenal college production and efficiency, Will Fuller is near the very top among all wide receivers. Expectations need to be tempered on wide receivers who possess only elite speed and athleticism but have a substantial lack of college production, such as Cordarrelle Patterson and Kevin White. However, when one combines elite college production with supreme athleticism as Fuller does, it is hard not to get excited. Fuller ran a 4.32 40-Yard Dash at the Combine after finishing a college career at Notre Dame which saw him post a 46.7-percent College Dominator (91st-percentile) and 20.3 College YPR (95th-percentile). Fuller is one of two wide receivers in the NFL to combine at least a 46.7-percent College Dominator, 20.3 College YPR, and a 40-Yard Dash time of at least 4.40. The other wide receiver to check those elite boxes is potential Hall of Famer: Demaryius Thomas.

Will Fuller Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

As far as the reasons go for Will Fuller’s lack of production after the injury to Deshaun Watson, look no further than the tedious effigy that is Tom Savage and his recent injury replacement T.J. Yates. Savage was seen as a developmental quarterback prospect who had a big arm when he entered the NFL Draft in 2014, but is now 27 years old. Savage has not shown in his 11 career starts that he is a worthy NFL quarterback, nor does anybody have any reason to think Savage possesses any tangible upside. Despite only starting 7 games (finishing just 5 of those games), Savage has thrown 23 Interceptable Passes, which is the 9th most in the league. He also posted a Red Zone Completion Percentage of 27.6-percent (No. 55), which is partially to blame for Fuller’s lack of touchdowns since the Watson injury. Savage’s Supporting Cast Efficiency rates +2.00 (No. 16), a mark that is exactly average among all teams, so it is not as if Savage is working with a depleted offense. Savage has also posted a pedestrian 27-percent Deep Ball Completion Percentage, making it very hard for Fuller to be effective on deep passes thrown his way. Looking at Watson’s passing efficiency metrics, they paint a much prettier picture for Fuller and the Texans offense. Compared to Savage, Watson threw just 13 Interceptable Passes and was much more effective in the red zone as shown by his 57.7-percent Red Zone Completion Percentage (No. 15). Fuller was also the largest beneficiary of Watson’s 41.7-percent Deep Ball Completion Percentage (No. 6) combined with an NFL-leading 5.3 Air Yards Per Attempt. Watson was clearly not shy to throw the deep ball, and his elite athleticism forces opposing defenses to respect his rushing ability, opening up passing lanes downfield.

2018 Fantasy Outlook

Given that Deshaun Watson is on track to be ready for the start of the 2018 season, Will Fuller is set to be the No. 2 wide receiver on what looks to be an elite Texans passing offense. Fuller possesses the athletic tools to succeed, has a very impressive college resume, and has flashed superstar potential at the NFL level. Fuller will be among the most highly targeted players in dynasty leagues this offseason, especially if he can be had for a discount.

Corey Davis, WR, Titans

Less than one year removed from being selected 5th overall by the Titans, Corey Davis has already run the gamut in the NFL. Davis’ season started off in promising fashion with a 10-target, 6-reception game in week 1 against Oakland. Despite the strong start, Davis has suffered a lost rookie season. A hamstring strain suffered in the preseason and aggravated in his week 2 matchup against Jacksonville held him out until his week 9 matchup against Baltimore. He made a triumphant return to the lineup with a 2-catch 28 yard performance. Davis hasn’t been able to catch a break in 2017, but a player with his rare combination of college dominance and elite size-adjusted speed is bound to bounce back in 2018.

Corey Davis Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Davis has one of the most impressive college resumes the PlayerProfiler database has ever seen, with an absurd 51.6-percent College Dominator (96th-percentile) and a Breakout Age of 18.7 (95th-percentile). Davis carried the Western Michigan offense, tallying at least 1,400 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in each season from 2014 to 2016. He also put up a 941 yard, 6 touchdown performance as an 18-year-old freshman. This stout production beginning at an early age suggests Davis was a receiver mature beyond his age. In addition, his 16.8 College YPR (78th-percentile) shows that Davis wasn’t simply an inefficient stat-compiler, à la Jarvis Landry, who benefitted from the style of the offense.


While some of the lack of production from Corey Davis in 2017 can be traced back to inefficiency, as displayed by his 81st ranked -31.2 Production Premium and 38.4-percent (No. 101) Target Premium, Marcus Mariota can not be absolved of a significant portion of the blame. While Mariota had a very impressive 2016 season that saw him finish No. 1 in the NFL with a +25.9 Production Premium, he has taken a serious step backwards in 2017, negatively affecting the fantasy production of the Titans receiving core. For all of the talk about Mariota’s career excellence in the red zone (he has yet to throw a career interception while inside the opponent’s 20 yard line), his lack of red zone efficiency in 2017 should not be understated. Mariota has posted a Red Zone Completion Percentage of 48.5-percent (No. 42) despite having an exceptional 89.9-percent Protection Rate. The season for Mariota’s regression can be traced back to the hamstring strain he suffered during his week 4 matchup versus the Texans. Mariota threw just one interception in the three weeks prior to his hamstring strain, but has thrown 13 interceptions from weeks 4 to 14. Mariota has totaled just 43 rushing yards over his last four games, a sign that his signature mobility and escapability has been capped due to unfortunate injuries.

2018 Fantasy Outlook

Looking ahead to 2018, there is no reason not to expect a clean slate of health for Marcus Mariota. Furthermore, with Eric Decker’s contract set to expire after the 2017 season, Tennessee would be wise to expand the role of Corey Davis. Owners of Davis in dynasty leagues are not going to give him up for scraps, but a window of opportunity has presented itself in which Davis can be acquired for cheaper than possibly imagined prior to the 2017 season.

Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts

Much to the dismay of Donte Moncrief owners, the Indianapolis Colts offense has been in shambles in 2017. The Colts are ahead of only the Cincinnati Bengals in total yards per game with a clip of 286.2. The apparent mishandling of star quarterback Andrew Luck’s shoulder injury has led to Jacoby Brissett taking over as the full-time starting quarterback. Is Moncrief to blame for his disappointing 2017 season, or were the circumstances in Indianapolis too much for him to overcome?

In the 13 games Brissett has started, he has shown an inability to throw the deep ball, illustrated by his 27.5-percent Deep Ball Completion Percentage (No. 29). Donte Moncrief has also been deprived of his seemingly inordinate touchdown scoring prowess that he had in previous seasons, as he has scored just twice through the air in 2017. Moncrief’s critics often pointed to his unsustainable touchdown scoring in 2016 as a reason to stay away from the 24 year old in 2017. However, factoring in Brissett’s league worst 36.4-percent Red Zone Completion Percentage into the equation exonerates Moncrief of most of the blame. Moncrief was simply unable to turn Brissett’s No. 51 ranked Red Zone Completion Percentage into consistent week-to-week production in the red zone.

Donte Moncrief Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

The reasons to buy low on Donte Moncrief for 2018 and beyond are simple. Moncrief possesses incredible size-adjusted athleticism, has an extensive history of production at the college level and flashes of talent at the professional level, and will almost certainly have a new quarterback in 2018 as he prepares to enter free agency. If the Colts decide to re-sign Moncrief he will benefit from the return of Andrew Luck, who helped Moncrief to a WR3 season in 2015. If Moncrief and the Colts decide to part ways, he will land on a team with a quarterback further along in the development process than Brissett was in 2017.


Donte Moncrief, who stands 6-2 and weighs 221-pounds, has ideal size to be an effective wide receiver. Moncrief possesses upper-percentile workout metrics across the board, with the exception of his 11.32 Agility Score (37th-percentile). Moncrief’s 18.1 Breakout Age (100th-percentile) is practically unheard of and is even more impressive considering the Randall Mackey-Zack Stoudt quarterback duo Moncrief had throwing him the ball his 2011 freshman season at Ole Miss.

2018 Fantasy Outlook

Moncrief is an unrestricted free agent heading into the 2018 season, and it is highly doubtful the Colts will bring him back. Look for Moncrief to land a “prove it” contract with a team in need of upside at the wide receiver position. Acquire Donte Moncrief in dynasty leagues before it is too late.


Poor quarterback play and injuries have plagued Donte Moncrief, Corey Davis, and Will Fuller in 2017, but this momentary dip in their value has created a buying opportunity that is bound to generate upside and production in the coming seasons. Do not assume the same factors holding these players back in 2017 will also be present or strike again in 2018. Bet on the immense talent and athleticism that will present itself at a discount in upcoming offseason, and reap the benefits later.