Deploying Fantasy Football’s Most Volatile Receivers – Week 2

by Matthew M. Stevens ·

Unlocking the potential of weekly player volatility in fantasy football gives gamers a competitive edge. Using matchup, volume and usage data combined with advanced stats, metrics, and analytics to pinpoint the best matchups will yield the best ROI from volatile players. A key metric on, Weekly Volatility measures a player’s week-to-week fantasy point scoring oscillation. Throughout the season, this article will track fantasy football’s most volatile players and provide insight on how to deploy them. The focus will be on those highly volatile players, including those whose low ownership percentages make them speculative waiver wire and free-agent adds.

John Ross Makes His Case for a Third-Year Breakout

To first break out, a player must receive the opportunity. To this point in his NFL career, the Bengals failed to give John Ross that chance. Given his struggles, it’s hard to blame them. He’s shown a propensity for drops, an inability to stay healthy and overall inconsistent production. Ross’ seven drops in 2018 ranked third among qualified wide receivers, and he recorded 10.0 (No. 98) yards per reception. With 15 total games played across his two seasons, his professional player profile is far from complete. Still, he looks primed for a third year breakout when considering what he brings to the table:

  • 94th-percentile Breakout Age.
  • First-round draft capital from a Power Five conference
  • With A.J. Green sidelined, he’s the only Bengals receiver who possesses field-stretching talent
  • Tyler Boyd, his main competition for targets, is a possession receiver lacking an elite skill set. His 7.5 (No. 70) yards per reception total in Week 1 reflects his overall ranking of No. 47 in that category last season (13.5).

Cincinnati finally looks ready to unleash Ross and see if he can live up to his potential. He played 93.8-percent of the snaps, ran 41 routes – one less than Boyd – and led the team with 12 targets. The result? Seven catches, 158 receiving yards and two TDs. Aside from the increased usage, other factors affected his production. Andy Dalton attempted 51 passes, tied for his third-most in a game. Joe Mixon suffered an injury and the Bengals only rushed 14 times. His matchup against Shaquill Griffin, who logged a -2.7 (No. 66) Coverage Rating in 2018, also worked in his favor.

One nightmare from Ross’ past haunted him against Seattle in Week 1. He dropped two passes, tied for the most in the NFL with Leonard Fournette. With A.J. Green sidelined, he must make the most of his chances and clean up the drops before he’s relegated to an afterthought. If he sees sustained snap and target shares comparable to Week 1, it will boost his floor and make him a less volatile play. If not, he’ll revert back to the player who posted seven games with fewer than five fantasy points last season. That factored heavily into his low 4.7 Weekly Volatility rating, he never boomed enough to move the needle. Ross’ ownership percentage spiked after his Week 1 boom, but he remains under-owned on the major platforms. Post-waiver run, that percentage jumped to between 60-70 percent.

Hollywood Hits Unsustainable Home Runs

Meet Marquise Brown, first-year Ravens wideout and poster boy for post-Week 1 regression. Hollywood’s performance (4-147-2) melted minds and earned him a WR5 PPR finish. The stars aligned for him against a Dolphins team whose defense didn’t appear capable of stopping a college team, let alone an NFL offense. His outburst was impressive regardless, but for him to repeat that consistently doesn’t compute. The masses rushed to claim him off waivers in season-long leagues and, in the process, bypassed another rookie in Terry McLaurin who offers more stability. Brown profiles as a boom-or-bust speedster, but his field-stretching performance raises red flags and his week-to-week volatility figures to frustrate gamers all season.

Marquise Brown Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Brown played 15.3-percent of the snaps and ran six routes. For comparison, John Ross played 93.8-percent of the snaps and ran 41 routes. Brown averaged an absurd 36.8 YPR on five targets, the second-most on the team. Hollywood can’t sustain those numbers over a longer period of time. He also benefited from standout quarterback play. Lamar Jackson joined an exclusive list by posting a perfect passer rating, and threw an absolute dime to Brown on his 83-yard TD reception. That won’t happen every week. He needs to see an immediate increase in snaps and target share to be considered a weekly play in redraft. He’s a great stash for those patient enough to keep him on their roster.

Terry McLaurin’s F1 Speed

Terry McLaurin profiles as a legitimate rookie breakout candidate. He played 95-percent of the snaps, led the team in receiving with 125 yards, tied for second with seven targets and averaged an eye-popping 25.0 yards per reception. Furthermore, Case Keenum missed him on a potential 70-plus yard TD that would have been his second on the day.

Terry McLaurin Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Compared to fellow rookies Marquise Brown and A.J. Brown, McLaurin offers a safer weekly floor along with the high ceiling potential that he flashed. Savvy gamers made him the priority waiver pickup because he’s in a better spot. Rookie receivers and volatility go hand-in-hand, but McLaurin looks poised to buck the trend. He’s a freak athlete who posted a 20.0 (93rd-percentile) college YPR and runs a 4.35 (98th-percentile) 40-yard dash.

DeSean Jackson Delights in Return to Philly

DeSean Jackson torched Washington for eight catches, 154 yards and two TDs on his way to the second-best fantasy finish among receivers last week. He’ll produce similar performances, but gamers need to decide when he’s a must-start. He had an 8.4 (No. 24) Weekly Volatility rating last season with the Bucs, displaying a ceiling of 31.6 fantasy points and a floor of 3.8. In Week 1, he played 70-percent of the snaps, ran 29 routes and saw 10 targets. Carson Wentz recorded a perfect passer rating when targeting him.

Check out DeSean Jackson on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:

The snap share looks positive going forward, but Jackson is not a guy who’s going to play a full complement. Expect similar usage and play him in favorable matchups to maximize his return. Washington cornerback Quinton Dunbar averaged 10.6 (No. 54) fantasy points per game allowed last season and carried a +4.7 (No. 56) Coverage Rating. Jackson will again see a seemingly enticing matchup against Atlanta. The Falcons gave up an average of 47.5 fantasy points per game to wide receivers last season, which ranked among the worst in the league. Though according to Sharp Football Stats, opposing offenses attacked their secondary the most on short passes. It’s the reason they’ve given up so many receptions to running backs over the last few seasons. Temper expectations in a lukewarm matchup.

Parris Campbell Launch Position

While their fellow rookies took turns lighting up the scoreboard, Parris Campbell and Mecole Hardman opened the season on a quiet note. Campbell played 31.7-percent of the snaps, ran five routes and caught his lone target for one yard. Meanwhile, Hardman garnered a 56.7-percent snap share, ran nineteen routes and didn’t record a catch on his one target. Week 2 still has the potential to be a boom week for both players.

Parris Campbell Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Campbell’s teammate Devin Funchess broke his collarbone against the Chargers and the Colts placed him on IR. Funchess’ vacated targets spell more opportunity for Campbell and his blazing 4.31 speed and 97th-percentile burst. Left on the scrap heap with the Andrew Luck news, his outlook brightens in the near term.

Hardman watched Tyreek Hill go down with a shoulder injury on his way to playing 78-percent of the snaps. He failed to corral his lone target, but his potential as a Hill clone can’t be ignored. Hardman also possesses elite 4.33 speed and benefits from catching passes from deep ball specialist Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes’ 91 deep ball attempts led the league, and he recorded a 39.6-percent (No. 11) Deep Ball Completion Percentage. Both Campbell and Hardman make for speculative adds ahead of their Week 2 matchups.