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Fantasy Football Wide receiver Shuffle Up: All my Robby Anderson regret

Scott Pianowski
·8-min read

Every position in fantasy football is important, but some are more important than others. Running backs have always been the bacon of fantasy football, but the wideouts are another coveted meat.

Salami, anyone?

Every Shuffle Up is done from scratch. I think it’s counterproductive to justify an old, dated list. What’s below is how I would view the position if I entered a new, start-from-scratch league today. These are not Week 6 ranks, these are “rest of the way” ranks.

A few caveats upfront. The salaries are unscientific in nature, merely used as a way to compare players within their position. I do not compare salaries outside of position — the salary of a receiver is only meant to be considered within his positional class.

In this particular shuffle, I grouped receivers currently hurt at the bottom, with provisional salaries. Those numbers I will not debate; injured players have highly contextual currency, league to league. If you are more injury optimistic than I am, good for you. Take that stance and go rule your league. I am generally far less expectant with injury-returning players, so don’t be surprised if I like them less than you do.

Players with the same salary are considered even. Assume a half-point PPR scoring system, and away we go.

The Big Tickets

$43 DeAndre Hopkins

$42 DK Metcalf

$39 Tyreek Hill

$39 Adam Thielen

$36 Allen Robinson

$35 Tyler Lockett

$35 Stefon Diggs

I knew I wanted Russell Wilson exposure this year, and that obviously meant I’d have a lot of Metcalf and Lockett in my portfolio. But I was somewhat agnostic as to which Seattle wideout I drafted, and that looks like a mistake now — while Lockett remains an excellent player, Metcalf’s ceiling is the sky . . . Hill has the chicken-egg life in Kansas City, where no one seems to get insane volume, but every Reid/Mahomes target is plated in gold. The best trend for the Cheetah is that three of his touchdowns have come from the 10-yard line and in; he no longer has to score from distance . . . Diggs and Hopkins blew up the “receiver changing teams” narrative, in addition to one notable name in the second tier. Entering Tuesday night, Josh Allen had the most accurate throwing metrics, per Radar 360 data. Allen’s improvement is the big chunk of that, but having the angelic Diggs route-running hasn’t hurt . . . Robinson keeps rolling along, no matter who the quarterback is. Just once in his career, I want to see him play with an MVP-level passer . . . Don’t see your favorite player in Tier 1? Go read the introduction you skipped, the bold print in particular.

Every-Week Staples

$33 Amari Cooper

$32 Calvin Ridley

$30 A.J. Brown

$30 Kenny Golladay

$28 Mike Evans

$26 Cooper Kupp

$25 Robby Anderson

$24 Tyler Boyd

$24 CeeDee Lamb

$23 DJ Moore

$23 Terry McLaurin

$22 Robert Woods

$21 Odell Beckham Jr.

$20 DeVante Parker

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Robby Anderson #11 of the Carolina Panthers during warm up before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Like a juicy Spinal Tap riff, Robby Anderson definitely goes to 11. (Harry How/Getty Images)

I always liked Anderson’s game with the Jets, but when he was shipped to Carolina, I worried that he’d be lost in the shuffle — there’s lots of skill talent there — and perhaps a poor fit for what Teddy Bridgewater does best. But I underestimated the Matt Rhule/Anderson connection — they were together at Temple University — and the resourcefulness of OC Joe Brady. I also didn’t realize that Bridgewater had more upside than I recognized, and Anderson had more route diversity in his bag of tricks. Anyone who does this racket — as an analyst or as a manager — is going to have plenty of misses; it comes with the territory. But I think this one irks me the most, because it was gettable and it was so affordable. And the payoff is a needle-mover . . . Moore would be ranked over Anderson on many other teams, but we have to respect the usage patterns now that they’re five weeks deep. Even after Moore broke his touchdown seal, we can’t ignore the fact that Anderson still crushed the market share . . . It’s a long-running debate, is a star receiver better with maximum opportunity (but mediocre teammates), or will he prosper best if it’s a sharing environment but the offense has more diversity and buoyancy? Every case is different, but I suspect Ridley’s best season would require a return from Julio Jones, especially with Matt Ryan struggling for three straight weeks . . . It’s a golden age for young receivers, as the pro and college games morph closer and closer together. Lamb is my preference in the 2020 class, and I suspect Andy Dalton will play better than most expect. A horrible surrounding cast held Dalton down at the end of his Cincinnati tenure, but he made four playoff trips there and posted a 70-61-2 rating. Dallas had a better backup situation than most teams.

Talk them up, talk them down

$19 Jamison Crowder

$19 DJ Chark

$18 Marquise Brown

$18 Justin Jefferson

$18 JuJu Smith-Schuster

$16 Darius Slayton

$15 Chase Claypool

$15 Deebo Samuel

$14 Michael Gallup

$14 Will Fuller

$14 Diontae Johnson

$13 Mike Williams

$12 Laviska Shenault

$12 Tee Higgins

$11 Henry Ruggs

$11 Jarvis Landry

$10 Brandin Cooks

$10 Emmanuel Sanders

Crowder is shockingly the WR3 in pre-game PPR scoring, despite the mess around him. Some of his big plays look a little fluky, given his skill set — you can’t count on a defensive bust every week. But Crowder’s volume is projectable and slot throws are easier to define and easier to complete, so why hassle it? Keep rolling him out there . . . A healthy Jimmy Garoppolo and a surely healthy Samuel would push Deebo into the upper tier. Until we know that’s the 2020 case, I have to hold back a little bit . . . Landry’s seasonal highlight is going to be that lefty laser at Dallas, the touchdown pass to OBJ. The Browns have a plus defense and clearly want to let the running game be the offense’s staple, even without Nick Chubb. Said a different way, it’s hide-time for Baker Mayfield.

Signature significance rules apply for the Claypool four-touchdown game (and remember, he just missed a fifth touchdown). I’d be worried if I needed Smith-Schuster or Johnson to produce at their summer tickets. There might be too many good players here; not a Pittsburgh problem, but a fantasy conundrum . . . I liked Chark a lot more in the preseason, but Gardner Minshew looks like one of those spread-it-out quarterbacks, not someone who will pepper his preferred targets from the moment they walk off the bus.

Worth bench space, at least

$9 Jerry Jeudy

$9 T.Y. Hilton

$9 John Brown

$8 Travis Fulgham

$8 Julian Edelman

$7 Brandon Aiyuk

$7 N'Keal Harry

$7 Marvin Jones

$7 Randall Cobb

$6 Curtis Samuel

$6 Christian Kirk

$6 Mecole Hardman

Edelman’s market value likely peaked after the Seattle game; he’s never been a big touchdown guy, and he’s routinely removed around the goal . . . Patriots fans can’t look at the 2019 draft board any longer, knowing Harry was the second wideout selected and so many stars went after him. Harry will occasionally make a nifty contested catch, but if he can’t consistently separate more often, he’ll never come close to his draft price . . . Fulgham has been a quick study, someone who walked on at Old Dominion and played little high school football. Philadelphia has cluster injuries all over its offense, notably at receiver, so he’s not just playing for the Eagles, he’s all of a sudden a priority. Week 6 will be an interesting test, because he won’t sneak up against a strong Baltimore defense. But the NFC East is a fun place to hang your hat.

Bargain Bin

$5 Tim Patrick

$5 Preston Williams

$5 Scotty Miller

$5 Golden Tate

$5 Hunter Renfrow

$4 Marquez Valdes-Scantling

$4 Damiere Byrd

$4 Keelan Cole

$4 Cole Beasley

$4 Gabriel Davis

$4 KJ Hamler

$3 Darnell Mooney

$3 Greg Ward

$3 Russell Gage

$3 Isaiah Ford

$3 Zach Pascal

$3 Demarcus Robinson

$3 James Washington

$3 Andy Isabella

$2 Anthony Miller

$2 Larry Fitzgerald

$1 Josh Reynolds

$1 Jeff Smith

$1 Nelson Agholor

$1 Tre’Quan Smith

$1 A.J. Green

$1 Kendrick Bourne

If I ran the Cardinals, I’d have Isabella into the double-digits. Unfortunately, the coaching staff treats him like a zero . . . There’s a small circle of trust in Green Bay, and MVS doesn’t have access . . . I’ll give Scotty Miller a pass for his Week 5 bagel — he was strong for the first four weeks — though he doesn’t have ideal measurables for someone who plays primarily on the outside. And let’s be honest, Tom Brady isn’t just on the back nine, this looks like the 18th hole.

Provisional Ranking of Injured Receivers — Not for Debate

$44 Davante Adams

$44 Michael Thomas

$40 Julio Jones

$33 Keenan Allen

$31 Chris Godwin

$11 Allen Lazard

$7 Sterling Shepard

$6 Sammy Watkins

$6 Corey Davis

$6 Jalen Reagor

$5 DeSean Jackson

$4 Adam Humphries

$4 Alshon Jeffery

$3 Breshad Perriman

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