Consistency and upside are typically built into a player’s price during the draft, but other factors can sometimes lower the acquisition cost and turn a player into a value. Despite there being only a small sample size, Will Fuller has proven in the last two seasons that he’s a WR1 in games with Deshaun Watson. Even with the injury risks, he’s one of my favorite targets in best ball leagues.
What’s His Upside?
Since joining the league in 2016, Fuller has been a boom/bust player, which matched his prospect expectations. Using the Box Score Scout, his top sim scores were Brandin Cooks, Phillip Dorsett, and Paul Richardson.1 His first season production was somewhat indicative of that, as well. He finished with two top-12 performances, but only three total weeks with a top-36 finish. At his near free acquisition cost in best ball leagues that season, he likely outperformed expectations of drafters and provided a two-week bump in their team scores.
He missed time to start the 2017 season, but when he returned to a new QB, there was an instant connection with four straight top-24 finishes. Unfortunately, the loss of Watson in Week 8 represented the end of Fuller’s fantasy value.
When he started the season in 2018, they returned to form with back-to-back top-12 weeks, however, he dipped slightly during a four week stretch that only saw him finish in the top-36 twice. And in his final game before suffering a season-ending ACL injury, Fuller, once again produced a top-12 week.
In total, Fuller has 8 top-12 finishes in his 31 games, seven weeks with at least 20 PPR points, and 14 weeks with double-digit PPR scoring weeks; but as you’d expect for a receiver who has received targets from Watson, Taylor Heinicke, Brock Osweiler, Tom Savage, and T.J. Yates, there are noticeable splits in games featuring Watson.
His 16 game PPR total of 276 points would have ranked as the WR10 in 2018. Somewhat more impressive is the increased consistency in his usability when Watson is his QB.
|Career Finishes||Top 5||Top 12||Top 24||Top 36|
|Finishes with Watson||Top 5||Top 12||Top 24||T0p 36|
If both Watson and Fuller stay healthy for a full season, there’s a high likelihood that Fuller finishes as a WR2 with a WR1 weekly ceiling. And even with the news that Will Fuller is expected to be available for Week 1, his price is heavily reduced.
Gaine says Will Fuller V is anticipated to be ready to go in Week 1 at New Orleans. "Everything is trending in the right direction. Everything is looking good." #Texans— Deepi Sidhu (@DeepSlant) April 18, 2019
Average Draft Position
Despite producing as a high-end WR2 in games with Watson, their combined injuries have built in some value in Fuller’s draft position. And it’s relatively flat across each of the bestball platforms. He’s being drafted as the WR33 on Fanball, WR31 on Fantrax, and WR32 on FFPC.
Being drafted behind the likes of Corey Davis and Robby Anderson makes it evident that his injury risk and lower weekly floor have depressed his acquisition cost. But at a WR3 cost, his risk can be alleviated by roster construction. For those more risk-averse, he could be the fourth option on a WR-heavy start with an expectation that he’s only going to be usable for 50% of weeks. And for those starting with a Hyper-Fragile approach, Fuller’s weekly ceiling represents a strong option as a roster’s WR2.
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- I limited his top scores to only include players that were already in the league at the time of his arrival. (back)