Shawn Siegele looks at all the top wide receiver performances from Week 15, including big games from Breshad Perriman, Terry McLaurin, and DeVante Parker.
The 2019 fantasy semifinals included plenty of shootouts. Thirteen WRs scored 20 or more points. Julio Jones and Chris Conley combined for 36 in the final stanza alone as they led their squads to improbable comebacks.
The Week 15 fantasy points over expectation (FPOE) leaderboard featured a blend of emerging stars and out-of-nowhere performances.
Fantasy Points Over Expectation Leaderboard – Week 15
There’s never been a more on-brand season than what we’ve gotten from Bruce Arians and Jameis Winston in 2019.
Heading into the RDL 2.0 semifinals, I squared off against a superflex battery of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Winston in a contest where Tampa’s gunslinger was expected to shell the lowly Detroit Lions. You never want to face the combined forces of FitzMagic when death is on the line. If you’d told me they would combine for 737 yards and six touchdowns, my only surprise would have been the single INT.
I couldn’t do anything about Parker, either. He was also playing against me. Fortunately, I had a secret weapon for neutralizing Winston’s 34-point game. With Calvin Ridley’s injury opening up a starting role in fantasy and Mike Evans’ injury creating a potential starring role in reality, the stage was set for a serendipitous confluence of desperation and opportunity.
Perriman entered the week on a two-game stretch in double figures. Evans’ injury improved his target floor, but in Tampa’s bombs-away offense, Perriman had been averaging 4.6 targets/game since Week 8. After posting the best fantasy performance of his career in Week 15, he more than doubled it against the Lions.
The No. 26 pick of the 2016 NFL draft was a bust in Baltimore, but he’s been a solid role player in three of his four seasons. With the three-TD effort against Detroit, his 2019 efficiency numbers jumped over Evans.
Perriman gets a much more difficult matchup in Week 16 against the Texans, but it will be hard to bench him if Chris Godwin’s hamstring keeps him out for the finals.
Following McLaurin’s epic start, Patrick Kerrane penned one of the best fantasy articles I’ve ever read. His deep dive explained the strengths and weaknesses of McLaurin’s prospect resume, touted him as a must-acquire WR in dynasty, but urged you to wait a few weeks. The schedule wasn’t going to do him any favors, and the environment in Washington was going to get worse before it got better. He’d be less expensive down the road.
That’s exactly what happened.
McLaurin averaged 18.8 PPG over the first six weeks, but that fell to 8.4 over the next seven. The quarterback switch also hurt. He’s averaged 13.3 AYA with Case Keenum, a number that drops to a still salty 9.5 with Dwayne Haskins.
Sunday’s 75-yard catch-and-run TD put the entire skill set on display and gave McLaurin a third game with at least 12 FPOE. It helped to confirm my gaudy dynasty ranking of No. 26 overall and fell in line with elite peripherals.
McLaurin’s depth of target (14.3) is especially impressive when you consider it comes on 23% target share. That number is especially impressive when you realize it leads a deep and talented group of rookie WRs, including former Ole Miss monsters, A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf.
He’s also dominated the middle of the field at both the deep and intermediate areas. Middle targets offer better efficiency than sideline routes, and McLaurin operates in this key range with volume and comfort.
Stills failed to emerge during Will Fuller’s recent hamstring episode, averaging only 6.8 PPG from Week 8 to Week 14. The burner hasn’t been deployed in a way that fits his skill set this season.
Stills has averaged 14.5 air yards/target for his career and entered 2019 with only one season below that level. This season his target depth has fallen to 10.5, and it’s been even shallower when filling in for Fuller.
The Texans are a cipher, one week looking like Super Bowl contenders and the next getting hammered by the likes of Denver. Despite the strange ways they use their talent, spike weeks are always in the mix when you play with Deshaun Watson.
Omitting his concussion-marred Week 14, Parker has now posted double-digit scores in 10 consecutive contests, and he’s continued to ascend with three WR1 performances in his last four. He’s also another receiver who’s excelling over the middle.
Parker’s balance is impressive. He’s caught 21 of 28 middle targets for 355 yards, but he’s also been deployed frequently to the left (35 targets) and right (38), and with good success on both intermediate and deep routes.
Injuries have derailed what could have been a monster season for Hill. In healthy games he has four WR1 finishes, two WR2 finishes, and two finishes in WR3-plus territory, both of which were still in double figures.
In the snow against Denver, he again demonstrated his rapport with Patrick Mahomes on an early TD. He sprinted by the underneath coverage before easily out-running the safety to the flag. Adding a second score later, Hill ranks among the efficiency leaders despite his setbacks.
Fantasy Points Over Expectation Per Game – 2019 Leaders
Lockett also finds himself on that list despite a serious injury of his own.
Lockett averaged a 26% target share over the first nine weeks. He left the Week 10 contest with San Francisco due to a serious shin injury and took a back seat after the bye.
During that crucial fantasy span, his owners were left with a very different player.
Fortunately, his 8-120-1 performance against the Panthers lifted many owners to the fantasy finals.
Good Luck Tonight!
Good luck to everyone as you navigate all of the specific scenarios necessary to make your championship games. I’ve got Drew Brees going almost everywhere, but with Michael Thomas playing for me and against me, a Perriman-like performance from Tre’Quan Smith offers the best (if least plausible) path to total victory.
I’m constantly impressed at the depth and breadth of the information in tools built by Mike Beers, Dave Caban, and Anthony Shook. If you enjoyed some of the visualizations used in this piece, make sure to check out the NFL Stat Explorer, the NFL Pace app, the Best Ball Win Rates tool, the Game Splits app, the RotoViz Screener, the Strength of Schedule Streamer, and the Weekly Stats tool.