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The RotoViz Screener Locates 15 Breakout Wide Receiver Candidates for 2020

Now that the 2019 regular season is in the books, Shawn Siegele utilizes a quick hack and the RotoViz Screener to locate 15 breakout wide receiver candidates for 2020.

Each offseason I write an in-depth series on the characteristics of breakout players. Receivers with different experience levels break out at different rates, to different scores, and for different reasons. It hurts our chances to select the best players if we lump them all into one category.

We’ll dive into those numbers again soon, but there is a simple hack for owners looking to get a jump on next year’s dynasty acquisitions.

The Wrong Read and Wide Receiver Breakouts

Blair Andrews’ 2019 research demonstrated a wide gulf between WRs with positive and negative fantasy points over expectation (FPOE) and what that means for their performance the following year. Receivers with positive FPOE score 47 more fantasy points, accrue 40 more expected points (EP), and again average positive FPOE. Receivers with negative FPOE again average negative FPOE.

Given those stats, it’s not surprising that receivers with positive FPOE break out much more often. The Wrong Read: No. 59:

With that in mind, I used the Screener to grab all of the potential breakout WRs1 who created 10-plus FPOE in 2019.2

PLAYERFPOEPPRTargetsRecsYardsTDsComments
Mecole Hardman48.7117.541265386Not as fast as Tyreek Hill but still one of the most explosive players in the NFL, Hardman was a big play machine in 2019 and should be one of your top three dynasty acquisition targets for 2020.
Terry McLaurin35.6191.993589197An immediate star in Washington, Pat Kerrane explains the pluses and minuses on his resume.
Darius Slayton32.917083487408A surprising star in New York, Slayton faces an uncertain offseason in NY but will likely be less expensive than his rookie season deserves.
Tre'Quan Smith30.171.425182345Smith's low point total in a high-scoring offense is a big red flag, but he makes plays when targeted.
Marquise Brown29.6146.471465847Injuries and a low-volume passing offense held Brown back after an initial month that made him look like an impending superstar.
Deebo Samuel25.6198.981578803Almost a rookie breakout, Samuel should be a compelling WR2 for the long haul as an elite run-after catch player.
D.K. Metcalf21.5193.1100589007Metcalf slowed down the stretch before a big Week 17, but he largely answered questions about his agility and route running.
Allen Lazard18.6102.852354773Lazard has long been an underappreciated RotoViz favorite. Another strong performance in Week 17 illustrates his upside.
Diontae Johnson15.8160.392596725The rookie picked up much of the slack from Smith-Schuster's lost season and should move into the No. 2 role in 2020.
Kendrick Bourne15.897.845303585Bourne had his moments in 2019 and could be their Raheem Mostert at WR.
Hunter Renfrow15.3133.571496054A surprisingly effective underneath receiver as a rookie, Renfrow is a good depth pickup.
Zach Pascal14.6135.372416075A Jon Moore favorite from back in the day, Pascal blew up several times in a poor passing offense.
Miles Boykin12.650.822131983Not as finished as M. Brown and likely never a favorite for big volume, Boykin is still a great lottery ticket if purchased on the cheap.
Andy Isabella11.535.41391891Isabella never got things going in 2019, but his combination of speed and team scheme give him potential to take a Chark-like jump in 2020.
James Washington10.4135.579447353Washington turned his entire career around at mid-season but may be pricier than his situation supports.

We’ll individually profile all of these receivers this spring. To go into more detail now, jump over to the NFL Stat Explorer. It has visualizations for every raw and advanced stat you can imagine.

Positive FPOE isn’t just for locating breakout players. It can also help you land the top Bounceback WRs. We’ll follow up on them in January.

Image Credit: Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Diontae Johnson.

  1. For this exercise, I pulled WRs with three years of experience or less.  (back)
  2. Unfortunately, A.J. Brown isn’t on the list because he scored over 200 points. Our No. 2 dynasty rookie last summer, Brown had such an explosive December that he counts as the 19th rookie breakout since 2000.  (back)

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