It would be nothing more than a waste of time for us to sit here and tell you what kind of value Week 14 has on the line for fantasy owners. You’ve known since Week 4 exactly what you have in your draft picks. The good picks are assets and the bad picks are ass … well, you can figure out the rest. Instead of breaking down who has season-long value on the line, we think it’s a lot more of a benefit to see who has 2020 value in the balance. Let’s talk long term value with some of the biggest names in the business. Can these guys do enough over the remaining weeks to save face moving ahead? This week it’s a wide receiver only column as we forecast who has better or worse days ahead.
Julio Jones, Atlanta
Every year, we continue to be astonished by the idea that Julio Jones can’t reach 10 receiving touchdowns on a yearly basis. Let’s throw some numbers at you. Six-foot-three, 220 pounds. That’s the size of “he who should be king” of the wide receiver mountain year-in and year-out. Now let’s look at all of his touchdown totals over his career: eight, ten, two, six, eight, six, three, eight and four. So, in his entire career, Jones has hit double-digit touchdowns just once with ten. He has almost 12,000 yards receiving on 762 catches with an “astonishing” average of about six scores a year. Getting older and suffering through more coaching changes, are there better days ahead? Can a new offensive coordinator tap into his red zone skills or are Jones’ totals set to regress as he’s now on the wrong side of 30? What Jones does for the rest of the year could in fact have him out of the first two rounds in 2020 fantasy drafts for the first time in 10 years.
Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay
There is zero doubt that Godwin has joined the consensus WR1 rankings. He looks the part and the stats back him up completely. At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, Godwin has the build of an elite WR1. Looking at this totals of 74 catches for 1,121 yards and on the fringe of double-digit scores, there is nothing that you can view as a negative for Godwin moving forward. Oh, and he’s only in his second season at age 23. He seems oddly reminiscent of JuJu Smith-Schuster from last season. But like Smith-Schuster, there could be big changes coming at quarterback. Smith-Schuster went from having a connection with Ben Roethlisberger to working with mop buckets under center. Godwin could go from connecting with Jameis Winston to working with a rookie, a free agent or a journeyman free agent. If Winston continues to look unimpressive and leaves Tampa Bay for an ill-advised big time contract in, say, Washington, it may be Godwin’s numbers that take the hit.
Stefon Diggs, Minnesota
Has there ever been a more inconsistent wide receiver in the league? Just when you think that Diggs’ goose is cooked, he manages to right the ship. And then, just as things look to be completely in his favor, he vanishes like a fart in the wind. Let’s break down a few separate segments on the season for Diggs. To start things off, he had a total of 101 yards and one score through the first three games of the season. Terrible right? Then we look at Weeks 6-8 and Diggs goes nuclear on the league to the tune of 453 yards and three touchdowns. During this time frame, stud-receiver Adam Thielen suffered multiple hamstring injuries and forced Diggs into the driver’s seat. But, over the last four games, Diggs has three games under 50 yards with one lone score and one game with 4 receiving yards total. So, who is Diggs? A WR1? A WR2? A matchup play only? Or a guy who could be on the move due to team salary concerns? Diggs is going to get back on track to ease worries and begin to establish some sort of consistency.
Kenny Golladay, Detroit
Wasn’t last season supposed to be Golladay’s breakout year? He had just over 1,000 receiving yards and found the end zone five times while developing into one of Matthew Stafford’s most trustworthy receivers. This season, Stafford has missed time and Detroit has thrown two unknown quarterbacks into the fray with very mixed results. Still, Golladay has managed to almost match his yardage while still having four games left on the schedule and is just one touchdown away from reaching the double-digit plateau. So Golladay continues on this pace and then Stafford comes back for a healthy 16 games next season, wouldn’t that projection have him as a WR1? Things are trending that way but Golladay needs to keep up the good work for the rest of 2019 to do so.
Emmanuel Sanders, San Francisco
This is less about stats and more about commonsense. Jimmy Garoppolo is one of the future poster-boys of the NFL. Garoppolo, Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes are going to carry the NFL into the new age. But quarterbacks need help. While Garoppolo does have George Kittle, the San Francisco quarterback needs more help downfield. San Francisco saw this problem and addressed it at the trade deadline acquiring Emmanuel Sanders from Denver. That’s all well in good for this season but what if Sanders doesn’t show enough to deserve an extension? What if all of his injuries add up and San Francisco is standoff-ish in giving a 32-year-old a long-term deal? Where would he go next? How would it compare to his opportunity in San Francisco? How much would Garoppolo regress if Sanders left and San Francisco didn’t make a splash to replace him? Lots of next season negative on the line for Sanders and the people he immediately effects.