Wide Receiver Slant - Week 04

Matt Gajewski (@Matt_Gajewski)

The Wide Receiver Slant is a weekly series that focuses on identifying offense specific roles and high volume fantasy options at the WR position.

With three games of AAF action in the books, team roles look more certain. Receivers now have a three-game sample of targets and air yards, giving AAF enthusiasts a better idea who to target in fantasy and DFS. Here are a few workload notes that stood out following Week 3’s game action.

Alpha Status

Nelson Spruce – San Diego ($6,000)

With starting WR Kameron Kelly returning to defensive back last week, many believed (myself included) that Francis Owusu looked like the favorite to take over Kelly’s position opposite Brian Brown. However, Nelson Spruce emerged as the Fleets’ number one receiver, passing even Brown himself. Spruce led the team in all major receiving categories, including targets (7), catches (4), receiving yards (50), air yards (120) and touchdowns (2).

More importantly, Spruce saw 2 red zone targets and 4 targets beyond 15 yards downfield. Playing for the team with the second most pass attempts on the slate, Spruce looks like a lock and load option at receiver.

Mekale McKay – San Antonio ($6,300)

Bouncing back from a disappointing Week 2, Mekale McKay reasserted his dominance reeling in 4 of 6 targets for 91 yards and a touchdown. Even with the productive performance, McKay’s price only increased $100 on Fanball.

McKay remains underpriced after seeing a league leading 9 red zone targets to date. McKay also ranks fourth in air yards (302) with 119 coming just last week. Despite being $900 cheaper than Charles Johnson, McKay has received 7 more total targets, and 6 more red zone targets. At such an affordable price, McKay warrants heavy ownership across contests on Fanball.

Seantavius Jones – Atlanta ($5,800)

While Seantavius Jones plays for the second slowest team in the AAF (63 plays per game) and continues to deal with questionable quarterback play, he has received elite volume on par with McKay and Charles Johnson. His 21.5% target share ranks 4th in the AAF with 4 targets coming in the red zone and the 2nd most air yards (313) in the league. Reduced in price from a week ago, Jones provides upside in GPPs this weekend.

On the Come Up

Josh Huff – Arizona ($5,700)

With Richard Mullaney on the shelf, Josh Huff appeared to step up and play alongside Rashad Ross in the Hotshots’ starting lineup. While Trevor Knight manning the helm (if John Wolford cannot suit up) remains a concern for the offense as a whole, Huff tied for the team lead in targets (8) and received the most air yards (78) in Week 3.

Ross also played an important role in the red zone, with 3 targets in Week 3. Touchdown production could quickly switch in this offense, with Rashad Ross securing an absurd 4 touchdowns on a mere 3 red zone targets.

Reece Horn – Memphis ($4,800)

With Christian Hackenberg riding the pine in favor of Zach Mettenberger, this Memphis Express offense looks ready for an explosion. Mettenberger completed a solid 75% of his passes in Week 3, notching 120 yards and 2 scores. Mettenberger’s primary target looks like Reece Horn by all accounts. While Horn only secured 1 target for 11 yards in Week 3, he received a team high 5 targets. To date he remains tied for a team-leading 15 targets, but leads the Express in air yards (106) and receiving yards (95).

Dart Throws

Kenny Bell – Salt Lake ($4,400)

Returning from a Week 2 injury, Kenny Bell re-emerged as one of Salt Lake’s primary receiving threats. While De’Mornay Pierson-El stole the show with 8 catches for 90 yards, Bell actually worked ahead of Pierson-El on the depth chart. Bell only saw 4 targets on the day, but he reeled in all 4 for 39 yards, with one of these occurring in the red zone. Near the min price, Bell has shown enough upside to warrant consideration as a cheap dart throw in GPPs.

Richard Mullaney – Arizona ($3,000)

After missing Week 3 with a knee injury, Richard Mullaney comes in at the minimum price on Fanball. While health will surely influence this decision, Mullaney showed quite a bit of promise before his injury. Working as Arizona’s secondary target behind Rashad Ross, Mullaney played a crucial role for the Hotshots the red zone. Through the first two weeks, Mullaney’s 3 red zone targets led the team. With the injury, Mullaney could fly under the radar (assuming he plays).

Tread Carefully

Malachi Jones – Atlanta ($6,100)

Mistakenly priced above Seantavius Jones, Malachi Jones has actually worked as Atlanta’s third receiver behind both S. Jones and Ervin Phillips. Last week, Jones’ 5 targets and 48 air yards both ranked fourth on the team. While Atlanta draws a solid matchup against the leaky Arizona secondary, pivoting to the cheaper Seantavius Jones makes too much sense in this situation.

De’Mornay Pierson-EL – Salt Lake ($4,500)

With Salt Lake struggling with injuries to begin the season, De’Mornay Pierson-El broke out in a major way with 8 catches on 8 targets for 90 yards and a touchdown in Week 3. However, Pierson-El’s usage remains a slight concern after working as Salt Lake’s fourth receiver in Week 3. Also noteworthy, Pierson-El has only recorded 120 air yards on the season, which actually falls below his receiving yardage total (125).

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