Wide Receiver Slant - Week 05

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.

Through four games of AAF action the receiver position has morphed week after week – aside from a few studs at the top. With running backs doing the most scoring, wide receiver has brought an added element of unpredictability. However, looking at advanced trends can help illuminate receivers likely to see positive regression in the future.

Alpha Status

Rashad Ross – Arizona ($7,400)

With his league-leading 5 touchdowns, Rashad Ross has fully asserted himself among the AAF’s top three receivers. Ross currently ranks fourth in both targets (26) and air yards (379), equating to the second-highest WOPR (0.60) in the league. Ross has also seen his red zone role increase with Richard Mullaney on the shelf, recording 5 targets inside the 20-yard line so far this season. With very few alpha receivers in the AAF, Ross should continue to finish near the top of his position on a weekly basis.

Mekale McKay – San Antonio ($5,100)

Following a brutal low-scoring game – where weather hurt production for both teams – Mekale McKay seems to have slipped down fantasy rankings. With only 2 catches for 19 yards on 4 targets, McKay ranked third on his own team in receiving.

However, no San Antonio receiver eclipsed 24 receiving yards in Week 4, adding more context to McKay’s lack of production. On the season, he still ranks second in targets (31) and third in air yards (427). More importantly, McKay still leads the AAF with 9 red zone targets. Despite the lack of production in Week 4, McKay remains an elite wide receiver in the AAF.

On the Come Up

L’Damian Washington – Birmingham ($4,600)

For the second straight week, L’Damian Washington played as a full-time receiver opposite Quinton Patton in the Birmingham offense. Unlike Patton, Washington has shown chemistry with Luis Perez, leading the team in targets over the past two weeks (12). Last week, Washington secured 3 catches on 7 targets for 35 receiving yards, but led the team with 114 air yards. While Patton remains a key piece of this offense, L’Damian Washington has emerged as a legitimate weapon in the same passing game.

Greg Ward Jr. – San Antonio ($4,800)

While Mekale McKay remains the clear-cut top receiver on San Antonio, Greg Ward Jr. looks poised for a breakout in the same offense. Benefiting from a role on the league’s fastest-paced offense, Ward ranks seventh in targets (22) and eighth in air yards (237). Ward has carved out a meaningful role in San Antonio’s red zone offense with 7 red zone targets this season.

Despite the immense volume inside the 20-yard line, Ward has yet to score a touchdown or 2-point conversion through the air. One of the league’s strongest touchdown regression candidates, Ward should climb the fantasy ranks in the upcoming weeks.

Dart Throws

Dontez Byrd – Memphis ($4,000)

With Memphis turning to Zach Mettenberger under center, the Express offense looks far more interesting. Through a game and a half, Mettenberger has accounted for 294 passing yards and 3 passing scores. Playing opposite Reece Horn, Dontez Byrd acted as Memphis’ number two receiver in Week 4. While he only recorded 3 targets, Byrd ranked second on the team with 36 air yards. Still growing into the offense, Byrd looks like a candidate for increased production in the near future.

Freddie Martino – Arizona ($3,700)

Playing as Arizona’s number three receiver with Richard Mullaney nursing a knee injury, Freddie Martino remains a sleeper in upcoming weeks. Martino only saw 3 targets in Week 4, but he played a full complement of snaps and draws a favorable matchup this week. Facing a San Antonio Commanders team that has allowed the most yards per game to receivers (180.8), the former Tampa Bay Buccaneer could pop up for a big game.

Tread Carefully

Quinton Patton – Birmingham ($5,500)

Quinton Patton has quietly lost work to L’Damian Washington in recent weeks. Showing little connection with Luis Perez, Patton leads the league in air yards (476) but ranks third in receiving yards (226). Also problematic for Patton, Perez and the Birmingham offense have struggled mightily throwing the ball in the red zone. Through 4 games, Perez has yet to record a single passing touchdown, ceding work entirely to Trent Richardson.

Highly dependent on big plays, Patton looks shaky with Washington coming in cheaper and less-known across DFS and fantasy sites.

Dontez Ford – San Diego ($6,200)

Losing their quarterback to injured reserve, the San Diego Fleet will turn back to Mike Bercovici at quarterback. Despite poor quarterback play in Week 3, Dontez Ford emerged as a legitimate weapon, corralling 3 balls for 71 yards and a score. However, even with the big fantasy performance, Ford still worked behind Nelson Spruce and Brian Brown in Week 4.

With only one big game under his belt, an exorbitant cost on DFS sites, and a backup quarterback under center, Dontez Ford looks like a strong avoid going forward.

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