Wide Receiver Slant - Week 08

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.

One of the AAF’s most volatile positions, Week 7 showed exactly that, with most of the league’s chalky receivers busting for fantasy purposes. While most DFS players went with a stars/scrubs approach by rostering the likes of Charles Johnson and Greg Ward Jr. in the same lineup, savvy gamers found their way to Nelson Spruce and Reece Horn. Heading into Week 8, here are the most notable trends at the wide receiver position.

Alpha Status

Reece Horn – Memphis ($6,500)

With Charles Johnson and Rashad Ross sitting atop most receiving categories, Reece Horn has quietly pushed for alpha status on the Memphis Express. In his last two games, Horn has seen an absurd 19 targets and 304 air yards. While Memphis has rotated through quarterbacks wildly this season, Brandon Silvers has looked competent through two games, posting at least 242 passing yards in his last two games. While Horn could have his work cut out for him against Orlando’s fierce defense in Week 8, his volume keeps him in the alpha category.

Quinton Patton – Birmingham ($5,500)

Still priced among the mid-tier receivers, Quinton Patton leads the AAF in both targets (63) and air yards (815). However, Patton miraculously ranks seventh in receiving yards (351) and has yet to score a touchdown. Looking at his larger body of work, Patton leads the Iron with 10 red zone targets and sees consistent targets all over the field. Patton also receives the benefit of playing on the AAF’s pass heaviest team (68.7% pass). Facing a struggling Atlanta Legends’ team in Week 8, Patton could finally find the end zone.

On the Come Up

Nelson Spruce – San Diego ($6,200)

With Dontez Ford landing on injured reserve, Nelson Spruce worked as Mike Bercovici’s preferred passing game weapon in Week 7. Spruce racked up 12 catches on 14 targets, and received a team-leading 93 air yards. This week, San Diego takes on a Salt Lake pass-funnel defense, allowing the least rushing yards per game (75.6) but the third-most pass yards per game (240.6). Spruce should be trusted again as the Fleet’s top wide out.

Richard Mullaney – Arizona ($4,500)

Returning from injury, Richard Mullaney played an every-down role for the Arizona Hotshots in two consecutive weeks. While Mullaney saw only 2 targets in Week 7, Arizona attempted only 19 passes as they cruised to victory over San Diego. Prior to injury, Mullaney played a large role in Arizona’s red zone offense, with 3 targets in two games. Now slated to face a Commanders’ defense that has allowed the most passing yards per game (248.4), Mullaney should rebound this week.

Dart Throws

Jamal Robinson – Birmingham ($4,200)

With L’Damian Washington landing a head injury and missing most of Week 7, Jamal Robinson stepped into Birmingham’s field stretching role. In Week 7, Robinson racked up 115 air yards on just 4 targets. More importantly, Robinson played almost an every down role on the league’s pass heaviest team. If Washington cannot suit up for Week 8, Robinson offers GPP winning upside at only $4,200.

Francis Owusu – San Diego ($3,700)

Mentioned above, Dontez Ford landed on injured reserve early this week, thrusting Francis Owusu back into a starting role for the San Diego Fleet. Owusu played a majority of San Diego’s snaps in Week 7 and recorded 5 targets and 86 air yards. On top of his down-field usage, Owusu also saw his third red zone target in the last two weeks. Priced just above the stone minimum, Owusu should provide leverage against his expensive teammate, Nelson Spruce.

Tread Carefully

Mekale McKay – San Antonio ($6,300)

Almost entirely abandoning the run last week, San Antonio threw only 22 passes against Salt Lake’s league-leading run defense, while running the ball 33 times. In such a low volume system, Mekale McKay hasn’t eclipsed 6 targets in a single game since Week 2. While a touchdown saved McKay’s fantasy outing last week, he still finished with only 1 catch for 21 yards. With low target numbers, McKay has become a touchdown or bust option at the wide receiver position.

Malachi Jones – Atlanta ($5,900)

Last week, Malachi Jones led the Atlanta Legends with 6 catches for 53 yards and a score on 7 targets. While the usage looks promising, Jones has still shared targets closely with Seantavius Jones and Justin Thomas in recent weeks. In their last three games, Malachi’s 16 targets rank behind Seantavius’ 19 and just ahead of Thomas’ 12. Playing in one of the league’s worst offenses and a balanced passing attack, Jones may struggle to continue his production.

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