When it comes to non-PPR leagues, touchdowns are king. Players that rack up yardage are excellent, but they are seldom available at a discount. Volume draws lots of attention. If you concentrate on volume strictly in the red zone, however, there is some value to be exploited. Players that see a steady stream of red zone targets are a good bet to score at a high rate. For the moment, we will focus on middle round possibilities before moving on to late round players in a later article.
Golden Tate DET
The Lions had two players tied with 18 red zone targets last season, Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. Johnson has retired and at least some of those targets are likely to be added on to Tate’s total. Marvin Jones is a nice receiver, but Tate has the trust of the quarterback and a proven track record. I like Tate to have a big year overall; the added looks that he should garner in the red zone could make it a huge season. As the 24th receiver off the board on average, Tate represents a safer bet than some of the high profile young players like Sammy Watkins or Kelvin Benjamin. He may not be flashy, but he is close to a sure thing.
Eric Decker NYJ
Decker was tied for the league lead in red zone targets with 29, beating out teammate Brandon Marshall by 4. With 10 receiving touchdowns, Decker provided owners with solid value and should be a good bet to do so again this season. He is currently the 27th receiver being taken in drafts. There is nice potential for high level production here, particularly with the return of Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback.
Jordan Matthews PHI
The Eagles were a dumpster fire last season, but Matthews is a steal at his current ADP. This is a number one receiver with a proven track record of success. He is also getting red zone targets at a decent rate. If I were to guess, I would say he will top 1000 yards and come close to double digit touchdowns. Over the last two seasons Matthews has put up 872 and then 997 yards with 8 touchdowns both seasons. His receptions went from 67 to 85. If this trend continues, he could get close to 100 this year. Matthews is currently going around the 29th receiver in drafts and that is a robbery. Wait until the middle rounds and then snatch this guy up.
John Brown ARI
Brown is currently in the league’s concussion protocol which adds a bit of risk to this recommendation. With that being said, Brown has tremendous potential to continue his breakout this season. Last year he put up 1003 yards and 7 touchdowns. In 2016 he will have the coveted third year receiver status. He is also playing in a high powered offense. Brown sees a decent volume of red zone targets (16 in 2015) and this boosts the potential that he could build on his 7 touchdowns from a year ago. Draft him as a WR3 with the potential to be much more.
Those are my middle-round wide receiver targets for non-ppr leagues. Check in tomorrow for late round non ppr wide receivers. Soon after I will delve deeper into the running back position and present some candidates to provide solid value in 2016.