By: Ryan Hawks (@RyanWorldEater)
We are a quarter of the way into the NFL season. So far, the wide receiver leader boards look… well weird. Many big names like Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones have gotten off to slow starts due to injuries. Of course Antonio Brown has been his usual model of consistency, but there are many unexpected names in the top five.
Here are the the top five in terms of receiving yards, standard, and PPR scoring:
NFL Receiving Yard Leaders
1. Stefon Diggs (Min) 391
2. Antonio Brown (Pit) 388
3. Brandin Cooks (NE) 379
4. Adam Thielen (Min) 358
5. Keenan Allen (LAC) 334
Standard Scoring Leaders
1. Stefon Diggs (Min) 62.9
2. Chris Hogan (NE) 60.5
3. Brandin Cooks (NE) 52.9
4. Jordy Nelson (GB) 50.6
5. Antonio Brown (Pit) 44.8
PPR Scoring Leaders
1. Stefon Diggs (Min) 84.9
2. Antonio Brown (Pit) 74.8
3. DeAndre Hopkin (Hou) 74.1
4. A.J. Green (Cin) 68.5
5. Michael Thomas (NO) 68
Quarter Season Eaters:
Digging the Vikings Wide Receivers
The biggest surprise sticks out pretty quickly. Stefon Diggs leads all three categories. He was a trendy breakout candidate this offseason, but not many would have predicted him leading the lead in receiving yards, and being the highest scoring fantasy receiver four games in. This is ridiculous considering that he had a mid-sixth round ADP attached to him. Whoever has him on their team right now has to be pretty happy right now.
Even more surprising is seeing his teammate, Adam Thielen make an appearance in the top five receiving yardage totals. He is the WR12 in PPR, and WR24 in standard. He lost two fumbles so far in the season, and hasn’t scored, or he’d be even higher. If he can keep up his yardage totals, and add some scores, he could be the biggest surprise breakout of the year. Fun fact: it’s actually his fourth year in the league too.
Patriots Premier Pass Catchers
While no one may be surprised that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are leading the league in receiving yards, it might be surprising how quickly he is adapting to his new targets. Former New Orleans Saint Brandin Cooks is third in the NFL in receiving yards, and third in standard scoring. He is 11th in PPR scoring. Most expected him to come in and perform, but he got on the same page with TB12 really quick, and only looks to get better as the season goes on.
Probably the biggest shock of the season so far has to do with the Patriots other wideout – Chris Hogan. While Cooks might have more yards than Hogan, Hogan has outperformed Cooks in the fantasy realm. Hogan is the number two wide receiver in standard scoring due to his five touchdowns in two games. In PPR, he rounds out the top ten, one spot ahead of Cooks. His touchdowns are pretty unsustainable, and likely comes back down to earth as the season progresses, but since he plays with the Patriots, who knows what will happen.
Quarter Season World Bunks
Did He Trade His Hands for Cement Blocks?
The biggest bunk in the fantasy world right now might be Oakland Raiders receiver Amari Cooper. Things looked nice for him when he scored on the Raiders opening possession of the season. On that drive he had two catches for 14 yards and a touchdown. This put him at 7.4 points in standard scoring. He has 17 points on the season. At the end of the Titans game, he managed to get to 62 totals yards and a touchdown. This put him at 12.2 points.
Let that sink in. In the last three games Amari Cooper has amassed a total of 4.8 points in standard scoring. The last two games he totaled 1.5 games. It’s not like he hasn’t been targeted either. He averages almost eight targets a game, but just can’t hold on to the ball. He had issues with drops his rookie year, but seemed to have put them behind him last year. Now they’re back with a vengeance.
The talent is there for Cooper to bounce back, but he needs to get out of his own head and make things happen.
Stick a Fork in Him?
Though he may not be on par with the King of Bunk, Amari Cooper, New York Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall has been pretty horrid in his own right. He only had a sixth round ADP on him, but so far his play, or lack thereof, has gotten him dropped in most leagues.
He went to the Giants to complement Beckham. So far he has not. He even had a chance to show he could hang as a number one when Beckham missed a game. Instead, he decided to compete with Cooper on who could drop more footballs. So far on the season he has a total of 13.9 points in standard scoring.
Marshall wasn’t expected to have even similar numbers to what he had on the other New York team, but no doubt he was expected to do better than this. He might be wishing he’d stayed there too, since the Giants have started the season so dismally.
What really might be best for him though is to quit while he is (kind of) ahead. Stick a fork in him, because this guy is done.