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Why average depth of target reigns supreme when evaluating wide receivers in fantasy football

With June coming to a close, it’s high time to start preparing for your fantasy football draft (or, if you’re like me, starting your 50th best-ball draft). One position that can make or break your team, or your ability to win week to week in DFS, is wide receiver.  

[Editor’s note: Subscribe to PFF ELITE today to gain access to PFF’s Premium Stats and new Player Grades experience in addition to the 2020 NFL Draft Guide2020 Fantasy Rookie Scouting ReportPFF Greenline, all of PFF’s premium article content and more.]

There has been a ton of great research in the fantasy space when it comes to wide receivers and players who catch the ball in general. Varied and vast, research started with current ESPN fantasy analyst and PFF fantasy godfather Mike Clay introducing average depth of target in 2012, showing the value of looking at what “type” of player each receiver is. FiveThirtyEight writer and EstablishTheRun contributor Josh Hermsmeyer popularized air yards, which did a great job of combining depth of target (a measure of intent), total targets (a measure of volume) and actual yards gained (a measure of efficiency).

In this article, we look at some ways to use PFF to better understand the landscape of receivers heading into the 2020 season and point to some of the reasons why we’re high or low on players using our fantasy projections

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