Fantasy Football Regression Candidates: WRs Include Davante Adams, Chris Godwin, and DeAndre Hopkins

The 2023 fantasy season is quickly approaching. Who are some wide receivers that may not produce for fantasy like they did in the past?

Year after year, fantasy football managers spend much of the draft season looking at the stats for players from the previous season. They anticipate what happened before has the odds of repeating itself.

But by the time the season reaches Week 7 or 8, we are left scratching our heads at what we were thinking. Why did we think certain guys wouldn’t regress at all?

Playing fantasy isn’t simple. There are so many factors that go into the success of a single player in a season. But what signs can we look for in players that may give us a clue that their production is set to reduce? Let’s take a look and highlight a few wide receivers that may see regression in 2023.

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Top Fantasy Football Regression Candidates at WR

Regression Signs in Wide Receivers

The wide receiver position is one that relies the most on having talent around them in their offense. We have seen good wide receiver seasons in the past with mediocre quarterback play, but typically, the top receivers have good QBs.

Also important is a wide receiver’s target share. Targets are the name of the game for WRs. Is your guy getting looks more often in the offense than his teammates? This is important for their volume and point totals. But also important is that these targets are pushing the ball downfield.

Finally, the offense’s overall efficiency is essential for a wide receiver. Is the offense staying on the field? Do they mix up the passing and running game well? An efficient offense gives our wide receivers more opportunities per game.

Keep this in mind as we dig into a few players to be cautious of entering the 2023 season.

Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders

I want to prelude this by saying I still believe Davante Adams is an elite talent. The guy has been doing it for years and is still one of the best route runners in the league.

But expecting the now 30-year-old wide receiver to reproduce what he did in 2022 is a tall order. Adams had 100 catches on 180 targets for 1,516 yards last season. He also found paydirt 14 times. This was good enough for the third-best season by any wide receiver last year.

But a couple of things stand out. Fourteen touchdowns were three more than any other receiver scored a year ago. Finding the end zone that many times is not simple and not an easy task to repeat, especially when you have big changes in the offense.

Adams lost his quarterback from last season, Derek Carr. He will now be catching passes from Jimmy Garoppolo in 2023. Jimmy G can be a solid quarterback, but it is hard to imagine him sustaining a 1500+ yard and 14-TD  receiver. Deebo Samuel had a giant 2019 season with Garoppolo throwing him the ball. But Samuel still only totaled 1,405 receiving yards and six receiving TDs.

I expect Adams to still have a great season. He will probably still be a WR1 in fantasy. But I wouldn’t expect him to total the numbers we saw in 2022.

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chris Godwin is one of those great receivers that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. But he has been a consistent scorer when he has been healthy and has had a terrific NFL career in his first six years.

However, when seeing his totals from 2022, I have some worry about his numbers dropping this season. The main concern is his yards-per-reception average from last year. Godwin finished as a top-10 wide receiver in targets with 142 (in just 15 games) and had the sixth-most catches with 104. But that translated to only totaling the 20th-most receiving yards on the season.

Chris Godwin celebrates after catching a touchdown during the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns.

In fact, Godwin was only one of two wide receivers in the top 36 in receptions last season to total less than 10 yards per catch. And this was on a Tampa Bay offense that led the league in pass attempts.

Exit Tom Brady and enter Baker Mayfield — a new QB and an offense that likely will be more balanced than the last few years. I have major concerns that the volume is about to reduce for Godwin. If his yards per catch and yards per target don’t significantly increase, it will be hard to make up these point totals.

Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars

After being a bit of a punchline for the gigantic contract he signed in the offseason of 2022, Christian Kirk showed the football world that the Jaguars weren’t that stupid for investing so much in him. His 2022 season was the best of his career and a bit of a breakout.

Finishing as WR11 in half-PPR formats, Kirk totaled 1,108 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. The revamped Jaguars offense prospered in 2022 and looks to be successful once again in 2023.

But the Jaguars made a major move that looks like a possibility of dampening Kirk’s output. After rading for ex-Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley near the end of the 2022 season, there is now another big mouth to feed in Duval.

In Ridley’s last full NFL season, he had 1,374 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Ridley joins an offense that already has Kirk along with Zay Jones, Evan Engram, and Travis Etienne. It is hard to imagine Kirk’s volume will remain as high as it was in 2022.

I still expect Kirk to be a valuable asset in 2023. But finishing as a WR1 again seems like a bit of a longshot. It is totally in the realm of possibilities for the 26-year-old to have a mid-WR2 season. But this is a case of too much talent on one team with only one ball to go around.

Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks

Tyler Lockett has been one of my favorite wide receivers in fantasy for about half a decade. He has produced five straight seasons with between 965-1,175 receiving yards and 8-10 touchdowns. He is consistent, finishing as a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 every season.

When the Seahawks moved on from Russell Wilson, and everyone expected the totals in Seattle to drop, Lockett remained consistent. But, even as one of the NFL’s most consistent receivers, I have a feeling this may finally be the year where we see a dip.

First off, Lockett turns 31 in September. He isn’t ancient, but he is certainly getting up there in age for an NFL wide receiver. We usually see production start to slow down years before this, so the odds aren’t in Lockett’s favor.

Second, Seattle invested their first-round draft pick into the top receiver in the 2023 draft: Jaxon Smith-Njigba. While many don’t believe JSN is going to take on a prominent role right away, logic tells us he will take some of the volume away from Lockett. DK Metcalf remains the top option for the Seahawks, but Smith-Njigba is the biggest competition Lockett has had in five years for the WR2 spot.

Lockett will likely still be a starting asset for fantasy teams, but I think he falls back to more of the mid-to-low-end WR2 tier this year.

DeAndre Hopkins, Tennessee Titans

DeAndre Hopkins actually finished with a very solid season in Arizona in 2022, despite missing time to a suspension and an injury. While only playing in nine games, he still managed to score 13.3 points per game in half-PPR formats. That was good enough for WR11 on the year.

But Hopkins is now 31 years old and has been slowing down the last few seasons. This includes a 2022 campaign where he had a career low in yards per catch (11.2) and the second-lowest yards per target (7.5).

Now Hopkins finds himself in Nashville, where older receivers go to fade away, and the quarterback depth chart is murky at best. Receiving legends Randy Moss, Andre Johnson, and Julio Jones have all made a stop in Tennessee in the twilight of their careers before Hopkins. Is Nuk the next name to add to that list?

Unfortunately, I think that may be the case. Hopkins is well past his prime, and the situation in Tennessee is not ideal. Any production from Hopkins in 2023 will likely be more inconsistent and reduced from his career before this. It is unlikely fantasy owners will find a lot of weeks where they will want to start him over the many WR options in the NFL.

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