Will Fuller Set to Be Dominant Fantasy WR1... For the 5 Games He Lasts - Roto Street Journal
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Will Fuller Set to Be Dominant Fantasy WR1… For the 5 Games He Lasts

Following the Texans’ atrocious DeAndre Hopkins trade, Will Fuller is set for true No.1 WR duties. This seemingly sets him up for a monstrous fantasy campaign… assuming he doesn’t tear his hamstring climbing the depth chart.

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Jokes aside, Fuller’s lengthy injury history is extremely concerning. He’s yet to play a full season, appearing in only 42 of 64 games (65%), while playing hampered in a handful of those. His ailments have ranged from an ACL tear, to multiple hamstring pulls, to shoulder and rib fractures — unsurprising with his frail frame.

Beyond his availability, Fuller’s also struggled with inconsistent hands. He recorded 8 drops, including this horror show:

Leave it to Bill O’Brien to spearhead his WR corps with an inconsistent, unavailable player.

Still, when on the field,  Fuller and his 4.32 speed can be a true problem. This is especially true with Deshaun Watson at QB, as the pair have flashed insane chemistry, particularly before 2019.

Entering last year, Fuller’s stats, FPs, and WR ranks in 11 games with Watson:

  • 4-35-2 for 19.9 FPs (WR6)
  • 2-57-2; 20.2 (WR9) 
  • 2-62-1; 14.2 (WR21) 
  • 5-125-2; 29.5 (WR3) 
  • 8-113-1; 25.3 (WR6)
  • 5-101-1; 21.1 (WR10)
  • 4-49-1; 14.9 (WR33)
  • 2-15-0; 3.5 (WR94)
  • 2-33-0; 5.3 (WR70)
  • 6-68-0; 12.8 (WR28)
  • 5-124-1; 23.4 (WR10)

Nearly 50% of his games were Top-10 WR worthy, and only two real duds.

Unfortunately, Fuller struggled mightily in 2019. He posted Top-10 numbers in just 2 of 11 games (18%), with only 4 games above 10 FPs (36%).

Moreover, all three of his TDs, and 40% of his entire 2019 fantasy production, came in a Week 5 blow up (14-217-3 TDs for 53.7 FPs)… where Fuller was likely on your bench after an awful Weeks 1-4.

While this monster game flashed Fuller’s historic upside — literally, the highest scoring WR performance in 20 years — it also highlights his streaky nature.

Would that change in a true No.1 role?

For one, he’ll now be two years removed from his ACL tear. Yes, athletes recover faster than ever. Still, he was noticeably hampered early on, and should be able to hit the ground blazing right from the start.

Moreover, Fuller will undoubtedly inherit a large share of Hopkins’ 150 vacated targets (fifth most in NFL). O’Brien has routinely funneled looks to Hopkins, who’s seen 192, 151, 174, 163, and 150 looks across his last five years (166 per year). In a miracle world, Fuller would see 130-150 looks over 16 games.

In his career, Fuller has logged 166 targets from Watson, for 94 catches, 1432 yards, and 14 TDs. The upside is there.

But can he handle true No.1 defensive attention? Behind Hopkins’ massive shield, Fuller has largely feasted on second corners. He’s the type of WR who could be shut down quickly with enough double coverage.

The upside, though, is astronomical. Watson is still a baller, and Fuller is the only truly reliable target now here. Expect the Texans to add some bodies in this talented draft class. Still, Fuller should remain the favorite to top the depth chart in 2020.

Enjoy the ride while it lasts. Given he’s broken down with lesser work, Fuller shouldn’t be counted on for more than 12 games. They could be gorgeous, though, making Fuller a worthy of high-end WR3 treatment on ceiling alone. He’s currently my WR30.

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