Will Fuller: Texans Alpha WR1 Target Hog and Prime Fantasy Sell-High - Roto Street Journal
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Will Fuller: Texans Alpha WR1 Target Hog and Prime Fantasy Sell-High

We already knew Will Fuller and his game-breaking speed could swing fantasy + real-life matchups within the blink of an eye. We weren’t sure he could operate as a bonafide Alpha WR1 Target Hog… until Thursday.

In his 2020 debut and first game action without DeAndre Hopkins, Fuller feasted.

He snared eight of his 10 targets for 112 yards, good for a whopping 33% target and 46.7% Air Yards shares.

Earlier, I speculated Fuller would “undoubtedly inherit a large share of Hopkins’ 150 vacated targets (fifth most in NFL).”

I didn’t realize he’d take over the Hopkins Alpha Hog role completely.

Over his coaching career, Bill O’Brien routinely funneled looks to Hopkins, his No.1 WR: 192, 151, 174, 163, and 150 targets across his last five years (166 per year). We expected the offense to evolve into more of a “spread-the-wealth” style with Hopkins’ massive, target-magnet presence removed.

Yet, Fuller seamlessly slid into the “Alpha” role. He made contested grabs and worked the intermediate quadrants in ways I doubted he was capable. Watson looked to him first, second, and third. No other player logged above four targets.

Keep in mind: entering 2020, Fuller had notched 166 targets from Watson. He turned these into 94 catches, 1432 yards, and 14 TDs. These stats felt like an absolute ceiling, and a very unlikely one. After Thursday Night, it feels a whole lot more realistic.

The best part? Fuller didn’t even see his usual field-stretching, big-play work (1 deep target)… and he still ate:

Of course, Fuller’s talent was never the greatest question mark. That will always be his health.

Fuller has yet to play a full season and has appeared in only 42 of 64 career games (65%). His ailments include an ACL tear, multiple hamstring pulls, and shoulder + rib fractures.

Consequently, Thursday Night’s blow-up could make Fuller an ideal “Sell High” candidate. Fresh off an Alpha Hog performance, that won’t be an easy bullet to bite. If he plays all 16, then I’ll look like a moron for recommending the play.

But every league has Fuller diehards. If you own him and aren’t one, do you really want to play Fuller Russian Roulette until the bullet’s finally in the chamber? Or should you capitalize amidst the deserved Alpha WR buzz?

Keep in mind, six of eight receptions (75%) and 72 of his yards (65%) came during 4th quarter garbage time. The Chiefs were surrendering significant cushion to avoid the huge swing play. Brandin Cooks wasn’t on the field for the majority of this churn-fest, and was clearly less than 100% when out there.

Yes, it was lovely to see Fuller work this field range and shoulder the passing game when asked. But what if scripts aren’t always so positive? He wasn’t widely open until the defense sold out to stop the deep ball.

Between these game-flow and injury concerns, Fuller’s WR1 performance should be capitalized upon in your fantasy market.

Yet, if you choose to hold or are met with ugly offers, take comfort in his new high-volume role. Squeeze him for as long as he lasts. If you get 16, or even 13, games, Fuller may prove to be the best Round 7 investment of your fantasy career. More likely, turning him into a high-end RB2 will leave you with a greater smile come 2020’s end.

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