Above the Board – Robert Woods

In fantasy football we want to draft the best players, which goes without saying. When picking, we often look to choose players we feel can beat their average draft position (ADP). This provides us value with our picks.

The consensus is that any player who beats their ADP is a good pick if we choose them at or after that draft position. The thing is, players who are close in ADP often have very similar scoring results. When looking to make a big impact we need to not look to just beat out ADP by a little bit but blow it out of the water.

Drafting a player who significantly outperforms their ADP can go a long way in building a championship roster. This requires us to do our research, buck the trend, and be bold in our decisions. This will be the third installment in my Above the Board series where we look at players that have potential to vastly outperform the collective expectations of the fantasy football community.

This addition will look at a wide receiver who was injured last year and was traded to a new team. Despite his consistent performances over the last several years and now finding himself as the first option in the passing game for his new team he has tumbled down the rankings.

Robert Woods, WR – Tennessee Titans
ADP 102.9 – WR48

Bobby Trees is being disrespected this year in drafts. This man has been so good to us over the last five years. Even counting last year, where he only played in nine games, he has been an asset on fantasy football rosters. From 2018, to 2020, he was WR14 or better every year. In 2021, he played in 9 games and still finished WR51.

Woods now finds himself on the Titans after being traded. Woods had other options but chose to go to Tennessee. Some are scared because the Titans are the NFL’s run heaviest team.

The interesting thing is the fantasy community was extremely high on A.J. Brown when he was a Titan. Woods steps into the void left by Brown’s departure.

While Woods is coming off an ACL tear in November of last year he will clearly be the lead dog in the passing game. The rest of the Titans’ receiving options are unproven or lackluster.

With the departure of Brown and Julio Jones 153 targets were vacated. Between the two only 23 games were played last season. 

In 13 games in 2021, Brown had 105 targets, 63 receptions, 869 yards receiving, and five touchdowns.

In his three seasons with the Titans, Brown played 43 games and totaled 295 targets, 185 receptions, 2995 yards receiving, and 24 touchdowns. 

This is an average of 6.8 targets, 4.3 receptions, 69.7 yards receiving, 0.56 touchdowns per game. This comes out to a 17 game season stat line of 116 targets, 73 receptions, 1185 yard receiving, and 10 touchdowns.

Woods has become one of the most reliable receivers in the league over the last few years. Over the three previous seasons where Woods played 15 games or more, 2018-2020, Woods averaged 88.7 receptions, 1096 receiving yards, and 4.7 touchdowns.

Above the Board - Robert Woods celebrates after the SuperBowl win
Photo by Steph Chambers / Getty Images

There are reasons to believe Tennessee will pass more this year than in previous seasons. I believe that was the plan last year. The signing of Julio Jones added a second pass catcher that was supposed to be able to help provide options for Tannehill. With Jones and Brown getting injured last year it derailed that plan.

The trade for Woods backfilled the spot left open by the trading of Brown. The Titans seemed hesitant to sign him to a similar contract that other young receivers are getting because of his injury history. The drafting of Treylon Burks also provides a big bodied receiver to fill the spot that Julio was going to occupy last year.

Couple those moves with Henry getting injured last year and it seems inevitable that the ball should fly more for the Titans in 2022. 

With the Titans, Ryan Tannehill has increased his passing attempts and completions each season. Tannehill has been able to adapt his targeting of receivers depending on team situation.

In his career Tannehill has had 11 players with more than 100 targets in a season. In 2013 he had 3 players with over 100 targets on his team.

Ryan has also been willing to force feed balls to his top target in seasons where the other options available were lackluster. In 2016, Jarvis Landry saw 165 targets. The second option saw 61. Last year A.J. Brown saw 105 targets in 13 games. The second option saw 57 targets in 16 games.

That is exactly the situation Woods finds himself in this year. I expect Bobby Trees to be a target magnet. If healthy, I expect a stat line similar to:

TargetsReceptionsReceiving YardsReceiving TDs

This would be 226.5 points in PPR leagues which would have been WR22 last year.

People have seemed to quickly forget about Woods. His skill set and commitment to blocking will keep him on the field on almost every offensive play. There is no guarantee that Mr. Trees will finish above the board but the reason to expect it is not a mystery.

Additional Information

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