How to Pick the Best DFS Wide Receiver (WR): 2023 Guide


Following the news throughout the week is crucial for finding the right receiver to start in DFS. If a WR that you have your eye on is on the injury report it may be best to look elsewhere. If the weather report shows signs of severe weather, a less sloppy game may be where you should look for your pass catcher. Wide receivers contribute the most points relative to their salaries in DFS, so taking the time to find the right one will be the key to your winning lineup.

Wide receivers score the most points relative to their salaries. In fact, wide receiver is usually the #1 position in terms of point contribution on winning DFS lineups.

That’s not to mention that over 55% of plays in the NFL were passing plays during this past season.

The problem is, on any given Sunday, WRs tend to be boom or bust.

Given that, and the fact QBs and RBs are easier for the public to pick successfully, WR is the position you need to spend the majority of your analysis time on.

Below are some strategies to remember…

DFS Scoring for Wide Receivers

Before we get to the nitty gritty, let’s recall how wide receivers earn points.



Per Receiving Yard






Receiving TD



100+ Yards Receiving






Two Point Conversion



A 100 yard receiving day and a touchdown will score you 19 FPs. If you’re looking to 4X your receivers — i.e., pick guys who get you four times their salary ( [Sal($k)] ), and you want to score 19 points, that means you can’t pay more than $4,700 for that receiver.

Core Wide Receiver (WR) DFS Tactics

  • The majority of the time, over performance at the receiver position is followed by under performance. Receivers rarely have back-to-back outlier games.
    • Knowing that, it often pays to draft WRs going through a short-term dry spell, so long as their role hasn’t diminished.
  • DraftKings awards a full point per reception (PPR), so wide receivers and tight ends hold more value on DraftKings than on FanDuel or Yahoo. 
  • Highly targeted players offer greater upside. Projected targets ( [PrjO] ) is therefore one of the most important stats to consider after price.
    • Look for high target share ( [Tgt%L4] ) relative to other receivers as well.
    • Not all targets are created equal, however. A target from a highly accurate QB (i.e., high [PFFAccuracyPercent] ) is better than a target from a QB with below-average accuracy.
      • Factoid: About 35-40% of passes are incompletions. That’s why we don’t relay on the stat, “completion percentage.”
    • Pro Tip: A receiver’s targets per game in the prior season has a solid correlation (0.76) with targets per game in the current season, according to
  • Scan injury reports:
    • WRs who appear on injury reports produce materially fewer fantasy points.
      • Especially avoid WRs who were on the injury report earlier in the week with concussions. They perform particularly badly, getting 20% fewer targets according to research cited by Fantasy Football Consultants. WRs on the injury report tend to be an unnecessary risk.
    • Important: DFS sites do not update salaries late in the week to reflect injuries. Replacement WRs can therefore provide good value if you pick the right one. Just remember that replacement WRs are far less reliable than replacement RBs. Most bench receivers either aren’t good enough to justify a high target share or they are lacking the proper reps to develop chemistry with their QB.
  • Being an underdog is somewhat less relevant for WR selection. Receivers do better than any other position in games where a team is behind (or expected to be behind). Why? Because offenses throw about 30% more when playing from behind. You can expect the trailing team to throw the ball around 68% of the time (source).
    • That’s why you want to carefully consider game flow. Ask yourself, will the WR’s team likely be comfortably ahead in the fourth quarter? If it is, the receiver’s expected targets could drop.
    • Pro Tip: Third and fourth string receivers on teams that are expected to blow out their opponents can sometimes be good values. That’s true for two reasons:
      1. The QB in those games can spread the ball around more, and
      2. Players lower on the depth chart may see more playing time in the second half of a blowout win.
  • High teams totals ( [TeamPts]), such as 29 or more, imply high WR production. That said, high team totals are less statistically correlated with WRs than other players.
  • Focus on the overall pass defense ( [PFFPRSH] and [PFFCOV] ) but realize that strong pass defenses can be weak in specific areas.
    • For example, a team might look like they give up few WR points overall but they may give up a lot to the slot.
    • Defenses that allow an unusually high percentage of big plays can also make great matchups for big-play receivers.

Consider the Corners

  • Look for matchups against weak cornerbacks (CBs), especially if you need a tiebreaker between two WRs with similar potential.
  • Just beware: CB matchups are often not reliable enough to be a major factor on their own. Reason being:
    • WRs can move from outside to the slot and change the WR-CB matchup completely.
    • A team can have one great corner but multiple weak ones.
    • Most defenses play zone coverage at least half their time.
  • Sometimes a WR will see as few as 1/3 of their snaps against the expected corner. That can create one-on-one’s that the WR will win, especially an elite WR.
    • Side note: There are great receivers everywhere but there are few elite #1 receivers that defenses roll coverage to. What makes an elite receiver? Size matters. Statistically speaking, tall (6’3″+), big (210+ pound), fast, high-leaping WRs score more TDs than smaller receivers.
  • Know who the shutdown cornerbacks are.
    • Sometimes you’ll have to consider the WR2 on teams where the WR1 is facing a shutdown corner. Given their salaries are lower, they do statistically as well as WR1s who are shadowed by elite CBs.
  • Shadow coverage on an elite WR is not always a problem.
    • Most elite ball catchers excel regardless of matchup, if the ball is thrown to them.
    • Shadowing a top receiver also suggests that receiver will not be consistently double-teamed.
  • Keep an eye out for matchups against corners who are filling in for a starter as they can pay off.
    • Just beware that opponents will adjust for this.
  • #3 receivers are often good values when they are productive and/or are being targeted more, and have superior defensive match-ups versus their teammates.
    • If a team’s #3 WR faces the #3 defender, and that matchup is considerably more favorable than the #1 receiver’s matchup, that’s creates bargain potential. If a skilled #3 receiver has a better cornerback matchup than both his teammates (WR1 and WR2) that’s even better.

Other WR Selection Factors

  • If heavy rain, heavy wind or heavy snow is in the forecast, production at wide receiver is bound to be lower. Weather this bad doesn’t occur often.
  • Draftkings awards three bonus points for 100+ yard receiving games. That gives slight extra value to top-notch WRs if they exceed 100 yards regularly. Refer to [YardsL10] to see how often a receiver hits that level.
  • Some targets are worth more than others:
    • Red zone opportunities ( [RedZnOppsL4] ) are far more valuable than targets outside the red zone. Almost 1 in 4 red zone targets result in a touchdown, whereas only 1 in 50 targets outside the red zone result in a TD, according to DFS pro, Derek Farnsworth.
      • If you don’t think a WR will score a touchdown, he usually shouldn’t be selected. And if a WR doesn’t get enough red zone opportunities (targets), you should seldom pay up for him. Look for red zone targets in the last 2 of 3 games.
      • Pro Tip: Red zone target share is often not fully factored into player pricing. Players with a lot of red zone looks but not a lot of TDs are frequently underowned, even though they’re candidates for regression to the mean on TDs.
      • Red zone targets are even more essential on FanDuel and Yahoo, which don’t compensate you as much for receptions. A WR who’s unlikely to score a TD is much more likely to be a bust for you on those sites.
    • Deep targets are statistically more valuable as well. Albeit, they are less valuable when the WR is facing an elite pass-rushing defense that constantly pressures the QB.
      • Factoid: Red zone and deep targets are caught less than half the time.
  • FanDuel has a higher minimum salary ($4,500) for WRs than DraftKings ($3,000), meaning you can’t take as many chances on bargain bin WRs. And don’t take too many chances in any case. There’s little value in a $3,000 WR who’s expected to get just 2 targets.
  • Be on the lookout for cheap WR3 options with:
    • high snap counts in last game and trending higher in last 2-3 games
    • at least a moderately high target count ( [Tgt] ) in the last game and trending higher in last 2-3 games (check DFSHub’s Last 4 Games screen for this data.)
    • one or more 20+ yard receptions or at least 1-2 red zone targets in last 2 of 3 games
  • Be prepared to fade a receiver coming off a hot week. He might be doubled or shadowed, causing negative regression.
  • Consider the defense’s run stopping ability ( [PFFRUND] ) as well. When facing a top notch run defender, a team will have to throw the ball more, a plus for wide receiver production.
  • Teams with better offensive lines generally run more, and that creates fewer opportunities for receivers. This “is not properly captured in DraftKings prices,” according to research from Jeremy Mitchell Losak (Source).

Spotting WR Value

  • WR3 is where you can typically save money. Look for receivers $4,000 or less that are projected to see over five targets.
    • Tip: Mitchell Losak finds that “minimum-salary players with better QBs perform worse on average compared to players with worse QBs.” He notes that, typically, receivers at minimum salaries “are those either with bad QBs but are decent or with good QBs but are awful.”
  • One stat that shines for identifying WR value is Yards After Catch. Yards after catch per reception ( [PFFYardsAfterCatchPerReception] ) is a great way to spot explosive players on the cheap. Players in the top 25% tend to score materially more than their salaries warrant.
  • Consider the defense’s performance against #2 and #3 wide receivers. A big gap in effectiveness between defending the #1 WR and #2 WR could spell opportunity for the #2 guy. Same for the #3 guy.
  • Look for WRs who get open a lot. Quality WRs who get open earn targets.

Cash Game WR Tips

  • You need a high floor in cash games so the most important thing is expected targets ( [PrjO] ).
    • Targets per game is one of the most reliable predictors of fantasy points. In statistical speak, targets per game have a high correlation with fantasy points and a relatively low coefficient of variation—versus other fantasy statistics.
    • [OpsL4] tells you the player’s median number of opportunities (targets plus rushing attempts) in the last four games.
    • You’ll also want to look for high opportunity (target) share [Tgt%L4] relative to other receivers.
  • You need at least one WR stud in cash game lineups so pay up at least once.
    • Never fill all your WR slots with value players in a cash game.
    • Factoid: WRs at $8,500+ salaries are the most consistent at hitting their value, according to research from Fantasy Football Consultants.
  • It makes more sense to avoid top cornerbacks in cash games than GPPs. In GPPs, an unfavorable corner matchup could lower a WR’s ownership enough to make him attractive.


  • “The most expensive and the most popular wide receivers have rarely shown up in winning GPP lineups,” reports WR production is too volatile on a week-to-week basis to justify their big salaries.
  • Stacking is the best way to increase volatility (maximize correlations).
    • To win the Millionaire Maker, you usually need every player to hit. So if your QB is going to have a big day anyway, you might as well pick a WR he’ll be throwing to.
    • QB-WR1 is the highest scoring duo.
      • Since 2016, “lineups with a QB-WR ‘stack’ had almost twice as many wins as those without a stack…,” according to FanDuel.
    • That said, QB and the opposing team’s WR1 is also statistically correlated. And this stack comes with less ownership!
  • In GPP, focus more heavily on high air yards, or target depth ( [PFFAvgDepthOfTargetReceivingSummary] ).
    • Note:
      • Average depth of target, or aDOT, equals air yards divided by targets — i.e., it is air yards per target.
      • It tells you how deep a receiver ran his routes and tends to be one of the most consistent stats from season to season.
      • The NFL average for aDOT, among eligible receivers, is 10.6 yards.
      • Target depth is not a good predictor of how often a QB targets a receiver, however. It is a good predictor of reception percentage with about a .95 correlation according to PFF.
      • Players with a high aDOT plus a solid number of targets per game (6+) can make for good GPP plays due to their potential for blowup performances.
  • Unlike cash games, you don’t have to shy away from shutdown corners as much in GPP contests.
  • In GPPs your WRs must usually score a touchdown for you to have a shot at the money.
    • For the top prizes you need WRs that score twice.
    • If you want to place in the top 5% and your chosen WR doesn’t have a realistic chance of two TDs ( [PrjTDs] ), you should probably find another WR.
  • Take chances with your #3 WR to differentiate your lineup. He’s probably not going to get a lot of red zone looks or a big target share anyhow.

WR Stats to Fade

  • Yards per route run ( [PFFYprrReceivingSummary] ) equals total receiving yards divided by passing plays ran. Many find it a useful efficiency stat to highlight players who might excel if given more chances. That said, it’s more volatile and less predictive than targets, fantasy points and yards per game. For one thing, it can be skewed by package. As Underdog Fantasy notes, “Receivers playing in 2-WR sets have higher YPRR than WRs playing in 3-WR sets.” So you have to adjust for that.
  • Percentage of time in the slot: A stat with little useful correlation with fantasy points.
  • Drop rate: This is the percentage of catchable passes that the WR dropped. It’s almost useless, unless a player’s drop rate is extreme and the coach pulls him.

Best Value WR Plays from Latest Season



Fantasy Points


Mack Hollins  I  LV, Week 3




Christian Watson  I  GB, Week 10




Mike Evans  I  TB, Week 17