Once in a blue moon, dynasty fantasy football players get the opportunity to draft the next great WR in the NFL at bargain bin prices. We all wish we could go back in time and draft 26-year-old Adam Thielen in February of 2017 at a shockingly low ADP of WR66 following his 69 reception, 967 yards, 5 TD breakout season. Unfortunately, we can’t. That train is long departed, and far too many people didn’t get their tickets cheap.
But what if I told you the next great fantasy WR has already broken out and is even cheaper than Thielen was two years ago?
Albert Wilson has a January DLF (Dynasty League Football) ADP of WR76, but I believe he finishes as at least a fantasy WR2 in 2019.
Prologue to Dominance:
In 2017 Albert Wilson was quietly one of the NFL’s best wide receivers. While it didn’t always show up in the box score, Wilson put up incredible efficiency numbers and excelled in various advanced metrics:
1st in average yards per separation (4.1 yards) per Next Gen Stats
1st in missed tackles forced per reception among WRs (0.36) per me and Pro Football Focus
2nd in yards after catch per target (5.0 yards) per Player Profiler
4th in WR rating (123.7) per Pro Football Focus
4th in contested catch % (72.4%) per Player Profiler
4th in forced missed tackles among WRs (16) per Pro Football Focus
It is amazing that Albert Wilson was able to dominate as much as he did in 2017 and get no buzz for 2018. His 2017 efficiency numbers look like they would belong to the likes of Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, and Deandre Hopkins. His continued dominance in 2018 should not have been a surprise.
Albert Wilson flourished in 2018 despite Adam Gase actively sabotaging him. Per Football Outsiders, the Dolphins were 31st in the NFL in pace of play. They were 30th in pass attempts. They were legitimately the worst situation for a WR to flourish in.
Furthermore, Wilson’s snap rates were disgustingly low the first few weeks of the season despite his production:
Week 1: 55% of snaps (4 targets, three receptions, 31 yards)
Week 2: 48% of snaps (5 targets, three receptions, 37 yards, 1 TD)
Week 3: 23% (2 targets, 2 receptions, 74 yards, 1 TD)
His week three performance included a 74 yard TD where he reached the 3rd fastest speed among all WRs in the NFL last season at 21.74 miles per hour (per Next Gen Stats), barely behind Tyreek Hill’s fastest speed of 21.95 miles per hour:
Nobody knows for sure what Gase was doing last season. His usage of Wilson alone should’ve been enough to get him fired. Despite all odds, Wilson kept producing. Week 6 was Wilson’s first game of the season with more than six targets, and he promptly put on a show:
(Next Gen Stats)
It was arguably the most impressive WR performance of the season only magnified by the fact that Brock Osweiler was throwing him the ball. The NFL was about to experience a full-on Albert Wilson breakout season.
The following week after his incredible performance, Wilson was already at three receptions for 32 yards with 12 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. He suffered a season-ending hip injury on a 21-yard reception, robbing him, and us, of his first 1,000+ yard season.
2018 Efficiency Monster:
The world has already forgotten how good Albert Wilson was:
It's so easy to forget how outstanding Albert Wilson was before he got hurt. Led the league in YAC, YAC average, and TDs of 20+ yards when he got injured. His TDs were from 75, 74, 43, and 29 yards. He threw a 52-yard TD, to boot.
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) February 9, 2019
Despite only playing more than 60% of the snaps in 3 games, Wilson was the WR20 at the time of his injury. He finished the season as WR28 in points per game (that’s including the game he was hurt after the first quarter). His efficiency stats were unreal once again:
#1 in fantasy points per route (0.78 points) per Player Profiler
#1 in target premium (+60.6%) per Player Profiler
#1 in yards after catch per target (9.5 yards) per Player Profiler
#2 in fantasy points per target (2.77 points) per Player Profiler
#2 in yards after catch per reception (9.45 yards) per Player Profiler and Next Gen Stats
#3 in yards per target (11.2 yards) per Player Profiler
#3 in yards per route (3.15 yards) per Player Profiler
#7 in target separation (1.83) per Player Profiler
#14 in PFF Grade among WRs (83.0)
#24 in yards after the catch despite only playing 6.25 games (331 yards) per Player Profiler
While George Kittle has gotten a lot of praise after dominating the NFL in yards after the catch, Albert Wilson was more impressive and is the true yards after catch king of the NFL:
Wilson averaged 51 yards after catch per game at 9.5 yards per target
League leader George Kittle averaged 53.5 yards after catch per game at 6.3 yards per target
— Ryan (@DFF_RyanB) February 7, 2019
Wilson once again put up efficiency numbers that should be broadcasted to fantasy football players everywhere, yet nobody has even mentioned them once. In back-to-back NFL seasons he has produced at a level on par with or surpassing the greatest WRs in the NFL, yet nobody considers him close to as valuable. They will soon.
The 2019 Season:
At long last, Albert Wilson looks set to be unleashed. Adam Gase and the Dolphins’ previous regime have been fired, and DeVante Parker and/or Amendola is likely to be traded or cut. Tannehill is likely to be cut as well, but QB play barely matters for low average depth of target, high yards after catch player like Wilson (if he can dominate with Brock Osweiler, he can dominate with anybody). He is set to be a full-time, featured WR for the first time in his career.
Despite putting together one of the most dominant WR seasons in the NFL last season on limited snaps and opportunity, Wilson currently has a dynasty ADP of WR76 and an early best ball ADP of WR65. I have genuinely never seen a more mispriced player in my fantasy football career, and this discount is peak recency bias.
The fantasy world has forgotten about Albert Wilson and his WR2 season in 2018. He has already broken out, much like Adam Thielen in the 2016 season, yet nobody cares. I am confident Albert Wilson will be a WR2 once again in 2019, and this offseason is your last chance to get this elite WR for cheap.
Draft or trade for Albert Wilson today, and then follow me on twitter @DFF_RyanB . Thanks for reading!