Sometimes in our fantasy football drafts we are forced to choose between two or more players that project to have similar upside for the coming season. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Chris Hogan and Will Fuller are being selected around the same spot with Fuller at 5.10 and Hogan at 5.12. It is not difficult to see why these two project to score similar points this fantasy season, albeit due to different circumstances. Should you be faced with this exact decision in your upcoming draft, it is my hope that after reading this you will be well prepared to pull the trigger on Chris Hogan with confidence.
Will Fuller is a tantalizing fantasy prospect and why not!? Last year he only needed 4 games and only 13 receptions to score 7 touchdowns and gain 278 yards! The chemistry between rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson and Will Fuller was not only impressive it was deadly for opposing defensive game plans. The Watson/Fuller combo is still keeping opposing defensive coordinators up at night. After Watson went down in week 9, however Fuller didn’t reach pay dirt again. What is even more concerning is that Fuller was unable to rack up more than 44 yards after Watson’s exit. Touchdowns remain one of the most most volatile fantasy football metrics out there. They are extremely difficult to project. In order to safely select Will Fuller we have to project more yardage on a per game basis. I am not sure this is possible given his reliance on the deep ball. The good news for Fuller is that as of this article Watson has been ramping up his activity and projects to be back to work week 1 with no limitations. Their already lethal chemistry actually has a shot to improve this year with more work together in the offseason and preseason, as they had no such work last year. Another benefit for Fuller is that past he and Deandre Hopkins, the Houston offense has very little receiving talent and no threat at tight end either. Fuller is a bit of an injury risk as he has spent time out for a broken collarbone in 2016 and has missed 8 of his last 16 games.
Chris Hogan has durability questions of his own as a shoulder injury not only took 7 games from him, but derailed what was a great start to his season last year. In his first 5 games Hogan scored as many touchdowns. Prior to the injury Hogans was a huge part of the Patriots attack playing more than 80% of the team snaps. He never seemed to fully recover from the nagging shoulder injury and was therefore ineffective late in the year. This year’s Patriot receiving corps will look alot different than last year’s. Brandin Cooks moves on to Los Angeles, Danny Amendola exits for the Dolphins, and Julian Edelman will miss the first four games of the season due to a suspension. Between Cooks and Amendola’s exit the Patriots will look to replace 200 targets, not to mention the nearly 10 per game that Edelman averages for the first four games. When you compare this with the fact that during those first 8 games prior to the injury, Hogan averaged nearly 7 targets per game, it is fair to assume the usage projects to be high for Hogan in this offense. He has also led the team in targets within the 10 yard line in the past two seasons.
Given the scoring opportunities for both wide receivers we can see why they are being drafted nearly back to back in this years fantasy drafts. I cannot, however advise drafting Fuller based solely on a hot stretch of games that saw him score 7 times. I do not think his role in the offense is such that will allow him to be a safe play on the games he doesn’t score and therefore he falls into more of a boom or bust category. Hogan’s role however looks to be secure at least at the start of this season as the Tom Brady’s go to target in an offense that has dominated, especially through the air over the last decade. Injury is a concern for both receivers here and therefore we should choose an option that has a higher floor and in this case Hogan could be just as much of a threat to score double digit touchdowns as Fuller is. If you can’t decide between these two on draft day, draft Hogan and don’t look back.