Hunter Renfrow Fantasy: Start or Sit Raiders WR on Thursday Night Football?

Getty HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 27: Hunter Renfrow #13 of the Oakland Raiders runs in a pass for a touchdown in the first quarter of a game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on October 27, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Rookie wide receiver Hunter Renfrow did not make an immediate impact on the Oakland Raiders passing game to start the 2019 season. However, as time has moved on, Renfrow has done what he’s done at every stop along his way to the NFL, make plays, and develop into a quarterback’s best friend.

The wideout has now put up back-to-back impressive performances, landing him square on the fantasy football radar heading into Thursday night’s game vs. the division-rival Los Angeles Chargers. Is Renfrow worthy of a flyer in your lineups for Week 10? Or is the rookie just a flash in the pan? Let’s discuss.

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Hunter Renfrow’s Fantasy Outlook vs. Los Angeles Chargers

When Antonio Brown did Antonio Brown things this offseason, eventually forcing his way out of Oakland, many believed that his absence in the offense would open up a clear path to playing time for a certain rookie from Clemson. Yet, over Hunter Renfrow’s first six games as an NFL pro, he averaged less than three receptions per game and just 4.25 fantasy points.

However, out of the blue Renfrow has seemingly emerged as a go-to target for quarterback Derek Carr. Over the past two weeks, the receiver has averaged five receptions and 71 receiving yards, scoring a touchdown in each game. In fact, Renfrow’s 18.1 point average over that time span is good enough to make him the WR9 in fantasy. That per-game output is more than superstar receivers such as JuJu Smith-Schuster and Odell Beckham Jr.

Renfrow has seen his usage steadily grow, while essentially locking down a starting role in three-receiver sets. In Week 9 he out out-snapped fellow wideout Trevor Davis 39-to-1. To put that in better perspective, just two weeks prior, Davis played 76% of the team’s snaps to just 45% for Renfrow.

While it’s clear Renfrow is growing as a player, we can’t look at his outlook for Thursday night solely through Silver and Black glasses. His matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers is an extremely difficult one. The Bolts currently surrender the eight-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. Over Los Angeles’ past four games, opposing teams’ leading slot receivers finished with an average of just 5.8 fantasy points against the Chargers.

LA’s strong play on the back end doesn’t end there. The Chargers are extremely stingy in terms of yards surrendered through the air. Over the first nine weeks of 2019, they allowed an average of just 208.7 passing yards per game, the fifth-fewest in all of football.

Should You Start or Sit Hunter Renfrow in Week 10?

I’m a big fan of Renfrow’s fantasy value moving forward, and he should undoubtedly be owned more than he is at the moment. The rookie is currently rostered in just 9% of Yahoo leagues. If he’s sitting you’re waiver wire, do yourself a favor and scoop him up.

However, rostering him and starting him are two totally different things. I would sit Renfrow in most leagues on Thursday night, and opt to play the wait and see approach. I’d have him play decent on my bench, knowing I can start him the following week against a struggling Bengals secondary, rather than starting him on Thursday and getting burned for it.

The matchup is just too difficult for a player who’s caught more than four passes once in his NFL career, on a team that has had a different leading receiver in each of their past four games.

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