Generally, it takes a wide receiver at least a year or two before they have a breakout season at the NFL level. Ridley managed to break the mold and shatter expectations in his rookie year. He finished with 10 touchdowns, which was tied for fourth-best in the entire league. The only receivers to score more touchdowns than Ridley were Antonio Brown, Davante Adams, and DeAndre Hopkins. Speaking of elite company, Ian Hartitz noted Ridley, Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr. are the only receivers to score ten or more touchdowns in their rookie seasons within the last five years. Ridley’s best performance of the year came in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints. He had seven receptions, 146 yards, and three touchdowns. He followed up that performance with four receptions, 54 yards, and two touchdowns against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4. This year, the Falcons will face the ninth-easiest wide receiver schedule, according to 4for4's schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed.
Ridley finished as the WR19 in half PPR scoring settings but he was a boom or bust type of player. In half PPR scoring, he finished as a WR1 in 31.25% of his games, WR2 in 0%, WR3 in 12.5%, and as a WR4 or worse in 56.25%. He scored a total of 10 touchdowns but half of his touchdowns came in a two-game span. Ridley finished the season with 64 receptions, which means he had a wildly efficient touchdown rate of 15.6%. Before drafting Ridley, you need to ask yourself if you think he can sustain these numbers in his second season.
2019 Bottom Line
Ridley’s efficiency metrics scream negative regression but he may be able to overcome some of it with increased opportunity. Last season, his team target share was only 15% and the market share of team air yards was only 17%. Julio Jones should continue to receive the majority of targets but Ridley has the potential to bite into Mohamed Sanu’s 15% team target share. Ridley will continue to have week winning upside but it might be difficult to predict when those breakout games happen.