Fantasy Football: Third-Option WRs
Often times when we look for sleepers we like to look at opportunity first. These players will likely see less targets than two others players in their offense, but still hold strong potential fantasy value. In deeper leagues, these players become very valuable to achieving roster depth. They may not have the talent to dominate the targets on their given team, but they will be very productive for your fantasy squad.
- Brandon LaFell – WR – NE
A common theme you will see in this list is the high quality of the QB throwing the ball, and it doesn’t get much better than Tom Brady. First off, don’t let Brady’s pending suspension get in the way of LaFell’s potential, and don’t be afraid to spend an ninth-round pick on him. Julian Edelman will dominate the underneath routes, and Rob Gronkowski will be Brady’s go-to guy all season. LaFell will excel in the deep ball, and will be important in the red zone when teams double Gronkowski. He may be the third option in the Patriots’ passing attack, but he’s in good position for another 7+ TD season.
- 2014 Regular Season Stats: 119 targets, 74 receptions, 953 yards, 7 TDs
- 2015 Projected Stats: 115 targets, 70 receptions, 920 Yards, 8 TDs
- Davante Adams – WR – GB
There is nobody better in the business than Aaron Rodgers, and even though Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb will take most of the targets, Rodgers has always been known to spread the ball around. Adams had a bit of a disappointing rookie season, but had a really good game in the playoffs against the Cowboys (7 receptions, 117 yards, 1 TD). The sophomore season seems to have better things in store for him, and he has been the “MVP” of the offseason for the Packers according to head coach Mike McCarthy. Adams is a tall 6 foot 1, and is very good attacking the ball at its highest point. There is a lot of room for him to grow in 2015, and I think Adams surprises a lot of people this season.
- 2014 Regular Season Stats – 66 targets, 38 receptions, 446 yards, 3 TDs
- 2015 Projected Stats – 90 targets, 67 receptions, 900 yards, 7 TDs
- Rueben Randle – WR – NYG
It was an odd season for the Giants at the wide receiver position. An awful injury to fan favorite Victor Cruz had the team in trouble, but then the emergence of rookie star Odell Beckham Jr. gave them life and excitement for the future. Assuming Cruz returns to the field in good health, Randle appears to be third in line for targets. Giants quarterback Eli Manning seems to like the potential of the 24-year-old 6 foot 2 receiver – “I think Rueben can be a great receiver, a dominant receiver. I think he has the ability.” If Eli is on board, we should at least consider the possibility of Randle having legit fantasy production. With his height, Randle is going to be looked at heavily in the red zone despite only hauling in 3 TDs last season. In his final two weeks last season, Randle was able to take advantage of teams locking onto Beckham Jr., hauling in 12 passes for 290 yards and a TD. If that’s not enough to convince you, he’s also entering a contract year this season, and we all know what that can mean.
- 2014 Regular Season Stats – 127 targets, 71 receptions, 938 yards, 3 TDs
- 2015 Projected Stats – 95 targets, 65 receptions, 815 yards, 6 TDs
- John Brown – WR – ARI
If you’re looking for a young and speedy slot guy who can outrun anyone at any given time, look no further. Brown is quietly taking the tops off of defenses, and teams now have to not only worry about Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald getting most of the possession-type WR work, but they also have to worry about Brown’s incredible speed and home run-hitting ability. Brown’s catch totals and consistency may be concerns, but on any given week he can rip off a few long plays with ease. Brown is another player who has seen a ton of praise this offseason for his work, and I wouldn’t sleep on this second-year man out of Pittsburg State.
- 2014 Regular Season Stats – 103 targets, 48 receptions, 696 yards, 5 TDs
- 2015 Projected Stats – 110 targets, 62 receptions, 835 yards, 5 TDs
- Donte Moncrief – WR – IND
If it wasn’t for the Colts signing of Andre Johnson, Moncrief would lead the group of potential break out stars for 2015. Even though Moncrief will have to compete for touches with a plethora of talent in Indianapolis, I still like his chances with Andrew Luck running the offense. The Colts will be a dominating offense this season, and even though Moncrief is buried on the depth chart, he still will be fantasy relevant. One injury is all it would really take for Moncrief to explode with his talent. Johnson has been relatively healthy his last three seasons (only one missed game), but he isn’t getting any younger. Moncrief is a guy to keep on your radar at all times.
- 2014 Regular Season Stats – 49 targets, 32 receptions, 444 yards, 3 TDs
- 2014 Projected Stats – 70 targets, 52 receptions, 720 yards, 5 TDs
Justin Dade is a correspondent at FantasyPros. To read more from Justin, check out his archive.