WR3s With WR1 Potential (2019 Fantasy Football)

Apr 10, 2019

Every year, there are major risers in terms of average draft position to end-of-season rankings. Last year, we saw a pair of Tylers — Boyd and Lockett — make the jump to finish as a WR1 and WR2, respectively. Like the Tylers, others will rise up during the 2019 fantasy football season. Some may be unexpected, but our writers have a few wide receivers that are currently being drafted as WR3s that they feel carry WR1 upside.

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Which player outside the top 30 WRs has the best chance to finish as a WR1 for the season

Mike Williams (LAC)
“Did you know that 10-of-12 WR1s in 2018 scored at least eight touchdowns? The only players who didn’t were JuJu Smith-Schuster (7) and Robert Woods (6). Both of those players totaled more than 1,200 yards. It’s going to be incredibly rare to find a wide receiver outside of the top-30 in ECR who presents a 1,200-yard ability without injury, so you’re looking for players who can score eight-plus touchdowns. Fortunately, we’ve already seen Williams score 10 touchdowns on just 66 targets in what was essentially his rookie season. With Tyrell Williams gone, it means Mike will be a full-time player in two wide receiver sets, and ultimately means more targets. He’s not going to score a touchdown every 6.6 targets again, but fortunately, he doesn’t have to.”
– Mike Tagliere (@MikeTagliereNFL)

“There are a few options to choose from here, but only one appears to have true WR1 talent. Opportunity is king in the NFL, and with Tyrell Williams now an Oakland Raider, Mike Williams seems like he should finally get his. His usage, or lack thereof, over his first two seasons has been maddening to say the very least. Drafted seventh overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, Mike Williams saw only 4.1 targets per game in 2018. His yards per route run is poor because he simply was not targeted enough when he was on the field. He did, however, make the most of his opportunities. Williams sported a 131.6 passer rating when targeted which was good for fifth in the league, while his 2.70 fantasy points per target placed him third in the NFL. These two stats accentuate his true upside as an NFL and fantasy receiver. Barring a high impact draft addition, look for Mike Williams to finally take the next step in his development and become a consistent fantasy force.”
– Raju Byfield (@FantasyContext)

Robby Anderson (NYJ)
“Last season, Robby Anderson finished as around the WR32 in average FPPG. Lost in the shuffle of Anderson’s very WR3 finish is what happened when Sam Darnold returned from injury in Week 13. A switch flipped and Darnold zeroed in on Anderson as his No. 1 WR. From Weeks 13-16, the four most important weeks of the fantasy season, Anderson averaged 9.5 targets a game and was the WR7 in average FPPG over that span. We’ve already seen Anderson perform as WR1, albeit over a very small sample of the season. All we need is for Darnold to take another step forward in his second year and for him to latch onto Anderson as his go-to man.”
– Jason Katz (@jasonkatz13)

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB)
“While I won’t be drafting MVS as my No. 31 wide receiver, or anywhere close to it, I deem him to be the most likely to take that jump. Randall Cobb is out of the way and the Packers didn’t place a tender on Geronimo Allison, telling us all what his value is to them. This means MVS comes into the preseason as the favorite to be Aaron Rodgers’ No. 2 receiver unless they draft a polished rookie wideout like A.J. Brown in the first round. We all know that Rodgers has produced multiple top 20, let alone top 30, wide receivers most years of his career so it seems wise to bank on that continuance.”
– Bobby Sylvester (@bobbyfantasypro)

Sammy Watkins (KC)
“Of course, this pick hinges on Tyreek Hill’s status for the season, pending an investigation by the NFL. If Hill misses time, I love Watkins as a sleeper with huge upside this season. Recurring injuries have kept him from achieving the production that he’s capable of, but he has been fantastic when on the field. He and Hill sport roughly the same reception totals, with Hill having caught 223 passes and Wakins 232. Watkins holds an advantage in yards per catch, averaging 15.4 for his career, compared to 14.6 for Hill. With Chris Conley off to the Jaguars and Hill possibly suspended, the Chiefs will use Travis Kelce and Watkins as their primary receiving weapons. Watkins has WR1 potential because of his dynamic playmaking abilities, possible increased opportunity, and last year’s MVP throwing him the football. Currently ranked WR31 by ECR, he’s a steal that late in drafts.”
– Zak Hanshew (@ZaktheMonster)

Courtland Sutton (DEN)
“Sutton is a huge target at 6′ 4” and 216 pounds, but he still had his struggles as a rookie for a number of reasons. Early in the season, he was third on the depth chart in a run-oriented offense and after he began starting games, his stock was hurt by WR Emanuel Sanders being lost for the season. As the number one target in the offense and without an elite quarterback, he struggled to put up consistent numbers as a rookie. He still finished the year with 84 targets, 42 receptions, 704 yards, and four receiving touchdowns. He will benefit from having a year under his belt, he will be playing with veteran QB Joe Flacco, who still has one of the strongest arms in the league, and Sanders will be back in 2019 to take away some attention from defenses. His height and physical ability should make him a nightmare for opposing defenses in the red zone. Sutton has a chance to emerge as the top target in this offense, and I would not be surprised if he has a breakout season.”
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)

James Washington (PIT)
“While there are obviously some names in the 31-38 range that are more likely to finish in the top 12, Washington is someone that jumps off the page at his current PPR ranking of WR #52. Outside of JuJu’s great rookie campaign, Pittsburgh has a trend of young WRs getting off to slow starts with examples like Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, and Emanuel Sanders over the past 10 seasons, so Washington’s 16/421/1 rookie stat line is not a deterrent in my opinion. With Brown heading to Oakland and leaving behind 168 targets from 2018 which ranked third at the position and Smith-Schuster already drawing 166 targets last year, I think most of Brown’s opportunities will be up for grabs. The large number of available targets combined with the Steelers not adding much in free agency makes the former second-round pick a very interesting name for fantasy football, and one I expect to rise once draft season approaches.”
– Kyle August (@kyleFFfellas)

Marvin Jones (DET)
Matthew Stafford has not thrown for under 4,200 yards since 2010 (when he played three games) — except for last season. Stafford has also not thrown for fewer than 20 TDs since 2010 and has thrown 29 or more in four out of those eight seasons. With the Lions likely having an improved offensive line in 2019, and a healthier wide receiver corps, things are looking up for the offense of the Motor City. While most of the NFL and fantasy football community members are anointing Kenny Golladay as the undisputed alpha in the Lions’ passing attack, I’ll gladly be scooping up every Marvin Jones share I can at well above his PPR WR41 price tag. In addition to an improved offense, Jones should enjoy a moderate uptick in target share from his ~19% mark over the last two seasons thanks to the departure of Golden Tate (yes, he left last season, but Jones didn’t play all 16 games) and Detroit having no tight end of consequence. Jones finished 2017 with a very strong WR13 (PPR points per game) finish on just over 100 targets, with which he produced 1,101 yards and nine scores. In fact, Jones’s 915 completed Air Yards ranked No. 1 in the NFL. While he didn’t replicate that figure in 2018 due to a partial season and a general offensive slump, Jones still accounted for over 50% of Detroit’s end zone targets when active (No. 1 in the NFL). I am all about drafting an efficient WR who operates deep down the field and could see a ton of end zone targets in an above-average offense in 2019. Add in the fact that his 107 target mark from 2017 now feels more like his floor than his ceiling, and a WR1 finish is not only possible, it’s shouldn’t even be considered that unlikely.”
– Mark Leipold (@LeipoldNFL)

Christian Kirk (ARI)
Arizona’s offensive numbers can’t be any worse than they were in 2018.That is expected to change with the implementation of Kilff Kingsbury’s air raid offensive system and all signs pointing toward the Cardinals selecting Kyler Murray number one overall in the upcoming draft. Christian Kirk should benefit the most. He was used in a limited capacity last season and his numbers were suppressed due to a shared workload with incumbent slot receiver, Larry Fitzgerald. However, in 2019 the situation should be vastly different and Kirk has a good chance of seeing a heavy dose of targets. If the Cardinals draft Kyler Murray, like most suspect, I expect Kirk to have a breakout season catapulting him into WR1 territory.
– Chuck Gioffre (@cgioffre34)

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