WR3s With WR1 Potential (2019 Fantasy Football)
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Every year there are players that make the largely unexpected jump up the depth chart and fantasy rankings to help owners win championships. Whether through injury or ineffectiveness ahead of them, players will return immense value based on average draft position. We know this will be the case. The trick is identifying the players that will make the jump. Today, we’re looking at players currently being drafted as WR3s that have an opportunity to return WR1 value in 2019.
Which player outside the top 30 WRs has the best chance to finish as a WR1 for the season?
Curtis Samuel (CAR): ADP WR39
Reports out of camp are that Curtis Samuel should be taking a massive leap forward this year, and he has the best chance to return immense draft value. Samuel scored a sneaky seven touchdowns in 2018, and I’d hope that a main focus for the Panthers this offseason is to get Samuel involved on a more consistent basis. D.J. Moore isn’t a lock for the number one wideout job in Carolina, and Samuel’s skill set and big-play ability could be the launching point for a WR1 season in 2019. Let’s just hope Cam Newton’s shoulder holds up.
– Donald Gibson (@DonaldGibsonFF)
Anthony Miller (CHI): ADP WR52
I really liked Allen Robinson when he was with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he proved me right in 2015 when he had 1,400 yards receiving and 14 receiving touchdowns. He has never been able to build on that season, and after a disappointing 2016 season that saw him regress to 883 yards and six receiving touchdowns, he tore his ACL in 2017 in the first game of the season. He signed with the Chicago Bears the following offseason and last year, Robinson had only 754 yards and four receiving touchdowns. Even though he was the biggest name on their roster and commanded 94 targets, Anthony Miller was the much better player. Despite being targeted only 54 times and starting eight fewer games, Miller had 423 yards receiving and seven receiving touchdowns. I do not think Robinson is going to be the featured receiver in the offense this year. I think Miller is going to command the most targets from the slot position. Miller is a player that is going late in fantasy drafts that has a chance to be a WR1 on a young offense that is exciting and on the upswing with second-year head coach Matt Nagy and third-year quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky. Miller should have a huge role on an offense that will look to create mismatches in space for him and give him the chance for lots of big plays in 2019.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)
Will Fuller (HOU): ADP WR31
I feel like cheating by taking the guy that’s just one spot outside the top 30, but I’ll do it anyway. Since 2013, 14 receivers have had an ADP outside the top 30 and finished the season inside the top 12. In fact, the last time at least two receivers didn’t make that jump in a season was 2012. In other words, it’s going to happen. Interestingly, only one first or second-year player has accomplished this feat since 2014 and that was Michael Thomas as a rookie in 2016. There are cases to be made for quite a few receivers outside the top 30, but one who stands out to me is Will Fuller. In the 11 games he has played with Deshaun Watson, Fuller has caught 45 passes to go along with 782 yards and 11 scores — that projects to a 16-game pace of 66/1138/16 — which would have been good enough to be a WR1 in 2018 … even if you were to remove nearly 40 percent of his touchdowns. Injuries are obviously a huge concern with Fuller, though a WR31 price tag means you won’t have to break the bank in order to draft him. There’s a whole lotta reward here for not all that much risk.
– Elisha Twerski (@ElishaTwerski)
Fuller has a hard time staying healthy, but his boom-or-bust potential makes him a great choice for this sort of article. While he’s only played 17 games the last two seasons, he’s collected 926 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in those 17 games. If he can do that in 16 games this season, he would easily be a top-15 receiver. The peripherals are amazing with this guy too, with Fuller not dropping a pass last year while being one of the league leaders averaging 91 air yards per game, 14.2 average depth of target, and an 11.2 yards per catch rate. That pairs beautifully with his 99 percentile speed and the potential is simply unmatched. DeAndre Hopkins opposing him should only open things up, and there’s a good possibility he’s looking at his first 1,000-yard season if he can just stay healthy.
– Joel Bartilotta (@Bartilottajoel)
Tyrell Williams (OAK): ADP WR54
Newly acquired Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams was coming into 2019 as the presumed No. 2 option behind star Antonio Brown. Now halfway through August, Brown has battled frost-bitten feet as well as the NFL on his helmet issue. Even with Brown back at practice, his status for Week 1 is up in the air. Even if he were to play, who knows how long it’ll be until he finds another reason to miss time? With all this uncertainty around Brown, it’s Tyrell Williams who stands to gain the most. The former Charger is known as a deep threat, but he can do much more than run a go route. The last time Williams had a legitimate No. 1 target share (2016), he finished with 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns with an impressive 15.3 yards per catch. He is a big receiver with great speed who will be used both between the 20s and in the red-zone. His only real shot at finishing as a top-12 wide receiver would be if Brown misses a large portion of the season which is definitely in the realm of possibility. I like Williams as a late-round pick as it is, but if Brown were to miss real time, Williams’ ADP will skyrocket.
– Eli Berkovits (@PTTF_Eli)
Josh Gordon (NE): ADP WR37
Outside the top 30 wide receivers, Josh Gordon is my choice of having the best chance of finishing as a WR1. Maybe he is just one of the names in fantasy that always attracts me given his upside, but without Rob Gronkowski and no established outside wide receiver on the Patriots, Gordon could see a lot of passes thrown his way. His target share was also increasing in the New England offense as he built chemistry and trust with Tom Brady throughout last season. According to PFF, Gordon had 129 snaps in 11 games while still leading the team in receptions (39), receiving yards (645), explosive plays (21) and passer rating when targeted (117.4) in that time. Gordon also has the highest yards per attempt (11.3) of any pass-catcher Tom Brady has had since 2006. If you can say Gordon plays a full 16-game season with Brady as his quarterback (which is a big if), I don’t see a reason why he couldn’t finish as a WR1.
– Kevin O’Connor (@22koconnor)
Michael Gallup (DAL): ADP WR57
Michael Gallup emerged as Dak Prescott’s clear No. 2 target outside of Amari Cooper and made significant strides in the latter stages of his rookie season. He made some big plays down the stretch, posting at least one 20-yard grab in three of his final four regular-season games. Add in a 9-6-119-0 receiving line in a playoff loss to the Rams, and he continues to show promise. With Amari Cooper dealing with plantar fasciitis, it’s a possibility Gallup could be the Cowboy’s No. 1 receiving option if Cooper were to miss an extended period of time. Gallup is also reliable, as he only dropped one pass last season. Dallas did sign Randall Cobb this offseason, but he was added as a complimentary piece and hasn’t played a full 16-game slate since 2015. Gallup kicked off the preseason with a 16-yard grab and nearly made an excellent catch on a deep attempt the very next play. This further illustrates that Dak is already targeting him right off the bat. If everything falls into place, Gallup has a shot to crack the top 30 in the wide receiver rankings and more and ride his great second half production from last season into 2019.
– Brad Camara (@beerad30)