WR - FA
The Patriots have promoted sophomore wide receiver Riley McCarron from the practice squad to the active roster. McCarron will be eligible to play in Week 1 as the Patriots host the Houston Texans.
New England's receiving corps has been hit hard by injuries and will be missing Julian Edelman for the first four games. McCarron is undersized but fits the mold of a Patriots' slot receiver and could actually make an immediate impact out of the slot against a Texans secondary that was one of the worst in football last season.
Mark Farinella of Pats Pulpit believes that the recent roster moves by the Patriots, including releasing Jordan Matthews -- after an injury-filled week at training camp -- might pave the way for McCarron to make the team.
The Patriots' slot role has been lucrative for fantasy owners in the past, and this season looks to be no different. With a thin pass-catching corps due to the departure of Brandin Cooks and Julian Edelman starting the season suspended, there may be opportunities for players like McCarron to emerge. McCarron stands only 5'9" and 188 lbs., but possesses excellent burst and agility, and sub-4.5 speed. If he uses his high-end athleticism to make plays in camp, he could find his way onto the fantasy radar. At this point, he's still a deep stash or taxi squad addition for dynasty leagues only.
In the wake of slot receiver Julian Edelman serving a four-game suspension to open the 2018 season, former undrafted free agent WR Riley McCarron could be a serious contender to compete for an expanded role in the preseason. McCarron went undrafted out of Iowa and spent time with Houston last season, learning under former Patriots great Wes Welker before joining New England's practice squad in September. McCarron also doubles as a potential punt returner, which only increases his chances of making New England's roster.
McCarron has received a lot of work during OTAs with sixth-round WR Braxton Berrios injured and fits the mold of what Bill Belichick looks for in slot receivers. McCarron is competing with Berrios, Jordan Matthews, Cordarrelle Patterson, Phillip Dorsett, Kenny Britt, and Cody Hollister for New England's reserve receiver spots. Dynasty owners with very deep rosters could consider adding McCarron in the hopes that he carves out a role.