Training camp has begun! It’s finally happening! In just a handful of days we will be blessed with an actual football game. The start of training camp reminds me of that heavily memed scene from The Office with Dwight’s fire drill. Fantasy analysts, players, and reporters all scrambling around, scouring the internet for kernels of information that might be useful. The most recent example of this training camp frenzy was news coming out of the Colts’ camp about a pass Andrew Luck threw to Eric Ebron. A simple pass can have far reaching effects. The obvious takeaway is to be sure to keep on top of the news coming out of these camps.
This is the third installment of my five part article series diving into the top 100 wide receivers for this season. Here is Part I & Part II in case you wanted to catch up. The players we’ll focus on this week will command a bit more of a draft price, but have better odds at becoming difference maker on your roster. Devin Funchess, Marqise Lee, and Juju Smith-Schuster were being drafted in the WR #41-60 range last season, and became weekly must-start players on your fantasy teams. The advantage with wide receiver is the sheer depth there is at the position. You can afford to wait at wide receiver during your drafts until the later rounds, and still find solid production at a value. It’s inevitable that some of these mid-late round wide receivers are going to hit big time.
Dynasty targets will continue to be designated by a red D.
#60. Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears (D):
The Bears are looking like a completely revitalized offense for the 2018 season under OC Matt Nagy. Outside of Kevin White, who hasn’t been healthy since he was drafted in 2016, the Bears’ receiving corps consists of entirely new faces, and all of them will be competing for targets. That’s really Anthony Miller’s biggest knock. The offense is too stacked for him to have significant upside. Miller seems to be locked in as the slot receiver in this offense, and has the opportunity to be the second most targeted player on the roster with Allen Robinson as the WR1 and Taylor Gabriel as the WR3, deep threat player. A lot of this rides on Trubisky’s improvement over the offseason, obviously. If he can back up all the chatter we’ve heard about the Bears’ 2018 season breakout, then Miller will be a great double digit draft candidate in all formats. He’s a no-brainer in dynasty.
#59. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons (D):
Calvin Ridley was coming into the 2018 NFL Draft as the best wide receiver prospect. The Alabama product was drafted 26th overall by the Atlanta Falcons, and will be utilized all over the field in Sarkisian’s offense. There isn’t a defined role that Ridley will be stepping into on the Falcons which hurts his upside. Mohamed Sanu has been very effective and efficient as the WR2 in that offense, and Julio Jones is, well, Julio Jones. Julio’s presence in this offense will force defenses to take away focus from Ridley, and Ridley will benefit from that light coverage. He’s arguably the rookie wide receiver to own in dynasty, and is worth a late round draft pick in most re-draft formats.
#58. Martavis Bryant, Oakland Raiders:
There was some smoke earlier this summer of Bryant missing or failing a drug test, but that has since been proven false. If he maintains his status with the League throughout the season, then Martavis will be worth his weight in gold. There’s no denying that he comes with substantial risk, though. Martavis is joining a worse offense, but his opportunity to make a significant contribution on the Raiders is much better than it was on the Steelers last season. Martavis will be sharing targets between Cooper and Nelson. Cooper seems to be a lock for the majority of those targets, but there is still plenty of targets in this offense with the departure of Michael Crabtree who averaged 130 targets over three seasons in Oakland. The ceiling is high for Martavis. His boom-bust potential makes him a fantastic DFS candidate, but a weekly headache. Owners more bold than I will be drafting him on Draft Day. I’ll look elsewhere for my production.
#57. Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons:
Some people are speculating that Ridley will edge Sanu out of that WR2 role in the Atlanta offense, but I don’t think that think will be the case. Naturally, this is a training camp battle that we will be monitoring closely, but the Falcons have given no indication that Sanu’s role in their offense will diminish. Sanu has quietly been a consistent WR2 to Julio’s WR1, and is coming off a season with a career high in receptions (67). He will be looking to benefit from favorable coverage as defenses are forced to focus on Julio, and now have to contend with Ridley’s impeccable route running ability. Sanu is worth drafting in the late round of your leagues as a WR4/bye week receiver.
#56. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions:
Golladay is looking to build off his relatively successful rookie campaign that saw him with 48 targets for 28 receptions, 477 yards and three touchdowns. Injuries hampered his development last season. He’s a physical specimen at 6’4” 218 lbs., with freakish athleticism. But, both Marvin Jones and Golden Tate command 100+ targets each, making it hard to determine where his production will come from and capping his upside. Eric Ebron’s departure from the offense gives Golladay’s touchdown totals some positive regression. Kenny G is still a great sleeper candidate, and is worth drafting in the early double digit rounds of your drafts.
#55. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks:
Tyler Lockett is going to be fantasy relevant this season out of necessity. The only other pass catching threat on that team is Doug Baldwin. Brandon Marshall, Jaron Brown, and Ed Dickson were brought on board through free agency, but none of these players will eat into Tyler’s production. Marshall is dealing with recovery and rehab from offseason surgeries, and Ed Dickson is a significant downgrade from Jimmy Graham. Russell Wilson will be forced to throw a lot this season. The Legion of Doom resembles that of the Roman Legions after their attempts to stave off the Goths and Visigoths, and the Seahawks’ run game is showing no sign of improvement from last season. Lockett will be the Wilson’s #2 target in Seattle, and should be drafted as such.
#54. Cameron Meredith, New Orleans Saints:
I’ll admit it, I’m a Cameron Meredith truther! Cameron Meredith was a fantasy football stud in the second half of the 2016 season, and I think the Bears were total nincompoops for allowing him to get scooped up by the Saints. Meredith is coming off of a devastating knee injury, but signs point to him being healthy for the 2018 season. He will be vying for the WR2 role in the Saints’ offense with a future Hall of Fame quarterback under center. It’s not beyond reason to project him for around 100 targets, and a career season for Meredith for the 2018 season. I’m buying in on Meredith, and is worth the lottery pick in the early double digits of your drafts. At the very least he’ll be a solid bench receiver.
#53. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers (D):
D.J. Moore was an absolute monster at Maryland with some of the worst quarterbacks in college football throwing him the ball. He’s a well rounded receiver, that was arguably the most NFL ready wide receiver coming out of college. Despite the hype it’s important to mitigate expectations with Moore. He still has to contend with Greg Olsen, Devin Funchess, and Christian McCaffery for targets in that Panthers offense, and Newton will not depart from the status quo of keeping the ball in the 10-zone. Moore is still worth the later round draft investment as a bench receiver with fantastic upside heading into the 2018 season.
#52. Josh Doctson, Washington Redskins:
Josh Doctson’s goal this season is to be the WR1 for the Redskins. He was certainly drafted with that in mind as the 22nd overall pick in 2016. The Redskins need him to breakout as well, as their depth at the position is lacking. Last season Doctson was pretty dismal catching only 44.9% of his targets (78) for 502 yards and six touchdowns. His touchdown numbers clearly stand out, and act as a solid baseline for him to improve upon. Not much will change for Doctson with the Redskins’ new QB, Alex Smith. His path to a good percentage of targets is pretty clear with only Crowder and Richardson and Reed taking attention away from Doctson. Crowder’s role is solidified in this offense, and it’s unlikely that Richardson would push Doctson for more targets. Doctson is worth a late round flier. As it stands he’s a decent bench wide receiver with immense upside. He could easily end the 2018 season within the WR24.
#51. Allen Hurns, Dallas Cowboys:
It’s fortunate for Allen Hurns that he ended up on the Cowboys. He needed to wind up in an offense so depleted of skill position players that he could make an impact. Despite back-to-back seasons of disappointing production, it’s important to remember that in 2015 he had over one thousand yards, and hauled in 10 touchdowns. That is Hurns’ ceiling, and there’s a good chance he’s able to get close to those numbers again if he can stay healthy. While I think Gallup is going to have a great rookie season, there’s no seasoned wide receiver on that team on par with Hurns. The 6’3” receiver can line up outside, and slide into the slot creating favorable defensive matchups. His upside is capped though, as the Cowboys have no plan to shift from their current philosophy of running Zeke into the ground. Hurns is a sneaky fantasy pickup this season, and worth drafting especially in PPR leagues.
#50. DeSean Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Jackson burned quite a few owners in 2017, but he’s still worth considering for the upcoming season. He saw 90 targets, but only brought in 50 of them for 668 yards and three touchdowns. The biggest decline last season was his yards per reception average, 13.4 yds. A career low for the burner. You shouldn’t be concerned by DeSean’s age either. He was still getting open with ease, and averaging 6.5 targets a game. Last season’s decline was due to a connection issue with the Bucs’ quarterbacks. Dirk Koetter took steps to get DeSean more involved in the offense last season, and that charge has had a year to grow and develop. Jackson should be a solid flex play this season. Winston’s absence hurts obviously hurts the offense as a whole, so Jackson may someone to target in a trade around week 2-3.
#49. Dez Bryant, F.A.:
It’s pretty difficult to determine Dez Bryant’s 2018 fantasy outlook until he signs with a team. So I decided to place him on the south side of the WR50 marker. Dez’s past few seasons have been a let down because of injuries and poor quarterback play. Even though it’s tempting, that shouldn’t be a reason to discredit him coming into the 2018 season. As I’m writing this NFL reporters are speculating that Dez might end up on the Browns. Apparently they’re nervous about Gordon’s absence at the start of training camp. Sounds like hot air to me. Dez has the potential to be a WR2 depending on where he lands. If he’s not on a team by draft day, then I’d avoid him unless he’s still available at the end of your drafts which seems unlikely.
#48. Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans:
Rishard finished the 2017 season as the WR #37 in PPR with 53 receptions on 87 targets for 795 yards and 4 touchdowns. It’s unlikely Matthews improves on those numbers this coming season. Corey Davis is expected to have a breakout second season campaign, and will command a larger portion of targets than he saw last season. Delanie Walker will also be a centerpiece of this offense, and Dion Lewis is sure to receive plenty of looks out of the backfield as well. This isn’t to say Rishard won’t be utilized, but he’s not going to be the Titans’ leading wide receiver anymore. With minimal upside, he should be considered only to add depth at wide receiver in the late-rounds of your draft.
#47. Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins:
Stills has yet to break 1,000 yards in a season. He could not be in a more favorable situation for him to finally break that milestone in 2018. With Jarvis gone there’s 160 targets floating around looking for a home. Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola will take the majority of that production, DeVante Parker will take a good amount, too, but Stills will also benefit from Landry’s absence. Let’s not forget that Stills’ target share will be improving from last season where he saw 105 targets from a mixed bag of mediocre quarterbacks. Now Tannehill is back, and his return is an upgrade for the entire offense. Stills is a WR4 with WR2 upside, and should be seriously considered in the middle-to-late rounds of your drafts.
#46. Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars:
The Jacksonville Jaguars have shown an enormous amount of faith in their WR1, Marqise Lee, this offseason by parting ways with Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. Neither player was a contender on the team last season, but both were higher on the depth chart entering the 2017 season. Now Marqise Lee is the clear cut WR1 on the Jaguars. Does that mean he’ll get more targets? Probably not. The Jaguars’ team philosophy focuses on their defense and their run game. That significantly hampers Lee’s potential upside. It’s likely that Lee will have similar 2018 season production that he had in 2017, where he finished as the fantasy WR #42. Lee should still figure to get at least 100 targets in 2018, and that makes him worth owning. Look to draft him in the early double digit rounds of your draft as a flex/bench receiver.
#45. Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles:
There is inherent value in being the WR2 on a championship team. We saw this last season when Agholor had an unexpected, third-year breakout on the Eagles. Agholor was the 62nd wide receiver off the board last season, and ended up as the WR #22 with 63 receptions for 768 yards and eight touchdowns. That kind of value is irreplaceable, and no longer exists with Agholor. In fact, it’s unlikely that Agholor replicates that kind of production this coming season as the Eagles upgraded at WR3 with Mike Wallace, taking away valuable targets from Agholor, and Carson Wentz is due for some touchdown regression. He’s worth considering as your WR3 if you can get him for the right draft price, i.e. double digit rounds.
#44. Jordy Nelson, Oakland Raiders:
I have a hard time believing that a player who averaged 1,219 yards per season between 2011-2016 is just washed up because he had a pitiful 2017 season with a garbage backup quarterback under center. Even in a bad year Nelson still managed score six times. This season will certainly put to test the argument that Rodgers made Jordy. Last year certainly hurt his case against, as DeVante Adams managed to have a monster year with Brett Hundley throwing him the ball. Jordy is looking to assume a hybrid-Crabtree role in the Raiders’ offense, which is going to look very different this season under Jon Gruden’s leadership. A rebound is in store for Jordy Nelson who has more value in PPR than in standard formats. His upside is limited, but he will be a reliable WR3 receiver on your team for a late single-digit draft pick.
#43. Kelvin Benjamin, Buffalo Bills:
Kelvin Benjamin isn’t a wide receiver that you get excited about, but it’s impossible to overlook the volume of targets in store for Benjamin in 2018. Last season was a complete bust for Kelvin. He was traded halfway in season, and had just 16 receptions in Buffalo. It’s hard to move past that lack of production, but you can’t ignore the fact that he’s likely slated for 110+ targets. Zay Jones is a massive question mark, and now Lesean McCoy could be dealing with potential punishments from the Law & the League. It’s yet to be determined which mediocre or unseasoned quarterback will be under center game one, but targets are targets. Health has also been a issue with Kelvin over the past few seasons, which is even more cause for concern. But, if he can stay healthy, he will be targeted frequently, and his number will be called often when in the redzone. He’s a mid-late round draft pick in most league formats as a WR3 with WR2 upside.
#42. Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers:
Goodwin is one of the easiest players to root for in the NFL. I won’t get into his life story here, but the fact is I like the guy. Jimmy Garoppolo likes him too. They connected for 29 receptions, 384 yards and one touchdown over the final five games last season. Goodwin did benefit from the fact that the intended WR1 on the 49ers, Pierre Garcon, missed the last eight contests of the season. In his absence, Goodwin stepped into the WR1 role in San Francisco. Now Garcon is healthy, and will re-assume the role as primary wideout in the 49ers offense. The 9ers also signed Jerick McKinnon, who is sure to be targeted often, as that is Shanahan’s way, and they traded up in the draft to get Dante Pettis who will be fighting for targets. Goodwin should still have a productive season, and could flirt with 1,000 yards again. The touchdown numbers need to improve, but otherwise he’s an easy mid-late round pick. Again, you want players on a Kyle Shanahan led offense.
#41. Robby Anderson, New York Jets:
There’s no denying Robby’s talent on the field. Last season he was targeted 114 times for 63 receptions, 941 yards and 7 touchdowns. He would have broken 1,000 yards if it weren’t for McCown’s injury. There is, however, and big issue with how he has conducted himself off the field this offseason. The threat of suspension looms over his head as training camp heads underway. Given the nature of his offseason incidents the suspension hammer could drop midseason, so there is inherent risk essentially built into drafting Anderson. Another knock against Anderson is the return of Quincy Enunwa. Enunwa’s season ending surgery last season opened the door for Anderson to be the WR1 in the Jets’ offense. Anderson is still considered the WR1 this season, but will have to contend with Enunwa and Terrelle Pryor for targets. Despite these negatives, Robby has the best opportunity out of the Jets receiving corps to reach 1,000 receiving yards this season. If you can get him for a reasonable price then snag him.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next week.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday July 29th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #131 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will discuss the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Our guest this week is Joe Iannone. Joe is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com. His articles publish every Sunday and he focuses on spot starting pitchers for the coming week.
Major League Fantasy Football Radio Show: Join host Corey D Roberts and James Wilk live Thursday July 26th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #86 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. Call in number is 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the host. We will hit free agents, rookies, and fantasy football as a whole for each team for 2018. This week we will discuss everything NFC North!