There are a plethora a wide receivers in the league, so finding one won’t be a problem, but finding the right one could be tough. We have plenty of studs in the league, and a couple of them even found new homes in the off-season, making them a question mark on how their performance will carry over to a new squad. Finding sleepers is also difficult with the number of receivers in the league. Hopefully, this article will help you find a few guys who you should target and who you should be careful with this upcoming season.
Studs – These wide receivers will produce week in and week out, so you shouldn’t have any problem getting consistent production out of these guys.
Hopkins is one of the league’s biggest studs who also happens to thrive off of a lack of a running game and lack of receiving threats beyond Will Fuller. He also thrived last season because he had a true quarterback. In the past Hopkins has been receiving throws from Matt Schaub, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, and Brock Osweiler, but now with Deshaun Watson under center, Hopkins has emerged as a top fantasy receiver. Hopkins was one of six receivers to be targeted over ten times per game last season, giving him a pretty safe floor week to week. His ability to be a downfield threat also gives him a higher points ceiling compared to most receivers. In 2018, Hopkins finished with 1,572 yards, 115 receptions, and 11 touchdowns, making him the fourth best wide receiver in the league last season. Look for him to be one of the top wide receivers off the board in your NFL Fantasy draft.
Jones remains one of the NFL’s best athletes. Standing at 6’3″ and possessing an ability to turn up field and gain yards after catch makes him one of the leagues top receivers. Jones finished 2018 as WR5, mainly because he couldn’t find the end zone until his eighth game of the season. In his final nine games last season, he scored eight total touchdowns. Touchdowns are really the only thing that has held Jones back every year. If Jones can continue from the second half of last season, he is capable of being the top wide receiver this season. Jones probably has the the best ceiling of all the wide receivers in the league. He ranked third in targets per game last season (10.6) and had multiple games well over 100 yards including games with 173, 169, 147, 144, and a 138 yards. He finished last season with the most yards (1,677) among all wide receivers, but the Falcons need to focus on getting the big guy more looks in the red-zone.
Sleepers – These wide receivers may fly in under the radar. They may be drafted later in the draft and could be someone that could be a key part of your team.
This doesn’t come much as a surprise, given the firestorm around Tyreek Hill. Watkins will become the Chiefs top wide receiver if Hill will not suit up this season, but his availability still remains in the air. Watkins has never really been a guy you wanted to draft after a couple letdown seasons in Buffalo and an injury-riddled career. However, if Watkins can actually stay healthy, he will be worth drafting at the right price. Travis Kelce will still be Mahomes’ top receiver, but we saw the ball shared pretty well last season in the Kansas City offense. As a third option, Watkins finished the 2018 season with 40 receptions, 519 yards, and three touchdowns. Those number should increase as long as Hill doesn’t hit the field this season. If he does, Watkins‘ value plummets.
Moncrief is actually a talented wide receiver who spent a lot of time with an injured Andrew Luck and Blake Bortles and the Jaguars last season. It’s hard to say if the Steelers will air the ball like they did last season with Antonio Brown gone, but the offense focused heavily on the passing game and someone has to pick up the slack from Brown’s exit. It’s hard to believe JuJu Smith-Schuster will get much more looks after already being targeted 166 times during the 2018 campaign. Moncrief could have the best season of his career this season and actually could be worth picking up late in your fantasy draft.
Busts – These guys won’t live up to the hype this season. They either won’t produce at all or will be drafted too high and can’t live up to expectations.
Sterling Shepard/Golden Tate
With the loss of Odell Beckham Jr., your first instinct may be to go draft the guy who is going to eat up those targets that OBJ will be leaving on the table. I would be careful doing that; there is a question mark at the quarterback position this year. With Eli Manning approaching the end of his career and the Giants drafting a rookie quarterback, who is to say that there won’t be a quarterback switch mid-season if the Giants find themselves on the losing end of the scoreboard every week? Just because Beckham Jr is gone doesn’t mean Shepard will find a much bigger role on the team. Barkley is the offense’s main weapon both on the ground and through short dump-off passes. In fact, he was targeted 121 times last season. Evan Engram should be one of main receiving weapons downfield. The Giants also added Golden Tate this offseason, who actually plays a similar role in the offense as Shepard. Engram ran a lot of routes from the slot last season as well. With the amount of slot receivers and Eli Manning as the starting quarterback, who has finished 27th of 29th in slot passing grade (200 attempts min.), I’m staying away from both Shepard and Tate this season.
Brown has been of the leagues best receivers for years now, but has the trade to Oakland hurt his value? Absolutely. Sure, if the price is right I’m still taking him, but I’m not going to rely on him repeating what he has done in the past. Antonio Brown has been used to having other weapons around him: an above-average quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger, stud running backs in Le’Veon Bell and James Conner, and a solid receiving partner in JuJu Smith-Schuster. This year he will have Derek Carr, Tyrell Williams, and Doug Martin as a supporting cast. The Steelers threw the ball the most last season and the Raiders won’t reach those same numbers. Brown will still have a good year because he’s a great receiver, but it may be time where we don’t look at him as a top three fantasy wide receiver.