This week we will take a look at some receivers that will be drafted near the very end of your drafts. These player’s names may be called at the tail end of the draft, when some of your opponents are just simply trying to get the draft over with. Yes, some of these players will amount to absolutely nothing come season’s end. Conversely, some of these players may help you bring the trophy home when all is said and done. Take advantage of your buddies who are seemingly drafting the next player they have not crossed off the list in the back of that magazine they picked up from the gas station on the way to the draft. Be cognizant of some of these so called ‘flier’ picks, and some of the upside and value they may present.
80. Wes Welker, Free Agent- Welker says that he is healthy and wants to continue playing. We all know what Welker is capable of when manning the slot in a prolific offense. Catching passes from the likes of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning would make somebody literally without hands look good. All joking aside, we must keep a look out for news on Welker and where he might land to help us better analyze the role Welker might have this season. He may not even get signed before the beginning of the season, but could be a player a playoff team looks to add late in the season for various reasons.
81. Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams- Highly touted, Austin has yet to show any of the promise the Rams thought they were getting when they drafted him at the beginning of the first round. While 2014 may represent the low mark in Austin’s career, his lack of size and ability to consistently win on any down-field routes caps his upside at WR3. While Austin may represent something of a value in deeper PPR formats, he will have to compete with Brian Quick, Stedman Bailey, and possibly Kenny Britt for targets.
82. Devin Smith, New York Jets- Smith has been plugged as being a one-dimensional deep threat, but has vowed to show that he can run short routes as well. He should be a solid weapon in the passing game for whoever is throwing him the ball in New York, offering something different to Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and Jeremy Kerley. As a fantasy option, he can’t be trusted to produce in his first year, but could develop into a solid WR play further down the line.
83. Marquess Wilson, Chicago Bears- A broken collarbone set him back last year, but he is 100 percent coming in to the 2015 season. Standing at 6-foot-4, the Bears think he could play outside, as well as the slot if need be. He’ll enter training camp ahead of No. 7 overall pick Kevin White, but should ultimately back up at all three receiver spots. New coach John Fox has a history of slow playing rookies in their first season. Depending on if he does this with White, it gives some promise to Wilson vying for some playing time.
84. Nick Toon, New Orleans Saints- Coach Sean Payton says that Toon’s snaps will go “way up” this year now that Kenny Stills, Jimmy Graham, and Robert Meachem are all gone, and Toon is penciled in as the primary “Z,” a role that will get him on the field in all three-wide sets alongside focal point Brandin Cooks and slot man Marques Colston. Toon has the tools to excel with this opportunity, making Kenny Stills’ 32-641-5 line a real possibility.
85. Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills- Woods had 104 targets as Buffalo’s No. 2 receiver last year. With the additions of Percy Harvin and TE Charles Clay, he’s expected to take a step back in OC Greg Roman’s run-heavy scheme. Woods projects no higher than the number four option, and for a team with an assemblage of quarterback questions, that is not the highest of praise.
86. Eddie Royal, Chicago Bears- Royal has always lacked love in the fantasy community, but has generated hype all offseason. Coming off a 62/778/7 campaign for the Chargers, the only time Royal was better was his 2008 rookie season, where he caught passes from Jay Cutler in Denver. Royal has 15 scores over the past two years. With the Bears doing everything in their power to rein Cutler in, dump-offs to Royal should come early and often. He could be a sneaky-valuable WR4.
87. Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland Browns- In 2014, Hawkins looked like a shrewd free-agent acquisition after catching 21 passes through the first three weeks of the season, but his play tailed off as the season progressed. A diminutive slot receiver, Hawkins does not score enough touchdowns to be viable in standard scoring, though he could have some upside in PPR formats. While he was the Browns’ receiving leader in 2014, he still only posted a stat line of 63/824/2. As such, considering the Browns’ offensive outlook and the additions of WR Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline, Hawkins doesn’t enter the season with much fantasy relevance.
88. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks- A fast and agile player such as Lockett should be generating positive buzz during non-padded practices, so this is a sign that he’s at least what the Seahawks expected out of him. For redraft purposes, Lockett can be ignored. In dynasty formats, he makes a sneaky pick. The Seahawks offense will open up in coming years, and Lockett is arguably the most talented WR on the roster. According to ESPN’s Terry Blount, 3rd round draft choice Tyler Lockett is the Seahawks’ best looking pick thus far. Blount stated, “This guy (Lockett) is going to make an impact of punt and kickoff returns this season. He’s quick, confident, and fundamentally way ahead of most rookies.” If your league awards points for returns, Lockett should be a viable late-round pick.
89. Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars- His rookie season ended with a 51-677-6 line as an undrafted free agent. Due to the injuries and suspensions (Justin Blackmon), Hurns was able to turn in a prominent offensive role for the 2014 season. He already knew the offense from his days with OC Jedd Fisch at Miami. The Jaguars played Hurns in the slot in three-wide sets. Able to stay healthy all year, Hurns played the most snaps among Jacksonville receivers. He’s not a special talent, but has a knack for big plays. It is just whether or not you pick the right week he breaks those plays off. He is more of a cheap DFS play that can put up huge numbers, rather than a consistent pillar in your season long leagues.
90. Riley Cooper, Philadelphia Eagles- Cooper rated as the number 110 WR out of 110 who qualified by Pro Football Focus. Although he is a great pass blocking WR, the Eagles may look to use Josh Huff or Miles Austin in their three WR sets. Furthermore, the Eagles like to use two tight end sets with Zach Ertz and Brent Celek finding the field, taking the third WR of the field. Cooper would need an injury to one of the starting WR for him to find ample enough playing time to find consistent fantasy production.
91. Brain Hartline, Cleveland Browns- Coming over from Miami, Hartline will slide in and look to be the Browns’ number one passing target. He has 12 TD receptions in six seasons in the league and does not possess the playmaking ability the Browns’ passing game desperately needs. With Dwayne Bowe manning the opposite side, Andrew Hawkins in the slot, and a mess at quarterback, the Browns should lean heavily on their running game this season.
92. Nate Washington, Houston Texans- Washington is competing with, fellow free-agency add, Cecil Shorts and rookie Jaelen Strong for reps opposite DeAndre Hopkins. It’s very early, but the 31-year-old Washington appears to have his nose in front. Keeping it there through camp once pressed by his more talented competitors is another story.
93. Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders- Streater missed all but three games with a broken foot that required surgery last season. He’s back to 100 percent and appeared to be leading the way as the number three receiver behind Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree at OTAs and minicamp.
94. Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers- Markus Wheaton is expected to be the Steelers’ slot receiver this season. Martavis Bryant and rookie Sammie Coates are pure perimeter threats, while Antonio Brown is a “movement Z.” Wheaton’s primary competition for snaps is Bryant in two-receiver formations. Per ESPN Steelers reporter Jeremy Fowler, Bryant has been “a beast” in OTAs, and will be difficult for Wheaton to unseat.
95. Jarius Wright, Minnesota Vikings- With the loss of Greg Jennings, OC Norv Turner sees Wright as his go to slot receiver. They did add Mike Wallace via free agency, but we all know his forte, strictly being a deep threat. We also have to remember that Adrian Peterson will be back in the fold for the Vikings this year. This will help the Vikings’ be a better offense as a whole, and may help open up the field for Bridgewater to find his receivers.
96. Dontrelle Inman, San Diego Chargers- Following a solid two-game run to close out the season, Inman headed into the offseason in a good position to earn a significant role. The arrival of Stevie Johnson scuttled those plans. Inman will make the roster due to his base salary, but will need an injury to find some significant playing time. Playing behind players like Malcolm Floyd and Keenan Allen who are often nagged by injuries gives some hope to Inman finding some playing time in the 2015 season.
97. Andre Roberts, Washington Redskins- His 2014 season line ended up to an uninspiring 36/453/2. Roberts is just 26, but he’s barely an entity in dynasty formats. Roberts is still the third WR for the Redskins, and if RGIII can show any of the signs he showed late last year, or how he played during his rookie season, we can see this offense produce some fantasy relevant pass catchers.
98. Danny Amendola, New England Patriots- Amendola was the forgotten man on a Patriots’ offense last season that featured monster seasons by Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. Brandon LaFell also emerged as a go-to guy for Tom Brady during the majority of the 2014 campaign. If LaFell struggles upon his return or is slow to return to full strength, this could be a big opportunity for Amendola to regain fantasy relevance in 2015. Amendola, played in all 16 games last season, hauling in a stat-line 27/200/1. Keep an eye on Brandon LaFell and his foot issue, and possibly get a late-round steal with Amendola.
99. Chris Matthews, Seattle Seahawks- Despite his Super Bowl heroics, Matthews is still clearly behind Jimmy Graham, Jermaine Kearse, and Doug Baldwin on the target totem pole, and he could find himself behind rookie Tyler Lockett as well. At 6-foot-5, Matthews could be a good fit for the outside receiver role occupied by Kearse, but he will need a very strong training camp to earn a significant role early in the season.
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Major League Fantasy Sports Radio Show: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts on Sunday July 19th from 7-9pm EST for this week’s episode of Major League Fantasy Sports Radio sponsored by the Sports Palooza Radio Network. Call in at 646-915-8596 to ask questions. This week’s topics will be Hits & Misses, and the players that will have a big second half.