The first instalment of going deep previewed AFC receivers. Now it’s time to look at the NFC rosters and fish out potential WR3 or future options; players in line for an increased role due to injury, cuts or positive camp performance.
You’re not alone in wondering which Brown is the one to own, John or Jaron. John is trying to boost his stock as he lived with Carson Palmer this offseason. If healthy, John is set to be Zona’s third-option. Rookie Chad Williams has the attention of Larry Fitzgerald, who compared him to Anquan Boldin, and could be in line for an extended role this season. A third-round pick from FCS Grambling State, Williams ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at 6-foot-1 and 240lbs.
Taylor Gabriel is a candidate for the going deep hall of fame. Now a known commodity, the Falcons depth will be a classic veteran versus development question. 29-year old Andre Roberts was signed this offseason from Detroit. Third-year WR, Justin Hardy, caught four touchdowns last season. While those two would seem to be the leading candidates to fill out the roster, what style will new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian favor? We’ll have to wait a little longer to see if any options arise from Falcons camp.
Devin Funchess better hope head coach Ron Rivera is true to his word. Rivera said the team needs to utilize the former second-round pick better heading into his third season. With Ted Ginn and Corey Brown gone, Funchess will compete for a WR3 spot with rookie Curtis Samuel. The 40th overall pick from Ohio State ran a 4.31 forty. The Panthers view Samuel as a slot-receiver, which could give Funchess a starting spot by default. As a Buckeye, Samuel had over 1,200 rushing and receiving yards. Christian McCaffrey is hot rookie, but Samuel is a good deep flyer with plenty of upside.
Insert list of veteran receivers here; Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Kendall Wright and Markus Wheaton. Yes, all of them are currently on the Bears roster. Early projections feature Wheaton finding his way into the starting line-up. Who knows how the Mike Glennon year is going to fair, but Cameron Meredith managed to post a 66-888-4 stat line last year in a mess of an offense. Former first-round pick Kevin White is facing boom-or-bust time. Wheaton and White are late round-picks who could end up seeing starter snaps.
Are we already looking at the next Cole Beasley? Fourth-round pick Ryan Switzer is 5-foot-8, as is Beasley and getting early first-team OTA work as Beasley dealt with a hamstring issue. Also, white-slot receiver cliché breakdown. Known depth options Terrence Williams and Brice Butler remain in the mix. This is a case of if WR-X got hurt, the position would dictate the snaps. Dez Bryant = Williams and Butler opportunities and Beasley = Switzer.
Mathew Stafford returns four of his five leading receivers from last season. The chance for a new option comes from the departure of Anquan Boldin, who posted a 67-584-8-line last year. Rookie Kenny Golladay and fourth-year man Jared Abbrederis are in an early battle for that WR3 spot. Golladay is 6-foot-4 and that could work in his favor as six of Boldin’s eight touchdowns came in the red zone. Both are worthy watch list options in an efficient Lions offense.
Green Bay Packers
Due to injuries, the Packers WR depth chart reminds me of the Chargers. Most fantasy players have rostered almost everyone who could catch passes from Aaron Rodgers at some point. Jeff Janis and Geronimo Allison return, however, Allison could face NFL discipline due to an offseason legal issue. There are six rookie receivers listed on the Packers roster. We’ll have to wait and see if any catch the eye of Rodgers.
Los Angeles Rams
Rookie Copper Kupp could become a fantasy folk hero as a lone bastion of hope for a team that lacks it. A Jared Goff security blanket? This is an offense that has sucked the life out of Todd Gurley and scored a league worst 14 points per-game last year. Even the worst teams can produce fantasy options, but outside of fellow rookie Josh Reynolds (6’3’’, 194) there’s not much upside to watch-list.
Another first-round pick looking to find a role, Laquon Treadwell, has seen some first team reps and is getting healthy after a lost rookie season. Treadwell could find himself out of the WR3 talk with a good camp, but begins there. Charles Johnson and Cordarrelle Patterson have moved on, leaving newly signed Michael Floyd and returnee Jarius Wright battling to fill out the Vikings receiver corps.
New Orleans Saints
A WR3/4 favorite, Ted Ginn, now gets a chance to haul in game breakers from Drew Brees. Ginn will be worth a late-round flier and has impressed his new quarterback. Brandon Cooks is gone and Willie Snead is unsigned, leaving targets abound for Ginn and Brandon Coleman.
New York Giants
A stacked trio atop the depth chart leaves the Giants with in-case of injury targets. Potential upside comes from rookie Jerome Lane. The 6-foot-3 former linebacker at Akron, has been praised for his athleticism and only dropping four passes his senior season. Also with rookie tight end Evan Engram in the fold who can split wide, the top options are plentiful.
Torrey Smith sits in the Eagles WR3 spot with Nelson Agular hoping to hold off the charge from any challenger to keep a roster spot. Agular had the third worse drop rate – 9.1 percent – in the league last year as he finished with 36 catches on 70 targets. Rookie Mack Hollins from North Carolina has the size (6’4’’) and as a 24-year-old, knows he’ll need to impress early.
San Francisco 49ers
New head coach Kyle Shanahan could have a Tyler Gabriel like threat in Marquise Goodwin. Manufacturing touches for the speedster could provide deep flex appeal if you’re in a pinch. An early injury could give veteran Aldrick Robinson a chance. The 28-year-old was with Shanahan in Atlanta last season.
The normal suspects remain for Russell Wilson. Tyler Locket is on the road back after his leg injury last season. Jermaine Kearse and Paul Richardson have shown ability to produce when given the chance, however, all three only caught one touchdown last year. Locket is still the best bet given his return ability and he was the only one of the three to have a 100-yard receiving game last year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It already looks like rookie Chris Goodwin would get the first shot to fill-in for Mike Evans or DeSean Jackson. Impressing his quarterback and coaches, Goodwin has been getting reps on the outside meaning Adam Humphries slot role is secure. Humphries 55-662-2 line landed him as the Bucs third-leading wide-out last year.
A rookie year lost due to injuries has 2016 first-round pick, Josh Doctson, battling Ryan Grant for the Skins third-receiving spot. Doctson went up and caught plenty of passes at TCU with his 6-foot-2 frame. Maurice Harris and Brian Quick are in the mix to fill-out Washington’s depth chart. We know there is plenty of room in the Redskins offense for a WR3 to be productive. Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson posted 1,000-yard seasons in 2016 and both have left town.