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A fantasy draft is all about obtaining the most value with each selection. There is value available throughout a draft, and grabbing it is one of the most important keys to a successful fantasy team. This article specifically targets deep sleeper value (players that can be found very late in a fantasy draft). In an attempt to point out this value, we asked our staff to look deeper than the top 150 players and identify players that should significantly outperform their late draft position. These players should be your targets after the 12th round of your draft.
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Players Receiving 7 Votes
Bruce Ellington, San Francisco
Jeff Haseley: Bruce Ellington has been hampered by an ankle injury which has slowed his progression as a receiver to watch this preseason, but that doesn't mean that the fire is being extinguished. Ellington has many Percy Harvin-like characteristics and he's on Chip Kelly's fast-strike offense. A match made for fantasy? Possibly. The hype could start to get high with Ellington, especially if he performs well in the final preseason games. Draft him in the 14th round or later and stash him until he blossoms.
Ryan Hester: Chip Kelly’s uptempo offense, a team that will be trailing often and compelled to throw, and a quarterback (Blaine Gabbert) more likely to utilize low-risk passes to underneath players is a formula that adds up to plenty of catches and yards for Ellington.
Ari Ingel: At 5'9" 197lbs with 4.45 forty speed, Ellington hasn't done much so far in his NFL career, but he is a plus athlete and has been flashing at OTA's. He's been handling slot duties so far and that is a great position of fantasy value in a Chip Kelly offense, which saw Jordan Matthews (who looked terrible at times) go 85/997/8 last season. He could easily catch 80+ passes in this offense.
Chris Kuczynski: The 49ers will likely be playing from behind in most games, so a player like Ellington who plays in the slot and can run effective short routes, will see a lot of points during garbage time. There may be some doubts for the 49ers offense this year, but there is some intrigue as to how Chip Kelly might generate a spark with his hurry up scheme. With little proven talent behind Torrey Smith, he is being a favorite target of presumed starter Blaine Gabbert, so he will see his fair share of targets. A later round flier is a small price to pay for someone who is a starter on his team, and Ellington could prove to be a solid reserve player on your bench.
John Mamula: Most do not know what to expect from the 49ers passing offense this season. Third year WR, Bruce Ellington, is currently listed 2nd on the depth chart and projects to be the teams slot receiver. He will be peppered with weekly targets in Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense. Ellington has the potential to be Chip Kelly’s version of Jordan Matthews, who had 128 targets last season, which resulted in 85 receptions, 997 yards, and 8 touchdowns. He has demonstrated a strong rapport with Blaine Gabbert during the offseason and training camp.
Matt Waldman: He's a slot receiver who can also get deep and turn a short route into a long gain with his skill after the catch. He has established rapport with Blaine Gabbert in camp. I expect him to be the most targeted receiver in San Francisco this year.
Jason Wood: The 49ers offense is a wide open opportunity thanks to Chip Kelly's arrival. We know Kelly will dramatically increase the pace of play, and right now the only proven option in the passing game is Torrey Smith – he of the 50%+ catch rate. Ellington is unproven, but as our own Matt Harmon points out in his fantastic Reception Perception analysis, Ellington has the skill set to eventually emerge as a #1 NFL receiver. Usually betting on unseen upside is risky, but at Ellington's ADP, he's the perfect lottery ticket at the end of drafts.
Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland
Phil Alexander: We've now seen Pryor blow past a pair of very good NFL cornerbacks for 50-yard gains in consecutive preseason games. This was on the heels of a training camp in which he quickly ascended the depth chart despite the Browns spending four draft picks on wide receivers in the spring. The odds of Pryor developing into a starting caliber wide receiver are still long, but he's got plenty going for him -- unmatched athleticism for his size (no hyperbole), seemingly good hands, a favorable offensive scheme, and a four-game audition to see if he can carry over his preseason dominance. Despite Pryor's pedigree, athleticism, and preseason flashes, fantasy owners are still treating him as a novelty act (18th round ADP). If that remains the case, it's an easy decision to take a no-risk chance on Pryor, who has all the tools to be a bonafide touchdown maker.
Sigmund Bloom: Pryor has already reeled in two deep balls from Robert Griffin III III in the preseason, showing easy separation speed and good hands. Griffin has one of prettiest deep balls in the league, and Pryor should get plenty of opportunities to run under them while Josh Gordon is suspended for the first four games of the season. Even when Gordon returns, he and Pryor have been running as starters in their short time together in practice. If Pryor can continue to fly by NFL starting corners, he will be hard to get off of the field and out of our starting lineups.
Mike Brown: We seemingly hear a new story every day about Pryor's ability to beat defenders downfield, make the tough catches look natural, and show the moves not of a first time wide receiver but those of an incredible athlete just scratching the surface of his talents. With Corey Coleman slow to recover from injury and Josh Gordon suspended for the team's first four games, Pryor is a lottery ticket that could pay off handsomely.
Ari Ingel: He has been killing it in camp and making a big play every game. While he won't catch many passes, they should take a few deep shots to him every game. If you are looking for this year's Martavis Bryant, it's not Sammie Coates Jr, and just may be Pryor.
Devin Knotts: For the first four weeks of the season, the Browns will be desperate for a wide receiver with size and Terrelle Pryor will be the only starting wide receiver over six foot tall until Josh Gordon returns from injury. Pryor, the converted quarterback is looking to put his athleticism to use as this is year three of the transition from quarterback to wide receiver and for the 27-year-old he is running out of time to show that he can be a productive wide receiver. Currently being selected as the 76th wide receiver, Pryor has the speed and size to create nightmares for defenses this season and if he is able to put it all together he will provide tremendous value for your teams this season.
John Mamula: Terrelle Pryor has finally found a fit in the NFL as a wide receiver. Pryor is currently listed as the number 2 WR on the Browns depth chart. During the Week 2 Preseason Game, Pryor caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Robert Griffin III III. Most expect the Browns defense to be struggle again this season. Most weeks, the Browns offense will be playing from behind and forced into passing situations. Pryor’s value is starting to rise as he recently went in the 15th round of a FBG best-ball league.
Daniel Simpkins: A metrically freaky, converted quarterback project for the Browns, Pryor has had a magnificent camp, earning praise from coaches and Robert Griffin III III. He was able to connect with Griffin on a 49-yard pass in the first preseason contest. Pryor could start the season opposite Corey Coleman and continue to play a role in three wide sets even when Josh Gordon returns from suspension.
Player Receiving 6 Votes
Mohammad Sanu, Atlanta
Chris Feery: Mohamed Sanu brought his talents to Atlanta via free agency, and he’ll find himself with the bulk of the targets not headed in the direction of Julio Jones. That fact is flying under the radar in this year’s drafts, and Sanu looks like a very intriguing value. The current narrative on Matt Ryan is that he’s a quarterback in decline that never quite took the leap to elite level status. While that may be a fair assessment, the other side to that is that he simply has not had the weapons he’s needed to be successful since Roddy White’s production fell off a cliff. Sanu is going to a big factor in the offense this season, and Ryan just may have a chip on his shoulder the size of the Georgia Dome that he’ll use to prove his doubters wrong in 2016.
Andy Hicks: The Cincinnati Bengals had seen enough of Mohamed Sanu to let him leave at the price he was available for and the receiver starved Falcons saw enough to offer him good money to join their roster. Sanu has developed a nice relationship with Matt Ryan in training camp and he should see a lot of snaps in this offense. Whether he posts numbers good enough to be fantasy relevant remains to be seen, but he should offer solid production.
Justin Howe: He's not much of a reliable or dynamic talent, but Sanu should be looking at heavy usage in a thin Falcons receiving corps. The team lacks enticing talent beyond Julio Jones, setting up Sanu to see 100 or more targets on the other side. (Last year, Roddy White and Leonard Hankerson combined to draw 116.) Don't expect much by way of yardage or touchdown production, but Sanu shouldn't have a hard time reaching 60-65 catches and PPR WR4 value.
Devin Knotts: A change of scenery should be exactly what Mohamed Sanu needs this season as he is expected to take over the role that was formerly held by Roddy White. Sanu showed a decrease in productivity in 2015, but in the two seasons prior to that he averaged 52 receptions per season, he still is incredibly athletic with good size. The Falcons signed Sanu to a seven million dollar per season contract, so they are going to find ways to incorporate him into the offense and for a player like that to be drafted as the 58th overall wide receiver provides a chance for a breakout this season.
Jeff Pasquino: Atlanta greatly struggled last year in the passing game, and everyone not named Julio Jones is depressed in value as a result. Mohamed Sanu signed with the Falcons to come in and be their WR2. The question now is one of how many targets Sanu will see this year. If it is close to his 2014 numbers with the Bengals (98 targets), his 56-790-5 numbers could be replicated in Atlanta. Given that the second-most targeted Falcon last year was RB Devonta Freeman (97) followed by TE Jacob Tamme (81), 95-100 targets for Sanu is not out of the question at all. I can see fantasy WR3 numbers for Sanu this year for an Atlanta team that will certainly throw more often than in 2015.
Mark Wimer: Sanu is good enough to compliment Julio Jones, and should see enough targets each week to keep opposing defenses from mobbing Jones with triple coverage. This is a paradigm in which Sanu could thrive - I like his cheap draft position and possible upside entering 2016. He looked solid in the second preseason game, with a long reception of 32 yards. Sanu looks like a good fit for what the Falcons want from the guy across from Jones.
Players Receiving 5 Votes
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati
Mike Brown: Boyd has been turning heads all training camp. With injuries to Brandon LaFell and Tyler Eifert, and the departures of both Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, there is a glaring hole in the Cincinnati offense that someone is going to fill. And that someone is going to be force fed a high volume of targets, since the team can only throw so many passes in the directions of A.J. Green and Gio Bernard. Boyd looks primed to be that guy.
Dan Hindery: The scouting reports on Boyd coming out of Pittsburgh were not exciting from a fantasy perspective. He is not blazing fast, does not generate much separation and isn't a big-bodied receiver. His fantasy situation on a run-heavy team that already boasted pass catchers, A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard was not particularly appealing either. Despite all of the above, Boyd has forced fantasy owners to take notice with his outstanding performance in camp. Bengals beat writers have raved about Boyd, noting that he makes a spectacular catch almost every practice. He has been able to translate his play-making ability into preseason action as well, with a pair of long catches and a red zone touchdown. Boyd makes for an intriguing late-round sleeper who could, like Jarvis Landry in 2014, come through with a surprisingly productive rookie season despite lacking elite measurables.
John Mamula: Tyler Boyd’s value is starting to rise. Currently, he is not listed in the Top 150, but it would not surprise me if he cracks that mark before the start of the regular season. With the departure of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, the Bengals passing game has 152 targets up for grabs. Tyler Eifert is expected to miss the beginning of the regular season and Brandon LaFell recently suffered a torn ligament in his hand. The Bengals passing game will feature A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd. I recently drafted Boyd in the 12th round of a FBG best-ball league as my WR5. That is great value for a player I expect to produce as a weekly flex option this season.
Jeff Pasquino: Both Mohamed Sanu (Atlanta) and Marvin Jones (Detroit) are gone, so who will be the WR2 for the Bengals? Brandon LaFell (New England) was signed, but can you really trust the veteran who disappointed with Tom Brady? I can’t, so I am looking squarely at Boyd, the second round draft pick out of Pittsburgh who was the main part of the Panthers offense. Jones and Sanu combined for 152 targets last year from the capable arm of Andy Dalton. I do not expect all of those chances to go to Boyd, but 90-100 could certainly be heading his way. Boyd could be a fantasy WR3 in Cincinnati in just his first season.
Mark Wimer: Boyd has opportunity with a thin stable of wide receivers available behind A.J. Green, and also given Tyler Eifert's injury woes. He has a shot at being the #2 target for Andy Dalton this year, and could have a fantasy-relevant campaign. There are worse picks in the final few rounds of your fantasy drafts, and if all breaks right for Boyd he could post startable fantasy numbers when the matchups are good.
Tajae Sharpe, Tennessee
Cian Fahey: Tajae Sharpe has been an offseason revalation in Tennessee. He was instantly put into the starting lineup after being drafted, a move that appeared to most to just be a motivational ploy for Dorial Green-Beckham. Instead, Sharpe has continued to thrive and remains a starter deep into training camp. Not only is he a starter, he looks like the Titans' number one receiver. In the team's second preseason game Marcus Mariota repeatedly looked to him on routine plays.
Jeff Haseley: The fantasy world is starting to catch up to the rookie receiver from UMass. He is turning heads in camp and preseason and has likely played his way into a starting role, especially with Kendall Wright nursing a hamstring injury. Sharpe is more than just a short-yardage possession receiver. He has shown that he can make plays downfield and be a weapon for Marcus Mariota. This is preseason though and things aren't always what they seem. Remember Davante Adams was big in the preseason last year too. I like Sharpe though and the Titans are in need of a receiver of his ilk to step up and be an impact player. He's worthy of being your WR5 and maybe WR4 but don't insert him into your lineup just yet. He's a great example of a player you should draft and stash - and wait.
Ryan Hester: Someone has to get targets in Tennessee. As much as they want to run, they’re more likely than not to be trailing in games and opting to throw in a catch-up effort. Sharpe may be just a rookie, but his usage in the team’s second preseason game (six targets before Marcus Mariota left the game) suggests should get plenty of opportunities this season.
Daniel Simpkins: Dorial-Green Beckham being jettisoned for a backup offensive lineman not only betrays the disillusionment of the Titans coaching staff with Green-Beckham, but it also shows their supreme confidence in what the rookie Tajae Sharpe has shown them in camp and in the first preseason game. Sharpe has continued to run with the ones since being promoted in early June and is expected to start for the Titans in the regular season. While slightly underweight for the position, Sharpe displays nice shiftiness, sure hands, and crisp route-running ability. On a team in which receiver help is desperately needed, Sharpe could post a surprising number of receptions and become the preferred wide receiver option for Marcus Mariota.
Matt Waldman: He's one of the best route runners of this rookie class and Marcus Mariota just said that Sharp makes a QB's job easy. He's quick, technically sound, and he's been consistently good since mini camp, including preseason games. I compared his game (stylistically) in the 2016 RSP to the likes of Reggie Wayne and Torry Holt--route runners who thrive on timing plays. He might be the best receiver on the Titans right now.
Players Receiving 4 Votes
Chris Hogan, New England
Will Grant: Danny Amendola has played only one complete season in his last five. He’s been banged up this pre-season, and the Patriots are just easing him back into the lineup. There’s a good chance Amendola is going to miss more time this season. That gives Hogan a big chance for more playing time as the #3 and possibly the #2 WR for the Patriots this season. Hogan is one of the best kept secrets in a PPR league this season, and he’s going undrafted in most leagues.
Andy Hicks: The New England Patriots have excelled at finding underrated gems on opposing teams, especially within the AFC East. Wes Welker is the perfect example. Now the Patriots have turned their focus to 4th year man Chris Hogan who outplayed his undrafted status in Buffalo. He has excelled in minicamps with his new team and will get the opportunity if he is good enough. He signed a very healthy contract considering his lack of production with a 5.5 million dollar salary cap this year and was clearly coveted by the organization. Julian Edelman has struggled to stay fit his entire career and Hogan should easily out produce his very low draft price.
Daniel Simpkins: Hogan has been stuck in an offense in Buffalo for the last three seasons. The Bills only seem to be able to support one viable fantasy wideout. Even being in that mire, Hogan had shown flashes of what he could do with a better situation. He's got that situation now in New England. He’s versatile in that he can play outside or in the slot, but likely will earn the role of X receiver in which the less talented Brandon LaFell thrived. It wouldn't be a huge surprise if Hogan produces better than most expect in 2016, especially when Tom Brady returns from suspension. A thirteenth-round pick is a minimal cost for a player who could become an important cog in the Patriot offense by mid-season.
Jason Wood: Stop me if you've heard this before – the Patriots sign a restricted free agent receiver away from an AFC East rival. The last time that happened Wes Welker went on to 100+ reception season after season. Now, Chris Hogan joins the Patriots after being wasted in Buffalo. Hogan is no mere possession receiver. He has the size and "my ball mentality" to be an outside threat. He runs a full route tree and there's no reason to think he can't earn Tom Brady's trust sooner rather than later.
Mike Wallace, Baltimore
Ryan Hester: Reports out of Baltimore on Wallace have been nothing but rosy since he failed a conditioning test very early. The absences of Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman gave Wallace the opportunity to work more extensively with Joe Flacco, and the quarterback has sung the praises of Wallace – citing versatility in the plays he was making, not just a “one-trick pony” skill set. On a team whose secondary is likely to allow big numbers, Baltimore should be compelled to throw often. And someone has to be on the other end of Flacco’s many attempts.
Andy Hicks: After flaming out in Minnesota, Mike Wallace lands in a much better situation with Baltimore. The Ravens have the aging Steve Smith returning from an Achilles injury that will keep him from playing anywhere near his best, while Breshad Perriman has yet to prove his fitness, let alone any ability to be a fantasy receiver. Joe Flacco has one of the best deep balls in the business and that is where Mike Wallace excels. Don't expect more than 5 receptions a game, but the ones he does get should count.
Stephen Holloway: Wallace was completely miscast in Minnesota and should be a great fit in Baltimore with Joe Flacco, who throws an excellent deep pass. Despite mostly bad comments from his time in Miami, Wallace averaged 70 receptions a year and scored 15 TDs. He gets a fresh start again in Baltimore and with all their wide receiver injuries could be much more involved in the offense again.
Jeff Pasquino: At first you may think this is a crazy pick, but consider that we are looking at wide receivers for the last few rounds of your draft. Baltimore is a team that could struggle this year and may be throwing a lot more than usual, which will favor some value for the starting wide receivers. Wallace has had some good training camp buzz and has shown a good connection with Joe Flacco, which goes a long way for production. Wallace could finish as the Ravens’ top target, and certainly has a shot at being the WR2 for Baltimore along with Steve Smith.
Players Receiving 2 Votes
Ted Ginn Jr Jr, Carolina
Jeff Haseley: I keep telling people not to sleep on Ted Ginn Jr. He's the perfect fit for the Panthers offense. He can get behind the defense that is focusing on keeping other bigger receivers in check, namely Greg Olsen, Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess. Ginn is also involved in the rushing attack, often getting several end-around carries over the course of the season. He may not reach 10 touchdowns like last year, but he is capable of having a big game any given week, especially if Carolina continues to put up 30 points a game. He's a decent bye week option with boom/bust tendencies.
Mark Wimer: Ginn showed enough as the 'emergency' #1 wide receiver for Carolina last year that he should enjoy a lot of deep passes from Cam Newton during 2016. He won't be a stud based on receptions, but Ginn could rack up a steady diet of long-gainers and propel fantasy teams into the playoffs. He's a boom-bust option but I would be very happy with him as my #4 wide receiver entering 2016. Also, Newton is motivated to prove his melt-down in the Super Bowl is a thing of the past - a rising tide lifts all boats.
Jermaine Kearse, Seattle
Andy Hicks: Lost in the hoopla surrounding the phenomenal finish to the season was the improvement in 4th year man Jermaine Kearse. He posted career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns and clearly was valued by the Seahawks as an off season priority signing. I don't expect him to push to the fantasy WR1 or WR2 level, but he can clearly be fantasy useful and outperform his draft slot. While others take Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett much earlier, save a pick for Kearse late and get yourself a guy that could surprise. The Seahawks play matchup football better than almost anyone.
Justin Howe: While Tyler Lockett has dominated offseason chatter, Kearse looks poised to again split their targets fairly evenly. Last year, Kearse drew more looks than Lockett in both the first and second halves of the season, and was similarly efficient with his opportunity. And throughout the preseason, Kearse has continued to lead in snaps. He's an ideal value play: Lockett will likely outproduce Kearse, once rushing and returning points are added, but this is at least a nine-round discount.
Kendall Wright, Tennessee
James Brimacombe: Wright is becoming an after thought in drafts after his 36/408/3 season last year in 10 games. The two prior seasons Wright finished as the 30th and 36th best WR and if he can stay healthy for a full 16 games this season he will have a great opportunity to make a big connection with QB Marcus Mariota. The price on Wright is worth taking a chance on him for him to have a rebound season.
Stephen Holloway: Wright caught 94 passes for 1,079 yards in 2014, but has not played nearly as well the past two seasons. He has been injured, missing eight games and has been inconsistent. In his two of his first three games last year with Mariota, he had stat lines of 4-101-1 and 7-95-1. After those games. He caught only 23 more passes on the season for 195 yards and 1 TD. He could be the most talented wide receiver on the team, but will have to give better effort to hope to remain a big part of the offense.
Players Receiving 1 Vote
Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia
Stephen Holloway: My ranking WR54 – Agholor was drafted in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, supposedly as one of the wide receivers ready to be productive as a rookie. He started slowly and just never factored into the offense. He should compete with Rueben Randle to be the second starting wide receiver in a completely new scheme with new coaches. He should have opportunities to compete, but would definitely be a surprise in his second season.
Anquan Boldin, Detroit
Sigmund Bloom: Boldin has quickly established himself as the #3 receiver, and he will be working out of the slot, where he can be a prominent target in a pass offense that will have to deal with an offensive line that is a work in progress. The Lions are going uptempo and it should run through Matthew Stafford. Boldin is the kind of receiver who earns trust immediately with his ability to win balls that he has to compete for, so he's worth drafting late to see if he and Stafford establish a connection early.
Leonte Carroo, Miami
Chris Kuczynski: The best thing that could have happened to the Dolphins skill position players on offense was the signing of new Head Coach Adam Gase, which should boost all fantasy players across the board. The team was set on their slot WR with Jarvis Landry and one outside WR in DeVante Parker, but they were still looking for that other outside role with the departure of Rishard Matthews. Miami went out and drafted Leonte Carroo in the 3rd round, who in college displayed big play ability averaging 19.5 a catch and at least 9 TDs in each of his 3 years starting at Rutgers. He should fit right into Gase’s offense that will feature plenty of 3 WR sets. Carroo is very much worth a late round pick with his potential to be a useful contributor based on matchup or bye week situations.
Sammie Coates Jr, Pittsburgh
Jeff Pasquino: I fully expect the Steelers to run a three wide receiver base offense more often than not again this year. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley wants Ben Roethlisberger to run a hurry up offense more, and last year Pittsburgh used three viable wide receivers quite often (Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and rookie Martavis Bryant). This year the change that is forced is that Martavis Bryant (suspended) is gone, so the opportunity exists for Sammie Coates Jr to step up and fill the void in three-wide sets. The WR3 for the Steelers last year was quite productive, regardless if you consider it to be Wheaton (44-749-5) or Bryant (50-765-6) in that role. If Coates sees the field with regularity, he has high upside in 2016.
Brandon Coleman, New Orleans
Mark Wimer: Coleman isn't being talked about much since Michael Thomas grabbed everyone's attention as the prized rookie addition. However, Coleman has a year of experience in the NFL and was adequate as a rookie. He's got room to grow as a sophomore on the Saints' roster, and is worth a late-round pick due to the prolific attack he plays within. An injury further up the food chain is always a possibility, and Coleman did lead the team in receiving during the second preseason game while Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead sat out.
Victor Cruz, NY Gaints
Jason Wood: I miss the salsa dancing. Fantasy owners are once bitten, twice shy as it relates to Cruz because of his inability to come back from a torn patellar tendon. That's understandable. Cruz continues to battle injuries in the preseason, but he has practiced more than he hasn't. Ben McAdoo has opened up the offense and Eli Manning is now capable of 4,800+ yards and 35 touchdowns. Cruz can be valuable regardless of rookie Sterling Shepard's presence. And for where you have to draft him, if Cruz can't get healthy, there's no risk to dropping him for a priority waiver claim.
Will Fuller, Houston
Jeff Haseley: It's looking more and more like Houston will open the year with Fuller opposite DeAndre Hopkins. Fuller is a rangy receiver who can fight for balls in traffic and make plays downfield. His needle is pointing up as we get closer to Week 1. I don't see him as a fantasy starter yet, but he's an excellent stash and wait player.
Pierre Garcon, Washington
Justin Howe: Garcon probably isn't part of the Washington future, but he's almost certainly going to spend 2016 as the team's stabilizing receiver. It appears he'll retain his possession role, which netted him 72 receptions last year, as rookie Josh Doctson eases into action. Garcon is nobody's idea of an upside pick, and his floor is not very attractive. But his ADP reflects only his risk; he's essentially a free stab at a volume-based WR3.
Brandon LaFell, Cincinnati
Ari Ingel: With Tyler Eifert dealing with a significant injury and Mohammed Sanu and Marvin Jones off the team, the number two-receiver job in Cincinnati is up for grabs along with their 152 targets. â€¨Brandon LaFell underwent foot surgery before the 2015 season and never looked right once he returned in Week 7 after missing the entire pre-season program. This season he has acclimated himself well to the Bengals and there is reason to believe he can find his form that saw him go 74/953/7 as a part time player for the Patriots in 2014. Tough to trust for many, but late in drafts, he will get targets.
Rishard Matthews, Tennessee
Chris Kuczynski: I was pretty high on Matthews already, but with the Titans trading Dorial Green-Beckham, I am buying up every piece of Matthews stock I can this off season. He will immediately be the Titans top WR with his main competition being a rookie in Tajae Sharpe and an injured Kendall Wright who has lost favor with the coaching staff. Delanie Walker may receive the most catches, but Matthews will be the team's speed/deep threat and proved last year he can put up good stats with an average offense when on Miami he put up at least 75 yards in 5 games before being lost in the second half of the season to a rib injury. It seems likely that he will be the most targeted WR on the team and a nice late round pick that could crack your lineup due to byes or favorable matchups.
Paul Richardson Jr, Seattle
Matt Waldman: I'm still on the sparse bandwagon. He's a great receiver at the catch point, dynamic in the open field, and has speed to beat any cornerback. He hasn't stayed healthy. He has been healthy all summer and I expect him to earn playing time this year and grow his role as he produces. I wouldn't be surprised if he has a stretch run that makes him a WR4 in fantasy leagues and a consistent WR3 for the Seahawks.
Kenny Stills, Miami
Matt Waldman: He's earned the trust of Ryan Tannehill and all offseason the staff has cited him as an improved performer. Stills has the speed to get deep, the toughness to win the ball in the air, the agility and physicality to make plays after the catch. With Devante Parker and Jordan Cameron struggling, Stills has an opening for a rebound year.
Jaelen Strong, Houston
Daniel Simpkins: Strong has had, well, a “strong” training camp. Arrested for marijuana possession in February and with Will Fuller taken in round one of the NFL Draft, there were real concerns about his role with the team. Strong lost weight and put in tireless effort to improve his game over the offseason. Now we are hearing he will likely start the season opposite of DeAndre Hopkins. Strong is known for making tough catches in traffic and climbing the ladder to snag his targets. Though Osweiler’s accuracy doesn’t inspire loads of confidence, Strong’s talent is such that if the ball is in his area code, he can likely come down with it. Undrafted in most formats, Strong is someone to draft very late or at least keep on the waiver wire watch list.
Terrance Williams, Dallas
Jason Wood: Entering his fourth season, Terrance Willams has yet to have a true break out campaign. Fantasy owners are leery of relying on receivers who haven't emerged as 1,000-yard threats through Season Three. I'm not advocating for a major step forward for Williams, but let's not forget he has improved each season. Last year's 52 catches and 840 yards would have felt a lot different if it came with 6-8 touchdowns instead of 3. The entire Cowboys offense was stymied by Tony Romo's injury last year, but with Romo back, I can easily see Williams delivering a 55+ reception, 800+ yard, 6-8 TD season.
Tyrell Williams, San Diego
Sigmund Bloom: When Stevie Johnson went down, the team signed James Jones, but the second-year receiver Williams has been the biggest beneficiary and appears to be locked in as the team's third receiver. He has outstanding size, speed, ups, and quickness, and Williams flashed with an 80-yard score in Week 17 last year against the Broncos. Philip Rivers has made Dontrelle Inman have some fantasy relevance in years past. He can do even more with a talent like Williams, especially while defenses are stretched by Travis Benjamin and trying to corral Keenan Allen on short and intermediate routes.
Robert Woods, Buffalo
Mike Brown: I expect Woods to be fantasy relevant on his own, since he has had a tremendous offseason and is one of the few stable aspects of the Buffalo offense heading into 2016. But the added possibility of Sammy Watkins' injury lingering beyond training camp has to add a couple of points in Woods' favor. In all likelihood, Woods is a bye week filler that you hope you hit at the right time. But an 800-yard, 6-touchdown season is not out of the question as his floor.