As we get to the weeks that are usually past the trade deadline in dynasty leagues (I am in one without a trade deadline, which is fun, but crazy during the playoffs when teams get into arms races), it’s time to look ahead to next year and target speculative players to fill end of the bench spots when we are eliminated from the playoffs. We’ll go position-by-position over the next four weeks and separate players out into Snorkel, Scuba, and Submarine levels to serve dynasty players of all levels. Week 3: Wide Receivers
Devin Duvernay, BAL - The low volume Ravens pass offense is tough to get a fantasy foothold in, but Duvernay has made an impression with his speed, and Willie Snead IV is a free agent next year, which could make Duvernay the primary slot receiver.
Auden Tate, CIN - The Bengals will likely say sayonara to A.J. Green this year, which will open the door for Tate to take snaps in three-wide sets. He could be a common red zone target to help Joe Burrow, as the two had an excellent connection in training camp in red-zone drills this summer.
John Ross, CIN - Ross feels like a lost cause with sporadic production and play and frequent injuries, but his speed and quickness are undeniable and he just might turn the corner with a second organization considering the quality of his first one.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE - The secret is out of the bag here as Peoples-Jones has been making some big plays on big stages. Rashard Higgins is a free agent next year and Peoples-Jones has made a credible case that quarterback play held him back in college and physical talents and skills should have merited a higher draft pick.
Collin Johnson, JAX - Johnson was a highly regarded size/speed prospect going into 2019, but he had a down senior year and fell to the fifth round of the draft in a deep class. He made an impression with Mike Glennon and could do more down the stretch to position himself as a top-three receiver for this team in 2021.
Bryan Edwards, LV - Edwards was once considered on a par with the big names from the ballyhooed 2020 wide receiver class, and he was a sensation this summer. While he didn’t carry it over to the regular season, the future is bright for Edwards, who started in the SEC as a true freshman.
Tyron Johnson, LAC - Johnson was once a top recruit for LSU and he has shown that he belongs on an NFL field with the Chargers this year. He could make a splash in the last three weeks (keep an eye on Jalen Guyton too) with injuries starting to thin the Chargers wide receivers.
Quintez Cephus, DET - Cephus caught a long bomb and recently and at least got on the field as a starter at times in his rookie year, which bodes well for his development that will likely intersect with an opening in the starting lineup as Marvin Jones Jr moves on next year.
Josh Reynolds, LAR - Reynolds had a false breakout when the Rams started to go back to more three-wide sets as their primary offensive personnel package but has fallen off as of late with the return to more two-tight end formations. He’ll be a free agent next year and should get to compete for a starting job outside somewhere.
Tre'Quan Smith, NO - Emmanuel Sanders is due six million dollars next year for a cap-impaired team that might be rebuilding. Smith has looked very impressive physically (even like Michael Thomas doppelganger at times) and the Saints love him.
Travis Fulgham, PHI - Fulgham was a fantasy darling for about a month and now he’s splitting snaps with Alshon Jeffery. Hopefully, the Eagles give him a clean slate next year with Jeffery (and probably Desean Jackson) gone, which gives Fulgham a chance to be a clear starter to pick up where he left off when the offense was collapsing.
Isaiah Coulter, HOU - Coulter hasn’t gotten a shot despite injuries to the top four wide receivers in Houston, but he came into the league raw and should be seen as a developmental prospect. His size/speed profile and being attached to Deshaun Watson makes him worth a roster spot if you can afford one.
Byron Pringle, KC - Pringle had to wait this year as the team brought back both Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson, but neither is under contract next year, which gives Pringle a path to a top-three wide receiver spot with Patrick Mahomes II. His speed and skills have looked more than credible in limited action.
Cedrick Wilson, DAL - Wilson had a big game earlier this year when pressed into action and will likely function as the top backup to their top three receivers next year. Once Dak Prescott is back, you will want to roster every passing piece attached to this offense in dynasty leagues.
Marquez Callaway, NO - Callaway was more than ready for prime time when injuries forced him on the field, and if weren’t for an injury of his own, he might have established himself as a fantasy-relevant receiver in his rookie year as an undrafted free agent. He’ll take some patience, but the speed, quickness, my ball mentality, and aggressive mindset are all there for Callaway.
Tyler Johnson, TB - Johnson could become the team’s primary slot receiver if they let Chris Godwin walk in free agency, and maybe even if they keep Godwin. He is tailor-made for the role and didn’t look overwhelmed in limited action after having highly a productive career in college.
Cam Sims, WAS - Sims is a bit of a late bloomer because of all of the talented receivers he played behind at Alabama, but he is showing some run after catch skill and ball skills to go with his size. He could be a starter outside for Washington opposite Terry McLaurin next year.
Antonio Gandy-Golden, WAS - Gandy-Golden’s injury and small-school developmental profile have kept him from doing anything this year, but he’ll be in a prime position to compete with Sims and Kelvin Harmon to start next year.
Dezmon Patmon, Ashton Dulin, IND - Dulin and Patmon are both good size/speed prospects, and the Colts have held valuable roster spots for them to ensure that they retain them during their development.
Olamide Zaccheaus, ATL - The prolific college receiver showed some speed and skill in small doses this year and could eventually work his way into a bigger opportunity.
Dante Pettis, Austin Mack, NYG - Kyle Shanahan soured on Pettis’s finesse game, but he has shown that he can separate and hold his own against NFL defensive backs. The Giants aren’t exactly a fantasy goldmine, but with Golden Tate moving on next year, there will be playing time for him and Mack, who had a nice game earlier this year while Tate was out, to compete for.
Richie James, SF - James can be no higher than fourth on the depth chart when everyone is healthy, but he showed what he can do when they aren’t healthy during the covid bowl against the Packers.