If you know you want to take a running back early in your draft, we got 3 potential receivers you should take a hard look at later on. Wide receivers are bar none potentially the most exciting position group to watch when it comes to football in general. Catching bombs on huge plays down field can have an immediate impact for fantasy teams with explosive receivers on their team. You already know the super elite of this class in Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr, AJ Green, and DeAndre Hopkins so Lets go over a few potential top receivers that could help your fantasy team this year that you can find past the top 20 in our ADP rankings.
Mike Evans (ADP 22)
Evans did not have a great season last year in fantasy at all (only 3 ReTD) and was plagued by the growing pains of rookie QB Jameis Winston, poor pass protection at times, and inconcistant playcalling on offense. With Dirk Koetter running the show and Evans rumored to have taken his offseason conditioning very seriously, choosing to protect himself from soft tissue injuries so he can be at full strength and really begin to grow with sophomore QB and rising star Winston. Evans has top 5 wr potential and will need a better performance from the Bucs 14th ranked O-line in pass protection because there’s no denying Evans can play at this level.
The Bucs actually have a pretty decent schedule, in terms of secondaries allowing fantasy points vs WR position, playing 6 teams that rate within the top 10 of said rankings,including inter-divisional foe, the Falcons, who sits at #1 for fewest points allowed to wide outs. Although I am skeptical when it comes to gauging Atlanta’s “top” ranked secondary for the simple fact they were AWFUL in red zone team rush defense, allowing 20 rushing TD’s and ranking dead last in the NFL, which tells me that opposing offenses opted to run the ball more against a terrible run defense. Meaning, the Falcons secondary is really no where near as good as their number one rankings indicates and can be considered a fluke. Furthermore, Evans has two beautiful fantasy match ups in weeks 14 and 16 against New Orleans’ 2015 28th ranked pass defense, which is most fantasy leagues’ playoff time. If the stars align this year in Tampa, Evans could be the focal point in a very underrated and balanced Bucs offense so if you decide to go running back first, take a chance on Mike Evans this year.
Jeremy Maclin (ADP 48)
Maclin has now posted back to back seasons of at least 85 catches, 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns, and did it for two seperate teams in Philly and Kansas City. Surprisingly, the Chiefs put together a decent ariel campaign at times in 2015 with out the help of star running back Jamaal Charles, who is an excellent pass catching running back out of the backfield. Stranger things can happen then a 32 year old, top overal pick and potential bust discussion candidate, Alex Smith having fantasy relevance last year through the air. It is not just a coincidence, the reason is Maclin, a guy Andy Reid trusts whole heartedly to do exactly what he asks of him to do, he did it in Philly for him and he did it in Maclins first year in KC for Reid.
With the Chiefs deciding not to draft a WR in April’s draft, they are all in with Maclin again this year and he should see heavy volume targets near the 127 he got last season being Alex Smith’s only real option in the passing game. The three headed monster of Alex Smith (scrambling ability to extend plays and get yards with his feet), Jamaal Charles (who returns for 2016 from injury), and Maclin, has the Chiefs in a great position to not have to rely on their top 5 defense so much like they have in years past but also with their 9th ranked offense that averaged 25.3 points per game last season. Yep, believe it or not, they had a top ten scorring offense last season with out Charles for most of the season. The only question here is, what will they be able to do WITH their elite back healthy for a season? At where his average draft position is, you can draft him in the fourth or fifth rounds and be rewarded with much better production than where took him at.
DeVante Parker (ADP 77)
The mediocre mess that was the Miami Dolphins last season, a team that some national experts had winning their division, HAAH! The problem with the phins is that the organization has failed the players and allows medicority to flourish like bacteria in an untreated open wound in the jungle. In comes Adam Gase as new head coach, A high energy guy who brings a high energy coaching staff and has gotten the team to buy in. With veteran pro bowl center and offensive leader Mike Pouncey quoted as saying this about the new staff, “They are very high energy. Very efficient. He really gets what players need to be successful and he has a proven track record with his offense. Everybody around here feels energized.”.
Why is this relevant to Parker you say? It is relevant becuase Adam Gase is gonna turn the Dolphins offense into a well oiled machine full of energy, confidence, and education, inwhich it is going to need a star wide receiver to feature, like with so many other guys before him, Gase has a NATURAL ability at creating 1,000 yard wide outs, with coaching the likes of Brandon Lloyd and Demaryius Thomas in Denver, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jefferey in Chicago, he has proven to bring wide receirs great numbers. Parker, the first-round pick who was limited much of the season because of a foot injury, finished with 26 receptions for 494 yards and three touchdowns. But Parker finished the season on a high note, with 445 yards and three touchdowns in his last six games, including 13 receptions for 286 yards and one touchdown in the last three games.
Lets break that down a little bit further shall we? In Parkers final 6 games, and fully healthy, he amassed 42 targets for a 7 target pergame average and caught 22 of those. I know, 55% is not a very awesome catch percentage, you just have to remind yourself how much of a mess the Dolphins were as whole at the end of last season. All except Parker, who caught a 30 yard pass or longer in 5 of those last 6 games, and is one of my top sleeper picks coming into 2016 if he can stay healthy. Where you will be drafting him, who cares about his injury history so draft with a mindset of, the glass is half full, and possibly enjoy the biggest steal of your draft.
Author: Shaun “the don”