2018 Fantasy Sleepers: Wide Receivers

8 Aug 2018 - 11:13am | TNJeff | Updated: 8 Aug 2018 - 1:01pm | Likes: 9 Like 

The difference in the teams that win your fantasy league and the teams that don’t can be any number of factors.

Injuries play their part in decimating some teams regardless what moves they make. It could also be the obvious choice of the person who performs best in the top rounds of the draft.

But the teams that win cannot win only relying on their stars. The waiver wire and late round selections can often be the difference in a league where everything else is equal.

And there is no position better to stock up on in those late rounds/free agent pick-ups than at wide receiver.
Most every league requires three wide outs with the potential for four at a flex position. But your top receiver is likely to be matched by somebody else’s WR1. It can often be the third or fourth guys that make the difference each week in fantasy competition.

Here’s a look at some names who could be potential sleepers at the Wide Receiver position for the 2018 season.

Marquise Goodwin/ San Francisco 49ers

Can a guy who almost picked up 1,000 yards receiving last season really be considered a sleeper?
Why yes he can considering how much of that production was after the insertion of Jimmy Garoppolo into the starting lineup.
Three of Goodwin’s four best receiving games happened after Jimmy G took over the reins at quarterback for San Fran. And considering the two have had OTA’s and training camp to develop more chemistry, you should also expect the speedy Goodwin to improve on his two touchdown catch total from last season.
The only concern here is the return of Pierre Garcon (another mid to late round fantasy sleeper). Goodwin received 18 percent of the team’s total targets last season with Garcon missing the 2nd half of the season with an injury.

Tyler Lockett/Seattle Seahawks

Could this (finally!!!) be the year Tyler Lockett breaks out for the Seattle Seahawks? Many things are lining up to make that happen for the fourth year wide out.
First, the loss of Jimmy Graham and his 18 percent share of total targets last season has to be claimed by somebody. And most services project Lockett to be the guy who claims that share (along with all the red zone targets that go with it).
Second, of all the other players who could take the number two receiver spot behind Doug Baldwin, Lockett is the guy with the most experience working with quarterback Russell Wilson.
And third, an injury to Doug Baldwin means Wilson must find a new favorite target for the entire preseason. So there’s another opportunity for the former third round pick.
But the Baldwin injury could also be a concern for some betting on Lockett. Being without Baldwin could force the Seahawks to turn to Dez Bryant, a move that could relegate Lockett to his more traditional role of third receiver if/when Baldwin gets healthy.

Corey Davis/Tennessee Titans

Davis flashed throughout his injury plagued rookie season. And health really is the only thing keeping him from being a potential fantasy star.
Davis is expected to receive about 20 percent of the expected targets from Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, replacing Rishard Matthews, who sat in that spot behind tight end Delanie Walker last season.
And through the first two weeks of camp, Matthews has been unable to practice, increasing Davis’s chances of taking the spot of go-to wide out for the Titans this season.
The only question is can Davis stay healthy enough to claim that role?

Calvin Ridley/Atlanta Falcons

What makes drafting Ridley (because rest assured, someone will draft him) difficult is knowing that he must share targets with Julio Jones, a man Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan targeted with almost 30 percent of his passes last season.
But Ryan will throw plenty of passes. And thanks to double coverage on Jones, the speedy Ridley could be the beneficiary of one- on-one coverage most of the season.
In fact, the biggest detriment to Ridley’s numbers this season could be Muhammad Sanu, the Falcons WR2 last season, who will be competing with Ridley for targets all season.

John Ross/ Cincinatti Bengals

Much like Ridley, John Ross must play behind a superstar. And AJ Greene will always get the bulk of the targets as long as he’s playing in Cincinnati. Greene was targeted 143 times (29 percent of the team’s total targets) last season and is projected to be targeted even more this season (an expected 155 targets in2018).
But the Bengals recently released last year’s number 2 most targeted receiver, Brandon LaFell. So that seems to indicate the Bengals believe they have their number 2 guy in house.
And what better choice than the speedy Ross to take pressure off of AJ Greene in 2018. Like his fellow rookie pass catchers (Mike Williams, Corey Davis), Ross spent 2017 injured. The top ten pick only appeared in three games and caught one pass all of last season. But he was drafted in the top ten for a reason, and all that talent should come to the surface in 2018 if the former University of Washington star can stay healthy.

Chris Hogan/New England Patriots

By rule, there has to be one Patriot on this list due to the Tom Brady effect. Brady will always have one receiver come out of nowhere and become a big target each season.
With Danny Amendola in Miami, Brandin Cooks in Los Angeles, and Julian Edelman suspended for the first four games of the year, the door is wide open for Chris Hogan to make the most of his opportunity
For one, Brady already has familiarity with Hogan. When Hogan wasn’t troubled by a shoulder injury last season, he was catching five touchdowns on 34 receptions. And Hogan was such a popular red zone target for Brady in 2017 that he tied for second on the team (14 targets) inside the 20 despite only playing in nine games.

(All target share data came from Chet Gresham at walterfootball.com)

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