The key to winning in fantasy football is to find value late in the draft. One way to do this is to load up on fliers in the later rounds. A flier in fantasy football is basically a lottery ticket; the majority of the time they’re worthless but every once in a while they payoff in a huge way. Here are a few receivers that can be drafted in the later rounds that may become weekly contributors. If they work out, they will provide a huge advantage in your lineup. If not, they only cost a late round pick.
Anthony Miller, Chicago
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No one knows how the Chicago offense will fare in 2018, but here’s what is known. Matt Nagy is the new coach for the Bears and will look to improve a Chicago offense that was stale last year. The offense was vastly retooled this offseason with the additions of Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Trey Burton. These new pass-catching options should drastically improve the Bears offense, and open space for the rookie. Miller was selected in the second round in this year’s draft. The Bears would want to get him involved early and often, based on his high draft capital. The situation in Chicago is very similar to the spot the Rams were in last year. A second year Quarterback who underachieved with a first time Head Coach who is offensively minded working with an improved roster. If that is the case and the Bears are in fact this year’s version of the Rams, look for Miller to become the Cooper Kupp of 2018. Rookie Wide Receivers are always hard to gauge, so draft accordingly.
Cameron Meredith, New Orleans
photo by MATTHEW HINTON
Cameron Meredith was signed by the Bears in 2015 as an undrafted Free Agent. After an insignificant rookie season, Meredith improved in 2016. He registered 66 catches for 888 yards and tallied four scores. This made him a trendy sleeper pick entering last year until a torn ACL in the preseason robbed him of his 2017 season. Meredith is now healthy and was signed by one of the best offensive teams in the league. Drew Brees can light up defense for 300+ yards any given week. Meredith could be a benefactor of Brees’ passing ability as he is currently penciled in as the number three Wide Receiver behind Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn. Players coming off an injury, especially an ACL tear, are risky. But if Meredith can pick up where he left off in 2016 he could very well become a steal of this year’s fantasy draft.
Quincy Enunwa, New York
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Similarly to Cameron Meredith, Quincy Enunwa had a mini breakout in 2016 just to see his entire 2017 year lost when a neck injury cost him to miss all of last year. Because of this, Enunwa may be an afterthought in most fantasy player’s minds. Enunwa could surprise again in 2018, and will probably be available very late in drafts. Robby Anderson is currently the Jets number one receiver. Anderson ran into some legal trouble this offseason so could miss playing time due to suspension. This would open things up for Enunwa, whose only other competition at receiver include Jermain Kearse and Terrelle Pryor. The Jets are a bad team and may start a rookie QB at some point this season. While this is not an ideal fantasy situation, it could benefit Enunwa if the team is constantly trailing in games.
Jordan Matthews, New England
AP Photo/Steven Senne
The Patriots perennially have one of the league’s best offenses and seem to shuffle receivers in and out of the lineup. Tom Brady can seem to make any player fantasy relevant. Enter Jordan Matthews, who signed with New England this offseason. Matthews showed potential while with the Eagles, but lacked the constancy to become and fantasy mainstay. Last year in Buffalo, Matthews had an injury plagued season that ended in disappointment. This led to him falling deep in fantasy drafts as his current price tag is somewhere around the 13th round. Danny Amendola is gone. Gronk is prone to missing chunks of the season with injury. And recently Julian Edelman was suspended to start the season which opens the door for another pass catcher. In an offense that seemingly features a breakout player each year, keep Matthews in mind when selecting late in the draft.
Kenny Golladay, Detroit
Matthew Stafford has become one of the more consistent Quarterbacks in the league, throwing for over 4200 yards the past seven seasons. Those yards have to go somewhere, and Golden Tate and Marvin Jones can’t absorb all the receptions. Though he’s third on the depth chart, Golladay may continue to get looks on a weekly basis. The Lions have lacked a running game since Barry Sanders retired so the passing game has become a necessity for Detroit, especially late in games. LeGarrette Blount and Kerryon Johnson were added to help bolster the ground attack. Basic football knowledge will tell you the run opens up the pass, so an established running attack could benefit a receiver like Golladay. In addition, Eric Ebron is gone which could only help Golladay get more opportunities to produce. He had moments of real fantasy relevance last year as a rookie but disappeared from the stat sheet at times. Another year in the Detroit system should only help Golladay become a better option to crack fantasy lineups every week.
James Washington, Pittsburgh
Ed Thompson, USA TODAY Sports
If it’s one thing the Pittsburgh Steelers know how to do, its draft Wide Receivers. Antonio Brown is the already the league’s best receiver, and JuJu Smith-Schuster looks like another star in the making. Both were drafted by the Steelers and made an immediate impact. Could James Washington be the next in line? Martavis Bryant was traded to Oakland which creates a vacancy at the third Wide Receiver spot. Washington, who was drafted in the second round this year, may fit perfectly into an already stacked Steelers offense. Pittsburgh routinely uses three Wide Receiver sets, so Washington should be on the field often. With Brown and Smith-Schuster occupying most of the defense’s attention, Washington could see some favorable matchups. At this point Washington is the true definition of a flier, and may even go undrafted in some leagues. But his potential on a team well-known for producing great receivers makes him a player to keep in mind.
statistics courtousy of www.pro-football-reference.com
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