As we head into the 2016 season, it’s important to recognize which players gain a boost in their expected role. Fantasy players are constantly looking to free the next big name (ie David Johnson due to Chris Johnson’s injury). Here are three wide receivers that I’m willing to take a chance on late in fantasy drafts:
1. A really sneaky receiver heading into 2016 is Bruce Ellington. Chip Kelly is in love with Ellington this offseason, saying “When you look at just the short time that I’ve seen film of him you’re like wow. That kid can do some interesting things”. The 49ers possess one of the worst rosters in the league meaning they will need to throw the ball. A lot. Chip Kelly, on average over the last three seasons, ran 114 more plays than the 49ers. Ellington plays much bigger than his 5’9” frame and is very creative after the catch. Chip Kelly’s system should mesh nicely with Bruce’s strengths, which include post and nine routes. Blaine Gabbert said that Bruce is “balling right now. He’s catching a lot of passes.” I’m intrigued by Ellington this year, especially in really deep leagues.
2. With Tajae Sharpe being listed as the #2 receiver in two wide sets by reporter Terry McCormick, I’m all in on him this year. With a 6’2”/195 frame, he was a target monster/possession receiver at UMass, leading the nation with 9.3 receptions per game last season. With Green-Beckham’s lack of work ethic and Kendall Wright’s constant let downs, it appears that Sharpe is in line for a fairly significant workload in his rookie season. With the Titans improvements to their running game (additions of Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry), the passing attack should be much more efficient under second year quarterback Marcus Mariota. Delanie Walker and Rishard Matthews should draw the defensive attention away from Sharpe, which will only help him this year. If Green-Beckham struggles to touch the field, I love Tajae Sharpe for late round fantasy value this season.
3. Carolina Panthers beat writer, David Newton, is reporting that Devin Funchess has emerged as the Panthers #2 receiver behind Kelvin Benjamin. At 6’5”/225 and the ability to play outside and in the slot, Funchess has the talent to embarrass opposing defenses. While he only played 44.7 % of the Panthers snaps last season, he still managed to catch 6 TD’s as a rookie. With his size and increase in expected playing time this season, it’s hard to overlook Funchess. With an ADP of 159, expect great production at a cheap cost out of the second year receiver.