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Top 5 Rookie WRs to Target

05/07/2019Chris Cichon

One of the most volatile positions in fantasy football when it comes to rookies is wide receiver. Quarterback play, sets/groups run by WR bunches and offensive play selection are just a few factors that need to be considered when assessing a situation. With 28 receivers drafted and more signed after the draft, here are my top 5 to target now in Best Ball and redraft leagues.

Check out my RB tiers for 2019 NFL rookies here.

Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City suspended Tyreek Hill from all team activities after a domestic investigation was reopened, and while the NFL has not acted yet it’s hard to imagine him still being on the team when the season begins. The Chiefs invested their second-round pick on a WR with true speed that can get down the field quickly. The early hope is that Hardman can fill the void likely left by Hill as the speed receiver in this offense.

Hardman was the first receiver off the board in the latest FFPC draft going in the eighth round. As frontrunner to fill close to an every-down role in the most explosive offense in the NFL, drafting the rookie out of Georgia offers a higher reward than risk.

Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts

No argument from me if you wanted to draft Campbell with the plan of him being a multi-week flex option on your team. The problem is that T.Y. Hilton is still the wide receiver in this offense and commands too much of a percentage of the offensive numbers. Hilton nearly tripled the receiving yards of the team’s second-leading receiver Chester Rogers, who was given a second-round tender this offseason.

Eric Ebron (750 yards receiving) is the clear second option in the passing offense which also features mediocre options like Zac Pascal and Deon Cain. This is an offense to target in fantasy and the second-round pick out of Ohio State should thrive in 1-on-1 situations. Having Andrew Luck throwing him the ball is an obvious plus as well.

N’Keal Harry, New England Patriots

Bethel Johnson, Chad Jackson and Aaron Dobson are the last three wideouts selected by the Patriots in the second round or earlier and all three can safely be considered busts. Harry was a first-round pick this year and immediately enters a unique situation where he can reverse recent trends.

Josh Gordon is suspended indefinitely and Patriots' legend Teddy Bruschi believes that Harry has the frame and skillset to fill his role. Even if the suspension is lifted and Gordon returns at some point, Rob Gronkowski is (currently) retired and Chris Hogan signed with Carolina. New England has the seventh-most vacated targets (165) in the NFL and with Tom Brady’s very quick decision-making and release (fifth-shortest amount of seconds among qualified passers) Harry can immediately contribute no matter where he’s utilized on the field.

Deebo Samuel, WR San Francisco 49ers

Fantasy is about opportunity and San Francisco is a destination where Samuel can immediately see the field. Pierre Garcon was not brought back after two injury-riddled seasons so the rookie should immediately join Dante Pettis and Marquise Goodwin in 3-WR sets. Samuel can play the slot which is probably where he will be inserted immediately even though he played outside at South Carolina.

He’s going to need to learn to be a better blocker at the next level but in terms of fantasy production the opportunity is there in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Samuel could end up being a nice injury replacement/bye week flyer for your team just like Pettis was for owners in the second half of last season.

Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens

Brown should be considered as a stash or late-round dart throw, especially in Best Ball despite the lackluster passing numbers this Ravens' offense produced last season. The argument for Hollywood Brown is that Ravens invested their first pick in him, suggesting he should see the field almost every offensive snap with John Brown and Michael Crabtree both gone. His outlook as Lamar Jackson’s deep threat could be grim as Ravens' pass-catchers eclipsed 30+ yards on a reception just ten times last year, tied for last in the NFL. Worth a shot in Best Ball leagues but not someone to get excited about immediately.

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