WR2’s On The Edge Of Fantasy Greatness
2019 could be the year many WR2’s overtake their lead counterpart. Some have a greater chance than others but even those who may not completely overtake the WR1 position have a significant chance at entering a 1A/1B situation. Below is a breakdown of three wide receivers I see taking their performances to the next level, this season & beyond.
Expectations are high as Anthony Miller enters his Sophomore year. Coming off an up & down rookie season in 2018, The downs were more injury related than performance. Although missing only a single NFL game in 2018, a dislocated shoulder hindered Miller for the majority of the season & resulted in off-season surgery. Despite the lingering injury, Miller put up a stat-line of 33/423/7 & a respectable 12.8 yards per reception. The real standout stat to me is the 7 touchdowns, especially playing with one healthy shoulder for the majority of the season. Miller has had a nose for the end zone since college, finishing with double-digit Touchdowns in 2 of his 3 collegiate seasons.
Another plus is the chemistry between Miller & Trubisky. Miller saw 3 or more targets in 10 games last season. The trust is there and the fact that Miller caught over 75% of the targets thrown his way is a good indication of that. This should improve going into 2019 with a healthy Miller & a 3rd year Trubisky. However, it was not all good last season & something to be mindful of when deciding if Miller can take that next step, his production suffered a serious drop when facing stronger defenses such as the LA Rams. Miller also failed to register a single catch when facing Green Bay in week 15. Overall Miller has the skill, supporting cast around him & offensive scheme to breakout in 2019 & become a force in the NFL landscape for years to come moving from the WR2’s group into the lead dog for the Bears.
The Mike Williams hype train appears to be in full swing this off-season. I’ll admit I’m a passenger. After an underwhelming Rookie season where the #7 overall pick managed a stat-line of 11/95/0 in 10 games. Williams has finally put a back injury that sidelined him all of preseason and the first 5 weeks of his rookie season behind him. Some were already prepared to write Williams off as a bust after one injury filled NFL season. Williams also suffered a freak neck injury in 2015 but rebounded with a monster stat-line of 98/1361/11 for Clemson in 2016.
Last year, in his 2nd season in the NFL, Williams finished with 43/664/10. With such a small target share of 13% (66 targets – Rivers attempted 508 passes) Williams still managed to record 10 touchdowns and 15.5 yards per reception. Only six other players in 2018 had more touchdowns. His touchdown per reception ratio (TD every 4.3 receptions) was off the charts. With the departure of T. Williams and Hall of Fame TE Antonio Gates, Mike Williams looks to benefit from the 110 targets left on the table coming into the ’19 season. Granted, the return of Hunter Henry will also demand a fair share of those targets, I feel Hunter will eat into Keenan Allen targets across the middle of the field. Henry is also a large Redzone threat that demands attention inside the 20 & could potentially free up Williams in the red zone where he thrives. Williams can realistically see 80-100 targets & double digit touchdowns once again. With the Chargers weapon filled offence, Williams could dominate his way to a WR2’s floor with WR1 upside.
Another career hampered by injuries, Curtis Samuel is an intriguing player in 2019. Samuel has missed 10 games in his first two seasons in the NFL. Samuel is seen as a hybrid by the Panthers organization, utilizing him in both rushing and passing plays. In my opinion, Samuel is the clear 3rd option in the Panthers offense unless TE Greg Olsen returns to his old form (I personally can’t see this happening).
You may be surprised to see Samuel on this list of players I expect big things from in 2019 fantasy wise. 2017, his rookie year, was disappointing followed up by starting 2018 with an off-season surgery & slow start upon his return, Samuel put up a respectable stat-line of 39/494/5 in 13 games. With an injury free season and a healthy Cam Newton, Samuel is in a spot to contribute at a high level. A versatile weapon with many tricks in his arsenal I expect him to carve out a significant role in the Panthers’ offense. There is not much competition behind Samuel and with names such as McCaffery and Moore drawing the attention of defences, Curtis is poised to fly under Defensive radar and Fantasy radar alike. Curtis is one of the WR2’s I expect to breakout this season.
One final note on Samuel, in comparison to Moore Samuel managed WR2 numbers in 4 games while playing 12, Moore only notched 3 in a full 16 game schedule.
It may be a stretch to expect these players to consistently perform as true WR1’s this year, it is not beyond reason to see them hit WR1 numbers often & develop into top players in the coming years. They all show flashes of top class potential & are part of above average NFL offenses. All three players compare to bigger names and come at a cheaper price & I can see them finishing above more common household names. Give me Anthony Miller over Allen Robinson, Mike Williams over Corey Davis & Curtis Samuel over Sterling Shepard all day. Snatch them up in Dynasty drafts and reap the rewards for years to come.
-Ash Goddard (Addicted2_FF)