Running backs get all the attention heading into fantasy football drafts, but coming away with productive wide receivers is essential if you want to win your league in 2019. Fortunately for you, we’re here to teach you about five guys who can drastically outperform their current draft position.
This piece isn’t going to pick out obvious star who will go in Round 1. Instead, our goal here is to provide you some names that can drastically outproduce their average draft position in later rounds. Let’s start with a guy who is managing to fly under the radar in Oakland.
5. Tyrell Williams
Is there anything about Antonio Brown’s behavior this offseason that makes you think he’s going to play a full 16-game season in 2019? If the formers Steeler star does miss time for any reason, it’s going to thrust Tyrell Williams into the role as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver.
That won’t be good news for Jon Gruden’s ability to forge a winning team in Oakland, but Williams could pay off big for fantasy football owners. He’s got the size and athletic ability to make big plays in the Raiders’ vertical passing game. Throw in the fact that Oakland should be playing from behind a lot this season and it’s easy to see how Williams could emerge as a serious WR1 in 2019.
4. Mecole Hardman
Even if the Chiefs offense suffers from some regression to the mean in 2019, they still have a solid chance of being the top-ranked unit in the NFL. Any guy who will get significant snaps alongside Patrick Mahomes deserves serious fantasy consideration.
Hardman is more than just a guy who is going to produce because of Mahomes’ immense talent. He has big play ability regardless of who is throwing him the ball. If he can carve out a big role in the slot there’s no reason to think he can’t produce as a WR2.
It might take Hardman a few weeks to really find his feet in the NFL, but spending a mid-round pick on him is still a good play. He is just the sort of high risk/high reward player you should be targeting in the middle of your draft.
3. Tyler Boyd
The Bengals aren’t going to be a good football team this year. Their odds are set at 22:1 to win the division for a reason. The upside of that for fantasy owners is that Cincinnati should be playing from behind a great deal of the time.
It’s also pretty likely that Andy Dalton will remain the team’s starting quarterback for most of the season. He isn’t an electric passer, but he can put up yards in garbage time. That’s going to give all of his receivers a boost in value.
AJ Green is the biggest name in Cincinnati’s wide receiver room, but he’s going to miss the start of the season due to injury. That will leave Boyd as the team’s most accomplished target when Week 1 arrives. You should definitely feel comfortable spending a mid-round pick to grab him. Fantasy success occurs when opportunity and talent meet. Boyd has both working in his favor.
2. DJ Moore
Moore might be the riskiest guy on this list. We know he’s a talented wide receiver, but his ability to post big fantasy numbers will depend on Cam Newton’s health. If the Panthers franchise quarterback can stay on the field, Moore should emerge as his No. 1 option at wide receiver.
The former Maryland standout has the ability to turn short passes into big gains. That, combined with his willingness to make tough catches over the middle should make him a consistent fantasy player all season long. If you come out of the draft with him as your WR2 then you’ve done really well.
1. Kenny Golladay
The Lions don’t throw the ball all over the field like they did in years past, but Matthew Stafford still possesses one of the strongest arms in the NFL. That makes a big-bodied, speedy receiver like Golladay a really intriguing fantasy play.
Golladay is the one receiver on this list who really stands out as someone who can crack the top-10 when the season is all said and done. That’s not a definite, but you can certainly feel good about selecting him as your WR1 if you focus on other positions early in your draft strategy. Don’t wait too long though, he’s getting a lot of preseason buzz as a star in the making.