For those of you in Dynasty or Keeper/Salary Cap Leagues, now is the time to cull through the 2017 rookies for players you can throw onto your roster cheaply. Most receivers break-out in their second season and many of them may not have done much at all as a rookie.
Even if you don’t have a roster to stash for next year, it’s good to keep tabs on the under-the-radar players that could become fantasy factors in 2018.
(Rookie receivers already on fantasy rosters – Corey Davis, Mike Williams, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Cooper Kupp, Kenny Golladay, Dede Westbrook, Kenny Golladay, O.J. Howard, Evan Engram, David Njoku)
Mike Williams – The second wideout drafted (1.07) has been a no-show as a rookie. He injured his back in first Chargers rookie mini-camp and missed training camp. He finally was ready for Week 6 but for the four games through Week 10, he totaled only four catches for 46 yards. He’s on most waiver wires deservedly. He is on the field for 27 plays last week but had no targets. It is not going to happen for him this year – that is clear. But the 6-4, 218 pound Clemson star will be a factor next year. Tyrell Williams is an RFA next year and Williams will be no worse than the No. 3. Drafted at 1.07, he’s expected to challenge for the No. 1 spot. 2017 has been a lost season and he takes a mulligan to start over next year.
Curtis Samuel – The Panthers 2.08 pick was the fifth wideout drafted this year and started to play in Week 7. He built up to five catches for 45 yards last week but injured his ankle and will be shut down for the season before producing any notable game. He was the player that ran a 4.31/40 at the NFL combine and who was a hybrid running back/receiver at Ohio State. He would have seen more work with Kelvin Benjamin gone but is on the shelf until next year. He’s concerning in the sense that multi-position “playmakers” tend to not fit in anywhere in the NFL. But his 4.31 time and success in college still must be respected and he’ll compete for the No. 2 wideout spot in 2018.
Chris Godwin – The Buccaneers spent their 3.20 pick on the 6-1/209 pound Penn State product and he’s played as the No. 4 wideout this year which has only meant one catch per week. And then in Week 10, he replaced the suspended Mike Evans and caught five passes for 68 yards versus the Jets. He falls back to No. 4 with Evans back but he recorded at least one catch in every game and was described by HC Dirk Koetter as a “Roddy White type” last summer. Adam Humphries is an RFA in 2018. Godwin could step up into the No.3 role and be the replacement should Evans or DeSean Jackson be injured.
Chad Williams – The 3.34 pick by the Cardinals, Williams is a 6-1/204 pound Grambling State star who hopes to compete to replace Larry Fitzgerald when he retires – that may well be 2018 when Fitzgerald turns 35 years old though he may play one more year. Williams received hype in the summer including from Fitzgerald. John Brown and Jaron Brown are free agents next year so there may be some depth chart openings. He fell in the draft because of marijuana and firearm possession by LSU campus police. He’s worth a very deep stash to see what happens.
Gerald Everett – The Rams used their 2.12 pick to take the South Alabama star and that was instantly significant since new head coach Sean McVay was the offensive coordinator that brought Jordan Reed to life. The 6-3/239 pound ex-wide receiver was described as having the talent and physical measurables to turn into an elite receiving tight end with the proper NFL coaching. He’ll have been in McVay’s system for a full season and could be in line for a second-year breakout. Everett wasn’t McVay’s second draft pick just to be a blocker.
Mack Hollins – The Eagles spend their 4.12 pick on the North Carolina product and his selection may have played into waiving Dorial Green-Beckham last summer. The 6-4/221 pound wideout had the longest wingspan of any receiver. He is also the tallest wideout on the roster (Alshon Jeffery is 6-3). He’s seen only ten targets so far but caught a 64-yard touchdown in Week 7 versus the Redskins. Torrey Smith only totals 15 catches for 221 yards and one score this year versus nine catches for 172 yards. Hollins averages 19.1 yards per catch versus 14.7 for Smith. Hollins is already taking snaps away from Smith and the Eagles offense is worth buying into next year.
An extra point – Zay Jones has been a disappointment as the starting flanker for the Bills with just one touchdown and producing only one game with more than 32 yards. But he’s had nearly no support from other receivers and the Tyrod Taylor era appears over. Next year will bring a new quarterback and a chance that the Rick Dennison offense starts to show progress. Kelvin Benjamin will eventually help out as well. Jones may have played poorly, but it is too early to assume he is a bust. His situation has not been favorable and a rookie wideout will never make a mediocre quarterback any better.