Last week we looked at rookie quarterbacks and running backs. This week we’ll take a look at wide receivers and tight ends that may have found their way onto your Fantasy team. Many of these guys were likely not drafted back in August; however, they could have an impact now. Because of injury, skill set or just performance, some of these rookies are getting a chance to show their talent on the field. While there is no clear A.J. Green or Julio Jones in the group, there is some value in these wideouts depending on your league.
Justin Blackmon (WR, JAX)
Perhaps the most touted rookie wide receiver of the group, Blackmon has been a disappointment for Fantasy owners. Whether the problem is the terrible offense of the Jaguars, the ineptitude of quarterback Blaine Gabbert or Blackmon himself, it is hard to tell. However, the combination of the rookie learning the offense and the struggles within that offense has led to 13 receptions for 119 yards and zero touchdowns through five games. His past two games were better than his first three (four receptions for 31 yards in the first three games). For Fantasy purposes, Blackmon is worth holding onto in dynasty or keeper leagues, but in redraft leagues, he doesn’t hold a lot of value. If you’re in a deep league, he has WR4/5 value, but for 10-12 team leagues, Blackmon is droppable.
Brian Quick (WR, STL)
Another rookie that was targeted in early drafts was Quick. Unfortunately, he never materialized to be what Fantasy owners hoped. He had his first catch in Week 4 (the only one of the game) and since has one more catch for one yard. Even with Danny Amendola out in Week 6, Quick drew just two targets. If he’s not going to get targets now, don’t count on them coming as the season progresses. He should not be owned in any redraft Fantasy league.
T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)
Once Austin Collie was out for the year (again), it looked like Donnie Avery and Hilton would be vying for attention behind Reggie Wayne. While neither has really established themselves as the second receiver, Hilton has put up decent numbers. He had a monster Week 3, with a 4/113/1 line, but after the bye, has put together two disappointing weeks for Fantasy owners. He only had three receptions in each of the previous two games and 37 and 31 yards total. However, Avery isn’t exactly tearing up the stat sheet either. Both receivers are getting used to working with Andrew Luck and as of right now, both have WR4/5 value. If one or the other emerges as the better option, you’ll be glad you stashed them. Until then, it’s a gamble.
Rueben Randle (WR, NYG)
When Hakeem Nicks was inactive, many thought that Ramses Barden and Randle would step up. However, Barden and Domenik Hixon produced more than Randle. In Week 5, Randle did have a good week – six receptions for 82 yards. However, that’s all that he’s done all season. In redraft leagues, Randle should not be owned. Now that Nicks is back, he doesn’t have any Fantasy value at this point. Even at less than 100 percent, Nicks is the primary receiver followed by Victor Cruz. Martellus Bennett gets some red zone looks, and Barden, Randle and Hixon are no more than deep league desperation fill-ins.
Kendall Wright (WR, TEN)
Wright was targeted as a preseason rookie sleeper by many, however, with Kenny Britt active and playing, Wright’s value is on the decline. Sure, he has posted good Fantasy numbers the past few weeks, but as Britt gets healthier, those numbers are not going to continue. Also, much of Wright’s production has come in garbage time. His total yards have increased over the past three weeks (4/46/1, 9/66/0, 6/71/0) but he can’t be relied on as anything more than a low WR3/high WR4 unless Britt – or Nate Washington – miss time.
Josh Gordon (WR, CLE)
Very quietly, Gordon has entered the Fantasy radar. He’s a big-play guy, similar to Torrey Smith. However, in the past two weeks, he’s put up stat lines of 2/82/2 and 3/99/1. Prior to that, he only had seven receptions for 93 yards and zero touchdowns. It is clear that Cleveland is making him a bigger part of their offense with Greg Little struggling. During the past two weeks, Little’s numbers are three receptions for 18 yards and zero touchdowns – all of which occurred in Week 6. Gordon will likely be the No. 1 receiver in Cleveland. However, in a passing offense that is struggling, he’s no more than a flex play until he has put together a series of good games in a row.
Alshon Jeffery (WR, CHI)
Through five games, Jeffery has 14 receptions for 184 yards and two touchdowns. It appeared that Jay Cutler was starting to look his way. He had seven targets in the first two weeks of the season and 12 in the next two. He only had four targets in Week 5 when he was injured, but Fantasy owners that have room on their bench should stash him. Jeffery suffered a broken hand in Week 5, which should keep him out for 4-6 weeks. Based on that timeline, Jeffery will be back for the last stretch of the Fantasy season and can provide decent WR3 numbers. The positive part of a fracture is that typically you can accurately predict when a player will come back and it is not usually a lingering injury. Jeffery should step back into the No. 2 role for Chicago once healthy. With coverages going to Brandon Marshall, Jeffery will continue to find himself open … if Cutler can get him the ball.
Stephen Hill (WR, NYJ)
In an offense that is struggling, Hill is currently listed as the top wideout for the Jets. When Santonio Holmes went down with injury, someone had to step in, and that could have been Hill. However, in Week 6, he only managed three receptions for 23 yards and a touchdown in a high-scoring effort by the Jets. Hill has been dealing with a hamstring injury and missed the previous two weeks. With very few options in the offense, Hill may take on a bigger role as he gets healthier and as he gets more experience. Unless you’re in a deep league, leave him on the waiver wire.
Coby Fleener (TE, IND)
Many thought that the Andrew Luck-Coby Fleener connection from Stanford would continue in the NFL, however, through five games, it hasn’t come to fruition. He has zero touchdowns and only 17 receptions for 181 yards. He started the season with promise, hauling in six receptions for 82 yards. However, he posted a donut for Fantasy owners in Week 3. While it is possible that Luck utilizes his tight end more as the season goes on, you would have to be in a two-tight end league to consider Fleener. Rather, look at fellow rookie Dwayne Allen, who has 12 receptions for 109 yards and two touchdowns so far this year. He’s serviceable as a bye week fill-in.