RICHMOND, Va. — Are you preparing your list ahead of your fantasy football draft. Have no fear? The Fantasy Football Chief is here to help. After you secure your starting wide receivers in the first 10 rounds of your fantasy football draft, you can draft sleepers to fill your bench, find a bye week replacement, or maybe even score a viable flex option.
This list of receivers includes a rookie, a veteran, and a few post-hype sleepers in their sophomore NFL campaigns.
As I delve into these fantasy options, I will be providing average draft position (ADP) data from fantasyfootballcalculator.com from 12-team point per reception (PPR) leagues.
Wide receiver sleepers: The hidden gems that will provide fantasy dividends
Mike Williams, LAC, (11th round ADP)
Williams received quite a bit of hype last year after the Los Angeles Chargers drafted him seventh overall out of Clemson. He missed the first six games of his rookie season due to injury and played sparingly when he returned. Williams has had a solid training camp this year and caught two balls for 18 yards playing with the starting offense in the Chargers preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.
He is slated to be a primary weapon in the red zone following a season ending injury to tight end Hunter Henry. In addition, tight end Antonio Gates retired, and while it has been rumored that Gates is going to return to the team, that has still not transpired.
Williams has a chance to lead the Chargers receivers in touchdowns this season, but be aware that the ceiling for his catch total is around 60 receptions as Keenan Allen is the target monster in this offense.
49 receptions for 588 yards and seven touchdowns
9.3 Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG) in a PPR
No. 5 WR or bye-week replacement
Anthony Miller, CHI, (11th round ADP)
Miller, a rookie from the University of Memphis, is penciled in as the slot receiver for the Chicago Bears, who are expected to run a fast-paced offense under new head coach Matt Nagy.
Miller ran with the first-team offense in the Bears preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He played sparingly. catching one ball as the Bears sat their starters after two drives. Miller was also held out, along with other starters, in the Bears’ first preseason contest against the Baltimore Ravens.
When evaluating preseason games, a rookie who is kept off the field to avoid injury is a clear indicator of just how positive the coaching staff already views the player.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Bears ran out of 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) on just 43 percent of their plays under former head coach John Fox, however, that number will increase substantially with Nagy calling the plays.
A slot receiver is used when a team is in 11 personnel and I expect the Bears to be in that set roughly 55 to 65 percent of the time in 2018. Miller, while primarily being in the slot, will be used in multiple formations, so I am projecting him to be on the field on 65 percent of the Bears offensive plays.
With his dynamic athletic ability, he could also see a couple carries for roughly for five or 10 yards per game increasing his fantasy upside. I think he has a chance to see the end zone once or twice as a runner, too.
77 receptions for 700 yards and four touchdowns, 16 carries for 80 yards with one touchdown
11.6 FPPG in PPR
No. 4 WR or flex option
Dede Westbrook, JAC, (14th round ADP)
Similar to Mike Williams, Westbrook is another post-hype sleeper entering his second season. The Oklahoma product, who was a Heisman Trophy contender, caught a modest 27 balls for 339 yards and a touchdown playing in seven games last season. But, his limited production was largely due to missing the first nine games of the 2017 season due to injury.
In the Jags first preseason game, he caught three balls for 32 yards, with two of those on the opening drive from starting quarterback, Blake Bortles.
Jacksonville has a crowded receiving group without a true No. 1 receiver, but I have a hunch that Westbrook will be the one to emerge among the pack.
68 catches for 670 with five touchdowns
10.3 FPPG in PPR
No. 4 WR or flex option
Danny Amendola, MIA, (14th round ADP)
Amendola, the former New England Patriot, seems to be ahead of Albert Wilson to win the Miami Dolphins’ slot receiver job. Both were acquired in the offseason which caused some to wonder why the Dolphins would bring in two similar players to replace former star receiver Jarvis Landry.
Nonetheless, this is an offense that ran out of 11 personnel on 75.4 percent of its plays in 2017, the second most of any team in the league.
First was the Los Angeles Rams at 81.4 percent, which is one reason why Cooper Kupp had such success as a rookie last season. On a side note, Kupp was one of my sleepers in 2017.
64 catches for 590 yards and four touchdowns
9.2 FPPG in PPR
No. 5 WR or bye-week replacement
Chris Godwin, TB, (14th round ADP)
Godwin finished his rookie season on a tear, catching 16 balls for 295 yards and a touchdown. His season total in 16 games was 34 catches for 525 yards and the aforementioned TD.
Not gaudy numbers for the season, but I expect his 2018 campaign to be similar to his last four games in 2017.
He seems to have secured a role among the first team receivers this season, while last year he was limited to mostly a backup role and four-receiver sets.
In the Bucs first preseason game he played on three drives, catching two balls for 17 yards in a starting role against the Dolphins.
62 catches for 860 yards with five touchdowns
11.1 FPPG in PPR
No. 4 WR and flex option
Brad Wilson is the Chief Photojournalist at CBS 6 News. He has a decorated career, winning 10 Emmy awards for his work.
But, that’s not the only hardware that sits atop his mantle.
Wilson has been an avid fantasy football player for 12 years, winning numerous fantasy championships.
In the past three years, Wilson competed in eight leagues winning four of them, finishing in the top three in six and making the playoffs in all.
WTVR.com has called upon Wilson to bring its fans some unique insight into fantasy football. Look for his Fantasy Football Chief columns to drop every Tuesday through the football season. Click here to ask him your fantasy football questions.