Fantasy Football – Rookie WR Breakdown (Part 1)

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Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

5.) Allen Robinson, Jaguars:

Playing time – I think both Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson have a good shot to start for the Jags as rookies. Ace Sanders is better suited as a back-up and both Lee and Robinson have starter talent. With Lee most likely in the slot, Robinson has the size and strength to excel outside. The quarterback situation in Jacksonville isn’t great, but Henne is a decent veteran who should be better with some actual talent at receiver. Robinson has better size and more strength that any receiver on the Jags roster and I could see him becoming Henne’s go to guy this year.

Fantasy outlook –  At 6’3, 220 with good hands, I see Robinson becoming a go to guy for either Henne or Bortles pretty quickly. Robinson’s ability after the catch stood out when watching tape on him from last year and I had him ranked higher than a few of the receivers drafted ahead of him. I think he’s going to have a better year than most analysts are expecting and Robinson will be on many of my fantasy roster’s this year. I’m predicting better numbers than more heralded Marqise Lee and a dark horse for offensive rookie of the year. I’m going out on a limb here but I think 70, 900, 8 is a real possibility this year.

Auction value – Re-draft $5, Keeper $10

2013 Statistical comparison –  Marques Colston

Draft him ahead of – Mike Williams, Jerricho Cotchery, Marqise Lee

6.) Jordan Matthews, Eagles:

Playing time – The release of DeSean Jackson opened up a hole in the Eagles depth chart for either Matthews or fellow rookie Josh Huff to fill. Riley Cooper is locked in at one spot outside, but Jeremy Maclin is on a 1-year deal and coming off a serious knee injury. Matthews has the size and route-running ability to take over Jackson’s outside receiver spot while Huff is better suited to the slot. Huff might have an edge due to his familiarity with the Eagles offense from his days at Oregon, but Matthews is very smart and should be able to pick things up quickly enough to take Maclin’s spot if his injury lingers or even if he is healthy. Regardless of whether he takes Maclin’s job I think he will be on the field for at least 50% of the Eagles offensive snaps and should see a decent number of targets.

Fantasy outlook – I had Matthews graded as a late 1st round pick and think his combination of size, route-running ability, and hands will make him a solid NFL receiver who is capable of making an instant impact. I predict that Matthews will take Maclin’s starting job by mid-season and will be a valuable fantasy contributor this year. I think 60, 800, 7 is realistic which makes him worthy of a spot on your bench and a flex spot in PPR leagues.

Auction value – Re-draft $4, Keeper $8

2013 Statistical comparison – James Jones

Draft him ahead of – Stevie Johnson, Andrew Hawkins, Kelvin Benjamin

7.) Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers:

Playing time – Coming into the draft, the starting receivers on the Panthers depth chart were Jason Avant and Jerricho Cotchery. So if Benjamin doesn’t start, it will be a big disappointment for Panthers. At this point in their respective careers, those two are better off as 4th or 5th receivers and Benjamin has the physical tools to be a #1 WR. I was surprised with the pick and thought he was the least NFL ready of all the receivers taken in round 1, due to his lack of route-running ability and suspect hands, but clearly the Panthers disagreed. One thing he does have is great size and he will give Cam Newton a big target. Benjamin will get a lot of playing time and should see plenty of targets.

Fantasy outlook – With only average speed and acceleration, I am worried about Benjamin’s ability to get open at the NFL level. Though with his size I guess he is always open, if Newton can put the ball where only Benjamin can get it. With really no other talent at the receiver position I expect Benjamin to get plenty of targets and quite a few deep jump balls which he is uniquely qualified to haul in. I think it will be an up and down year, with Benjamin struggling to get open consistently but with the occasional big play / big fantasy line. I think 45, 700, 7 is a realistic expectation.

Auction value – Re-draft $4, Keeper $8

2013 Statistical comparison – Terrance Williams

Draft him ahead of – Denarious Moore, Brandon LaFell

8.) Marqise Lee, Jaguars:

Playing time – With Justin Blackmon likely suspended for the season, there isn’t much talent on the Jags depth chart at WR besides Cecil Shorts and Ace Sanders. Lee should be able to step into the starting lineup week 1. If Chad Henne is the QB, Lee’s numbers could end up being pretty decent his rookie year. The Jags O-line should be better with a healthy Luke Joeckel and the additions of guards Zane Beadles and Brandon Lindor. With an improved line and the experienced and mediocre Henne under center, Lee should see enough targets to get some fantasy attention.

Fantasy outlook – Lee would have been a top 10 pick if he had entered the draft last year, but an injury plagued 2013 season and lingering questions about the stability of his knee dropped him to the second round. If Lee is healthy, he has as much talent as any of the rookie wide receivers and with a starting gig Lee could put up enough numbers to earn a spot on your fantasy roster this year. I will have him stashed on a few of my benches, knowing he has the upside to move into my starting lineup by mid-season.

Auction value – Re-draft $3, Keeper $7

2013 Statistical comparison – Jarrett Boykin

Draft him ahead of – Andre Roberts, Kenbrell Thompkins

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

9.) Jarvis Landry, Dolphins:

Playing time – Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline are locked in as the top two WRs, but I think Brandon Gibson’s job as the #3 WR is vulnerable. Some our higher on Gibson than I am, but I am higher on Landry than most. His sub-par 40-time (4.7) hurt his draft value but he was projected as a late 1st – early 2nd rounder before the combine. The fact that the Dolphins took Landry late in the 2nd proves they aren’t worried about his speed. With Chip Kelly disciple Bill Lazor taking over as the Dolphins OC I expect to see a more dynamic offense with more multiple receiver sets which could lead to plenty of playing time for Landry even if he doesn’t beat out Gibson for the 3rd WR job.

Fantasy Outlook – Due to the Dolphins new look offense and the fact that I think Landry is a mini-Anquan Boldin, he is one of my sleeper fantasy picks this season. Landry can catch everything in his vicinity and is very tough to bring down after the catch. I expect a productive season from Landry with 50+ catches, 700+ yards, and around 5 TDs.

Auction value – Re-draft: $2, Keeper $5

2013 Statistical comparison – Rod Streater

Draft ahead of – Andre Roberts, Kenny Britt, Jerome Simpson

10.) Davante Adams, Packers:

Playing time – The Packers are set at receiver with Nelson, Cobb, and Jarrett Boykin, but I don’t think they would have used a 2nd round pick on Adams (considering their defensive needs) if they didn’t plan on playing Adams. All three of the Packers starters are in the last year of their contracts, so the drafting of Adams could have been more for 2015 than this season. I still think Adams will get plenty of playing time to make sure they have a solid replacement on hand if they can’t afford to bring back all three (long-shot). Adams will see time in 4-WR sets and may push Boykin for playing time, but his chances of starting or even seeing more than 50% of the offensive snaps are slim.

Fantasy outlook – Adams was one of my favorite receivers in a loaded draft at the position. He was very productive in two years at Fresno St (233, 3031, 38), can make people miss after the catch and has the strength to break tackles when they don’t. I think he’s going to be an impact fantasy player, but it may not happen this year. There will be flashes, but with GB loaded at the receiver position I just don’t see Adams getting enough targets to be a viable fantasy option this season. In keeper leagues though he is a guy who should be available at the end of your draft who could pay huge dividends next year if a couple of the Packers free agent receviers move on.

Auction value – Re-draft $1, Keeper $5

2013 Statistical comparison – Robert Woods

Draft ahead of – NA