Who will be the most productive rookie wide receiver in 2016? Let’s Dive In!
1) Laquon Treadwell (Vikings)
Treadwell is the possession receiver that Teddy Bridgewater has needed since becoming the starting quarterback in Minnesota. He is the type of big, physical receiver that will rack up catches. Norv Turner has coached plenty of “slower” receivers such as Michael Irvin in Dallas and Vincent Jackson in San Diego. I love the perfect match of Treadwell and Bridgewater. He will have plenty of targets and opportunities in his rookie season to make an impact for this team and improve the offense.
2) Sterling Shepard (Giants)
Odell Beckham Jr. was going to need somebody to take the pressure and double-teams off of him so the Giants went out and got a great slot receiver to own the middle of the field. Victor Cruz‘s injuries and the loss of Rueben Randle had to give the Giants some panic as to who will be the #2 receiver. Shepard will be a great addition to this offense as a dependable receiver in the middle of the field who will help keep defenses honest and safeties on their toes having to cover Shepard and Beckham Jr. all game long.
3) Michael Thomas (Saints)
I may be underestimating his rookie campaign with Drew Brees as the quarterback and him being the new “Marques Colston” in this offense. He will fight for targets with Brandin Cooks and Coby Fleener, but is a talented player that was drafted in the 2nd round. Willie Snead and Brandon Coleman have had their chance to step up and really haven’t taken advantage of the opportunity. Michael Thomas is in line for a very good rookie season as the featured outside receiver in this offense with a very good quarterback throwing to him.
4) Corey Coleman (Browns)
Besides Gary Barnidge, who else is catching passes in this offense? A bunch of rookies are going to make up the receiving corps and Coleman will lead the way. As a 1st round pick, he is going to see the field early and see plenty of targets. The opportunity will be there for Coleman to have a decent rookie campaign as long as the Browns get solid quarterback play, which is a big “if” though.
5) Josh Doctson (Redskins)
Josh Doctson is a talented receiver and would be #2 or #3 on the list if not for his depth chart situation. Currently, the Redskins have DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon on the roster and are getting paid big bucks. If they release one of them before the season starts, Doctson will have a solid rookie campaign. If they keep all three, there won’t be enough targets to share between Garcon, Jackson, Reed, and Doctson for consistent production for the rookie. Fantasy owners would like to see them drop Jackson so Doctson can be the top guy with Garcon for 2016.
6) Tyler Boyd (Bengals)
Boyd will play the slot in 2016 and should capitalize on the opportunity. Tyler Eifert may miss some time in the beginning of the season and Brandon LaFell is a 1-year depth chart filler. Boyd will be looked upon as a main contributor early in 2016. He complements A.J. Green well and could be their future #2 receiver.
7) Will Fuller (Texans)
I’m not a huge fan of him as a player and his supposed big play potential, but I think he may see plenty of opportunities in his rookie season. They expect him to complement DeAndre Hopkins and so they will look to get him the ball either underneath and try and make a big play after the catch or go over the top. I expect him to get plenty of targets, which means opportunities, which means fantasy points.
8) Pharoh Cooper (Rams)
The Rams will need somebody to step up and be the “go-to-guy” for their new quarterback Jared Goff. Will it be consistently disappointing Kenny Britt? Will it be often-injured Brian Quick? Will it be gadget player Tavon Austin? My money’s on Pharoh Cooper as a player that could step up and be a valuable weapon for Goff. I will be watching the Ram’s training camp and preseason closely to see who will be the top dog in that offense for 2016.
Other players to keep an eye on during Training Camp and Preseason:
Braxton Miller (Texans)
Malcolm Mitchell (Patriots)
Rashard Higgins (Browns)
Daniel Braverman (Bears)
Kenny Lawler (Seahawks)
Tajae Sharpe (Titans)
Mike Thomas (Rams)
Chris Moore (Ravens)
Jordan Payton (Browns)
Keyarris Garrett (Panthers)
Nelson Spruce (Rams)