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PLAYERS TO TARGET: Wide Receiver Gems

Every fantasy owner wants to know which players will become the next fantasy football super star sleeper that blows up the 2017 season. Of course, If I knew the answer to that previous question

  • I would be a clairvoyant.
  • I would be living in the Bahamas.
  • I’d be rolling in a mountain of cash and women.
  • I wouldn’t be sitting at my desk writing fantasy articles!

Alas, I am not clairvoyant. I have no cash. And sadly… no women. However, with sound data analysis and 15+ years of fantasy experience under my belt I can say confidently say I might know a little about spotting sleepers, uncovering productive patterns, and recognizing a good (or bad) matchup between a player and a new team. Deciphering all this information can be overwhelming at times. Especially if you are trying to decide between two players during your draft and the clock happens to be ticking down on you. (Tick.. tick.. tick.. Panic!!) This is why writers like myself put out articles like this one. To help you limit – or all together avoid – those stressful moments. We do the number crunching for you so you don’t have to. This way you can draft players with confidence and watch others sweat. So without further ado, here is a GREAT article (if I do say so myself) about wide receiver gems you should not pass on if available.


WR Jamison Crowder, Washington Redskins

FACTS: Crowder is the remaining receiver from last year’s core roster. He is already solidified as the slot receiver in a heavy play-action based offense that likes crossing routes and deep outs. Crowder accounted for 67 catches (17% of the totally completions),  847 yards (17% of the total passing yardage). He also tallied 7 touchdowns (a fourth of Kirk Cousins‘ total passing TD’s). Pretty good considering Crowder was the 3rd option in that offense. Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson have both left Washington this offseason. This leaves 135 catches, 2,046 yards and 7 touchdowns up for the taking. (That is equal to 33% of the Kirk’s completions, 42% of his yardage, and 28% of his passing touchdowns). That is a lot of receiving production up for grabs.

RUMORS: John Gruden has already been on record raving about how much Jamison has impressed and has an amazing grasp of the offense. This should not come as a surprise considering Crowder went to Duke and tested well on his scores before the Combine.

GUT FEELING: Crowder was mentioned as a breakout candidate in previous year’s articles. Even though its hard to argue he didn’t, there is still room for growth. It is safe to say he will only improve on last year’s numbers. Kirk’s chemistry with Crowder will only be more heavily relied on this year. Even if his production increases by 15% (roughly splitting the absent 33% left by this year departures) that would put him at 87 – 1,154 – 8. In most standard leagues that would be good for top 10 in points based on last year’s production. Not bad for a player going in 27# on ESPN polls at the date of this post.


WR Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings

FACTS: With 89 receptions, over 1200 yards and 6 TD’s, Thielen seems to have come out of nowhere. With Stephon Diggs banged up most of the season Thielen often became Bradford’s go-to outside receiver. Sam Bradford is the starting QB this coming season, and the WR core remains unchanged. With the addition of rookie talent Dalvin Cook at running back, the passing game should become even more slightly efficient.

RUMORS: Laquon Treadwell is coming along and is seeded for the slot receiver spot. (As a first round pick, this is disastrous news for the Vikings. But, good for Thielin’s future look.)

GUT FEELING: Thielen is going too late in ESPN drafts. Less about being a “break out” candidate (which he was considered last year), Thielen’s ADP in mid-July Mock Drafts creates some good value. He was in the 20-25 wide receiver range in standard scoring leagues. For a player being drafted in the 10-12 rounds in many mock drafts, that’s a good deal. Adam did have 3 massive games last season that boosted his overall points. But that does not change the fact that he has some chemistry with Bradford. As I watch every NFL game I can say I saw some Jordy Nelson in Adam last season. He displayed good speed and great body control, with some wonderful hands like Jordy. Is he Jordy Nelson? No! But I could see Thielen being the most productive of the Vikings receivers this year.


WR Eric Decker, Tennessee Titans

FACTS: Perhaps it was that fact that he was hurt or that his counter part Brandon Marshall has a bigger soap box – if your old enough to get that reference. But Decker’s move to Tennessee did not get as much press as I though it would. Decker played only 3 games last year after shoulder surgery.

RUMORS: Not much information has come out of Tennessee after the trade. But, it sounds like his shoulder is fully recovered and he participated in OTAs.

GUT FEELING: Only playing a full 3 games last year, Decker was sort of a forgotten asset. Yes there is some injury concern with Decker’s hip and shoulder. However, he scored 12 times in 2015 and has recorded double-digit scores in 3 of his 7 years. Decker is a bigger-bodied wide receiver that does well in the red zone. Marcus Mariota had amazing red zone efficiency last season, throwing for 26 touchdowns all year and zero interception in the redzone. With Delanie Walker still there in Tennessee, it dampens the excitement a bit. Never-the-less, I see a good fit between the two. I could also easily see 6-8 scores going to Decker in 2017.


WR Pierre Garcon, San Francisco 49’ers

FACTS: Garcon is a possession type receiver that has good hands and decent body control. Garcon had 113 catches with 1,341 yards back in 2013 under Kyle Shanahan’s Redskins offense. This was Garcon’s best season.

RUMORS: It sounds like a natural fit for Garcon to be playing under Shanahan in San Francisco. According to Shanahan, leadership was one of main reasons for signing Garcon to a $17 million deal over  2 years.

GUT FEELING:  Now with Shanahan in SF and Garcon slated to be the number 1 option, it seems all but a sure thing for success. My biggest concern in San Francisco is the QB situation. Brian Hoyer is slated to be the starter at this date. I have seen Hoyer look like a top 16 quarterback in games. But he has also looked like a CFL replacement in others. If the 49ers and Coach Shanahan can construct a game plan that limits mistakes and controls the clock, Garcon could flirt with his third 100-catch season. I don’t see Garcon producing like a number 1 fantasy option, but a number 2 is not out of the realm of possibility.

About Curtis Chambers

Curtis is one of our summer guest writers. We hope you enjoy his perspective.