by Brad Holda
This position has quite a bit of relevance in the fantasy realm as we are talking about players contending for the #3 wide receiver position. This subject alone has created incessant chatter throughout the off-season. We have an eclectic group of players ready to battle it out on the gridiron including a 2nd year rookie, a hopefully recuperated record breaking receiver in college and a wild card thrown in the mix in a seasoned veteran vying for a chance to extend his career – and nobody has the slightest clue who will win the job.
This job is open for competition and whoever proves themselves the most worthy will get the nod as the #3 wide out behind Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. The early favorites are Corey Fuller, who runs an impressive 4.33 40 and stands at 6‘’2 and veteran Lance Moore, who already has familiarity in Joe Lombardi’s complex offensive system as he had previously played eight seasons with the New Orleans Saints.
Whoever wins this job will most likely see the 5th-7th most targets in the offense behind the top three running backs and at least 1-2 tight ends. Jeremy Ross was considered the #3 wide receiver last year, accumulating 36 targets and finished 7th on the team in targets. I see Fuller winning the job as he has the most upside coupled with excellent speed and size. His only downside thus far is that he has not developed the ability to created adequate separation in his route running, which is characteristic of all the elite wide outs in the league. However, this is something that can be developed through watching and studying comprehensive tape and learning to run cleaner and more crisp routes, figuring out the precise time to cut. This can be developed over time. Fuller, a 6th round grab entering into his third year, is, I believe, the top back-up for Calvin Johnson, and this would allow Golden Tate to slide to the inside.
The #2 favorite heading into training camp is the wily vet, Lance Moore, who at 31 has already accrued the knowledge of all the nuances of the offense from his previous eight year stint with the New Orleans Saints. He’s put up a solid performance thus far, but it remains unknown if he can fend off the younger competition. From a fantasy perspective, whoever wins out the position would be a solid pickup in the latter rounds to have sit on your bench. I expect the #3 wide out this year will receive upwards of fifty targets, as Johnson most always requires a double team and Tate is targeted far less frequently than Johnson. Since “Megatron” is getting up there in age and has a high affinity for getting injured, it would not surprise me to see the #3 eventually at some point in the year lining up as the #2 wide receiver.
I must reiterate the fact that I feel it would be advantageous of you to draft the winner of this position battle in later rounds for the bench and I would keep a close eye on the player’s week to week productivity. I feel it highly probable that, in time, this position could be used profitably at the flex position.
In all honesty, I expect it to be a breakout year for Corey Fuller, who has a high propensity to be a dynamic weapon in the offense based on his speed and size alone. Once he acquires the ability to start creating adequate separation from defenders in his route running, I see him being a formidable target for Stafford, perhaps even a red zone threat and a lethal target on third downs.
Before the start of the season, I will give an updated and more comprehensive look at the Lions’ wide receiver depth chart and its implications for the season. Subscribe to our site, and stay tuned for more information regarding this topic.