WRs to Target in 2016 – Ian Hill

I get it. It’s still July. The MLB All-Star just happened. To be honest, I am still knee-deep in my fantasy baseball. But as we all know, every league commissioner is sending out emails, texts and carrier pigeons to their respective leagues that it is almost draft season. Most leagues will be drafting some time in August so it is high time to start doing mock drafts, research and finding that one pick that will make you the smartest guy in the room come January. Without further ado, here are my top ten WR’s to look at.

There are some guys we do not have to talk about. Guys like Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones speak for themselves. Stevie Wonder could be their QB and they would still manage over 1,000 receiving yards. Here are the guys you should target.

Jordy Nelson, GB. Nelson’s season ended before it began, tearing his ACL in the 2015 preseason. Anybody with a pulse and basic football knowledge knows that he is one of the toughest competitors out there. In 2014, Nelson had 98 catches for 1,519 yards and 13 TD’s. Both catches and yards were career highs and TD’s his second most. Green Bay won the North last year without Nelson and we all found out how human Randall Cobb is without Nelson on the other hashes. Expect both wide outs to have a great year, with Nelson especially making up for an entire year off.

Mike Evans, TB. Evans had a bit of an odd year in 2015. He had career highs in receptions, targets, yards and average but his TD’s dropped from 12 to 3. Figuring out a new QB in Jameis Winston may have had a lot to do with that. Toward the end of the season, Winston had it figured out and look for that production to continue with Evans being the beneficiary. Remember, the Bucs play in the NFC South, where other than the Panthers, the Division isn’t great.

Brandon Marshall, NYJ. 2015 seemed like a hug year for Marshall, his first year in New York. However, it was just another ho-hum 1,500 yard, 14 TD season. It was the fourth time Marshall caught over 1,300 yards and his fourth 10+ TD year. What made it interesting was that it seemed like he had 17 different QB’s throwing the ball to him. He was a steal in last year’s draft (I took him in the 8th round) but he made it known that the QB situation was arbitrary. Whoever throws it, he’ll catch it.

Golden Tate, DET. Tate had 819 yards and 6 TD’s in 2015, 1,331 an 4 in 2014. Both those seasons he played second fiddle to one of the leagues all-time greats, Calvin Johnson. With Johnson retired, Tate take the WR1 spot on Detroit. ESPN has Golden Tate ranked at WR20 and 36th overall. If I were a betting man (and I am), I would bump him up before the likes of Sammy Watkins and Amari Cooper. Remember, Matt Stafford is a heck of a QB and there’s no Megatron to get in the way.

Doug Baldwin, SEA. Here’s the thing. The Seattle passing game is a crap shoot every year. Russell Wilson likes to run and Marshawn Lynch has been the stalwart back. But Lynch is gone and Thomas Rawls is largely unproven based on such a small sample size. This may be the year that the Seahawks go nuts and start throwing the ball, making Baldwin the primary recipient with a great supporting cast of Jimmy Graham, Jermaine Kearse and Tyler Lockett. Expect Dougie Ballgame to have a season like his second half if 2015.

DeSean Jackson, WSH. In eight NFL seasons, Jackson has gone for 1,000+ receiving yards and 6+ touchdowns in half of them. However, He has had no notable QB throwing his way. That is until this past season when Washington finally caught up with the rest of the planet and benched RGIII. Kirk Cousins is the man in Washington now and played like a force to be reckoned with. Remember kids, he’s only 29 and in a contract year. Take Jackson before the guy after you does and makes you look like a sucker.

Devin Funchess, CAR. Kelvin Benjamin not being around in 2015 made Carolina a little depleted. With him being back in 2016, they are downright scary. Enter Devin Funchess. Funchess in big at 6’4″, 225 and was more or less Kelvin Benjamin in the big guy’s absence. During most of the season, Funchess was used sparingly. But the last week of the season showed why he is going to be big: 7 catches for 120 yards and 2 TD’s. With Benjamin back and healthy along with Greg Olsen, defenses are going to have to choose who they leave open. My guess is that Funchess will reap the benefits.

Mohamed Sanu, ATL. It was tough watching Roddy White last year. As great as he was, he was no longer. Julio Jones kept up his level of production but Matty Ice didn’t have much of a second option. Enter the off-season and Mohamed Sanu. Sanu left Cincinnati where he was one of several “other” options for A.J. Green‘s side kick. Now with Atlanta, who had no real second threat in 2015, expect Sanu to take his talents to Georgia where he can finally live up to the glimpses of potential we all saw in Cinci.

Travis Benjamin, SD. Benjamin had a solid start and finish to his 2015 campaign. In his first three games, he went for 249 and four TD’s. He only scored one more touchdown the rest of the season but finished with a respectable 966 receiving yards. Now in San Diego with a solid (and singular) quarterback, Benjamin will be the downfield threat complimenting Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson underneath. He most likely won’t have as many receptions as Allen or Johnson, but when he catches the ball, he catches it for big time plays.

Chris Hogan, NE. Hogan comes to the Patriots by way of Buffalo. This is a sneaky, high risk, high reward pick. However, he will be the fastest guy on the squad. He looks like he would fit nicely into the Wes Welker spot that Danny Amendola was supposed to fill. With Julian Edelman and Amendola on the outside and Hogan in the slot, it is logical to think with his speed and hands, that spot might get filled. Remember, New England passes the ball around 60 times per game giving all three of them plenty of opportunities.


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