AFC North

Draft Guide Exclusive – Sophomore WRs to Keep an Eye On – N. Lalani

by Nabeel Lalani

There’s a lot of chatter about WRs as we get closer to the start of the season. After a lot of research, I’ve come up with the Top 5 sophomore WRs I think should be considered, starting with a couple of honorable mentions:

Dante Pettis – ‘49ers: Pettis put up great numbers last year especially when you see what he had at QB. With the expectation of a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo, we should see big numbers from Petts this year.

Christian Kirk – Cardinals: With new QB Kyler Murray and Kiff Kingsbury calling plays, I would expect Chrsitian Kirk to see many targets while he lines up in the slot. Plus, Kirk has some history with Murray at Texas A&M already.

And now to my Top 5:

James Washington – Steelers

With Antonio Brown exiting, it pushes JuJu Smith-Schuster to the number one spot and leave the number two WR wide open. James Washington was a swiss army knife in his time at Oklahoma State and will most likely be doing the same with the Steelers this season. Washington would be an ideal gamble pick in most half and full point PPRs as he could be spending a good amount of time in the slot and help move the chains for the Steelers this season.

2019 projection: 70 rec, 900 rec and 8 TDS

Anthony Miller – Bears

Miller was a favorite target for Mitch Trubisky whenever he was on the field last year. He posted 7 touchdowns, but his yards and receptions did not match what was expected. With Miller and Mitch being in the second year of Matt Nagy’s offense, Miller should see a lot of targets through the year, especially as a red zone target. I would expect for him to increase his touchdowns to 10. That said, my only concern about Miller’s production will be the other weapons on the Bears with Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, Tarik Cohen, and David Montgomery also getting targets.

2019 projection: 50 rec, 800 yds, and 10 TDs

Cortland Sutton – Broncos

Sutton quietly put up 700 yards receiving last year on the Broncos, but never eclipsed 100 yards in a game. Now that he will be the number one receiving option on the outside of newly acquired Joe Flacco, I would expect Sutton to not only be targeted more, but for him to put up many ‘100 yard’ games. While averaging 16.8 yards a reception last year, we can only expect that number to go up. 

2019 projection: 65 rec, 1200 yards and 8 TDs.

D.J. Moore – Panthers

DJ could be higher on this list considering he had the second most receiving yards amongst rookie WR in 2018. His number may take a hit, however, with the status of Cam Newton. Earlier in the offseason, there were reports that Cam might sit out this year, but nothing has come since the initial report. It cannot be denied that Cam has been getting beat up more and more every year. 

With a healthy Cam Newton, DJ Moore may put up the best numbers of this group of WRs simply based off the volume of targets he will get.  

2019 projections 65 rec, 1100 yds, and 9 TDs

Calvin Ridley – Falcons

Calvin was the ultimate boom or bust WR last year. He went from posting double digit numbers for a three-week span to posting single digit numbers for a three-week span. Calvin should be poised to be the most consistent WR this year as he is likely to be the number two WR for the Falcons behind Julio. Ridley appeared the most complete WR in the 2018 draft and he showed it last season by posting 64 receptions, 821 yds, and 10 TD. 

2019 projection: 80 rec, 1200 yds rec, 12 TDs 



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