Fantasy Football

2018 Fantasy Football Rookie Wide Receivers: Did I Pick The Right One?

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Hello Fantasy friends and foes. Welcome to my analysis of the 2018 Fantasy Football Rookie Wide Receivers.

I took a look at a dozen rookie receivers that fantasy owners should consider in their drafts and auctions. Every season, there is an influx of rookie impact receivers. Were you lucky enough to have Cooper Kupp or JuJu Smith-Schuster last season? Or were you unfortunate and selected Mike Williams?

I want to help. So here I provide to you, in order, the most impactful rookie wide receivers of 2018. Which receivers do you like? Who are you staying from?

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Let me assist you in choosing the right rookie receiver with the 2018 Fantasy Football Rookie Wide Receivers.

2018 Fantasy Football Rookie Wide Receivers

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D.J. Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers

D.J. Moore was the first wide receiver selected in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Panthers drafted him 24th in the first round; after finishing his college career winning the 2017 Big Ten Receiver of the Year. He was also a first-team all-conference selection despite having to catch balls from four different quarterbacks throughout the season. Furthermore, he finished his college career making 35 consecutive starts dating back to his freshman year. That alone means Moore will remain on the field providing him with more opportunity to make big plays.

In his first NFL preseason game D.J. racked up four receptions for a team-high 75 yards. Moore got an “elite” 90.2 overall grade for his performance from Pro Football Focus and named to their team of the week.

Currently, it would seem that Moore will be the third receiver on the depth chart behind Devin Funchess and newcomer Torrey Smith. Inevitably, I think the former Terrapin will become Cam Newton’s favorite target by mid-season. He brings a level of speed that should make him the deep threat that the Panthers sorely need. Moore, as a well-built receiver, has natural athleticism with big-play ability.

Moore ranks as WR47 on draft boards and 116th overall according to Fantasy Pros. The draft capital is not steep for a potential big-play receiver. However, the issue for me is the accuracy, or lack thereof, from his quarterback Cam Newton. Moore will produce up to his draft price, but better if utilized in best-ball formats.

Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago Bears

We saw an overhaul of the Bears offense this offseason. There are now multiple mouths to feed in Chicago. The Bears have second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who should make major strides this season. Anthony Miller will compete with Kevin White for a starting job opposite newcomers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel. Miller should beat out White for the starting slot receiver position, especially since White can never stay healthy.

Miller has been the star of Bears training camp and appears set for a big role in the offense. He looks like he can contribute quickly as a slot receiver, which suits him perfectly due to his size-5’11” 190lbs. He has very good hands and NFL.com ranks Miller 10th on its list of top-20 fantasy rookies, and the only wideout ahead of him on the list is Calvin Ridley.

His ADP is No.159 (13th round) and more than likely Miller will be a secondary pass-catching option and probably take a few dozen hand-offs this season. He is still a potential sleeper candidate who could make you look brilliant come fantasy playoff time.

Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys

In the offseason, the Cowboys attempted to fix the glaring issues at wide receiver by adding Allen Hurns, then acquiring Tavon Austin via trade. In addition, they waited until the third round of the NFL draft and selected Michael Gallup of Colorado State.  His route-running ability and great hands will be a welcome sight for Dak Prescott.

The assumption is that the Cowboys will start Hurns and Terrance Williams at wide receivers with Tavon Austin manning the slot. Before long, Gallup will start earning snaps with the first-team offense if he continues progressing with his momentum from practices.

Gallup made his first NFL catch and scored a touchdown on the same play against the Niners’ starting defense. It was the perfect way to kick off his NFL career. He still has a lot to prove, and like most NFL rookies, consistency will be the biggest obstacle in his rookie season.

With the Cowboys releasing Dez Bryant and future Hall-of-Famer tight end Jason Witten’s retirement, that opens up tons of targets. The wideout had a great training camp and his skills are emerging toward WR1. Gallup’s recent play makes it seem a real possibility he can be that this season. More to come.

James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers struck gold in the second round last year as JuJu Smith-Schuster emerged as a valuable complement to Antonio Brown. In the 2018 NFL Draft, they hoped to repeat that success with another second-round pick in James Washington. Washington posted three straight 1,000-yard seasons at Oklahoma State. The Steelers liked Washington because of his ability to adjust on deep throws and win 50-50 battles.

Washington joins a Steelers offense looking for someone to take over for the traded Martavis Bryant at the No.3 wide receiver role. The Steelers have plenty of weapons so his biggest challenge might be getting enough touches.

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In his preseason debut last week, Washington caught two passes for 41 yards. He continues to get more time with the first-team offense during camp, and as you can see Big Ben likes him.

I see James Washington as a good middle-to-late-round fantasy option for this season. His fantasy value for 2019 and beyond depends upon the Steelers retaining LeVeon Bell and if Big Ben actually does retire as he continues to hint upon.

Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons selected the former Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley with their 2018 first round pick. Ridley is entering an ideal situation where he can learn from Julio Jones. Although he’s likely the third receiver for the Falcons behind Jones and Mohamed Sanu, Ridley can still be fantasy relevant for owners this season.

Ridley should be a major upgrade over Taylor Gabriel, last year’s slot/third receiver. Gabriel struggled last season with just 33 catches for 378 yards and one touchdown on 51 targets.

Despite not making any plays in his first preseason game, Ridley has reportedly been a star in training camp. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn told reporters at Tuesday’s press conference that Ridley might be returning kickoffs for part of the second preseason game. Ridley has excellent quickness and the advantage of having the Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, who spent time coaching him in Alabama.

I think it would be fair to expect Calvin Ridley to put up 800 yards and six touchdowns. Not bad for the 114th player drafted on your roster.

Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos

The Broncos spent a high second-round pick on Southern Methodist receiver Courtland Sutton. Sutton surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in each of his final two seasons at SMU. He is in competition for the third receiver role with 2017 third round pick Carlos Henderson and fellow rookie fourth-round pick DaeSean Hamilton.

Sutton made spectacular play after spectacular play so far in training camp. Currently, he is the favorite for the third receiver role whose ability to dominate with his big body reminds the Broncos of Demaryius Thomas’ first year in the NFL. His role will be as a big red zone threat. He is a prototypical possession receiver with a very large catch radius and the size to win contested catches.

He holds immense dynasty appeal with both starting wideouts Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders likely to leave after this season. Sutton is also worth a look in deeper leagues due to being an excellent red zone threat.

Six other rookie wide receivers to take a look at in your fantasy drafts

Antonio Callaway, WR, Cleveland Browns

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The fourth-round pick might be one of best athletes of the 2018 NFL Draft. He was a risk/reward pick dealing with off-the- field incidents as recently as last week. His play made last year’s first-round Corey Coleman expendable. His big-play ability was on display in the first preseason game. Worth a pick in the late rounds.

D.J. Chark, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

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The Jaguars have a crowded receiver core but none of them stand at 6’4″ with good athleticism and can run the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds. He could develop into a red zone threat. Probably should go undrafted but fantasy owners need to keep an eye on him to see how he develops this season.

Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals

After Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals wide receivers do not wow people. Kirk should be the Cardinals’ No. 2 receiver from the start. However, he will be the third target at best behind Fitzgerald and David Johnson. Also, the Cardinals quarterback situation is a question mark.

J’Mon Moore, WR, Green Bay Packers

Moore features good size and plays with Aaron Rodgers, who can make any wide receiver a fantasy asset.

Dante Pettis, WR, San Francisco 49ers

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Pettis will be a great best ball pick due to his return abilities and big-game potential. However, not sure if he will get enough targets in a crowded wide receiver depth chart to be relevant in seasonal leagues.

Tre’Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans Saints

The third-round pick is listed as a second-stringer on the depth chart. Smith could have an opportunity to make a fantasy impact this season. A good preseason performance and any setbacks from Cameron Merideth could increase the speedster’s playing time immediately.

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Hey, don’t leave just yet. As we head into Week Two of the NFL Preseason, take a look at who and what made news in Week 1 in my NFL 2018 Preseason Week 1 Fantasy Football Notebook. Also, take a look at which wide receivers that you should not draft this season at their current ADP, as I present 2018 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Do Not Draft List.

Need something to listen to while reading these articles, take a listen to the Fantasy Edge with our special guest from the NFL Network James Koh, listen to it here, The Fantasy Edge: 2018 Fantasy Football Talk With James Koh.

About Dennis Sosic

Dennis Sosic is from Cleveland, Ohio and a HUGE sports fan including NFL (GO BROWNS!) and college football (GO BUCKEYES!) MLB (GO TRIBE), NBA (GO CAVS!) and MMA. He has been called a Sports Geek by friends and foes alike and that fits him perfectly. He has been competing in fantasy sports, mainly fantasy football and baseball for over 20 years. Please do all of us a favor and follow Dennis @ CALL_ME_SOS.

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