Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 Fantasy Receivers for 2015

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See...this one is hard. Maybe I should have done QBs first, since you kinda need a QB to have a good WR...right? Anyways, I love doing WRs because there is so much involved! If you missed my other 2015 post, you can check it out here!

DaeSean Hamilton (PSU)-Hamilton caught a whopping 82 balls in 2014 including a Penn State record 14 in a game. The kid from Okinawa had only 2 TDs to show for it, however, which kept him from being one of the top 10 point scorers this past year. That won't be a problem this year. Hackenberg is already the top QB on draft boards because of his strong arm and presence in the pocket. The front half of the schedule is an absolute joke and the James Franklin machine will churn out points and yards early on before an October 17th showdown with Ohio State, which will make him a shakey start for that week. But, the schedule over all is light and the workload will be heavy. This would be a premier tandem, if you can swing it. 

Pharoah Cooper (SCAR)-The secret it surely out of the bag with Cooper. Rarely is a QB situation a benefit to a receiver. In Cooper's case, it makes him one of the top-10 valued players in college football. Cooper can do it all. He catches. He throws. He runs. And, Spurrier isn't afraid to showcase this guy. Even though the QB situation benefits him as a utility player, finding the right QB would turn him into a top receiver, which is likely to happen. Fact is, the WR isn't a position where you expect 10 or more touches every game. But, the Gamecocks' gameplan will be to do just that with Cooper. 

KD Cannon (Baylor)- Many people will see the departure of Bryce Petty and shy away from taking a returning receiver who benefited so well from a prolific QB. However, I ask you to bear with me for a minute.  
In his first year at Waco, he caught 58 balls for 1,030 yards and 8 TDs. Wow. Though I didn't expect him to build on that, I do expect as much production. It's becoming common knowledge that the QBs aren't what are making it work, but Art Briles and his system. Despite being a frontrunner for 2 straight years, Petty follows in the footsteps of Heisman-winner RG3 as looking remarkably ho-hum in the NFL after being superstars in college. Of all coaches, Briles is one I trust because he is doing it at a high level, despite not being in a premier program. Let's not forget that games were won despite Petty being hurt, so there is a serviceable QB in there. I do realize that Coleman is the leading receiver returning on Baylor's squad. But, I think Coleman will be terrifically over valued. Though he scored more points, he had some MONSTER games mixed in that skewed his value. 

Jordon Westerkamp(Neb)- Playing second fiddle to Kenny Bell for the last few seasons has left Westerkamp largely off the radar, despite finishing #91 in points scored in 2014. Bell was the bell cow for the Huskers when they needed a big play. Things are really stacking up well for Westerkamp to have a breakout year in his last year in Lincoln. With the aforementioned Bell and stat monster running back Ameer Abdullah gone, expect Westerkamp to build on his 700+ yards and 5 TDs. It's worth mentioning this his QB, Armstrong, is back and now under Mike Riley, who produced 3 NFL QBs at Oregon State. Westerkamp will be a valuable addition because he zero'd times last year. That's big. Unlike many WRs, his value wasn't built on some monster 60-point game and then mediocrity. He produced steadily. Getting him alone is good. Getting him with Armstrong....

Will Fuller (ND)-Despite an atrocious year for the Fightin' Irish, Fuller caught a monster 76 balls for 1,000 yards and and amazing 15 TDs. Keep in mind that ND had some QB troubles along the way. By season's end, Golson was out and highly touted Zaire was in. Zaire fared well as a starter and targeted Fuller 5 times in both of his first extended action games including 1 TD. Zaire looks to be the man as he looks every bit of a slightly improved version of Golson himself. Running QBs do a guy like Fuller a lot of good, as the play action pass, with the threat of a QB to run, freezes defense, springing him for the big play. Though Fuller never had over 10 catches in a game, he had 3 multi-TD games and was held out of the endzone only twice. Talk about amazing. While I don't think Zaire is a great QB, he does the things Fuller needs to be successful. Even shakey play from Zaire will allow another great year for Fuller. This presents another unstoppable team, if you can get them together. With Fuller's endzone ability and the stat-padding ability Zaire offers as a running QB, you can win games on these two guys alone.

***UPDATED 6/25/2015***

DJ Foster (ASU)- So, Foster has been one of the more electric players in all of college football the last few years. However, in one of the more prolific offenses of the year, Foster moved from being a lead back to a more diverse role, which opened the door for Demario Richard, who was big down the stretch, rushing for nearly 500 yards and 4 TDs. Richard is more of a typical size RB at 5-10 220, a full 20 pounds heavier than Foster. Additionally, De'Chavon Hayes transferred in and lit up the defenses in the spring. On the outside, Jaelen Strong is now in the NFL, the only WR the team other than Smith who had meaningful reception. Who else had receptions? Foster. 62 of them....a monstrous number for a RB. Well, word around the campfire is that Foster will be moving to WR to fill a huge void left by Strong. With Foster in the slot, expect similar numbers of receptions (let's be real, 60 is a terrific number for ANY player) and ALSO some touches out of sweeps and maybe even the backfield. With Foster being the only playmaker for Bercovici, expect 15 touches a game for the safety blanket.  What that means is a game breaker. Across the league, here will only be a handful of these guys who are classified either incorrectly, or prematurely. Between his receptions and touches, you have a receiver who puts up legitimate RB1 numbers. If he reclassifies, he is a legitimate 1st WR off the board. Otherwise, he is still a solid late RB1 or early RB2 because of his PPR. 

Best of the Rest

Duke Williams(Auburn)-I really hesitate to list Duke. It's no secret that I am a huge Auburn fan and I have seen this guy play more than the 5 listed above combined. He has the QB. He has the talent. However, he is the only serviceable deep threat that Auburn has established. In the SEC-West, most teams have a secondary that can take a star receiver...even an NFL-talent like Williams-out of a game. When that happens, those secondary guys take over, and Auburn has those in spades. That's not what you want in fantasy. Ole Miss, LSU, and Bama...and largely Louisville...have the ability to do just that. I still think Duke has everything you need in a draftable receiver because he can act as a possession guy and he has the redzone on lock. However, he isn't a game breaker, fantasy wise. He is 10 points per game with an outside chance to get you 25 three times a season. 

De'Runnya Wilson (MISS ST)-If this kid can stay out of trouble, he will be a top NFL talent. The Bull Dogs success was the ability for Prescott to hand the ball off to Robinson or run it himself, while throwing for high-completion type balls in the middle. Wilson benefited from 47 of those for 9 TDs. Keep in mind though Wilson was outside the top 100 scoring WRs last year, he didn't play in 3 games of Chump Play and was limited in 3 more. But in SEC-play, he caught touchdowns. He isn't an every week start, but you know when to play him. There is a chance that he gets over-valued...but he could drop. The Bulldogs WILL throw more this year and he is the TD machine they need to catch them. If he can stay out of trouble and make the roster. 

Laquon Treadwell (MISS)-I don't think it's a question of "IF" but "WHEN." Someone will draft him, despite his broken leg. Without him, Ole Miss faltered down the stretch. With no run game to speak of and no clear QB, it seems likely that the throw first attack of Hugh Freeze desperately needs an every down guy like Treadwell. Similar to Williams, I don't seem him being a 40+ point breakout guy, but he is good for 10-12 simply because of his value as a PPR player. AS a sophmore, other players benefited from the attention that Treadwell demanded. Guys like Cody Core had breakout games. Now that they have developed, Treadwell may be able to warrant single coverage again. That's especially true if he becomes 100% and defenses are caught napping on him. I wouldn't take him early, but if he is around later...I'd snag him. 

Marquez North (TENN)-The SEC-East is still down. Defenses simply aren't up to snuff. I don't buy all the Dobbs hype, personally, but I do think it helps North. North was a force in SEC-Only leagues and I think he is ready for primetime. He has had 30+ catches both years he has been on Rocky Top and 5 TDs to show off. That's being behind some VERY skilled WRs like Patterson and with shaky QB play. I think he will be terrifically undervalued and will be a mid-round steal.

Hunter Sharp/JoJo Natson (Utah St)-These two dudes lit it up last year. Sharp is a pure receiver who caught 66 balls for over 900 yards and 7 TDs. He really benefited from Chuckie Keeton's injury that signaled a shift from run-first to throw-first. However, it remains to be seen what will happen at QB since Keeton has a 6th year of eligibility and a few QB transfers. It's hard to go wrong here, as there has been terrific stability in Logan. On the other side is JoJo Natson who offers something truly special. He had 50 rushes and 3 TDs to go along with his 51 catches and 2 TDs. He is also the best punt returner in his conference....which makes him ubber-sneaky. He is as likely as any WR to have a 40+ game. You should own at least 1 of these guys. 

Juju Smith (USC)- Smith had 54 total receptions and 5 Tds in a relatively quiet year for the Trojans. Ahead of him was a top NFL pick in Agholer. The Trojans lose their top rusher to the NFL, but Kessler...who had a 39 TDs and a nearly 4:1 TD:INT ratio is back....and behind what many are calling the best offensive line in college football. Juju was very active each game, only having 2 games of 3 receptions or less. He has terrific size at 6'2" 215. With him being the only real returning receiver on this kind of team, be ready for major fireworks.

Bonus Pick
Pigg Howard (TENN)- Not the deep threat that North is, this kid has something unique. He averages at least 1 rush per game. He had 2 rushing TDs in 2014 to go along with his 54 catches and 1 TD. Not a stat monster, but his ability to run the ball adds a lot of stability.