Fantasy football is a game of strategy. There are so many different variables to take into account when drafting your team, and the depth of talent at each position varies year to year.
While it’s important to have an idea of who you want to target early in the draft, there’s always value in players later in the draft. This is where leagues are won and lost.
Everyone knows that Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill will put up numbers this season. However, few people consider which receivers ranked outside the top 50 have a chance to break top 25 numbers at the position.
That’s what this article will focus on, as we will outline five late-round wide receivers with potential for big rewards.
Brandin Cooks – Houston Texans
It really seems like Deshaun Watson won’t play in 2021. That undoubtedly hurts the fantasy value of Brandin Cooks. However, not all is lost with the veteran receiver. The Texans will be forced into passing situations while playing from behind for most of the season. As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cooks sees double-digit targets every week.
Cooks is the only proven pass-catcher on Houston’s roster, and they’ll need to utilize him to the max in order to stay competitive. Will Fuller and Randall Cobb are out of town, so Cooks is definitely the “alpha” of this group. It’s not like Tyrod Taylor is an incapable quarterback either.
I’m targeting Cooks as a late-round filler through all fantasy formats, as I believe he has a nice floor/upside combination that is getting overlooked.
Nico Collins – Houston Texans
What’s going on here? We are talking about two legitimate fantasy options from the Texans in the same article. Let me explain.
I’m a believer in Brandin Cooks, especially to begin the season. However, I believe there’s enough passing volume to go around in Houston. The Texans are that bad. They’ll have to throw far more than they want to in 2021. Outside of Cooks, the receiver position is unsettled. That’s where rookie Nico Collins comes in.
Collins is a big-bodied receiver who brings size to the table (unlike Cooks). There’s a chance Houston will try to feed him the ball in the red zone, similar to the video listed below. Remember, the Texans traded up for Collins, so it would make sense to give him plenty of snaps to prepare for the future.
Michael Pittman Jr. – Indianapolis Colts
Let’s take a look at another big receiver with breakout potential. Michael Pittman Jr. could make that leap in his sophomore season.
Pittman started to emerge towards the end of last season, posting five catches for 90 yards (10 targets) in the Colts’ playoff loss to Buffalo. Say what you want about Carson Wentz, but he should be able to throw the ball downfield better than Colts’ QB, Philip Rivers, last season. That will create more opportunities for Pittman.
On top of that, fellow receiver T.Y. Hilton will miss time to begin the season. That could funnel more targets towards Pittman. It’s clear that the former USC Trojan is the most talented pass-catcher on this roster, and it’s only a matter of time until the Colts give him WR1 treatment.
Marvin Jones Jr. – Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are going to look very different this season. Urban Meyer takes over as head coach and he has rookie QB Trevor Lawrence leading the way. I’m a believer in Lawrence’s ability to contribute right away. However, who is he going to throw to?
The Jaguars have several good receivers, but none of them are considered great. Laviska Shenault Jr. has breakout potential, while Marvin Jones Jr. and D.J. Chark Jr. are in contention for reps as well. Chark suffered an injury in training camp, and Jones has surpassed him for WR1 consideration as a result.
Shenault Jr. has been generating fantasy hype, but don’t sleep on Jones – who comes at a much cheaper acquisition cost. Shenault will run short routes over the middle while Jones will serve as more of a true outside receiver. Marvin excelled in that role for the Lions. It helps that Jacksonville has a relatively easy schedule when it comes to opponent DVOA to receivers.
Jakobi Meyers – New England
Mac Jones has taken the reins in New England. Every pass-catcher on the Patriots will receive a boost in the wake of this news. However, it remains to be seen who Jones will favor the most out of this group.
That could easily be Jakobi Meyers, who has shown the most ability out of this receiving corps. Julian Edelman is retired, so the Patriots need someone else to soak up a steady stream of targets. I really like Meyers’ chances of being that guy.
Meyers has so much going for him, especially with the much-needed upgrade at quarterback. To make matters even better, the Patriots have one of the best schedules for receivers according to FantasyPros.
Elijah Moore – New York Jets
Moore is a bonafide stud. He suffered a minor quad injury in training camp, and fantasy enthusiasts have seemingly forgotten about him because of it. Similar to the Texans, the Jets will be throwing the ball plenty this season while trying to stay in games. Moore could lead them in targets. He gives me Justin Jefferson vibes from last season.
Darnell Mooney – Chicago Bears
Chances are you’ve heard of Mooney as a fantasy sleeper this season. I believe the hype is warranted, and Mooney could fully realize his upside in 2021. That especially holds true once rookie QB Justin Fields takes over to give the Bears a much-need shot in the arm.
Bryan Edwards – Las Vegas Raiders
Twitter loves Bryan Edwards. I don’t know what to believe, but he’s someone who is worth looking at towards the end of fantasy drafts. If the preseason reports are correct, then Edwards could see plenty of red-zone looks in 2021. We aren’t really sure how that will pan out in real life. Still, Edwards should step up in a Las Vegas offense that needs receiver production.