Part two of this six part segment will feature my predictions for young, breakout wide receivers that have yet to catch the eye of NFL fans. Whose 2019 season will be reminiscent of JuJu Smith-Schuster’s immediate success on the field, or Tyreek Hill’s world renowned explosiveness that none of us could see coming. The key to their success will rely heavily on the men throwing them the ball, and this list won’t be featuring who I believe is the most talented, as much as who is in the best situation to break out onto the scene.
Mecole Hardman (Chiefs)
Rec Yards: 1,037
Let’s get this one out of the way now. Hardman was selected by the Chiefs in the second round of the draft and it wasn’t just because of his on field play. With the controversy circulating around Tyreek Hill’s availability heading into the season and Mahomes coming off his MVP campaign, the Chiefs are way too close to being Super Bowl contenders to not find a replacement for the most important weapon. The Chiefs made it a priority to supplement the future of their franchise in Mahomes by bringing in a spitting image of what Hill does on the field. If Hill serves any suspension, we will see a lot of Hardman early, in which case he will have to showcase enough to become a big piece of the offense. Reid has a distinct history of utilizing a lot of his depth chart offensively so the opportunities will be there for Hardman’s taking.
D.K. Metcalf (Seahawks)
Rec Yards: 865
Metcalf finds himself in one of the best situations out of any rookie becoming Russell Wilson’s newest weapon in the post-Doug Baldwin era. More importantly? He’s becoming Wilson’s favorite receiver with each passing day. After living up to expectations in his first day at minicamp in May, Wilson was recently quoted saying, “He (Metcalf) can do anything and everything… He’s a legit pro wide receiver. He’s everything that everyone was talking about in terms of what he is capable of and more.” Developing chemistry with Wilson in live game situations will be another battle for Metcalf, but he’s on pace to be the number one option for one of the league’s best quarterbacks, and his top flight speed and size make him a mismatch for any corner in the league.
Kenny Golladay (Lions)
Rec Yards: 1250
Golladay had plenty of moments last year where he showed he can and will be Detroit’s number one guy. Between his own injuries and Stafford’s, plus the departure of Golden Tate, Golladay struggled at times. With a full healthy offseason underway, you can expect a huge improvement from all facets of the offense. Under new coordinator Darrell Bevell, Golladay should thrive as the main receiver as they try to abandon the excessive use of the slot receiver and incorporate a more balanced offense. Injuries have held Golladay back since his rookie year so if he can finally stay healthy all season long he should be a hot commodity in all fantasy leagues.
James Washington (Steelers)
Rec Yards: 1,000
Washington was the best wide receiver in College football in 2017, and between Antonio Brown and JuJu, never really got much of an opportunity to broadcast what we saw at Oklahoma State. With AB now gone and JuJu giving him the highest praise of all the receivers on the roster, Washington is poised to step up. His stature is very similar to AB’s, (5’11’’, 210lbs), and clocked in at a 4.5 at the combine a year ago. If he can develop the chemistry needed with Ben, then Pittsburgh won’t miss a beat offensively this year.
Parris Campbell (Colts)
Rec Yards: 850
After the display the entire Colts team put on during the regular season, there’s no reason to expect anything less than a playoff run once again. Winners of 11 of their final 13 games including the playoffs, they come in this year as one of the most under the radar contenders I’ve seen in years. Adding the fastest wide receiver out of the draft only adds to the dynamic of this offense under Andrew Luck, and we will witness the results every Sunday. Campbell on the other hand, gained 809 of his 1,063 receiving yards last season after the catch, and serving the slot position won’t just open the door, it’ll kick the door down busting it open for many opportunities as he plays the low key role with Funchess and Hilton manning the vertical positions. It’s too early to say, but he may just be the top fantasy guy in that offense considering all of the mouths to be fed.
Mike Williams (Chargers)
Rec Yards: 1,100
Williams busted out onto the scene last year with 10 TD grabs, but with Tyrell Williams now apart of the Raiders one has to include him on this list. He was under 700 receiving yards last year but is set to be apart of a very dynamic 1-2 punch in LA alongside Keenan Allen. I don’t think Williams will have a big year, I know he will. This should be a fun year for LA teams all around, but don’t be surprised if we find the Chargers has the next one to make a trip to the Super Bowl.
Rec Yards: 805
With the 36th pick in the NFL Draft, the 49ers addressed the need for wide receiver, and I think they hit this one out of the park. While other receivers in this draft got their high praises from either being flashy, lightning quick, or just downright super-human looking, Samuel’s reputation has one claim to fame; fearless. Samuel is no stranger to contact, and every time he has the ball in his hands you can tell he’s searching for it. Both taking, and dishing out the punishment, take the time to watch any of his film and you’ll see a receiver stuck in a big running backs body, (5’11’’, 214 lbs). It doesn’t stop there, if you thought he was physical with the ball, you should watch him in open-field blocking situations. Truly the only question mark on this guy is his deep threat ability which can be compensated for the core of receivers on the 49ers roster that include George Kittle, Dante Pettis, and when healthy, Marquise Goodwin. Samuel is in good position on a less-than sexy core of wide receivers, but all of which have strong suits and weaknesses of their own. Samuel, aside from being gifted with a tall frame, can pretty much do anything else and will soon become a trusted target for Jimmy G.