brings out some amazing human emotion. There is the joy and elation a new season brings while we also witness the aggressive, combative nature of people stirred up by the weekly head-to-head competition. There is the love a good trade brings to the table, and there is obviously the agony of defeat each week.
Funny enough, we also all find ourselves a bit nostalgic, yearning for fantasy deliciousness of years past. The running back renaissance is certainly upon us, but with this season’s crop of rookie wideouts, many are wondering if this is the season we recapture that 2014 Year of the Rookie Receiver.
In 2014, there was an influx of receiving talent fantasy owners hadn’t seen in some time. Odell Beckham Jr. had a phenomenal rookie campaign with the Giants, and he was also joined by the likes of Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Sammy Watkins, Brandon Cooks and Allen Robinson. We even saw glimpses of greatness from Jordan Matthews, Davante Adams and Marqise Lee.
That season turned fantasy owners into prospect junkies and now five seasons later, everyone is looking for their fix.
The Bears’ Anthony Miller stands out the most here in the preseason, as the former Memphis star has already carved out a spot for himself as the team’s No. 2 wideout. He isn’t the biggest guy on the field, but his route-running and hands already have made him a favorite of both head coach Matt Nagy and starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky. He is expected to see a significant number of targets between the 20s and inside the red zone.
Calvin RidleyGetty Images
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But Miller is only the tip of the iceberg. Atlanta’s Calvin Ridley and Pittsburgh’s James Washington are both shining bright in camp. Both receivers reside in the shadows of the NFL’s most-elite wideouts, but have earned themselves a share of the targets nevertheless. Though Julio Jones and Antonio Brown get the double-coverage and Mohamed Sanu and Juju Smith-Schuster work out of their respective slots, Ridley and Washington will be used to stretch the field and should be strong assets in standard-scoring leagues.
Let’s not forget Michael Gallup of the Cowboys either. The receiving corps in Dallas is third-rate, at best, which means Gallup has the chance to connect with Dak Prescott this season. With the injuries to the Dallas offensive line, Prescott is going to be rolling out and looking downfield often, which sets up Gallup for tremendous possibilities. He even could end up as the most-targeted receiver on that team.
Even further down the list we see Denver’s Courtland Sutton and Arizona’s Christian Kirk. And don’t you dare sleep on New Orleans’ Tre’Quan Smith. There is no need to overdraft any of these names, but when looking for depth in the later rounds, you have amazing possibilities.
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at , which is offering free cheat sheets for Post readers for and formats. Follow him on Twitter and catch him on the award winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 4-6 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm for all your fantasy sports advice and .
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