In the fifth of a six-part fantasy football draft preview series, The Post breaks down wide receivers. Next week: sleepers and busts.
Come on, you adventurous souls. We’re gonna take a ride in the Way-Back Machine. Hold on while I roll back the destination date. This could take a minute because we’re going all the way back to … 2016. Well, that didn’t take so long.
It was a different time. Many things were different. We didn’t have face-ID on our cell phones. Pokemon Go was a thing. People were obsessed about the 2016 election. And Andrew Luck fed T.Y. Hilton enough quality targets to make him a top-five fantasy wide receiver.
Hmmm. … It seems some things have changed, but not all. Any guesses? No, we’re not talking about the election, we’re talking about the fantasy outlook for Hilton this season with Luck returning from a shoulder injury that kept him sidelined all of last year.
Luck’s iffy status has some hesitant to invest in his full recovery. We’re not so timid. Though some early season rust wouldn’t be surprising, we expect him to return to form for the bulk of the season. And his resurgence will buoy a return for Hilton to the top ranks of fantasy WRs.
There is some good and bad news. The bad news is Hilton is nursing a shoulder strain, which will sideline him for the rest of the preseason. The good news is Hilton’s shoulder strain should limit his rise in fantasy drafts.
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Recently, he had seen an uptick from an ADP around 36 in June, according to , to as high as 26 in recent weeks. We loved him in either spot, and were willing to stay on the wave had he risen a few picks more.
Now, we shouldn’t have to worry about that. If anything, he likely to slide back a tick into a middle-third-round staple. Yet we put him on par with or slightly ahead of middle-second-round target A.J. Green.
Ah, 2016. Such great memories. And now we reboard our Way-Back Machine and head back home. But first, a quick stop in the first half of the 2017 season, when Chris Hogan was racking up nearly seven targets per game and recording five touchdowns in the first eight weeks, before a shoulder injury cost him the second half of the season. Healthy this season, and with Julian Edelman suspended the first four weeks, expect Hogan to inherit even more targets early on. His ADP has risen more than three full rounds since June — from 7.11 to 4.8 — which we call a market correction. It hasn’t caught up quite yet. Hogan still offers value even with his bumped-up price.
Back into our favorite time-traveling device, and a quick trip to the final five weeks of last season. That is when we saw Jimmy Garoppolo take over as QB in San Francisco, and when Marquise Goodwin’s production skyrocketed. He averaged nearly 8.6 targets, 5.8 receptions and 76.8 yards per game. Concerns the return of Pierre Garcon would cut into Goodwin’s role have been quelled by signs Goodwin is still Garoppolo’s favorite.
Targets are essential for fantasy receivers. Having the right draft targets is just as essential.
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