There used to be a widely held belief, especially in fantasy football circles, that most wide receivers didn’t blossom until their third season. If anyone is still holding on to that theory, it’s time to let it go.
In Week 2, three rookies were among the 15 wideouts who had more than 100 receiving yards, and others have made their presence felt. It’s more proof that opportunity outweighs experience when it comes to valuing a player.
Here’s a look at the three who shined Sunday and their prospects for the season, plus others who could emerge:
Corey Coleman, Browns: A 22-point showing (104 yards, two touchdowns) vaulted him into first among rookie wideouts with 28 basic-scoring points. Josh Gordon’s return from suspension after four games could change things, but for now Coleman is the team’s top wideout. The problem is veteran quarterback Josh McCown, who was at the helm for Coleman’s big game, is out with a shoulder injury. Coleman loses some luster with fellow rookie Cody Kessler under center. Consider him a flex-play option for now.
Will Fuller, Texans: He’s second among rookie wideouts with 26 points after breaking 100 yards in his first two games (104 on Sunday). Fuller’s blazing speed is bearing out in his per-catch average of 23.4 yards. He has a great opportunity playing opposite DeAndre Hopkins, who had 64 more catches than the nearest Texans wideout last season. The team drafted Fuller believing he could take pressure off Hopkins, and that appears to be happening. He belongs in your lineup.
Sterling Shepard, Giants: He’s third among rookie wideouts with 21 points. He’ll get plenty of chances in an offense that tied with the sixth-most passes last season and used three receivers on 91 percent of its pass plays. So don’t fret about Odell Beckham Jr. and the re-emergence of Victor Cruz. On Sunday, Shepard matched Beckham with eight catches and outgained him 117-86. And true to form, each receiver was on the field for no fewer than 94 percent of the Giants’ snaps. Shepard is a weekly starter.
Others to watch
Tyler Boyd, Bengals: He had as many targets as A.J. Green and Brandon LaFell (eight) on Sunday and almost doubled each with 78 yards.
Tajae Sharp, Titans: He leads the team’s receivers in targets, but with only 9.9 yards per catch, his ceiling isn’t very high right now.
Michael Thomas, Saints: He’s clearly third on the depth chart, but being third on the Saints is better than being second on some teams.
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WEEK 2 OUTLOOK
Browns RB Isaiah Crowell: The QB situation has become shaky, but he’s the feature back. He has outcarried Duke Johnson 30-6, and he’s fifth in RB scoring.
Ravens WR Mike Wallace: It’s time to buy in. He ranks sixth in WR scoring, and he has an enticing schedule ahead.
Bengals RB Jeremy Hill: His last 100-yard game came in 2014, and he’s averaging 2.7 yards per carry this year. Hill has become too dependent on TDs.
Saints RB Mark Ingram: In a close game Sunday, he ran only nine times, and Travaris Cadet is seeing more action than anticipated.
Chargers RB Melvin Gordon: His competition for touches was reduced with the loss of Danny Woodhead, and the Colts have allowed the most points to RBs.
Chiefs WR Jeremy Maclin: He’s a target monster, and he should take advantage of that against the Jets, who have allowed the fourth-most yards to WRs.
Redskins RB Matt Jones: The team hasn’t been able to stick with the run, and that doesn’t figure to change against the high-powered Giants.
49ers RB Carlos Hyde: He might have had his highest-scoring game of the year in Week 1. The Seahawks have allowed the fourth-fewest rushing yards to RBs.