We have made it. August is here and football is back. Granted, right now it’s preseason, but this is where we get to see players return to the field and showcase their talent.
The fantasy football faithful are planning their drafts, playing best ball, studying DFS, or may already be participating in new or continued dynasty leagues. For most, this time of year is exciting to say the least.
Heading into 2018 draft strategy, sleepers, breakouts, and busts are some of the most searched terms on the internet. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some sophomore wide receivers who may be set up for a breakout season. These are players that can be drafted in the later rounds of drafts and outperform their draft position.
Fantasy Football 2018: Potential Wide Receiver Breakouts
Keelan Cole – Jacksonville Jaguars
Undrafted rookie Keelan Cole made an impact last season. So many people were waiting for fellow rookie Dede Westbrook to return from an injury that Cole seemed to slip under the radar. When Westbrook got on the field, he was immediately relevant for fantasy. Cole, however, was a monster that flourished more when Westbrook got onto the field. As the season progressed, and Bortles came around, Cole became a solid down-the-field type of receiving option. Through weeks 13-16, Cole was averaging 20.3 points-per-game in PPR formats.
He finished the season with 748 yards which led the Jaguars receiving corp. He also tied all receivers on his team with receiving touchdowns, finishing with three.
Both Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson have moved on to other teams. Cole has had a full season to get acquainted not only with the playbook but with the sometimes inconsistent play of quarterback Blake Bortles. Entering his sophomore season, Cole is primed for more targets and a breakout type of year.
Marqise Lee is expected to be the main perimeter target, and his average draft position (ADP) is in the 11th round. Both Westbrook and Cole are in the 14th round. Cole has the advantage here based on how the offense seems to operate and the apparent chemistry with Bortles. Cole will be lining up as the primary slot receiver, a position in which he did most of his damage last season. While no one expects the Jaguars to operate in a pass-heavy script, Cole is a sneaky last pick stash for the fantasy savvy player and could end up being the top target in that offense.
His current ADP is 14.07 making him a late pick in most formats that could easily return value. He should be targeted in both dynasty formats and seasonal leagues. He could be a sneaky matchup type of play in DFS early on.
Josh Doctson – Washington Redskins
Josh Doctson has not had an easy transition into the NFL thus far. He missed virtually all of his rookie season and struggled early part of last season just to be on the field.
Entering the 2018 season, Doctson finds himself with a new quarterback in Alex Smith and less competition. With Terrelle Pryor gone, Doctson is emerging as the number-two receiver behind Jamison Crowder. The Redskins brought in a field-stretcher type of receiver in Paul Richardson, but that shouldn’t affect Doctson all that much.
With Crowder most likely drawing the top corner coverage, and Richardson stretching the field, Doctson may find himself the recipient of a higher target share from Smith. As the 2017 season progressed, Doctson saw a rise in snaps and targets, so his numbers were trending to the positive. He also proved himself to be a dangerous red-zone weapon, hauling in six touchdowns last season.
Granted, there are question marks anytime a new quarterback comes into an offense, but Smith is a reliable quarterback who rarely makes big mistakes. Doctson could emerge as the number-two receiver in this offense, with a good touchdown upside. His current ADP is 13.01 making him a solid value pick late in drafts.
Chris Godwin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chris Godwin was very quiet through the first eight games of his rookie season. As the season progressed, Godwin saw his snap counts rise, his target volume increase, and we saw him flash some serious talent when given the opportunity.
Godwin only finished with one touchdown last season, but he put on a show in that game. He finished that game with 111 yards on seven receptions and one score. It is difficult to take the last game of the season and project that forward into the following year. However, Godwin has impressed in training camp this season.
Godwin did not see a heavy target share early on, but he was very efficient when he was targeted. From week 10 on, he was averaging just over 15 yards per catch. With reports coming out of camp that he has “earned the right” to start, he may supplant DeSean Jackson as the number-two receiving option in an offense that looks to be playing from behind often.
His current ADP is 14.05 making him all but a free pick at the end of seasonal leagues. Jackson is the better target for best ball formats, but Godwin is a great value pick in redraft leagues. He’s also a player that should be targeted in dynasty formats before he has his breakout year.
Mike Williams – Los Angeles Chargers
Mike Williams’ rookie season was derailed by a back injury. He finished the season with 10 receptions on 23 total targets. But last year’s seventh overall pick may have a breakout campaign in the making for the 2018 season. He heads into training camp healthy and creating a bit of a buzz with his talent on display.
Williams is a big target at 6’4”, 220 pounds and boasts a huge catch radius. He was drafted to be another red zone target for quarterback Philip Rivers. When the news broke about Hunter Henry’s torn ACL, many wondered which tight end was going to step into those targets. The first in line for them may be Williams. He’s likely to enter the season playing opposite Keenan Allen in three-wide sets.
Assuming he’s healthy, he is going to be in line for a healthy target share in one of last season’s most pass-heavy offenses. The Chargers have the 29th easiest schedule for wide receivers. His ADP is 11.02 making him a great target in dynasty formats.