11 Wide Receivers Primed to Breakout
There is no holy grail when it comes to building a fantasy football roster. No silver bullet to use on draft day to vanquish your league mates. No explanation as to why 42 is the answer to the question “What is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.”
There are, however, strategies we can deploy to best position ourselves for fantasy success. One such strategy is obvious, but wholly unscientific and tough to quantify. I’m speaking of identifying breakout candidates. Some breakouts seem easy to spot. Others come out of nowhere. In the end, all analysts will look back to try and find a universal truth to carry into next year and beyond, but ultimately we’re left throwing (educated) darts as we have been since the advent of fantasy football.
That being said, there’s still a process to use when mining the depths of ADP lists and team rosters for breakout candidates, and I use it below where I discuss five potential breakout wide receivers for 2019 and six others to consider. These youngsters all feature some combination of increased opportunities, increased playing time, explosive athleticism, promising flashes in 2018, and attachment to a good offense/quarterback.
Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If you’ve read a fantasy article this summer or if you follow any fantasy analysts on Twitter, you have likely been exposed to the Chris Godwin hype train. Chances are it ran you over. That tends to happen when a player represents the perfect confluence of breakout factors. Godwin is young (23), showed flashes in 2018 (59-842-7), is attached to a good offense/quarterback (Bruce Arians and Jameis Winston), and most importantly, should see far more opportunity in 2019. DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries both left in free agency, opening up over 30% of the team’s air yards and roughly 29% of the team’s targets from last season (179 in total). Stats aside, Godwin is just a flat out good player too. Put on the tape from last season and it’s evident this guy is ready for a monster season. The signs are pointing to that season coming in 2019, so do what you can to get Godwin on your roster this year.
Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals
It’s truly hard to look back on the 2018 Cardinals offense and find many positives, but Christian Kirk’s start to his rookie campaign is noteworthy. Before we look at his performance, it is worth noting that only the Miami Dolphins ran fewer plays than the Cardinals in 2018, and only three teams threw fewer passes (Dolphins, Titans, Seahawks). Those factors already limit opportunities for a young wideout like Kirk. Nevertheless, he was averaging about six targets per game prior to breaking his foot late in the season. Kirk’s 13.7 yards per reception led the team, and his three receiving touchdowns tied for second despite his shortened season. Kirk will get to suit up in 2019 running in a potentially explosive, almost certainly pass-heavy, offense helmed by Kliff Kingsbury, and he’ll be catching passes from an electric young quarterback in Kyler Murray. Early reports are that the team’s rookie wide receivers aren’t impressing too much yet, limiting Kirk’s competition for targets (aside from Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson). Kirk, like Godwin, has many of the breakout factors working in his favor and is a great mid-to-late-round option.
Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers
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