Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette was asked who would benefit the most from Martavis Bryant's absence. His reply: "Markus Wheaton is a starter, as he was when Martavis Bryant played. I would guess the one who should benefit most is Sammie Coates."
He added, "I have been told he worked like crazy this offseason and is in great shape. Also, the fact the coaches keep talking him up means they expect him to progress nicely."
It's very possible that Coates "benefits the most" since he's being promoted from WR4 to WR3, so it's a big jump in playing time. We still believe that Wheaton is the second best fantasy receiver in Pittsburgh, however. His performance late last year indicated that he finally turned the corner. He caught 44 passes for 749 yards and five touchdowns on the season, but really came on down the stretch, averaging 4.7 catches for 79 yards and 0.67 TD (on 7.8 targets per game) over the final six games of the season. (He was the #12 fantasy receiver in that span.) Though he only gained 53 total receiving yards in two playoff games, he was targeted 13 times, so he was an integral part of the offense late in the year. Wheaton also fared well on a per target basis, finishing 22nd and 27th (out of 121 eligible receivers) in fantasy points per target in standard and PPR formats, respectively.