2016 Rookie Wide Receivers

Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor University - 34 games played
RECEIVING: 173 Receptions, 3009 yards, 17.4 yards per reception, 33TD.
RUSHING: 33 attempts, 164 yards, 5.0 yards per carry

Let's start with some trivia: What team has had 5 offensive coordinators in 5 seasons (Brad Childress, Norv Turner, Kyle Shanahan, John DeFilippo, and Pep Hamilton for 2016), 5 starting QB's in the last 2 seasons (Brian Hoyer, Johnny Manziel, Connor Shaw, Austin Davis, Josh McCown), a QB who didn't play an NFL snap in 2015, and a ground game that's shaky at best? You guessed it! It's the bad news Browns.  Did I mention their offensive line allowed more than 3 sacks per game?  We'll see how this highly rated offensive line plays as a unit. 

It's not all doom and gloom though.  Corey Coleman is the 2015 Biletnikoff Award winner, best NCAA wideout in the nation.  At 5'11", 194 lbs, he has a 40-inch vertical and ran a 4.37 40 at his pro day.  He's fast/explosive, adjusts to the ball well and will also go up to get the ball.  He's a vertical threat that will force safeties to cover deep, and is always a homerun threat.  Also, new OC Pep Hamilton worked with some kid named Andrew Luck at Stanford and with the Indianapolis Colts.  We'll see if he can transform RG3 into a starting QB again and turn Coleman into a younger, faster T.Y. Hilton.  With all of the question marks on offense, Coleman is a high-risk, high-reward player that should be drafted as Josh Gordon's handcuff with high upside potential.  Coleman only needed 33 games (vs. Doctson's 45) to reach paydirt 34 total times.  With all of the Josh Gordon availability issues and trade rumors, Coleman has a real chance he could become the Browns' WR1.  The Browns will also probably need Coleman to connect with his fellow Baylor Alum, RGIII, in a hurry, given the poor play of their defense.  Coleman will jump through the roof to grab any "rebound," then leave secondaries in his wake.  Grab him in middle rounds in 10-man leagues.

BOLD BONUS: In 4 NFL seasons, RGIII has only played 36 games.  Given his injury history, performance issues, and the Browns' soft 2nd half of the season, 14-year journeyman Josh McCown could push your team into the playoffs if RGIII is not available for whatever reason. 

Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss - 35 games played
RECEIVING: 202 Receptions, 2393 yards, 11.8 yards per reception, 21TD.
RUSHING: 6 attempts, -10 yards, -1.7 yards per carry, 0TD

Go up and get it!  This seems to be Treadwell's mantra.  He'll box out and get the rebound before he jukes or runs over his defenders on his way to the endzone.  Stefon Diggs cannot shoulder the load himself, and the rest of the Vikings wideouts still haven't proven themselves.  At 6'2" 221 lbs, Treadwell gives the Vikings a tall-tree-type wideout who will always be a redzone threat.  He has long arms, big hands, a huge catch radius and great ball skill.  He's not that fast, but he's an extremely physical competitor who fights for the ball and sheds tackles for valuable yards after contact.  He will be that outside threat that catches the jump balls, the deep fades, and quick outs that are vital to scoring in the NFL.  He's also effective catching passes in traffic, inside the numbers on crossing routes and curls, and he'll always fight for the ball.  Look for Treadwell to be an immediate impact player in an NFC North filled with soft secondaries.  He may not be Megatron, but he has been compared to Jerry Rice.  This determined competitor's will to win brought him back from broken leg and ankle.  Draft him as early as the 7th round in 12-team leagues. 

Will Fuller, WR, University of Notre Dame - 32 Games Played
RECEIVING: 144 Receptions, 2512 yards, 17.4 yards per reception, 30TD.
RUSHING: 2 attempts, 8 yards, 4.0 yards per carry, 0TD

Here's the thing: because Fuller runs a 4.32 40, his small hands, skinny legs, and body catches simply do not matter.  Fuller's fast and speed kills.  At 6'0", 186 lbs, he's a bit undersized, but his explosive production makes up for that.  He averages 17.4 yards per catch and found the endzone 30 times in 32 games.  He doesn't need a ton of touches to produce because of his high average, and he scores touchdowns.  You won't find him running the corner fade and going over the top to get the ball.  However, you will find him on deep go routes, turning and burning defenders with his quick feet and ridiculous acceleration, catching the ball over his shoulder on his way to paydirt.  With all of the game planning, prep, and over-the-top help given to Hopkins, Fuller should get his targets early and often.  The Texans may have just given Osweiler a younger, faster Emmanuel Sanders, albeit with smaller hands.  Therefore, Fuller may be more feast or famine, like Ted Ginn Jr.  He can be flexed in 12+ team leagues, where he should be drafted in middle rounds.  Yes, Hopkins will see most of the targets, but Fuller should get his share as a deep, vertical threat.  He's already shown off his speed during the preseason. 

Tyler Boyd, WR, University of Pittsburgh - 38 games played
RECEIVING: 254 Receptions, 3361 yards, 13.2 yards per reception, 21TD.
RUSHING: 63 attempts, 520 yards, 8.3 yards per carry, 1TD

Alright, bad news first: Boyd isn't a human highlight reel and you won't find him on ESPN's Top 10.  He's not an explosive playmaker and chances are he won't make your jaw drop.  He even carries the ball away from his body, making him a target for the Peanut Punch.

The good news is he can fix all of these things.  At 6'1", 197 lbs, what Boyd brings to the Bengals is solid, basic receiver capability.  He's hungry, determined, and versatile (he played receiver, runningback, and returner).  He runs crisp routes and excels when catching the ball in traffic.  He's also extremely physical, will fight for the ball, and uses his strong, massive, 9 3/4 inch hands to pluck the ball out of the air.  He adjusts well to passes, expanding his catch radius, but rarely goes up to get it.  One thing's for sure, he will compete.  He'll be a good wideout opposite A.J. Green and should have plenty of chances with the attention focused on Green and Eifert.  If you have a spot, grab him and stash him.  He's battled against the former Patriot Brandon LaFell for the Bengals' WR2 spot throughout camp and has garnered high praise from those who've worked him so far.

Sterling Shepard, WR, University of Oklahoma - 39 games played
RECEIVING: 233 Receptions, 3482 yards, 14.9  yards per reception, 26TD.
RUSHING: 17 attempts, 109 yards, 6.4 yards per carry, 1TD

At 5'10", 194 lbs, Shepard has big hands (9 3/4") and a 41" vertical, allowing him to play bigger than he is.  Mostly known as a deep threat, he has also shown the ability to catch passes in traffic.  These 2 qualities are similar to Salsa Man, Victor Cruz.  Shepard has the moves to make defenders miss.  When they don't miss, he fights for extra yards and he's tough to bring down.  With Randle now in Philly, Cruz on the mend the past 2 years, and all of the attention given to O'dell Beckham Jr., Shepard should be consistently targeted.  Chances are he'll work out of the slot, and should be a ppr gem.  He should see targets early and often. 

Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State University - 39 games played
RECEIVING: 113 Receptions, 1602 yards, 14.2  yards per reception, 18TD.
RUSHING: 0 attempts, 0 yards, 0 yards per carry, 0TD

At 6'3", 212 lbs, Thomas is big, physical, and has the moves to match.  He can catch it in traffic or flying down the field.  He can go up and get it or fight for possession with a defender.  He'll fake or jab-step right, then push off his right leg when his defenders bite, and he'll smoke them off the fake.  He gives the Saints' pass-happy offense a big redzone target, and Brees should target him often since Cooks will see lots of coverage.  The downside is he could be the fourth receiving option behind Cooks, Snead, and Fleener.  Saints Head Coach Sean Payton likes Thomas, has high expectations, and said he'd have Thomas on his fantasy team!

Pharoh Cooper, WR, University of South Carolina - 34 games played
RECEIVING: 138 Receptions, 2163 yards, 15.7 yards per reception, 18TD.
RUSHING: 71 attempts, 513 yards, 7.2 yards per carry, 4TD

It should be noted that the bulk of Cooper's production came during his sophomore and junior years where he actually played receiver over 25 games.  In that time, he caught 135 passes for 2109 yards and 17 scores.  This averages out to roughly 1,054 yards and 8.5 scores per 12.5-game season.   To put Cooper's production in perspective, most NFL wideouts struggle to catch for 1,000 yards and 8.5 scores per 16-game season.  Now that we've gotten those numbers out of the way, it's also important to note that Cooper was a high school QB who played defensive back his freshman year at South Carolina and took on duties as a punt returner.  At 5'11", 203 lbs, this ball hawk is a dynamic, versatile playmaker.  With Britt falling off, and Tavon Austin being an inconsistent receiver at best, Cooper's chances with the L.A. Rams could come sooner rather than later.  10-team leagues can stash him, but 12+ team leagues should grab him in rounds 8-9.  The reason I didn't put Cooper higher on the draft board is because he plays in the very defensively tough NFC West.  There's a learning curve.

Chris Moore, WR, University of Cincinnati - 47 games played
RECEIVING: 119 Receptions, 2301 yards, 19.3  yards per reception, 26TD.
RUSHING: 4 attempts, 26 yards, 6.5 yards per carry, 0TD

This big-bodied wideout has long arms, good size, and decent speed, making him a deep threat for Flacco's cannon-arm and a valuable asset to the Ravens' receiving corps.  With Steve Smith Sr. entering his 16th season, Moore's chances could come sooner than later, especially if Smith gets hurt.  No, he won't juke defenders out of their shoes, but he will get upfield, body defenders, and take it to the house.  Draft him as a bargain Josh Doctson, or a handcuff to Steve Smith Sr.  At 6'1", 206 lbs, and a 37" vertical, Moore could be this season's sleeper. 

Josh Doctson, WR, Texas Christian University (TCU), - 45 games played
RECEIVING: 214 Receptions, 3177 yards, 14.8 yards per reception, 34TD.
RUSHING: 2 attempts, 7 yards, 3.5 yards per carry, 0TD

At 6'2" 202 lbs, somebody get this kid a sandwich!  That said, Doctson has made some highlight reel catches that O'Dell Beckham Jr. would be proud to claim his own.  Doctson has all the physical attributes and athletic skills (long arms, great ball skill, can catch the jump ball) to be a number 1 receiver in the NFL.  His productivity is off the charts and he'll only get better as he gets bigger and stronger.  He gives the Redskins a big-bodied redzone target and could be mentored by a couple of guys named DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon.  Other than the occasional jump ball, his opportunities could be limited, but he could also find himself open if teams gameplan for Jackson. 

UPDATE: Doctson is currently suffering with tendonitis in his Achilles tendon.  He'll start the season on the PUP list.  No timetable has been given for his return.

*****NOTABLE REDSHIRTS***** The guys listed below are technically in their second year in the NFL, but just haven't had the chance to prove their worth in the league yet.  They've had a full year to learn their systems and lingo, and the teams that drafted them have high hopes.

Sammie Coates WR, Auburn University - 37 games played
RECEIVING: 83 Receptions, 1757 yards, 21.3 yards per reception, 13TD.
RUSHING: 0 attempts, 0 yards, 0 yards per carry, 0TD

The former Auburn Tiger was drafted in the 3rd round in the 2015 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.  He went on to catch 1 pass for 11 yards and no scores last year, despite suiting up for 6 contests.  There just weren't enough targets to go around.  However, with Martavius Bryant suspended for the year, Heath Miller's retirement, Ladarius Green suffering concussion symptoms, and Bell suspended for 3 games, the Steelers will need Sammie to step it up for his sophomore campaign.  At 6'1", 212 lbs, this all-go special has a 41-inch vertical that can allow him to play much bigger than he is.  While his route tree is quite limited, the raw talent is there for him to develop into a dangerous outside threat.  He is listed third on the depth chart, but Wheaton works better out of the slot and there's speculation that Coates could see as many or more targets than Wheaton.  If that's the case, Coates moves up into the Steelers' WR2 slot.

Kevin White, WR, West Virginia University - 23 games played
RECEIVING: 144 Receptions, 1954 yards, 13.6  yards per reception, 15TD.
RUSHING: 0 attempts, 0 yards, 0 yards per carry, 0TD

With the 7th overall pick, the Chicago Bears draft Kevin White in the 2015 NFL draft, at 6'3", 215 lbs. Unfortunately, the Bears 2015 First-rounder didn't even make it to preseason.  On the bright side, a broken leg doesn't linger as long as knee or hamstring injuries.  Moreover, his 144 receptions, 1954 yards, and 15 scores in 23 games (yes, less than 2 full seasons) at West Virginia put him on pace to do more than 2015's Belitnikof Award winner, Corey Coleman, did in 34.  Finally, White is already the clear WR2 in Chicago, with a very high ceiling.  Given Alshon Jeffery's injury history and the coverage that Jeffery will see, White has a real chance to produce at a WR1 level.  White should be taken as early as the 3rd round of all 14-team leagues and should go as early as the 6th round in all 10-man leagues.

Breshad Perriman, WR, University of Central Florida - 39 games played
RECEIVING: 115 Receptions, 2243yards, 19.5  yards per reception, 16TD.
RUSHING: 1 attempts, 0 yards, 0 yards per carry, 0TD

The Ravens' 26th pick in the 2015 NFL draft stands at 6'2", 215 lbs.  If that's not enough to sell you, then his 4.24 and 4.27 40 yard dash might.  He's had the entire 2015 season to get healthy and learn the Ravens' offense after spraining his PCL on the first day of training camp in the 2015 preseason.  The question remains: while Perriman has a very rare combination of size and exceptional speed, it will be interesting to see how the all-go-pro is used in Mark Trestman's conservative dink-and-dunk offense.  Flacco's cannon arm and Perriman's explosive speed can blow the top off of any defense, and put up a whole lot of fantasy points.  Will Trestman pull the trigger if Perriman can stay healthy?  IF Perriman can get healthy, and that's a big IF, Perriman should be drafted as a handcuff to the savvy Steve Smith, or as a high-risk, high reward play that could fuel your team's late-season playoff run.  He has all the attributes of a WR1, and could pass both Aiken and Smith on the depth chart.

UPDATE: Perriman does not have a torn ACL, as first suspected.  He's had his knee scoped, and received a stem cell injection in the scoped knee, and will start the season barring another injury.

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