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jcy123 Jan 14
Fantasy football leagues arent won during the first few rounds of your draft. Mike Person Super Bowl Jersey . Much to our chagrin, guys underwhelm and/or go down with injuries. For this reason, its important to become familiar not only with superstars but also with role players and emerging youngsters who could find themselves on the fantasy radar during the 2016 season.Last year, the likes of John Brown, Kamar Aiken, Ted Ginn Jr., Donte Moncrief, Rishard Matthews, Stefon Diggs, Willie Snead, James Jones and Tyler Lockett entered the season third or lower on their respective teams depth chart. It didnt take long for each to land in the fantasy spotlight, though.With that in mind, I have ranked the current No. 3 wide receivers for each NFL team in terms of expected 2016 fantasy production -- not strictly on skill. As youll see in the explanations, scheme, playing-time security and supporting cast are among the other variables in play.Some of these players are worth your attention on draft day, while others are names to scoop up in dynasty leagues or to file away for later.1. Michael Floyd, Arizona CardinalsWhy Floyd and not Brown? Floyd averaged 42.6 snaps per game last season, compared to 52.2 for Brown. Of course, even if we flip-flop the two, Brown would be ranked first in this list. Arizona was in the middle of the pack in three-wide sets but had a fourth wide receiver on the field on 23 percent of pass plays last year, which was second-highest in the league. Put another way, Cardinals coaches found reps for J.J. Nelson without impacting the snap counts of Brown, Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald. Arizonas pass-first, high-scoring offense can support three receivers, which supplies Floyd with WR2 upside.2. Michael Thomas, New Orleans SaintsThomas may eventually move past Snead in terms of target priority, but hell start out third in line at the position. A rookie, Thomas?is ticketed for Marques Colstons big slot role, which should generate plenty of volume, and his 6-foot-3 frame is sure to lead to a lot of work near the goal line. Theres been some speculation that Brandon Coleman could push for this job, but thats hard to believe after he quickly lost his job to Snead last season. On the negative side for Thomas, New Orleans has ranked no higher than 19th in the league in three-wide sets when passing over the past five years. Still, the presence of Drew Brees and a fairly clear path to targets put Thomas squarely in the flex discussion.3. Phillip Dorsett, Indianapolis ColtsAndre Johnson is no longer in the picture, which locks Dorsett in as the clubs No. 3 receiver behind T.Y. Hilton and Moncrief. Having relied heavily on Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, the Colts havent used a ton of three-wide sets during the Andrew Luck era, but they were in the upper half of the league last season and Fleener is now out of the mix. Common sense (not to mention the insight of Colts analyst Mike Wells) suggests Dorsett -- a 2015 first-round pick -- will be on the field over tight ends Jack Doyle or Erik Swoope when the team is passing. Considering the Colts pass-heavy, high-scoring attack, its not inconceivable that Dorsett will flirt with WR3 numbers as the teams third option in the passing game.4. Kamar Aiken, Baltimore RavensThe Ravens wide receiver depth chart is a bit tricky to sort out. Steve Smith Sr. will return as Joe Flaccos top target, but after that, newcomer Mike Wallace, 2015 breakout player Aiken and 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman?are battling for snaps. Baltimore had its third wide receiver on the field for 62 percent of its pass plays last year, which ranked 27th. The added receiver depth might seem to suggest that number will rise in 2016, but thats not necessarily going to be the case after the Ravens added tight end Benjamin Watson to a unit that also includes Maxx Williams, Crockett Gillmore and Dennis Pitta. Aikens playing time is a question mark, but he could very well lead this team in targets. Hes worth targeting in the mid-to-late stages of your draft.5. Jaelen Strong, Houston TexansStrong is generating a lot of offseason hype, and its very possible that hell end up second on the depth chart in Houston. Im still giving a slight edge to Will Fuller, who was selected in the first round of Aprils draft and is coming off the board earlier than Strong in summer fantasy drafts. Strong, a third-round selection in 2015, will compete with Fuller, Cecil Shorts III and Braxton Miller for reps. Although Houston relies heavily on its defense and running game, the offense ranked 11th?in three-wide sets and was one of only three teams with a fourth receiver on the field more than 10 percent of the time when passing last year. Strong is an intriguing post-hype sleeper, but hes still a raw 22-year-old with an unproven quarterback in Brock Osweiler. Strong has enough breakout potential to warrant a late-round flier.6. Sammie Coates, Pittsburgh SteelersMartavis Bryants season-long suspension leaves Coates positioned to work as the Steelers No. 3 receiver this season. The 2015 third-round pick will compete with Darrius Heyward-Bey and slot man Eli Rogers for the gig, and could eventually push past Markus Wheaton?into the starting lineup. During offensive coordinator?Todd Haleys four seasons with the Steelers, only six teams have had a third receiver on the field more often when passing (74 percent). So, even while working behind Wheaton and Antonio Brown, Coates shouldnt have much trouble seeing the field. The size/speed freak is well worth a midround flier.7. Dorial Green-Beckham, Tennessee TitansThe Titans depth chart also has many question marks. Green-Beckham had (and still sort of has) the look of a 2016 breakout player, but hes already fallen behind fifth-round rookie Tajae Sharpe. Meanwhile, Matthews is locked in as the starting flanker and Kendall Wright is the slot. Even worse for Green-Beckham, the Titans had a third receiver on the field on 39 percent of their pass plays last season, which was lowest in the league. A clear commitment to the run in 2016 suggests a move to more three-wide sets is unlikely. Green-Beckham will be one of the most intriguing players to watch over the next month or so, as his fantasy ceiling is massive.8. Davante Adams, Green Bay PackersHe entered 2015, his second season, with Jordy Nelson out for the year with a torn ACL, and thus was positioned well for a breakout. It didnt happen. Adams struggled with both injury and ineffectiveness and is no longer assured of an every-down role. Of course, at least at this point in the offseason, Adams remains the favorite over Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis for the No. 3 gig. This is important, because Green Bay has had its third wide receiver on the field when passing more than any other team in the league each of the past three seasons. That includes a whopping 94 percent of the time in 2015. Adams is a post-hype sleeper because of his situation, but its also possible that he wont even make the 53-man roster.9. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati BengalsMarvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu are out of the picture in Cincinnati, which all but locks Brandon LaFell and Boyd into significant roles in their first season with the club. Boyd is only 21 years old and, at least in 2016, is more likely to operate as something like an offensive weapon than a conventional wide receiver. The Bengals have ranked in the lower half of the league in three-wide sets when passing each of the past three seasons. The rookies ceiling doesnt figure to be very high out of the gate.10. Chris Conley, Kansas City ChiefsConley is a bit of a forgotten man these days, but Kansas City actually increased Jeremy Maclins slot work down the stretch last season in order to get Conley on the perimeter. The 2015 third-round pick stands 6-foot-3 and sports 4.35 wheels. Conley is more likely to overtake Albert Wilson than he is to lose reps to newcomers Rod Streater, Demarcus Robinson and Tyreek Hill. The bad news is that the Chiefs rarely have a third receiver on the field when passing. Since Andy Reid took over in 2013, they rank 27th?in the category (62 percent). Alex Smiths conservative play limits Conleys ceiling, but hes a Maclin injury away from jumping into the WR3 conversation.11. Ted Ginn Jr., Carolina PanthersGinn caught 10 touchdowns last season, but he enters 2016 in a fight with the likes of Corey Brown and Damiere Byrd for the role as the teams speed/deep threat. Ginn played 43 snaps per game last season, but that figure is sure to drop with Kelvin Benjamin back to full health and second-year receiver?Devin Funchess primed for a bigger role. Even more damning for Ginn is Carolinas offensive personnel usage. The team had a third receiver on the field just under half the time when passing last year. They ranked 31st?in the category. A boom/bust producer facing a smaller workload, Ginn will be more useful in DFS tournaments than in season-long leagues.12. Jamison Crowder, Washington RedskinsI badly wanted to include rookie Josh Doctson here, but its impossible to label him as anything more than an elite handcuff at the position. DeSean Jackson is the starting split end, Pierre Garcon is the flanker and Crowder is the slot. If any of the three go down with an injury or arent carrying their weight, Doctsons role will increase, but hes more likely to make a splash in the second half or in 2017, when contract-year players Jackson and Garcon could be out of the mix. As for Crowder, Washington uses a lot of three-wide sets when passing, ranking fourth in the category last season (82 percent). Snap count wont be an issue (at least early on), but as we saw last year, hes well behind Jackson, Garcon and Jordan Reed on the target totem pole. Take a flier in deep PPR leagues.13. Anquan Boldin, Detroit LionsOver the past few years, the Lions have relied very little on their third and fourth receivers. The reason for this was massive target shares for Calvin Johnson and the running back position. Despite that fact, Detroit had a third receiver on the field for 82 percent of its pass plays last year, which ranked sixth in the league. In fact, the Lions have ranked no lower than 11th?in the category over the past three years. Johnson, of course, retired, and Marvin Jones and Boldin were signed to work in three-wide sets along with Golden Tate. Boldin turns 36 this year and is expected to be fifth in the pecking order for targets. This is a high-volume pass offense, but Boldin offers little fantasy upside.14. Rueben Randle, Philadelphia EaglesSome have projected that Randle will move past Nelson Agholor in Philadelphia, but (A) Randles four years of underwhelming play suggests that wont happen, and (B) at least for now, Agholor has a leg up for the job. Randle, meanwhile, will also need to fend off the likes of Josh Huff and Chris Givens for snaps in an offense that may not rely heavily on three-wide sets. As noted earlier, the Chiefs have rarely used their third receiver when passing during Reids three years as coach. New Eagles coach Doug Pederson was Reids offensive coordinator during that span. Randle is barely worth considering in the late rounds.15. Victor Cruz, New York GiantsCruzs status remains a bit of a mystery after he missed 10 games in 2014 (torn patella tendon) and the entire 2015 season (calf). The 29-year-old is, at a minimum, behind Odell Beckham Jr. and rookie Sterling Shepard on the depth chart, but if healthy, he has little competition for reps in an offense that almost always has a third receiver on the field when passing. The Giants ranked second in the category during both of Ben McAdoos seasons as offensive coordinator. McAdoo, of course, is now the teams head coach. If Cruzs status were clearer, hed certainly be higher on this list, but its likely weve already seen his best play.16. Jermaine Kearse, Seattle SeahawksDoug Baldwin is Russell Wilsons new go-to target, and Lockett has taken control of the No. 2 gig in Seattle. That leaves the recently resigned Kearse as the clear-cut third receiver. Paul Richardson is a name to watch, but the 2014 second-rounder has barely seen the field due to injury. Considering the Seahawks are able to run so often, it may surprise you to know that they actually ranked ninth in three-wide sets when passing last year. Thats good news for Kearses prospects in the snap department, but hes still unlikely to see consistent targets in Seattles low-volume, spread-it-around attack.17. Justin Hardy, Atlanta FalconsHardy is a popular deep sleeper this season. The 2015 fourth-round pick is in position for a significant role in an Atlanta offense devoid of much receiving talent past Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman. In fact, Hardy very well could overtake Sanu with a strong start this season. Past that, Hardys primary competition for snaps will come from?Aldrick Robinson, Devin Fuller and return specialist Eric Weems. Of course, the Atlanta offense doesnt rely much on its wide receiver depth. The Falcons ranked 21st?in three-wide sets when passing last season (67 percent) and prioritized tight end over wideout in Aprils draft (third-round pick Austin Hooper). Hardy is a name to file away but is barely worth draft-day consideration.18. Kenny Stills, Miami DolphinsNew coach Adam Gase has had a lot of success as the offensive coordinator in Denver and Chicago over the past three years. Hell look to bring some of that to Miami this season, which would benefit top receivers Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker, and also Stills and rookie Leonte Carroo. Speaking of Carroo, though Stills gets veteran deference here, it wont be long until the third-rounder is pushing hard for Stills job. Gase has made heavy use of three-wide sets thus far in his coaching career; his offenses have ranked fourth, fifth and 10th?in the category. Expect that trend to continue after the Carroo addition. Stills is buried here because he could easily lose this gig, but if either Stills or Carroo nails down this job, he should be boosted into the top 10 of these rankings.19. Seth Roberts, Oakland RaidersRoberts surprisingly won the Raiders No. 3 gig last year and kept a stranglehold on it throughout the season, despite mostly pedestrian production. His competition for 2016 snaps isnt much better, with Andre Holmes and rookies Max McCaffrey and Johnny Holton in the discussion. Although Oakland makes good use of fullbacks Marcel Reece and Jamize Olawale, as well as tight ends Lee Smith, Clive Walford and Mychal Rivera, the teams wide receivers stay busy. The Raiders ranked 14th?in three-wide and seventh in four-wide sets when throwing last season. Roberts will enter the flex discussion in the event of an injury to Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree, but has little weekly value otherwise.20. Rashad Greene, Jacksonville JaguarsAllen Robinson and Allen Hurns have a stranglehold on starting gigs, which leaves Greene as the favorite over Marqise Lee for the No. 3 job. Greene is the teams projected slot receiver, but if he stumbles, its worth noting that the team isnt afraid to move Hurns inside and use Lee on the perimeter. The Jaguars ranked 26th?in three-wide sets when passing last season, and that doesnt figure to change much with Julius Thomas and Marcedes Lewis both healthy. Greene is a hold in deep PPR leagues, but nothing more.21. Tyrell Williams, San Diego ChargersThis spot wouldve been filled by Stevie Johnson, but his 2016 season is in doubt after he suffered a torn meniscus in July. Johnsons injury locks in field-stretcher and Malcom Floyd-replacement Travis Benjamin in as the teams No. 2 receiver. Meanwhile, Williams will compete with the likes of Dontrelle Inman and Javontee Herndon for the clubs No. 3 receiver gig. Williams is an intriguing size/speed specimen. The 2015 undrafted free agent stands 6-foot-4, weighs 205 pounds and sports 4.4 wheels. As for San Diegos personnel usage, after having a third receiver on the field on 86 percent of pass plays in 2014 (third-highest), the mark dipped to 69 percent (17th) in 2015. Yes, Ladarius Green is gone, but Hunter Henry was added in the second round of Aprils draft. Williams is an intriguing prospect in a good offense, which makes him a name worth monitoring.22. Devin Smith, New York JetsSmith is dealing with a knee injury and might start 2016 on the PUP list. When healthy, however, hes a name to keep an eye on. The Jets easily led the NFL in four-wide-receiver sets last season (51 percent), and Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker both finished as top-10 fantasy receivers. Once Smith returns, he will play a lot regardless, but hes a Marshall or Decker injury away from receiving a huge target boost. A 2015 second-rounder, Smith?is a post-hype sleeper worth monitoring.23. Dezmin Lewis, Buffalo BillsThe Bills were expected to address the wide receiver position this offseason, but fifth-round pick Kolby Listenbee was their most notable addition. A healthy Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods are the starters, which places Lewis, a seventh-round pick in 2015, in a competition with Listenbee, Leonard Hankerson and Greg Salas for the No. 3 job. Lewis stands 6-foot-4 and has generated a lot of hype during offseason workouts. Likely because the Bills lacked depth at the position, the Bills ranked 29th?in three-plus wide receiver sets when passing last season (57 percent). Buffalos weak receiver unit has Lewis in the sleeper discussion, but at this point in the offseason, its also possible he wont even make the team.24. Adam Humphries, Tampa Bay BuccaneersA lot of offseason hype was directed at second-year receiver?Kenny Bell, but coach Dirk Koetter recently named Humphries the teams No. 3 receiver. The slot man is currently positioned to work behind Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson?but will need to fend off Bell, Louis Murphy, Russell Shepard, Donteea Dye and Evan Spencer. Koetter joined the Tampa Bay organization as the teams offensive coordinator last year, and the Bucs ranked 19th?in three-plus wide receiver sets (69 percent). The Buccaneers offense is a candidate for a leap forward in Jameis Winstons second-season, but Humphries will need a strong preseason in order to qualify for late-round consideration in PPR leagues.25. Cole Beasley, Dallas CowboysThere were few organizations with less talent at the wide receiver position than Dallas last season, but the team did almost nothing to address the position during the offseason. That leaves Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams as the starters and Beasley in the slot. Dallas has ranked in the lower half of the league in three-plus wide receiver sets each of the past three seasons. Beasley has four career top-20 weekly finishes on his resume and has never finished a season better than 56th?in fantasy points at the position. Hes worth a look only in deep PPR formats.26. Rashard Higgins, Cleveland BrownsHiggins was the last of four wide receivers selected by Cleveland in Aprils draft (and that doesnt include TE/WR tweener Seth Devalve). Higgins is running ahead of fellow rookies Ricardo Louis and Jordan Payton, however, and is the favorite for early-season No. 3 duties behind Corey Coleman and slot man Andrew Hawkins. Of course, once Josh Gordon returns from suspension, Higgins will struggle to see the field. New Browns coach Hue Jackson operated as Cincinnatis offensive coordinator the past two years. The Bengals ranked right in the middle of the league in three-wise sets when passing during that span. Jackson ran the Raiders offense in 2010 and 11, and the team ranked below average in the category both seasons. Clevelands inevitable 2016 struggles will mean a lot of garbage-time opportunity for its receivers, but scoring opportunity simply wont be there for Higgins & Co.27. Cody Latimer, Denver BroncosLatimer was far from the Broncos No. 3 receiver last season, often ceding snaps to the likes of Andre Caldwell, Jordan Norwood and Bennie Fowler. Caldwell is gone, leaving Latimer to compete with the latter two for snaps. To date, Latimer has been a bust, but the 2014 second-round pick is only 23 years old as he enters his third professional season. He is 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds and entered the league with great hands and 4.39 wheels. On the other hand, coach Gary Kubiaks offense is unlikely to breed many snaps for the clubs reserve receivers. During the past nine seasons, Kubiak has been the head coach in Houston (2006-13), the offensive coordinator in Baltimore (2014) and the head coach in Denver (2015). In terms of three-plus wide sets when passing, his offenses have ranked 22nd, 27th, 22nd, 36th, 32nd, 31st, 29th, 31st?and 13th, respectively. The latter was last season in Denver but was more indicative of the teams adjustments to Peyton Manning than of Kubiaks philosophy. Expect Denver to lean on run-heavy sets this season, which is bad news for Latimer.28. Danny Amendola, New England PatriotsThis might seem awfully low for the No. 3 receiver on the high-scoring Patriots, but this is far from a conventional offense. Over the past six seasons, only San Francisco (41 percent) has had its third wide receiver on the field when passing less often than New England (52 percent). If anything, the Patriots figure to use more two tight end sets after trading for Martellus Bennett during the offseason. Even worse for Amendola, with Chris Hogan in the mix, Amendola is no longer assured of a big role in the event of a Julian Edelman injury. The likes of Malcolm Mitchell, Keshawn Martin, Aaron Dobson and Nate Washington will push Amendola for snaps.29. Eddie Royal, Chicago BearsDespite handling 50 snaps per game during the nine games he played last season, Royal was limited to 238 yards and one score on 37 receptions. Now, Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White are back to full health, which leaves Royal without an every-down role. Hes unlikely to face any real competition from the likes of Marquess Wilson and Deonte Thompson, but Royal will be limited to slot duties in a run-heavy offense. The Bears did rank 10th?in three-wide sets last season, but that could change with Gase out and Dowell Loggains in at offensive coordinator. Royal is safe to ignore on draft day.30. Quinton Patton, San Francisco 49ersAnquan Boldin is gone, but early indications are that Bruce Ellington -- not Patton -- will jump into the starting lineup opposite Torrey Smith. That leaves Patton to compete with Eric Rogers, Jerome Simpson, Aaron Burbridge and DeAndre Smelter?not only for the No. 3 job but also for a roster spot. Additionally, Ellington is the projected slot receiver in Chip Kellys offense, which was a role that allowed Jordan Matthews to pace Eagles wide receivers in fantasy points over the past two seasons. On the plus side, during the Kelly era in Philadelphia, only the Packers, Giants and Dolphins (hello, Green Bay coaching tree) had a third receiver on the field more often when passing.? Even if Patton ends up playing significant snaps, San Franciscos shaky quarterback situation leaves him without much upside.31. Pharoh Cooper, Los Angeles RamsA case could probably be made that Brian Quick is the Rams No. 3 receiver behind Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt. However, like Austin and Britt, Quick is primarily a perimeter receiver. Last season, he spent a lot of time on the bench, which allowed Bradley Marquez and Wes Welker to handle slot duties. The Rams selected Cooper in the fourth round of Aprils draft, and he immediately becomes the favorite for the slot gig. The Rams ranked 23rd?(67 percent) in three-wide sets last season, and that number doesnt figure to move much in the teams run-heavy offense. Cooper is nothing more than a sleeper in deep PPR leagues.32. Jarius Wright, Minnesota VikingsWright signed a long-term extension with Minnesota, but with Diggs and Laquon Treadwell in the picture, Wright is far from a serious threat to crack the