By: Josh Shippen, John Paul Whitaker
Arizona Cardinals → Andy Isabella (WR)
- Isabella seems like such a given to be a breakout candidate. He seems to rip off some huge touchdown reception every few games. Isabella was a badass at UMASS, so look for him to be a perfect puzzle piece for an offense that used 4 WR sets all over the place
Atlanta Falcons → Russell Gage (WR)
- Gage was already taking up the WR2 mantle before Jones got injured, now look for him and Calvin Ridley to be a dominant receiver pairing that will put up huge numbers.
Baltimore Ravens → Miles Boykin (WR)
- While the Ravens are still a run based team, they have moved into a spread offense. While Lamar is able to scramble from the pocket most of the time, he still finds time to hit his favorite targets (Mark Andrews and Hollywood Brown). Since these receivers get all the attention, Boykin has been able to find holes and get receptions lately, making him a threat to the opposing defense.
Buffalo Bills → John Brown (WR)
- Josh Allen currently leads the league in passing yards heading into week 3, keeping the passing game very much alive. John Brown has always been one of Allen’s favorite targets, but we didn’t think Josh Allen would throw to him this much. Brown has regained the respect from last year and will be a high end sleeper given the solid offense the Bills have already.
Carolina Panthers → Seth Roberts (WR)
- Seth Roberts has never been a huge receiving talent, but he is one of the best blocking WR in the league, which could be helpful for a team with a QB that has injury concerns, an unproven RB in Mike Davis, and an unproven O-line.
Chicago Bears → Buster Skrine (CB)
- A surprising 2-0 Bears team is led by their quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and their secondary. After snagging Mack, Skrine and other notable defensive players, the Bears have been a consistent top 10 defense the past couple years. Skrine joined this team last year and has been nothing but lights out. Look for Skrine to defend against a tough jones/ridley matchup in week 3.
Cincinnati Bengals → Drew Sample (TE)
- Burrow has already established his role as a quarterback this season. The bengals had planned on primarily running with mixon to wait for Burrow to develop. Since Burrow is ready to start throwing again, you can expect him to find a variety of receivers including Drew Sample, who got a touchdown reception last game and will be ready for many more targets this year.
Cleveland Browns → Greedy Williams (CB)
- Although the Browns defense hasn’t done well this year, they still have a couple stars left on their defense. Greedy has been overlooked all season, but if you watch his highlights he’s been locking down receivers and will develop over the season.
Dallas Cowboys → Brandon Carr (CB)
- For a good while Carr had one of the longest starting streaks in the NFL, now he has turned into a CB that just got activated off of the practice squad. Carr would be a safe option to play as a solid second fiddle to Chidobe Awuzie
Denver Broncos → Alexander Johnson (ILB)
- After Von Miller suffered a season-ending injury, the broncos needed some of their role players to step up. Alexander Johnson has been a great filler for Von this year and has filled the gaps in the defense well. He is 28 years old and has the potential to be a major impact on their defense in the coming years
Detroit Lions → Trey Flowers (DE)
- We all know that Flowers is awesome, but y’all have no idea just how great he is. He holds this absolute epic tomato can back from being the worst defense in the NFL. If Flowers were not stuck on the most uninteresting team ever, we might start considering him for DPOY
Green Bay Packers → Rashaan Gary (OLB)
- Gary was not lights out as a rookie in 2019, but cut to him suddenly making plays for Mike Pettine’s defense in year 2, totally making the leap. I wouldn’t consider Gary in competition for DPOY, or even a Pro Bowl, but he will strengthen this Packers defense tenfold.
Houston Texans → Jordan Akins (TE)
- For a team where the TE seemed like it would be a total non-factor, Akins has looked pretty damn good. He’s not going to have a Darren Waller jump but look for him to be a decent force to be reckoned with for the Texans
Indianapolis Colts → Mo Alie-Cox (TE)
- While Doyle has been in and out of injuries this season, Alie-Cox has stepped up at the TE spot. We all know Rivers loves his tight ends (Antonio Gates), so we should expect lots of targets to Mo Alie-Cox while Doyle is out.
Jacksonville Jaguars → Laviska Shenault Jr (WR)
- Shenault has become an absolute stud in this Minshew offense, especially with DJ Chark seemingly fading into the one-hit wilderness. Shenault will get significant playing time in Jacksonville, and be on the look for him to even land the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
Kansas City Chiefs → L’Jarius Sneed (CB)
- A seemingly average 4th round pick, Sneed certainly jumped out to a fast start in the season opener against Houston, and just kept on cruising. Look for Sneed to be a dominant CB, and maybe even be in the running for the DROY award.
Las Vegas Raiders → Clelin Ferrell (DE)
- The Raiders took Ferrell 4th overall in 2019, and proceeded to spend the rest of the season twiddling their thumbs, waiting for the defensive end to show anything. Well the tables have turned, and Ferrel has come up strong this year, coming up with a lot of great plays.
Los Angeles Chargers → Joshua Kelley (RB)
- Gordon/Ekeler has now upgraded (that key word is upgraded) to Ekeler/Kelley. This tandem has become one of the best, if not the best 1-2 running back punch in the league. Kelley will be taking most carries for the Chargers, while Ekeler will be involved in the passing game. Kelley has shown us to be a great fantasy pickup and supreme force if Ekeler ever fizzles out.
Los Angeles Rams → Van Jefferson (WR)
- Sean McVay is going to play a lot of 3 WR sets, and Josh Reynolds is not that third WR. Look for Jefferson (who has already started strong) to make the leap around the midseason mark.
Miami Dolphins → Myles Gaskin (RB)
- Gaskin is such a funny surprise. The Dolphins trade draft stock for Breida, sign Howard, and then week 1 say no thanks, we’re just going to play our 7th round pick from 2019. Anyway, Gaskin hasn’t exactly been a huge lights out talent, but he has been perfectly adequate as a starter. Look for him to continue to get the majority of the carries in Miami.
Minnesota Vikings → Irv Smith, Jr (TE)
- Despite the Vikings offense losing their star receiver Diggs, Cousins is still hitting his favorite target Thielen. With Kyle Rudolph losing playing time to Irv Smith, Cousins has found a new target, hitting Irv 5 times this year. While this isn’t much, Irv is playing more than half the snaps for the Vikings and plays a key role in the run blocking for their star back, Dalton Cook.
New England Patriots → Damiere Byrd (WR)
- Cam Newton has looked good this year and so does his receiving core. Byrd is the WR3 on the team, but he definitely doesn’t look like it. With Edelman drawing in the defense and Harry dealing with a minor injury, Bryd should see increased targets and a bigger role in their offense since Cam has been throwing more lately.
New Orleans Saints → Margus Hunt (DE)
- Hunt was the most underrated defensive lineman in the league for the Colts in 2018. If Hunt can even get close to how well he played for the Colts, then he will be a force to be reckoned with for the Saints, whose defensive line is already a dominant unit.
New York Giants → Markus Golden (OLB)
- Golden was one of the prime LB free agents of 2020, look for him to make a huge impact on a Giants LB core that is 100% decimated with mediocrity.
New York Jets → La’Mical Perine (RB)
- The Jets backfield has been in jeopardy already this season. Bell is out for a couple more weeks and with Frank Gore nearing the end of his career, a fresh and young RB (Perine), we might be seeing increased touches for Perine, so put him on your watch list and look for a speedy RB on the Jets offense.
Philadelphia Eagles → Greg Ward, Jr (WR)
- Ward was picked up last year from the AAF, and helped to make it so that one of the worst injury plagued teams ever did not end up falling out of the playoffs. Ward SHOULD already be playing first banana in front of some of these other WRs, but we will have to wait and see if the Eagles ever actually utilize him correctly.
Pittsburgh Steelers → Chase Claypool (WR)
- The rookie WR out of Notre Dame has made some impressive receptions to start off the season. He is a speedy receiver who has great hands. Even though he is the WR3 on the team, he’s a playmaker and does a great job of moving the chains and making spectacular catches.
San Francisco 49ers → Jordan Reed (TE)
- Reed would have been stuck in Kittle’s shadow had it not been for an unfortunate injury, but Reed has not been a bust. Look for Reed to be a top 10 TE as long as he is healthy, and as long as Kittle is out.
Seattle Seahawks → Jacob Hollister (TE)
- Hollister should be getting a lot more attention for his play making ability. As you remember, he was the player who came inches away from giving the Seahawks a bye week in the playoffs over the 49ers. Hollister is extremely fun to watch, and should be considered a starter if he ever hits the free agent market.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers → Cameron Brate (TE)
- Where has Brate gone? Cameron Brate turned into a tight end who saw plenty of playing time in Tampa (good play I might add), to basically becoming a backup. Look for Brate to be used more in a system were Gronk has become irrelevant, and OJ Howard is thoroughly underused
Tennessee Titans → Jonnu Smith (TE)
- Tannehill has finally found a target he likes. Jonnu Smith has a bright future ahead, and as long as the Titans drive down to the goal line, expect him to draw in some targets in the end zone.
Washington Football Team → Alex Smith (QB)
- Dwayne Haskins is a bust so far. Period. I believe it is only a matter of time before Rivera has enough of scoring 15 points on offense, and decides to turn it over to a backup. We already know what we have in Kyle Allen, so why not test drive Alex Smith who has shown he can hold the fort for any team. If he doesn’t work, well you always have the other two backup quarterbacks on your roster.
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