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Fantasy Football Tips: Rookie Wide Receivers To Keep an Eye On
By: Haider Paroya
Fantasy football season can be terrifying. A good draft can make or break the bragging rights you have within your family and friend group. Lucky for you, I am here to help with four rookie wide receivers who could be sleepers for you. The players on this list might not be the most gifted receivers in this draft class, but what they have is an opportunity to slot right in the starting lineup of their respective teams and make an impact right away.
Amon-Ra St. Brown - Detroit Lions
Amon-Ra St. Brown, drafted in the 4th round by the Detroit Lions, has the easiest path to being a starter and getting targets on this list. After the departure of Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr., the Detroit Lions have a thin receiving corps of Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman. Both irrelevant for Fantasy Football last season. Amon-Ra St. Brown can easily step in and receive a lot of targets for this Lions offense, which has brought in Jared Goff and Penei Sewell in the off-season. The Lions' defense ended as the 32nd worst defense last season, meaning Jared Goff will have to constantly play from behind, airing the ball out in most of his games.
Amon-Ra St. Brown will most likely play in the slot, as Cooper Kupp did for the Rams, who Goff made fantasy viable. St. Brown is a great route runner with good hands; the best way to describe him is a jack of all trades in the WR position, as he isn't gifted in any particular aspect of being a WR, but has no major flaws to his game as well.
Cornell Powell - Kansas City Chiefs
Cornell Powell probably has the lowest floor on this list, but given the right set of circumstances has the highest ceiling. He's a high risk even in redraft leagues, so what I advise is to keep tabs on him for the first 3-4 weeks to see if he's getting his reps in, then pick him up after you see he's trusted with some touches. The Kansas City Chiefs took him in the 5th round. And if he gets going, he can be the steal of the draft in your leagues. Not only is Powell in the best offense in the NFL that loves to throw the football, but his path to being a starting WR is also highly possible.
He has to beat out Demarcus Robinson or Mecole Hardman for a starting position, both very poor route runners with stone hands. Cornell Powell, on the other hand, is a great route runner with safe hands and an absolute unit at 6 foot 210 pounds. Meaning, he can play in 2 WR sets due to his size and skill to block. With either Travis Kelce or Tyreek Hill facing double teams on every down, Cornell Powell has all the makings of having a breakout season. Some say that because Powell played in Clemson, he is a product of Trevor Lawrence, but now he can go ahead and gladly be a product of Patrick Mahomes.
Nico Collins - Houston Texans
In an NFL receiving draft filled with smaller receivers who are either elite route runners or possess tremendous speed, Nico Collins was an outlier with his sluggish routes but imposing size at 6'4 and 215 pounds. It's a lazy comparison, but Nico Collins has the potential to be as relevant as DK Metcalf. The Houston Texans, who I am calling right now to be the worst team in the league this season, drafted Collins in the third round. The Texans are probably going to be playing from behind every single game because of their poor defense and an even murkier quarterback situation.
His team situation puts him in a perfect position to have a breakout year, along with an even easier road to becoming a starter. He is competing with Randall Cobb and Brandin Cooks, both with durability concerns and the opposite skill set of Nico Collins. Collins doesn't need a complicated/creative route tree to be an effective WR. All he needs is a ball thrown in his direction on a streaking route to make an impact.
Rondale Moore - Arizona Cardinals
Rondale Moore was drafted in the second round by the Arizona Cardinals, and to be completely honest, I might be making a big reach here, but let me make my case. Larry Fitzgerald is most likely going to be gone or retired by the start of the season. Leaving Hopkins, an injury-prone AJ Green, and Christian Kirk ahead of Moore, making him the 3rd - 4th receiver down in the depth chart. However, a Kliff Kingsbury manned offense, who uses 4-wide sets more than any other team in the league, certainly breeds the potential for a speedy slot guy like Rondale Moore.
He brings a skill set that no other WR on the team has, given the potential for screens and deep balls. As long as Moore gets the ball in his hands, he can certainly make a play. There's a potential you can see Moore in the slot a lot based on AJ Green's injury history and general lack of fitness. He has loads of potential if the cards fall right. He doesn't have the best hands or the ability to win 50/50 balls, but his elusiveness with the ball in his hands is so dangerous for NFL teams. And I trust Kliff Kingsbury to find a way to get this guy the football.
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