Five wide receivers who could be 2016 breakouts in fantasy

These guys have the right mix of talent and opportunity to really outperform their fantasy draft position, says Brandon Marianne Lee.

| 1 year ago
(Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)

(Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)

Five wide receivers who could be 2016 breakouts in fantasy

In 2014, as it turns out, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin wasn’t that great. He was only the No. 84 wide receiver in PFF grading among those who played 25 percent of their team’s snaps, right around names like Jason Avant, Derek Hagan and Corey Fuller. He had 11 drops and only caught 51.4 percent of his targets, both near the worst in the league.

Despite all that, Benjamin finished 2014 tied for the 16th-most fantasy points among receivers in standard leagues, with 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns. He wasn’t great, but he was still the best option the Panthers had that season, and the quantity of his looks outweighed the meager quality of his performance. Advanced analysis and in-depth statistics are great, but at a certain point, the fantasy community had to come around to Benjamin’s sheer volume and accept his productivity.

This year, these five wide receivers are primed to outperform their ADP as determined by FantasyFootballCalculator. Although some guys not on this list might be better football players, these guys are in the right situations with time and opportunity on their sides. (Which isn’t to say these guys aren’t talented; they are. It’s just that opportunity matters a lot as well.)

Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (current ADP: 84, No. 35 WR)

In Tyler Lockett’s first NFL preseason appearance, he logged a 103-yard kick-return touchdown. Four weeks later, in his NFL regular-season debut, Lockett returned a 57-yard punt for a touchdown. At the end of the year, Lockett was one of three rookies named to the Pro Bowl, as a return specialist.

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Brandon Marianne Lee is a PFF Fantasy contributor, a SiriusXM host, co-founder of Her Fantasy Football and was a finalist for FSWA's Newcomer of the Year in 2014.

  • KWS13

    I take Doug Baldwin’s comment to mean they might call fewer passing plays, but that should be partially offset by theoretically having fewer sacks and scrambles and more plays overall. I took him to mean they won’t pass as often per play to keep the run heavy mentality, but in the end won’t necessarily end up having fewer attempts

    • Brandon Marianne Lee

      That would make sense. A lot of people think they’ll return to the 2014 Seattle offense. I don’t see that happening. Thanks for reading.