No pressure rookie wide receivers, but Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin just raised the expectations levels of every Fantasy Football player for what a first-year receiver can accomplish. Again, no pressure.
We all know the names of Kevin White and Amari Cooper by now, and you can follow our 2015 NFL Mock Draft to see where I think they will land. But what about the rest of the receivers in the 2015 NFL Draft?
Even though Beckham Jr., Evans and Benjamin received most the attention in 2014, there were still other rookie receivers that performed well, and who could receive a big bump in production in 2015.
Jarvis Landry, John Brown and Allen Robinson didn’t light up Fantasy Football scoreboards last season, but they all showed promise, and were overshadowed by the incredible seasons of the big three. For dynasty leagues, it will cost you a lot less to land a Landry or a Brown than it would be to select an Evans.
I’ll cover the Top 10 receivers in the 2015 NFL Draft, but I will place a little more focus on players with Fantasy Football value. Some of these players may be a little risky towards the end of my list, but they also offer the potential for a high upside. This is a mix of rookie wide receivers who could offer value now, and those who might deserve a spot on dynasty rosters.
2015 Rookie Wide Receivers
1. Kevin White, West Virginia
- Receptions: 109
- Receiving Yards: 1,447
- Touchdowns: 10
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White impressed everyone with his 4.35 40-yard dash time at the 2015 NFL Combine, and I think he moved ahead of Cooper because of his performance. White is still considered a little bit raw, but he has a great combination of size, speed and strength. Dropped balls and concentration issues plagued the former Mountaineer in 2013, but he hauled in anything thrown his way in 2014.
I think he could immediately contribute for the Oakland Raiders, and I think he would develop a nice rapport with Derek Carr. I knew Carr wasn’t afraid to throw the ball, but I didn’t realize he finished the 2014 season with the seventh-most passing attempts.
As a rookie wide receiver, White would be a crucial component of the Raiders’ offense, which gives him an immediate Fantasy impact. The chart below shows the average draft position for White, which is currently at the end of Round 10 in standard scoring 12-man leagues.
2. Amari Cooper, Alabama
- Receptions: 124
- Receiving Yards: 1,727
- Touchdowns: 16
Cooper is considered the most polished receiver in the draft, and his numbers speak for itself. The biggest knock on Cooper is that he could improve his focus, as he has dropped 13 passes in two seasons. While he doesn’t necessarily excel in one particular category, he is a well-rounded player. It looks as if Cooper is more popular in the Fantasy Football community right now, as he is drafted a few spots ahead of White in Round 10.
3. DeVante Parker, Louisville
- Receptions: 43
- Receiving Yards: 855
- Touchdowns: 5
I hope he is drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, and I hope most Fantasy Football players don’t realize that Parker and Teddy Bridgewater were teammates in college (Forget what I just said). The transition from college to the NFL is a lot easier for a rookie wide receiver when he is catching passes from his college quarterback.
The Miami #Dolphins are “very interested” in Devante Parker, should he be there when they pick.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) April 20, 2015
4. Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma
- Receptions: 59
- Receiving Yards: 883
- Touchdowns: 12
I’m not sure if it’s because he has Beckham in his name, but he is on a lot of people’s radars. I find this surprising because of his off-the-field issues, as well as the fact that he hasn’t played in a game since January 1, 2014. Despite the controversy, he has a physical presence that will lend itself well to Fantasy Football. As a 6-foot-5, 237-pound receiver, he could immediately contribute. I don’t like him if he lands with the Kansas City Chiefs, however.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 21, 2015
5. Breshad Perriman, UCF
- Receptions: 50
- Receiving Yards: 1,044
- Touchdowns: 9
He has the right pedigree (his father, Brett, played in the NFL for 10 years), and he has the right combination of shiftiness and strength. Since UCF isn’t a powerhouse in college football, I think Perriman will be overlooked by most Fantasy Football players. Some are projecting the Baltimore Ravens to select Perriman, and I think he could be a nice replacement for Torrey Smith.
6. Jaelen Strong, Arizona State
- Receptions: 82
- Receiving Yards: 1,165
- Touchdowns: 10
He isn’t a burner, but he does have size, strength and great body control. NFL teams may worry that he relies too much on his natural ability, and Strong is knocked for his route running. Rookie wide receivers need to be placed in the right situation for Fantasy Football success (ex: Sammy Watkins), but Strong will have an advantage being in the back part of the draft, as he could hook on to a team with a winning record.
What’s beautiful about Jaelen Strong is he doesn’t need to be wide open to be open. Throw it up & he’ll probably bring it down.
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) April 23, 2015
7. Devin Funchess, Michigan
- Receiving Yards: 733
- Touchdowns: 4
I put a little too much faith into Eric Ebron last season, and I have a feeling Funchess is my 2015 version of Ebron. A converted tight end, he has the ability to excel as a threat in the red zone. I think if a team is in desperate need of a receiver, Funchess can find a meaningful role rather quickly in a few different offenses.
Gruden on ESPN conference call likes the receiver class and said “Devin Funchess is going to be a real gem”
— angelique (@chengelis) April 21, 2015
8. Nelson Agholor, Southern California
- Receptions: 104
- Receiving Yards: 1,313
- Touchdowns: 12
The numbers are there, but Agholor’s 198-pound frame is a little concerning. He has strong route running skills, however, so this helps him to quickly adapt to a role in the NFL. Also, I’ve seen Agholor going to the New Orleans Saints in a few mock drafts, and with the departure of Jimmy Graham, Drew Brees will need a few more targets. For a rookie wide receiver, catching passes from Brees is okay, I guess.
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) April 23, 2015
9. Sammie Coates, Auburn
- Receptions: 34
- Receiving Yards: 741
- Touchdowns: 4
— #1 @Patriots Fans (@PatriotsExtra) April 19, 2015
His natural ability is easy to see, but many scouts feel Coates could have used another year in college. Sometimes, however, it just takes the right situation for guys with natural abilities to show what they have to offer. He may not be a rookie wide receiver to target in most standard scoring leagues, but he has interesting upside in dynasty formats.
10. Phillip Dorsett, Miami
- Receptions: 36
- Receiving Yards: 871
- Touchdowns: 10
In case you were doing the math, 36 receptions for 871 yards means that Dorsett averaged 24.19 yards per catch. If that carried over to the NFL, in a full point PPR league, Dorsett would average three points every time he touches the ball. As a 185-pound receiver, there are huge durability concerns for the NFL, however. Having said that, I think he still can contribute immediately with returning kick offs, which will give him extra value. I like him as a late-round pick for MFL 10s and best ball leagues.
Don’t over think when it comes to drafting rookie wide receivers, as team placement will really determine how well they can perform. Just keep in mind a few names that may not be on everyone’s radar.
Make sure to keep checking back with the So-Called Fantasy Experts for all the latest news and Fantasy Football impacts from the 2015 NFL Draft.
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