by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Third year receivers are generally seen as potential breakout candidates, but obviously they don’t all live up to the hype. We’ll be taking a look at all of the third year receivers, as we try to determine who is worth grabbing and who should be ignored:
Devin Funchess – Carolina Panthers
There were high hopes for Devin Funchess after being selected in the second round of the 2015 draft. At the time of his selection Mike Maycock of NFL.com said:
“I don’t know if the Panthers plan to play Funchess inside or outside. It doesn’t matter. He’s a matchup nightmare.”
Unfortunately for Carolina that hasn’t been the case. Over his first 31 NFL games he’s managed 54 receptions for 844 yards. While he has proven capable of finding the end zone, with 9 TD, that’s simply not enough given his inefficiency:
It would be easy to blame Cam Newton for the problems, and he has struggled, though over these two seasons he has still completed 59.8% and 52.9% of his passes. Those aren’t good numbers, but they are better than when the ball is thrown in Funchess’ direction.
Also, while there was hope, in NFL.com’s draft profile they noted:
“Has mismatch-caliber size, but lack of vertical talent and below-average hands might negate the size to an extent.”
So the fact that he has had problems reeling in passes shouldn’t come as a surprise. He should continue to be a force in the red zone, but for a team that added Christian McCaffrey in the first round and has Kelvin Benjamin who will dominate many of the targets there may not be enough opportunities to go around.
While there’s upside and we don’t want to completely write him off, even in dynasty formats he’s a tough sell. Monitor him, just in case, but consider him waiver wire fodder.
Verdict – Bust
Brandon Coleman – New Orleans Saints
With Brandin Cooks being sent to New England in the offseason there is going to be opportunities for someone to step up. We know Michael Thomas & Willie Snead are going to be the team’s top options, though they already combined for 164 catches, 2,032 yards and 13 TD a year ago. While they could see a slight increase, someone else will need to step up and help replace Cooks’ 78 catches (117 targets), 1,173 yards and 8 TD.
Enter Coleman, who has shown some potential over his first two seasons in the NFL (56 receptions for 735 yards and 5 TD). Listed at 6’6” and 225 lbs., he actually was signed as an undrafted free agent. According to Walter Football as to why he wasn’t selected:
“In speaking with sources, they said that Coleman went undrafted because of the medical reports. Teams aren’t convinced that his knee injury has healed, and some teams removed him from their boards. That combined with his speed concerns caused him to go undrafted.”
At this point that should no longer be considered a concern. While he could be the fourth or fifth option in the passing game, and the presence of Adrian Peterson could drive to a more ground oriented approach, there is at least a little bit of upside. That said, it’s hardly enough to get excited about. Monitor him just in case he gets off to a strong start, but without guaranteed snaps it’s better to simply monitor him off the wire.
Verdict – Bust
Sources – NFL.com, ESPN, Walter Football
Make sure to check out our early 2017 Rankings: