by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There were a pair of potentially significant injuries to already questionable wide receiving corps in Week 1. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears already had issues, but with Allen Robinson lost for the season and Kevin White potentially following suit trying to find value could prove difficult. Questionable quarterback play and feature running backs will further cloud the issue, but let’s take a look at both depth charts and try to find the diamond in the rough worth stashing:
Player to Add = Dede Westbrook
The Jaguars do have potential options, though none of them have the upside of Allen Robinson. Rookie Leonard Fournette, who took 26 carries for 100 yards in Week 1, should be in story for a bigger role and there could be more touches for Chris Ivory and T.Y. Yeldon (when healthy). Still, Blake Bortles has to throw the football to someone.
In the short-term Allen Hurns will be the favorite to make an impact, and he led the team with 4 targets in Week 1 (3 receptions for 42 yards). Marqise Lee should also play a role, though after failing to catch a pass in Week 1 his outlook is questionable at best.
It could get ugly over the first few weeks, but the name to watch for the second half is Dede Westbrook. You know Jacksonville may be regretting sending him to the IR prior to Week 1, which rules him out for the first eight games, though there was obviously a reason. Still his absence now will only keep the fourth round rookie further under-the-radar, and he could be a true difference maker in the second half of the season. Keep in mind this scouting report courtesy of NFL.com prior to the draft:
Natural glider with ability to play outside but could be moved to slot due to size concerns. Often found running in the clear thanks to strong double moves and weak competition. Evaluating Westbrook is challenging due to a lack of strong competition, but his separation quickness, second gear, and reliable hands are all translatable play traits that should turn into catches on the next level.
Consider him a great stash for those in dynasty formats (or even those with extremely deep rosters) and a name to keep filed away in for a potential second half breakout.
Player to Add = Markus Wheaton
It’s not like Kevin White was a lock to produce, considering his already lengthy injury history. However there was a clear opportunity as the expected top target (Cameron Meredith) had already been lost for the year. Now the team is really lacking in options:
- Kendall Wright – 3 receptions for 34 yards
- Josh Bellamy – 3 receptions for 27 yards
Chances are this offense will operate through a pair of running backs (Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen). That said the receiving name to watch is clearly Markus Wheaton, who was out for Week 1 as he continued to work his way back from a broken finger. He’s always been viewed as an upside receiver, though one that has battled a crowded depth chart in Pittsburgh, injury (he was limited to just 3 games a year ago in part due to a shoulder injury) and inconsistency.
Still just 26-years old and with an obvious opportunity, stashing him now makes a lot of sense for those in deeper formats. He’s hardly a guarantee to produce and could prove to be more of a boom or bust receiver, though we have to remember that NFL.com’s comparison prior to being drafted was to Antonio Brown. Obviously that’s a stretch, but it shows the potential upside.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com