When we start to talk breakout candidates 5 specific players come to mind almost immediately after some of the craziness that went on during 2019 free agency. Last year I nailed Calvin Ridley being an immediate impact, but I am not so sure there is a rookie WR that is a clear cut fantasy option this year though if I had to select a WR it would be N’Keal Harry. Harry gets to join a perfect situation with the Patriots because he will not be expected to be a superstar in order to help the team win. The real question is how do you nail the off the wall PPR fantasy impacts that come out of nowhere, for instance, Phillip Lindsay from 2018 as an undrafted rookie RB. The James Conner prediction was an easy call once we knew Bell was sitting for the year making Conner a no question RB2 at worst in that offense. Honestly, he actually did even better than I expected checking in at RB7 to finish his 2019 campaign scoring just over 250 in my half point PPR Dynasty league.
This year I have quite a few potential breakout candidates most of which are WRs in the continued push of pass heavy offense in the NFL so that is where I will start. As I began to sift through some of the #’s from the 2018 season, a couple of player’s end to the season caught my eye as huge breakout candidates for the 2019 season. The 49ers Dante Pettis is #1 on that list, Pettis checked in with 27 receptions 467 yards and 5 TD which at first glance is very underwhelming. When you dig a little deeper though you see that 20 receptions 359 yards and 4 of the 5 TD all came in the final 5 weeks of the season, now that’s production.
“Dante is something else,” Garoppolo said. “His physical ability is different from most receivers, and different from any receiver I’ve been with. How he moves, it’s very long and gangly, but he makes it work. He has enough explosiveness and power to get out of cuts when it doesn’t look like he can.”Jimmy G quote on Dante Pettis by NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco
Up next on my list will have to be Christian Kirk who was actually having a good year given the circumstances in Arizona until an injury sidelined him for the last 3 weeks. Now with new coach Kliff Kingsbury and a revamped offense, Kirk looks to add to his impressive rookie season in his sophomore campaign. Arizona looks to have a rebound year adding rookie QB Kyler Murray and a host of talented rookie WRs like Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler. Kirk posted 43 receptions 590 yards and 3 TD in just 11 games last year as a rookie, and with all of the improvement to the offense under Kingsbury, there should be plenty of touches to go around.
The next player on my list DJ Moore comes with a partner in Curtis Samuel, though DJ Moore should be the higher ceiling of the 2, Samuel is also poised for a big year after the Panther’s cut ties with Devin Funchess. The only real factor here has to be Cam’s health, coming off shoulder surgery you never really know until we get to see some of the first contact action late in the preseason. The duo of Moore and Samuel very well may be one of the better duos of WRs in the NFL by years end. DJ Moore checks in with 55 receptions 788 yards and 2 TD, while Samuel only came in with 39 receptions 494 yards and 5 TD Samuel also did not play in the first 4 weeks of the 2018 Season. Both WR’s also have great speed and are used in the run game adding to their fantasy value and I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of these 2 inside the top 10 for WR PPR scoring.
Chris Godwin is my next WR to keep a close eye on this year, there has been a lot of buzz out of Tampa this off-season about Godwin and as a die-hard Tampa Bay Bucs fan I really hope I am right about this guy. Godwin started to show out last season once he was given an opportunity when D Jack went down instantly showing he could be an impact WR. Mike Evans is the no question #1 WR in Tampa, but now Godwin will have his chance to emerge as the clear #2 WR after D Jack rejoined the Eagles. In 2018 Godwin posted a very impressive 59 receptions 842 yards and 7 TD’s in his
“Wide receiver Bobo Wilson is coming along, Breshad Perriman, guys like that, Chris Godwin, you guys already know what Chris brings to the table. Justin Watson got another year under his belt. All those guys are going to contribute the best way they can and hopefully help us win.”Bruce Arians on his young receivers in Tampa Bay
The final name I want to highlight for this list of WR breakout candidates is going to be Mike Williams, probably one of my favorite college wideouts of all time out of Clemson. Williams made this short list because of the departure of Tyrell Williams going to the Oakland Raiders in free agency Mike Williams has the talent without question, but Keenan Allen does too. While Keenan Allen ends up with the larger share of targets Mike Williams has the higher ceiling by far, he has
To conclude I want to go through a group of WR breakout candidates that need to at least be mentioned in this post because a few of these guys could have huge years. I mentioned Tyrell Williams earlier and he just barely missed making the top of this list Tyrell is in a great situation now having a superstar WR like Antonio Brown on the opposite side attracting the majority of the attention. Another WR I think is in a great position to have a breakout year has to be Sterling Shepard this is kind of an obvious call after the Odell Beckham Jr trade now Shepard will step into the #1 WR spot with a ton more potential targets available in OBJ’s absence. Now to the few guys that are a little more of a hard call like KeKe Coutee who I really like, but don’t know if I am sold on him being the #2 WR in Houston. Michael Gallup has a huge upside once he fully figures out how to play against the top-notch defenses in the NFL and with Amari Cooper a clear #1 in Dallas he could get some better matchups in 2019. The Chicago Bears coming off an NFC North title are one of my teams to be afraid of in 2019 and Anthony Miller forming a great relationship with Mitchell Trubisky should help the bears offense tremendously. The Bears also added my top RB in the 2019 NFL Draft in David Montgomery. The Denver Broncos wideout Courtland Sutton is my last mention for this group Sutton started to emerge as a reliable WR when Sanders went down finishing the year with 42 receptions 704 yards and 4 TD.