The WR2 Report: AFC North
This is the third edition in an eight-week series, the WR2 report, where I look at each team’s second wide receiver and their fantasy value. I started in the AFC West and most recently wrote about the NFC West. This week I am focusing on the AFC North. There have been changes at wide receiver on almost all of these teams, with the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. in Cleveland and the departure of Antonio Brown in Pittsburgh. New WR2’s are available in the North, so let’s break them down.
Willie Snead, Overall ADP N/A, WR N/A (Fantasy Football Calculator)
According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Snead is not in the overall 215 or the top-68 receivers. His rookie counterpart, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown comes in at WR58. Snead played in 14 games a season ago and finished with 62 receptions for 651 yards and a touchdown. He finished the season as WR52. John Brown and Michael Crabtree have both moved on which should open up more targets for Snead. Brown, the 25th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, will look to assume the number one receiver role instantly in a run-heavy offense.
Snead has not been the same since he left New Orleans and Drew Brees. He finished as WR31 and WR35 in his first two seasons but has failed to crack the top-50 each of the last two years. In nine games with Joe Flacco as the starter in 2018, Snead averaged more than 10 points per game. In five games with Lamar Jackson, Snead averaged 7.5 points per game. With Brown and Crabtree gone, Snead should be forced into targets. He could be a solid bye week filler later in the year that can be drafted at almost zero cost.
Tyler Boyd, Overall ADP 67, WR28
Boyd burst onto the scene in 2018, securing career highs in targets (108), receptions (76), yards receiving (1,028) and touchdowns (7). He did some of it with AJ Green on the other side, and he continued to do it after both Green and his starting quarterback, Andy Dalton, went down. He finished the season as WR15 in just 14 games.
Boyd thrived when Green was on the field with him. The Bengals did not add any threats at receiver. It will still be the Green and Boyd show in 2019. With Green’s injury concerns, Boyd could have another huge year. His ADP is low for a guy who was nearly a WR1 a season ago. With a full season of health, the Bengals offense could take a huge step forward with new head coach Zac Taylor. Boyd looks to be a huge beneficiary in the new offense and has serious WR2 upside.
Jarvis Landry, Overall ADP 57, WR24
With the addition of Odell Beckham Jr., Landry is slotted into the WR2 role in Cleveland. The Browns offense has a ton of firepower with second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield leading the way. Landry saw a team-high 148 targets, almost double the second-highest on the team. With Beckham Jr. in town, some of the pressure will be let off Landry. He will have a stud WR1 on the outside to turn the defense’s focus off of him, which will allow him to dominate the slot.
Landry has had at least 131 targets and finished as a top-20 receiver in every season since his rookie year. Beckham will compete for targets, but Landry should still see north of 120 targets. He can truly be a force over the middle of the field in the Browns high octane offense. Expect him to finish as a borderline WR1 in 2019.
James Washington, Overall ADP 136, WR52
Now we get to the WR2 dilemma in Pittsburgh. Is it Washington or is it Donte Moncrief? Reports have been coming out about Moncrief showing well at minicamp. Washington enters year two of his NFL career after being drafted in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Washington caught just 16 passes for 217 yards in 2018, but he was a force at Oklahoma State.
He broke out at age 19 and was above the baseline for three straight years. He had a tough first season adjusting to the NFL and was stuck behind JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown. With Brown gone, Washington could be in line for a huge target increase. When the Steelers draft a wide receiver, pay attention. They draft some studs. It would not shock me if Washington contends for a top-40 receiver in 2019 even with the presence of Moncrief.
WR2 Report Conclusion
There are new faces in new places that have huge impacts on the AFC North. These four receivers have the potential to help you win your league if any of them hit in 2019. Be sure to check back in next week for the WR2 report on the NFC North.
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