The WR2 Report: AFC West
Before I get started, let me tell you how the WR2 report came to be. There was a tweet that mentioned a list of wide receivers with “WR2 upside” in fantasy. This list included receivers like Tyler Boyd, Calvin Ridley, and Chris Godwin. These guys are the second options on their teams. This got me curious about these receivers and what their fantasy upside is. Everyone has their top-10 lists and deep sleepers, but the players in the middle are rarely talked about. @gnarlynickk and I brainstormed the idea, and the WR2 Report was born. Over the next eight weeks, I will go division by division to break down which wide receiver is most likely to finish as the second-best fantasy option on each team and where they stack up in the overall rankings. Without further ado, the AFC West.
DaeSean Hamilton, Overall ADP 148, WR57 (ADP from Fantasy Football Calculator)
Hamilton is currently going as the third Broncos receiver off the board, but he has a clear path to the Broncos WR2 in 2019. Courtland Sutton looks to take over for Demaryius Thomas as the number one guy. Emmanuel Sanders is 32 years old and coming off an Achilles injury that forced him to miss the final four games of the 2018 season. It is not certain he will be back for week one. Enter DaeSean Hamilton. A fourth-round pick out of Penn State, Hamilton managed only 30 receptions for 243 yards in his rookie season. More than 80% of that production came in the last four weeks of the regular season after Sanders went down.
While this is a small sample size, it is proof of just how good Hamilton can be in PPR formats. Hamilton scored 66.8 fantasy points on the season on 30 receptions. That is 45% of his fantasy value coming from receptions. Receivers with similar numbers include Willie Snead, Cole Beasley, and Danny Amendola. None of those three averaged double-digit fantasy points per game. Over the last four games of 2018, Hamilton accumulated more than 45% of his fantasy points from receptions while averaging 13.8 points per game. Over a full season, these numbers would translate to 100 receptions for 728 yards. And that does not even factor in touchdowns. These numbers look great without Sanders, but the fact remains that Sanders will return at some point in 2019. Do I expect 100 catches from Hamilton? No, absolutely not. Only eight receivers had 100+ catches in 2018. But, with Sanders still recovering from his injury, Hamilton has the best shot to be the Broncos WR2 in 2019. It would not surprise me if he finishes 2019 as a top-40 receiver.
Kansas City Chiefs
Sammy Watkins, Overall ADP 62, WR26
How in the world is Sammy Watkins still being drafted as basically a WR2 when he has not finished better than WR40 in the last three years? Two words. Patrick. Mahomes. The guy that threw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in his first season as a starter and won the league MVP. Yeah, that guy. Watkins cannot stay on the field. He has played a full season just once in his five-year career and has played more than 12 games just once in his last four seasons. When Watkins was on the field in 2018, he was somewhat effective and mostly inconsistent.
Watkins fluctuated from way above the average to way below the average on a weekly basis. Even with his inconsistencies, he averaged more than 11 fantasy points per game. Watkins can improve on that in 2019. If he can stay on the field. It will also depend on what happens with Tyreek Hill. If Hill were to miss time, this gives Watkins another opportunity for success. This could be the year that makes or breaks Watkins and his fantasy value. If he plays 12 or more games, he will return to WR3 territory. If not, it may be time to give up on the former Clemson standout.
Los Angeles Chargers
Mike Williams, Overall ADP 60, WR25
Williams is one of the most polarizing third-year receivers in the league. He did not have a productive rookie season due to injuries. His sophomore season was a different story. Williams caught 43 balls for 664 yards and 10 touchdowns, which tied for fifth in the league among receivers. He showed potential as a future number one receiver, but he will still play second fiddle to Keenan Allen in 2019. The pair is capable of coexisting and Williams has the talent to make himself very fantasy relevant. He finished as WR31 in 2018, but he will need to be more consistent if he wants to establish himself as one of the best number two options in the NFL.
Williams was up and down the entire season. Some weeks he was really good. In Week 15 when Keenan Allen did not play, Williams took over the lead role and scored 34.5 fantasy points. When Tyrell Williams missed Week 12, Chargers fans got a glimpse into the future as Mike Williams scored 18.5 fantasy points with Allen by his side. Tyrell Williams is off to Oakland which paves the way for Mike Williams to secure the Chargers WR2 role for himself. Since 2011, the WR2 in a Philip Rivers-led offense has finished outside of the top-50 just once. Williams is almost a lock for a top-50 WR and has the best chance of any AFC West WR2 to finish as a top-24 receiver in 2019.
Tyrell Williams, Overall ADP 138, WR53
Since Derek Carr’s rookie season in 2014, the Raiders WR2 has finished in the top-40 each of the last four seasons. The Raiders overhauled their entire receiver room after trading Amari Cooper to Dallas. Antonio Brown will take over as the number one guy, while Williams should slide into the number two role. Williams has finished as a top-50 receiver each of the last three seasons, including WR18 in 2016.
Carr’s history with number two receivers and Williams production in that role could be a sneaky combination in 2019. Williams can take the top off of the defense and stretch the field vertically. He gives the Raiders a much-needed weapon in their new-look offense. If Williams can stay on the field, history says he will finish as a top-50 receiver in 2019. I think he can be a low-end WR3 and is a steal at his current ADP.
THANK YOU FOR READING AND COME BACK NEXT WEEK FOR THE WR2 REPORT ON THE NFC WEST. YOU CAN READ SOME OF MY OTHER WORK AND THOUGHTS ON TWITTER @LGNDOFCHAW. FOLLOW FFSTATISTICS ON TWITTER @FFSTATISTICS_. PLEASE CHECK OUT EVERYTHING THAT FFSTATISTICS HAS TO OFFER. NEW STATISTICS AND DATA ARE BEING ADDED CONSTANTLY. READ MORE IN MY COACHING CHANGES SERIES AS WELL AS OTHER ARTICLES FROM THE FFSTATISTICS WRITING STAFF HERE. LISTEN TO THE FFSTATISTICS FAMILY OF PODCASTS HERE.