While everyone sees the value of liking a player before it's cool, you won't find many sticking around after it's cool. Once the Fantasy football community stops buzzing about a player, generally after multiple disappointing years in a row, it's not easy to find people sticking their neck out in defense of them. But as DeVante Parker showed us last year, sometimes it pays to hold on to old flames despite all the evidence pointing in a different direction.
A year ago Parker was a 26-year-old receiver who had never played 16 games in a season or topped 750 yards receiving. But all he needed was a little Fitzmagic (and a Preston Williams injury) to finally justify the first round pick the Dolphins spent on him. Everyone would love to draft a 1,200-yard receiver no one believes in, right?
The most obvious guy to compare to Parker is Will Fuller. Fuller is 26, he's battled injury problems, and he's never put together anything close to a full good Fantasy season. Yes, he was good in seven games in 2018, and he had one of the greatest games of all time in 2019. But he's also missed 14 games in the past two seasons and he was held below 50 yards in more than half of his games in 2019.
Fuller would be the perfect post-hype breakout if not for the DeAndre Hopkins trade. That trade has drafters believing in him once again and he's being drafted in the same range as A.J. Green and Michael Gallup according to August NFC ADP. Sure, Fuller could still break out. But it's more a question of whether he can ever stay healthy. Below I've got five more receivers who are cheaper than Fuller, but still have post-hype upside.
ARI Arizona • #13
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Kirk has finished outside the top-36 WR each of his first two seasons in the league, so it's not that surprising that he's currently being drafted outside of the first 10 rounds in CBS ADP. This is especially true since Arizona traded for a true No. 1 receiver, Hopkins, this offseason. So what's the path for a breakout now? It's all about Kliff Kingsbury ... and a little bit about Chris Godwin. Arizona was very fast last year in terms of pace of play but their total play volume didn't reflect that because of a bad defense and inefficient pass game. If they keep that same pace and Kyler Murray improves it's not hard to see their play volume (and pass attempts) jumping by as much as 10%. As the No. 2, Kirk could still see 20% of the targets like Larry Fitzgerald did last year, and with the increased volume that could get Kirk close to 115 targets. A rebound to his 2018 efficiency of 8.7 yards per target puts Kirk right at 1,000 yards receiving. That makes him a value at his ADP, but it's also not his ceiling. Godwin showed us what type of leap a talented receiver could make in his third year in a pass-heavy offense with a true No. 1 opposite him. Let's hope Kirk follows the blueprint.
WAS Washington • #10
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Remember how excited people were about Curtis Samuel a year ago? I'm not even sure they were wrong to be excited about him — we just didn't know how hard it is to succeed as the deep threat for Kyle Allen. Samuel earned a whopping 1,608 air yards last year but only 627 receiving yards. Every other receiver with at least 1,424 air yards topped 1,000 yards receiving. In 2020 Samuel will have a new quarterback, a new coaching staff and a new system in place. Robby Anderson will be the deep threat and Samuel will play closer to the line of scrimmage along with D.J. Moore, and with Teddy Bridgewater under center, that's a good place to be and Samuel should see a major uptick in his catch rate. The question is whether he can truly break out if Christian McCaffrey, Moore, and Anderson stay healthy. He can if the Panthers are among the league leaders in pass attempts again.
HOU Houston • #3
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Despite the fact that Miller is one of Jamey Eisenberg's favorite sleepers, his ADP still remains in the 15th round. If the Bears pass offense is even marginally improved, that should pay off big time. From Week 10 forward Miller was on a 1,000-yard pace and had at least nine targets in four of his final seven games. Nick Foles is now in Chicago to push Mitchell Trubisky, so no matter who the starter is it shouldn't be as bad as last year. There's a path to 120 targets for Miller and even a slight improvement in his efficiency would make him a Fantasy starter.
LAC L.A. Chargers • #81
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
I resisted Williams as a post-hype breakout candidate because he already has a 10-touchdown season and a 1,000-yard season, but his 13th round ADP convinced me. Yes, there's concern about the Chargers offense with either Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert under center. It's also concerning that Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler, and Hunter Henry all averaged more targets per game than Williams last year. But he's a former first round pick who has averaged better than 10 yards per target each of the past two seasons. At some point that has to pay off with more targets, right?
Corey Davis WR
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #84
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
If you're looking for the best non-Will Fuller comp for 2019 DeVante Parker, this could be it. Like Parker, Davis is a former first round pick who hasn't been able to stay healthy and he wasn't even the best pass catcher on his own team last year. He's basically not even being drafted in most standard CBS drafts and I recently landed him with the very last pick of a 20-round Best Ball league. But we do think there's a chance the Titans pass volume increases substantially this year and we saw what happened in the playoffs when defenses treated A.J. Brown like a true No. 1 receiver. Truth be told, Parker's breakout didn't happen until the Preston Williams injury and that might be what it takes to revitalize Corey Davis' career as well. That, or a new team. But for what it's worth, I'm still holding Davis on all of those Dynasty rosters where I drafted him.