It’s not too late for these “truther” wide receivers to break out in fantasy football

by Edward DeLauter ·

The phrase “truther” seems to be overused in fantasy these days.  Being a truther requires a certain amount of valor.  It requires willing to be the guy in the room who everyone looks at and says: “what is this moron doing?”  Being a truther shouldn’t just mean that you like a player based on his advanced stats, metrics and analytics, or you think that a certain player is going to be value in drafts this coming season.  Rather, being a truther means that you believe, in your heart of hearts, that a player is destined for fantasy football greatness.

Often injuries, or situations make it so that others fail to see just how special a particular player is.  Below are four wide receivers that should fall under “truther status” for you.  They are players you should look to acquire in dynasty formats before the eventual breakout happens.   As these are truther wide receivers you should have little difficulty prying these players away from unsuspecting fantasy owners for close to nothing.

Keelan Cole, WR, Jaguars

Cole appeared poised for a breakout in 2018 after ending his 2017 rookie campaign finishing as a top 24 wide receiver or better in weeks 13-16.  This included a weekly WR 1 finish in week 15 where he torched the Texans catching seven balls for 186 years and a touchdown. It seemed as if Cole was going to continue where he left off when he began 2018 posting 24.6 fantasy points in week 2, finishing as the WR 7 on the week. Ultimately, Cole’s promising start to the season, much like the Jaguars playoff hopes, succumbed to the quarterback play of Blake Bortles.  Cole only scored double digit fantasy points one other game for the rest of the season finishing as the WR 88 (6.4 fantasy points per game) on the season.

The pecking order for 2019 targets in the Jacksonville offense remains murky. Cole will have to compete with a rehabilitated Marquise Lee, and the higher draft capital of Dede Westbrook and D.J. Chark.  However, Cole’s advanced stats and metrics profile suggests that he should have little difficulty finding himself at the top of the Jaguars’ target totem pole.  His production towards the end of 2017 shows that he has the ability to take over as the lead target monster. This is further supported by his 60.7-percent (98-percentile) College Dominator Rating which suggests that the end of his 2017 season was no fluke as he was able to be a target magnet at the college level.  In addition, Cole was given the most respect among Jaguar wide receivers from opposing defenses in 2018. He saw an average of 4.73 yards of cushion (No. 10 overall). He also frequently matched up with the top opposing cornerbacks, primarily seeing coverage from Tre’Davious WhitePierre Desir, and Adoree’ Jackson towards the end of the season. If opposing defenses are continuing to respect Keelan Cole, you should to.  Acquire Cole now before an inevitable competent quarterback takes starters snaps under center for Jacksonville and the breakout finally happens.

Quincy Enunwa, WR, Jets

After a lost 2017 season, due to a neck injury, Quincy Enunwa truthers were looking towards a 2018 resurgence.  After all, it was only 2016 when Enunwa looked to be on the cusp of a breakout when he finished with 105 targets and averaged double digits fantasy points.  In the beginning of the 2018 season it appeared that Enunwa was ready to be the primary pass catcher for the Jets averaging 9.25 targets through the first four weeks of the 2018 campaign.  During this time, Enunwa averaged 13.7 fantasy points per game, highlighted by a WR 17 finish in week 1.  Unfortunately, Enunwa’s health became an issue again as ankle injuries resulted in Enunwa playing only 7 more games limping to a WR 72 finish (7.9 fantasy points per game).

Fresh off a contract extension, and with the injury issues behind him, Enunwa is well positioned to make truthers come out of hiding in 2019.  Enunwa certainly has the pedigree to demand targets as evidenced by a 41.7-percent College Dominator Rating (84-percentile) and presents a unique size-speed combination via a 116.3 Speed Score (97-percentile).  Enunwa is also looking forward to another season of growth from Sam Darnold to help him finally break out. Further, Enunwa’s 2019 outlook is assisted by the Jets new coaching hires in Adam Gase and Jim Bob Cooter who have helped facilitate fantasy success for similar high BMI receivers in Jarvis Landry, and Golden Tate.  Assuming the Jets new coaching staff does what’s right, and installs Enunwa as the teams primary slot receiver, a role he had success with in 2016, truthers will be able to rejoice again.

Rashard Higgins, WR, Browns

If you had to guess which Browns wide receiver outside of Jarvis Landry lead the team in fantasy points per game after Baker Mayfield took over as the starting quarterback, would you be able to come up with the correct player?  Don’t bother looking up the answer. Just ask the Rashard Higgins truther.

Fantasy Points Per Game in Baker Mayfield Starts

Not only was Higgins productive with his targets in 2018 he was also highly efficient posting a +35.1 Production Premium (No. 2 overall) and averaging 2.19 fantasy points per target (No. 12 overall).  While the doubters may point to Higgins’ woeful athleticism  85.9 SPARQ-x score (5-percentile), Higgins has been able to transcend his forty-time, Speed Score, and Agility Score going back to his time in college where he posted a 43.6-percent College Dominator Rating (88-percentile) and broke out at age 18.9 (92-percentile).

Latched onto an ascending elite talent in Baker Mayfield, Higgins will again see quality targets in 2019. Other dynasty players looking for pieces of the Browns skyrocketing offense may chase the athleticism of Antonio Callaway and Breshad Perriman, or fall for the Jarvis Landry trap.  Let those players chase fools gold, and be sure to buy low on Higgins, the 2019 Tyler Boyd, before it is too late.

Justin Watson, WR, Buccaneers

Only a bonafide truther can tout a wide receiver who caught one pass for five yards as a rookie. When it comes to Justin Watson the case for acquiring the second year wide out makes itself.

Justin Watson Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Watson entered the league sporting a rare combination of elite college production and elite athleticism. Watson excelled on the field during his time at Penn State amassing a 60.3-percent College Dominator Rating (98-percentile) and breaking out at age 19.4 (81-percentile). In addition to this outstanding college production, Watson also flashed elite athleticism at his Pro Day personified by a 123.3 SPARQ-x score (91-percentile). Watson has the size-speed combination (107.2 Speed Score, 87-percentile) and the Catch Radius (10.28, 91-percentile) to be a prototypical stud wide receiver at the NFL level.

While Watson’s lack of year one production is a red flag for any type of prospect, Watson was drafted into a unique situation, finding himself in a very crowded wide receiver corps to begin his NFL career. Headlined by all-pro in Mike Evans and the field stretching, former pro-bowler, DeSean Jackson, Watson had no chance to see the field in two-wide-receiver sets. Then when you add to the equation budding prospect Chris Godwin, and slot receiver specialist Adam Humphries, Watson was justifiably forced out of four-wide-receiver sets. Now with Jackson a cut candidate, and Humphries a likely goner in free agency, Watson should be able to insert himself into three-wide-receiver sets in one of the most pass happy offenses in the league (41.6 Team Pass Plays, No. 3 overall), and capitalize on the opportunity.

Chances are the dynasty players who drafted Watson in last years rookie draft know what they have in him. However, in the event they are looking to cut bait on a player that failed to see any significant snaps his rookie season you should not be afraid to acquire Watson now before it is too late.