Taking a workhorse running back early in fantasy drafts is important. We should be pounding running back early and looking for the upside wide receivers later. This year is no different given how deep the wide receiver pool is. We often see the case made that year three is when wideouts truly break out, but that’s not always the case. Opportunity, injuries, and team strategy are all factors that alter the third year narrative. Late round wide receivers are rarely league winners, but they are still a valuable piece in redraft leagues and especially in best-ball leagues. PlayerProfiler’s advanced stats & metrics help highlight underappreciated late-round wide receivers that have big upside in 2020.
Parris Campbell (FFPC ADP: 196.83)
The Colts drafted Michael Pittman and Jonathan Taylor, which has made Parris Campbell the forgotten man in Indianapolis. The 2019 second-round draft pick from Ohio State was riddled with injuries his rookie season. He suffered a preseason hamstring strain, an abdominal strain Week 4, a hand fracture Week 10, and a foot fracture Week 14. He played in seven games and only reached a 50-percent Snap Share three times. Campbell has a 117.2 (97th-percentile among qualified wide receivers) Speed Score, 135.5 (97th-percentile) Burst Score, and 4.31 (100th-percentile) 40-yard dash. The guy is fast.
Andrew Luck‘s sudden retirement changed the team’s 2019 strategy to a run-first mentality under Jacoby Brissett. This year will be different. Insert 39-year-old Philip Rivers. In 2019, Rivers averaged 288.4 Passing Yards per Game, which was 95.3 more than Brissett. Rivers’ 6.7 (No. 15) Adjusted Yard per Attempt was middle-of-the-pack and his arm isn’t getting any stronger. Expect him to target running backs and slot receivers often this season. The offense will have 31-year old T.Y. Hilton and rookie second round pick Pittman on the outside, which will allow Campbell to work in the slot. Wheels up baby!
Christian Kirk (ADP: 124.33)
This may be counter-intuitive, but DeAndre Hopkins‘ arrival in Arizona and Larry Fitzgerald‘s return are great reasons to draft Christian Kirk, who has an 18.8 (93rd-percentile) Breakout Age and a 36.8-percent (73rd-percentile) College Dominator Rating. He’s Best Comparable on PlayerProfiler to Stefon Diggs and Robert Woods and will start his third pro season at 23 years old.
In 2019, Kirk had 68 (No. 23) receptions for 709 (No. 42) yards on 108 (No. 26) targets in his first year with both quarterback Kyler Murray and new head coach Kliff Kingsbury. The Cardinals ranked No. 3 in the league running 3 and 4 wide receiver sets at a 68.3-percent clip. Kirk had a 98.5-percent (No. 2) Snap Share with 32.5-percent coming in the slot. Hopkins will be a large focus for defenses on the outside, which will open up opportunities for Kirk inside. The Cardinals had last season’s second-highest pace of play, running 2.39 plays per minute on average. Look for this offense to take the next step and produce huge numbers in 2020. Kirk is a great high upside pick in the double digit rounds.
John Ross (ADP: 265.8)
John Ross is considered a bust by many, but there is reason to believe he can still be productive. Ross played in eight games in 2019, logging 28 (No. 87) receptions, 506 (No, 65) yards and three (No. 59) touchdowns. He averaged 18.1 (No. 5) Yards Per Reception with 15.6 (No. 7) yards of Average Target Distance. His major issue is with drops, his nine last season resulting in a league-worst 16.1-percent Drop Rate.
Ross will be heading into the 2020 season with a new quarterback in No. 1 draft pick Joe Burrow. The team will have 32-year old A.J. Green back along with fifth-year wideout Tyler Boyd, rookie Tee Higgins and red zone threat Auden Tate. The wide receiver room is crowded. Though with a 115.3 (96th-percentile) Speed Score and a 129.4 (87th-percentile) Burst Score, Ross provides the deep threat and speed that Cincinnati will need to take the top off defenses.
Anthony Miller (ADP: 160.17)
Anthony Miller was drafted in the second round as the sixth wide receiver off the board in the 2018 draft. He had a good rookie season while dealing with a Week 3 shoulder dislocation, which required offseason surgery. The only rookie to best his seven touchdowns was Calvin Ridley. Miller’s 2019 season was riddled with injuries and bad quarterback play. He suffered another shoulder separation Week 17, resulting in his second offseason shoulder surgery.
Check out Anthony Miller’s 2020 Projection on PlayerProfiler’s “World Famous” Draft Kit:
Miller has a 39.9-percent College Dominator Rating to go with a 30.4-percent (87th-percentile) College Target Share. He has a 128.8 (86th-percentile) Burst Score, a 10.91 (85th-percentile) Agility Score, and 10.14 (75th-percentile) Catch Radius. The Bears cut Taylor Gabriel and oft-injured Trey Burton. They also added 35-year old Ted Ginn and with 33-year old Jimmy Graham. The 2020 passing schedule is favorable for Chicago, but they will need better quarterback play, from either Nick Foles or Mitchell Trubisky, to be successful.