Top 5 Wide Receiver Breakouts

1). Antonio Brown - PIT [$8.3MM / Year | 102 Pts | $82k per Point]

Brown has been nothing short of brilliant so far this year, and feels like the most reliable non-quarterback in all of fantasy.  He's a target monster and Pittsburgh has a good enough running game and surrounding weapons that teams simply can't focus entirely on stopping just Brown.  He's not a bargain like some others on this list but he's proving to be worth any amount, and relative to some of the top paid WRs in the league his $8MM per year seems quite absorbable.  

2). Kelvin Benjamin - CAR [$1.9MM / Year | 71 Pts | $26k per Point]

Experienced Dynasty Owner players are aware that by now, striking fantasy gold is getting a dominant Rookie in the first year of his contract.  Benjamin is clearly that in this year's rookie class.  The clear cut number 1 WR in Carolina and Cam Newton's favorite target, Kelvin Benjamin is the only nfl rookie in 10yrs with 25+ yard touchdown catches in 3 of the teams first 4 games.  Those who drafted him are set at one of the WR slots for the next 5 years with a potential top 10 option for a measly $2MM per year.  

3). Julio Jones - ATL [$4MM / Year | 89 Pts | $45k per Point]

Any questions about Julio Jones bouncing back from foot injuries that wrecked his season last year have been answered.  Jones' numbers are a little inflated from an enormous week 3 where he absolutely torched the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 161 yards and 2 TDs, but he's well on pace to finish in the top 5 overall for WRs.  He's also well on pace for a monster new contract extension next year, so enjoy the elite production at a bargain this year while you can.  

4). DeAndre Hopkins - HOU [$1.9MM / Year | 67 Pts | $28k per Point]

There is a passing of the guard as the number 1 WR option in HOU as Hopkins appears to be taken the mantle from Andre Johnson.  Just imagine if Houston had a strong QB prospect.   Hopkins has not been spectacular but has been consistent through 4 games: 13 Catches, 335 Rec Yds, 2 Rec TD.  He has 2 years left on his rookie deal so he's a great bet to continue to widen the distance between what he's being paid and what he's producing.  

5). Steve Smith Sr.  - BAL [$3.5MM / Year | 85 Pts | $41k per Point]

A 36 year-old has to really be killing it to make our list, as Dynasty Owner is usually all about young guys producing on rookie deals but we can't ignore the dynamic production that Steve Smith Sr. has had thus far this year.  And because it was perceived he was all but washed up, he's actually quite a bargain on his twilight contract.  He's the go-to guy in the passing game in Baltimore, and should factor to be even more relied upon with the unfortunate re-injury to Todd Heap.   If you grabbed Smith late or snatched him up off the wire early, congratulations and enjoy the ride.  

Top 5 Disappointing WRs

1). Torrey Smith - BAL [$840k / Year | 27 Pts | $31k per Point]

You can't mention Steve Smith's resurgence without immediately referencing the other Smith in the WR corps.  All of Steve's production seems to have come at the expense of Torrey, although what is most concerning is how uninvolved he has looked in the offensive game plan to this point.  Smith was particularly highly targeted in drafts this year as he's on the final deal of a rookie contract, and guys in a contract year are usually more apt to get theirs week in and week out.  We still wouldn't drop Torrey as his $DD/PT is not that bad, but he jumps out as someone who we thought would be doing what his battery mate was doing in this offense.  

2). Deymarius Thomas - BAL [$2.8MM / Year | 35 Pts | $80k per Point]

Deymarius' production relative to his contract is actually worse than Torrey Smith, but we're a lot more confident that Thomas will turn it around and return to dominance in the coming weeks.  Some are speculating that his impeding contract situation is getting to him, because through three games, he's been targeted a healthy 27 times but has 13 catches and four drops.  Our guess is he took the recent bye week to get right and will start putting up monster lines as soon as week 5.   If you are a Thomas owner we would not recommend selling low.

3). Larry Fitzgerald - ARI [$16MM / Year | 18 Pts | $900k per Point]

Hopefully you listened to our warnings before your draft and warned you that Fitzgerald is very likely going to be overpaid, but even we didn't expect his production to fall off this much.  He's clearly no longer the number 1 WR option in that offense, but most of the time he looks like the 3rd or 4th option at best.  With that contract, we wouldn't fault anyone for cutting bait for a younger cheaper player with more upside.  If you are still holding onto Larry Fitz, it's probably nostalgia getting the best of you.  That contract is simply not worth carrying on any roster in Dynasty Owner at this point.  

4). Vincent Jackson - TB [$11.1MM / Year | 38 Pts | $290k per Point]

Tampa Bay is tough to figure as a team and as a fantasy offense in terms of who is going to get the majority of the targets each week.  Jackson has always been a fantasy feast or famine type player but this year, there are disturbing trends with his usage rate.  His targets are there but in 4 games he hasn't caught more than 4 balls or had more than 51 yards in any game.  A couple of late game touchdowns (1 in garbage time vs ATL, 1 to win the game vs PIT) have basically saved his season thus far from a fantasy standpoint.  But with that contract, he needs to be a clear cut number 1 WR week in and week out and he doesn't look anything close to that right now.

5). Marques Colston - NO [$7.2MM / Year | 32 Pts | $226k per Point]

Colston was another guy who was already on the downside and playing on a bloated contract, so him showing up on this list isn't a surprise like Smith or Thomas.  That said, prospects are bleak with the emergence of Brandin Cooks as a playmaker and Jimmy Graham demanding most of the goal line looks.   And Colston has not helped his case any as he's been plagued by drive killing drops.  If you drafted Colston, it's definitely time to look elsewhere as there are dozens of WRs on most waiver wires who have a much lower $DD/PT value at this stage.   

Top 5 Replacements to target (Available in at least 50% of leagues)

  • Markus Wheaton (PIT) - $700k / Year
  • James Jones (Oak) - $3.3MM / Year
  • Eddie Royal (SD) - $3.5MM / Year
  • Brian Quick (STL) - $1.3MM / Year
  • Andrew Hawkins (CLE) - $3.5MM / Year

With the exception of Wheaton in Pittsburgh and possibly Royal in San Diego, the other three WRs have emerged as number 1 WR targets in their respective offenses.  Granted these offenses aren't passing juggernauts but we'd certainly look to these options before paying for an expensive name like Larry Fitzgerald or Colston.