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The New Reality No.105: 2018 Free Agent Wide Receivers

Navigating the ever-changing landscape of dynasty fantasy football

The third installment of the 2018 NFL free agency preview of available players, cut candidates, and landing spots, here is a look at the wide receiver position around the NFL landscape:

2018 FREE AGENT wide receivers

TOP SHELF

The 2014 rookie class was a strong one and some of the top names are up for free agency. Sammy Watkins was surprisingly traded by Buffalo and 2017 is a trial run by the Rams with Watkins, who has been underutilized since his arrival. Robinson's final rookie contract year was minimal with an early-season ACL injury and his best production in Jacksonville fueled by garbage time. Green Bay rarely lets their top skill positions walk in their prime, but Adams is a slated free agent heading into the offseason. Adams is a favorite to remain with the Packers but could explore the market for top dollar. Alshon Jeffery would be on this list, but resigned over the weekend to a long-term deal, remaining in Philadelphia.
 

STARTER UPSIDE

There is a mixed bag of upside levels here. Landry, Matthews, and Lee are more suited for the slot while Bryant, Moncrief, and Williams have quality size and movement combinations for perimeter work. Bryant and Moncrief are the most intriguing from a dynasty upside potential as both have flashed in their early NFL seasons but yet to put together their games for long-term production.
 

ancillary options

 Of this list, Butler, Snead, and Enunwa are the three who could move up a tier if their landing spot breaks right. Butler has flashed in the shadow of Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams in Dallas. Enunwa is returning from injury and Snead was a rock-solid fantasy option before 2017 started with an injury and he has yet to incorporate back into the Saints' new-look offense. 

RECLAMATION PROJECTS

Pryor could be listed in the 'starter upside' tier, but with one year of relevance and a non-factor in 2017, Pryor fits the reclamation tag as he nears 30 years old. Smith, Decker, and Wallace all have dynasty stopgap potential, but each have had disappointing seasons compared to their former success. Of the three, Decker gets my vote as the most likely to resurface as a WR2/3 for fantasy.

CUT CANDIDATES

These receivers have cut potential with their contracts. Listed next to each underperformer is how much the team would save if moving on from their current contract. For prototypical outside receiver work, Britt and Marshall are the best options here. Austin is intriguing in a Ted Ginn-type way of emerging later in his career as a top-10 pick without ideal size traits but the athleticism to impact the game.

2018 wide receiver LANDING SPOTS

These landing spots are based on projected free agents, offensive strength, and potential cut candidates.

wr1 AVAILABILITY

  • Jets
  • Bears
  • Cardinals
  • Ravens
  • 49ers
  • Jaguars
  • Chiefs

The best quarterbacks on this list (pending 2018 rookie additions and free agent movement) are in Chicago, Kansas City, Baltimore, and San Francisco. The 49ers have Pierre Garcon returning from injury, but he is a stopgap or WR2 more than locked-and-loaded WR1 to block an incoming free agent or a high-end rookie. The Jets are wide open for opportunity (no offense, Robby Anderson) across the board. Larry Fitzgerald projects to be back with Arizona (Carson Palmer may not be) but has been more of a slot option than outside dominator in his twilight years. Jeremy Maclin has a tenuous hold on a starting spot for the Ravens but could be overtaken in 2018. With Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and Marqise Lee all potential gone, it could be a complete reboot of a Jacksonville passing game which needs one. Tyreek Hill has looked more like a 'manufactured touches' option than rising prototypical wide receiver for the Chiefs in 2017. Chicago has Kevin White returning from injury (again) and Cameron Meredith in the same boat. 

wr2 availability

  • Browns
  • Colts
  • Packers
  • Panthers
  • Bills
Cleveland has Corey Coleman developing, but a variable with Josh Gordon (restricted free agent plus time away from football) to close this season. T.Y. Hilton is locked in for the Colts, but Donte Moncrief creates a void at WR2. Davante Adams is the variable for Green Bay. Carolina took multi-use Curtis Samuel in 2017 and traded Kelvin Benjamin away, leaving Devin Funchess as the WR1. With Kelvin Benjamin and Zay Jones, Buffalo could have the WR2 role available for competition.