Campfire Chat: Favorite Rookie WR - Footballguys

The Footballguys staff discusses their favorite rookie wide receiver

In a redraft league, considering their respective ADP, which rookie wide receiver would you most want to have on your roster? And "none" can be an answer.

Editor's Note: This question was asked an answered before the Thursday night Preseason Week 1 games were played. References to Deon Cain have been removed as he is now out for the season with an ACL injury.

Daniel Simpkins: I think D.J. Moore has the best chance of this group to make an instant impact. I detailed why I think so in this Spotlight. The biggest reason I believe this to be so is that he's a great fit for what new Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner wants to do. Turner is known for short passing and getting receivers open using timing and precision. The type of routes he uses to do that are most commonly in-breaking routes, skinny posts, and comebacks. Those are routes Moore excels at already. The first-round draft pedigree doesn't hurt his chances to get usage immediately.

Jason Wood: I agree with Daniel. D.J. Moore has No. 1 potential, but he's not my choice. I also love Michael Gallup, but he would be my 2nd choice. The answer to this question is Christian Kirk. The Cardinals are bereft of playmakers even with another year of Larry Fitzgerald catching 100 passes. Kirk has the kind of open-field ability and aggressive catch radius that will serve him well in Mike McCoy's hybrid West Coast offense. Kirk could see 90+ targets if he adapts to the offense quickly in the preseason.

Ryan Hester: The top rookie receivers being drafted (Moore and Ridley) are both surrounded by more promising dart-throws - both at their position and at others. Players such as Kenny Stills, Paul Richardson Jr, and Josh Doctson each have a chance to be their team's WR1 and outperform expectations.

Receivers aside, that Moore-Ridley range is where I'm typically selecting quarterbacks and/or tight ends after bolstering my team with early-round running backs and wide receivers. And my favorite late-round quarterback selection (Patrick Mahomes II II) has an ADP in the same area as Moore and Ridley. George Kittle is right there as well, and he has a promising TE1-upside outlook.

With ADP as a consideration, Gallup and Kirk are better options than Moore and Ridley. Gallup has a chance to lead Dallas in targets, making him the most attractive-at-the-cost rookie wide receiver option in redraft leagues.

Sigmund Bloom: I am reserving a pick at the end of most of my drafts for Keke Coutee. He should supplant Braxton Miller in the slot and provide a big play threat that will face one of the easiest matchups in opposing secondaries most weeks. Deshaun Watson and Coutee should have an instant connection on extended plays, and Coutee can also make things happen as a runner after the catch on short passes. You might not need to select Coutee as he is under the radar in most leagues, but keep him on your early season waiver wire speed dial, especially with a potential shootout against the Patriots to open the season.

Chad Parsons: Christian Kirk is my rookie receiver choice to be in the WR3/4 fantasy mix. Arizona does not a clear incumbent to keep Kirk from the No. 2 receiver role behind Larry Fitzgerald. D.J. Moore has a crowded Carolina passing game with Christian McCaffrey, Devin Funchess, and Greg Olsen. Calvin Ridley first has to leapfrog Mohamed Sanu for the No.2 role in Atlanta, but will still be limited by Julio Jones firmly in the top spot.

Andy Hicks: At wide receiver, there are many rookie options that are in good situations to contribute immediately.

D.J. Moore, Calvin Ridley, Courtland Sutton, Dante Pettis, Christian Kirk, Anthony Miller, D.J. Chark Jr and Michael Gallup all can be starters in Week 1 if they can be trusted by their coaches. The only rookies drafted in the first three rounds that are unlikely to win a starting job are James Washington in Pittsburgh and Tre’Quan Smith in New Orleans.

Courtland Sutton needs to beat out Emmanuel Sanders, but should still be in three-receiver sets.

Anthony Miller has Taylor Gabriel, Kevin White, and Josh Bellamy to beat out, but if he is good enough he can get amongst the rotations immediately.

Dante Pettis has Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin as almost certain starters, but like Miller, if he is good enough he will get plenty of snaps.

Christian Kirk has a much easier path. He only needs to beat out Brice Butler, Chad Williams, and J.J. Nelson. With a rookie quarterback and a new offense, it may take a while to put up good numbers though.

D.J. Chark Jr has receivers ahead of him on the depth chart that should beat him out, but names such as Keelan Cole, DeDe Westbrook, Donte Moncrief, and Marqise Lee hardly strike fear into opposing secondaries. Chark is unlikely to start the season but is one to watch as the season unfolds.

D.J. Moore only has Torrey Smith and Curtis Samuel ahead of him and with a first round grade on him, Moore should win a starting job. If he doesn’t clearly establish himself in training camp, it will be time to put the brakes on in redraft. Cam Newton has often struggled to put up good numbers for more than one wide receiver though and with Devin Funchess around it may be hard for both starters to be fantasy starters.

Michael Gallup has the weakest competition of any rookie, but he is not a ready-made player, hence the fall to the late third round. If he can win a starting job in training camp then he will vault up fantasy rankings. Right now he needs to show he can play at this level.

That leaves us with Calvin Ridley. He joins a potent offense, with a superstar opposite him, a strong running game and a very good quarterback. The offense is stable and Mohamed Sanu will be more suited to the number three role. The addition of Ridley is similar to the addition of Julio Jones to Roddy White many years ago. It didn’t take long for Jones to usurp the No. 1 role and with Julio Jones having contract issues and about to hit 30, Ridley should be the top receiver within three years. Earlier if Jones starts to have issues with motivation or physical problems. For this year it feels as though Ridley has the safest floor of any rookie receiver, but if the breaks go to some of the other guys, they can be anything.

Devin Knotts: Michael Gallup is the guy I like this year and the guy that I am targeting in a lot of drafts. With the Cowboys as thin as they are at wide receiver, for Gallup to simply be on the field he is going to be one of the leading targets in this offense.

I'm a big believer as fantasy analysts we only know what information that is provided to us and that often what isn't being said is the real story. What isn't being talked about is that the Cowboys are not panicking about their wide receiving group even though on paper it is the worst in the NFL. A big reason for this is that I believe they know what they have in Gallup who is a great route runner and while he does not present top end speed or size is a player who can contribute immediately.

Will Grant: In general, I'm only looking at wide receivers as a swing-for-the-fences kind of pick. A player I grab late as a what-the-heck type of pick and hope he jumps out to an early start. The only guy that fits that mold for me is D.J. Moore. The problem with a rookie wide receiver is roster space. Unless you're in a really deep league, the guy needs to be contributing from week one. Otherwise, he's taking up roster space that could be used by players who can help your team. Moore should be on the field for the first snap of the season and he's going to push for touches every week. He's the only rookie wideout I'd consider drafting this year.

Bob Henry: The three I'm targeting most often in drafts are Christian Kirk, Michael Gallup and Anthony Miller. I'm also high on D.J. Moore, but he's less of a value at his ADP.

It's disappointing to hear rumblings out of the desert that Kirk is running behind Chad Williams, J.J. Nelson and Brice Butler in a bid to start opposite Larry Fitzgerald. Kirk hit the ground running as a true freshman in the SEC and I've long considered him a quick study who has the playmaking ability that will have the Cardinals coaches finding creative ways to get on the field and get the ball into his hands.

Unlike the others, I think Gallup has the best chance to emerge as his team's top receiver as a rookie. D.J. Moore is certainly in the mix to do the same, but I can't imagine that he'll get more targets or catches than McCaffrey. Gallup merely has to beat Allen Hurns and Terrence Williams - and he's typically available deeper into the second half of drafts - Moore is not.

Similarly, reports have Miller lining up all over the place for the Bears. He's unlikely to ascend beyond the third or fourth most targeted player in this offense as a rookie with Tarik Cohen and Trey Burton likely ahead of him in the pecking order behind Allen Robinson. That said, Miller has tremendous upside long-term and if he's showing out in August there's a chance he could emerge as the No. 2 earlier than expected. Miller is a baller who didn't get as much hype during the draft season as he recovered from injury. He appears to be a full go now and he's flying under the radar and almost free in the later rounds of the draft.

I've also thrown some 19th/20th round drafts at Keke Coutee. He should earn the No. 3 job in camp and if Will Fuller V can't dodge the injury bug, then he becomes an intriguing option week to week.

Dan Hindery: I'm mostly passing on rookie wide receivers this year in favor of the second-year wide receivers. For example, John Ross is going later than Christian Kirk. Ross has a similar opportunity to win the WR2 job, probably has a better skill set, and has had an extra year to learn the offense. Kenny Golladay, Chris Godwin, and Mike Williams are also going in the same general range as the top few rookies. Each is safer picks than the rookies with similar upside.

J'Mon Moore is a rookie who hasn't been mentioned yet who I am willing to take a shot on in the final round of best ball drafts. Despite being drafted late, he has a clear opportunity to earn a regular role on a top passing offense. Moore was the highest-drafted of the Packers trio of rookie wide receivers and has earned rave reviews from his teammates this offseason. He has a great chance to beat out Geronimo Allison and earn a starting job as the outside wide receiver opposite of Davante Adams.

Justin Howe: I'm not too enamored of the top rookie names - I rarely touch any of them before Moore or Ridley in Round 13 or 14. But like Dan, I'll beat the drum for one of my favorite mid-round guys. DaeSean Hamilton was a fantastic deep threat at Penn State, and I think his game translates well. He's not a total burner (), but his long-legged stride can throw off defensive backs and create space. He's a fundamental guy, too, who runs a full route tree and makes tough catches. In Denver, I think we saw the start of a transition in 2018. Demaryius Thomas, long a wildly overrated guy, and Emmanuel Sanders seem almost certain to be gone next year - the Broncos can save over $24 million by moving on from both for 2019. I think he's even good enough to push Carlos Henderson, a favorite of mine from last year's class, right out of the picture.

Phil Alexander: I don't get the optimism in this thread for Moore and Gallup. Who is Moore stealing targets from in Carolina to become fantasy viable this season? And in Gallup's case, how often does a third-round pick step in and make a significant fantasy impact as a rookie? Since 1990, 37 rookie wide receivers have scored at least 120 standard fantasy points (good for top-30 wide receiver numbers most years). Of those 37 receivers, only six were drafted after Round 2 of the NFL Draft, leaving Gallup what is historically little more than a 15% shot at finishing in the high-end-WR3 territory.

While it's possible Moore (WR48) and Gallup (WR58) can both exceed their reasonable ADPs, expecting them to emerge as reliable fantasy options this year feels like wish-casting. If you're looking for a young wide receiver on the ascent in the same draft range, guys like Cameron Meredith, Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson Jr, and Tyler Lockett all start for their respective teams and have already performed well on an NFL field at some point in the recent past. Endgame options such as Chris Godwin, Donte Moncrief, and Taywan Taylor may even possess more upside than Moore and Gallup for 2018.

I'm passing entirely on rookie wide receivers this year, with the possible exception of Kirk, who has both a second-round draft pedigree and realistic path to 100 targets. But before I draft Kirk over one of the late-round wide receivers I mentioned earlier, I want to make sure he's in the mix to start and see how Arizona's offense looks in the preseason.

B.J. VanderWoude: Anthony Miller is the rookie wide receiver I am targeting most in my drafts. I am suspicious of how well Allen Robinson’s strengths match up with what the Bears are trying to do on offense. I think we will see Mitch Trubisky make serious strides this season, but I don’t expect them to come in the deep passing game, which is where Robinson excels. Taylor Gabriel adds speed on the outside, but he is too one dimensional to play consistently in two wide receiver sets. Miller has great hands and is best suited as a possession receiver, which is exactly what Matt Nagy’s offense needs. He has great technique for a rookie (especially one with little pedigree as he was a freshman walk-on at Memphis) and should work very well with Trubisky in the short field. At 5’11, 190 pounds, Miller is also deceptively good in the red zone (18 touchdowns as a senior in college).

As Bob mentioned, the Bears have Miller lining up at all three wide receiver positions. This is a sign to me that they want him on the field in both two and three wide receiver sets. Miller’s ADP is currently WR:67 (15.5). He doesn’t have 1,000-yard upside, but I would not be surprised to see him reach 60 receptions, 650 yards and seven touchdowns, which would make him a fantastic value at his current ADP.

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