Way Too Early 2019 WR Sleepers
The Super Bowl is over, and Tom Brady won his sixth Super Bowl. God is dead, and the 2018 NFL season is officially over. With that in mind, we turn our attention to 2019, starting with Way Too Early editions of sleepers and busts at each position. We continue our series with pass catchers and the WR sleepers candidates for 2019. These three guys are going outside the top-36 (non-starters in most leagues) in fantasy football drafts, and snatching them up could be the key to your draft… in six months. May this article be the light that guides your way through the long, dark offseason.
Curtis Samuel, Carolina (ECR: WR41)
There was a concerted effort in Carolina to change from big, bulking, slow not-tight-ends (Devin Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin) to shifty speedsters (D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel). Moore already broke out, and Samuel doesn’t seem to be pretty far behind. He didn’t get consistent targets down the stretch, but he was thirteenth in air yards in the last five weeks of the season (when he first started getting targets). Samuel, Moore and Christian McCaffrey seem to be the future of the Carolina Panthers offense, turning them, and Cam Newton’s big arm loose will be key to the Panthers’ 2019 success. Obviously, if Cam Newton’s shoulder issues continue, this could all be a moot point, but I expect more targets for Samuel in 2019, and he will turn these targets into a WR2 ranking at season’s end.
Dante Pettis, San Francisco (ECR: WR37)
Dante Pettis was a sneaky fantasy football force down the stretch this season. In the last four weeks of the fantasy season, he was the WR14 in half-point PPR. He gave 49ers fans a glimpse of their future and scored more touchdowns his rookie season than any 49ers wide receiver since the merger (and they have a couple Hall of Famers in those ranks. The Niners shut him down in week seventeen, but over the last four weeks of his season, he averaged over 70 receiving yards a game and scored three touchdowns. An exceptional route runner, Pettis showed off his strong hands and gave 49ers fans fever dreams of a Jimmy Garoppolo-led offense featuring Pettis, Jerrick McKinnon, George Kittle, and Matt Breida trouncing the opposition. It’s highly likely that I will be alone in my Pettis assessment, as San Francisco’s second-round pick in 2018 truly came on at the end of the season with a sub-par quarterback in Nick Mullens. Imagine what he can do with Jimmy G.
Christian Kirk, Arizona (ECR: WR40)
Kan Kliff Kingsbury konvert Kristian Kirk into a kornerback killer, or kan Kingsbury’s kontrol kause kaos? Excuse me, one sec. I had my “cringey Arizona ‘Kardinals’ Social Media” filter on. There we go. The Christian Kirk angle is exciting here because he flashed a lot of talent and a bit of rapport in his rookie season with fellow rookie Josh Rosen. The Cardinals brass, however, were unsatisfied with the direction Steve Wilks took the franchise in his one year at the helm and turned to Kliff Kingsbury. If you want to know if this is a bid to turn around the ailing Arizona offense, all you need to know is that his two big claims to fame in college were Pat Mahomes and Baker Mayfield. He’s a QB whisperer, in the long line of guys who slide in under the low, nebulous bar of “quarterback whisperer.” He’s there to fix the offense, and (assuming his broken foot heals properly), Kirk will be the main beneficiary. Why? Well, in college, Christian Kirk did Christian Wirk in the slot for a little man known as… Kliff Kingsbury. In college, Kirk averaged 952 yards and scored 19 touchdowns in his last two years there. Reuniting with his college coach and another year of Larry Fitzgerald tutelage can only mean great things for the sophomore wide receiver.