Will Fuller, Sterling Shepard Set To Take Steps Forward In Year 2 - RotoExperts

Will Fuller, Sterling Shepard Set To Take Steps Forward In Year 2

Adam Filadelfo Staff Writer February 22, 2017

There were a few standout rookie wide receivers in 2016 that just may be poised to break out next season. Fantasy owners may want to brush up on the names of these players and grab them in their drafts before everyone else catches on.

Will Fuller – Houston Texans – Fuller had a disappointing rookie season by many standards with all of his dropped passes and inconsistent quarterback play, but there is plenty of reason to like him heading in 2017. He did average almost 14 yards per catch and did score double-digit Fantasy points in three of his first four games. Many Fantasy owners will need to see his targets increase from the 92 that he saw in 2016 before taking a chance on him, but the talent is clearly there. If he can clean up all the drops and get consistent play from his quarterback, Fuller may be in for a bounce back in Year 2.

New York Giants Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard looks poised to take a step forward in his second season in the league. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire)

New York Giants Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard looks poised to take a step forward in his second season in the league. Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire

Sterling Shepard – New York Giants – Shepard ranks as my top second-year receiver to target in drafts heading into 2017. With defenses focusing in on Odell Beckham and with Victor Cruz gone, it’s time for Shepard to take over the No. 2 role in New York. He saw 101 targets in his rookie season and scored eight touchdowns while averaging more than seven Fantasy points per game. With Eli Manning attempting almost 600 passes in 2016, Fantasy owners can expect more of the same from the G-Men next year. That can only mean good things for Shepard in 2017.

Corey Coleman – Cleveland Browns – Granted 63 targets and averaging six Fantasy points per game isn’t a reason to consider a player a break out, but the potential is most definitely there with Coleman. His biggest obstacle will be the quarterback position. Until the Browns figure that out, they aren’t going anywhere, and that could affect Coleman in his second season and beyond. Coleman had one game in his rookie year where he scored double-digit Fantasy points, and that was back in Week 2. He did average almost 13 yards per catch in 2016, and he’s a prime candidate to have an even better sophomore season. He may end up being one of the lone bright spots for the Browns next year.

Josh Doctson – Washington Redskins – Remember this guy? Wasn’t he the rookie receiver that was supposed to take over the role as top receiver for the Redskins in his rookie year? Well that never panned out, and now Fantasy owners will barely consider his name come draft day. Averaging just over three Fantasy points per game in two games played due to injury will do that. Keep in mind his down season was due to injury. The kid can play. Just look at his college numbers where he had more than 3,000 yards and 34 touchdowns in four years. The best part about Doctson is he will be a draft-day steal. Nobody in your league will remember his name, and when you draft him, you may be getting a gem late in your draft that everybody else will have missed.

Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints – I know the rookie put himself on Fantasy radars already, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have an even better second season. With Drew Brees throwing to him, he can end up being one of the better receivers in 2017. It may be difficult to surpass his 2016 numbers of averaging more than 11 Fantasy points per game and 92 catches on 121 targets with nine touchdowns, but it could very well happen. Thomas should put himself in good company in 2017 being drafted in the early rounds of drafts. You’re going to have to draft him early if you want this stud.

Malcolm Mitchell – New England Patriots – Forty-eight targets and 401 yards hardly qualifies as noteworthy, but keep in mind that Mitchell came on strong at the end of the season when Rob Gronkowski went down with his injury. He scored double-digit Fantasy points in three out of his last six games of the regular season and should see an increased workload in his second year in the system. With all of the slot receivers the Patriots have, Mitchell just may be the outside threat New England has been looking for the last few years.

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