Small-Time Names; Big-Time Receivers
If you play Fantasy Football, and if you’re reading this I’ll bet all my limbs you do, you most likely have some players you expect to break out each and every year. Yet when those players don’t, you’re let down and frustrated that you wasted some sort of trade/draft capital on said players. What if I told you that you didn’t have to waste draft capital on those players? You don’t have to reach, you don’t have to overpay on the trade block, but most importantly, you don’t have to make fantasy football difficult. I’m here to help you win the late rounds of your draft, to help you win the waiver wires, and to help you win the trade block. Let’s be real, it’s easy to draft Saquon Barkley in the 1st round of your draft and feel like a winner, but it’s harder to draft the right guy in the late rounds and actually feel good about it. Leagues are won in the trenches just like actual games, but the trenches in fantasy aren’t the offensive and defensive lines, they are the aforementioned late rounds of drafts, they are the waiver wire, and last but not least they are the trades. Now, I’ve compiled a list of four of my favorite players who are due for a breakout, whether it’s this year or next, so let’s take a look at who these guys are and why I believe they’re due for a breakout.
Jalen Guyton - Los Angeles Chargers
It’s no secret that Justin Herbert is the man, coming off of a historic Rookie season where he threw for over 4,000 yards and had a 31/10 TD/INT ratio. It’s also no secret that Keenan Allen is his go-to target, but who’s his number two? As of 2020, it was Mike Williams, but Williams’ future with the franchise is in question. GM Tom Telesco said “We’re going to keep all options open” in regards to Williams and his contract, but it seems very unlikely that Williams will be back. You see, Big Mike has the 10th highest Cap Hit amongst receivers, and the 3rd most overall on the Chargers. This is where Jalen Guyton comes in. As a rookie, Guyton only saw 2 targets. When you consider that, his 55 (Shout-out to the Fantasy Footballers) targets in 2020 seem impressive. Why? Because that’s a 2,650% increase in targets in just the matter of one year.
(Photo Credit: Los Angeles Chargers)
Guyton didn’t have an outstanding college career, but at 6’1 212 lbs, he’s got decent size, and he runs a sub 4.4 40 time. Through-out the season we saw Herbert and Guyton connect on BIG plays. A 72-yard TD reception against the Bucs, another 70-yarder against the Jags, and a 50-yarder that was almost a TD against the Saints. Guyton does a great job of utilizing his initial burst in order to get off the line and then capitalizes on the extra step he has in order to get behind the defenders. Perhaps this is due to defenses having to focus on Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry, and Austin Ekeler, but with Williams’ future in question, I can’t help but think Guyton’s role will expand in 2021.
Parris Campbell - Indianapolis Colts
Nope. I won’t jump off the Campbell hype train just yet. Especially not now that Pee Rivers is gone and Carson Wentz is reunited with Frank Reich. Perhaps that’s all you need in order to smash the draft button in round 19 of your startup/redraft drafts (That’s where he was taken in our recent Fantasy Scouts 10-team league). To make it even sweeter, TY Hilton is more than likely gone. Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2019 class, Campbell ran an official 4.31 40 time. While nothing jaw-dropping in college, his senior year he did post over 1000 yards receiving while hauling in 12 touchdowns. Unfortunately, his first two seasons have been derailed by injuries. In the one full game he played in 2020 he posted 6/71/0 on 9 targets. His 16 game pace puts him over 1,100 yards receiving. IF Campbell is able to stay healthy, his upside is greater than that of Guyton, whom I LOVE. It all comes down to a matter of health, and where you are currently able to obtain him, and how little it costs, Campbell is more than worth the risk.
Devin Duvenray - Baltimore Ravens
The rookie out of Texas saw very little opportunity in his first year in the league, but it isn’t his production, or lack thereof, that makes him an interesting and exciting stash. It’s his film and college analytical profile. As a senior, Duvenray posted a 106/1386/9 stat-line in 13 games and clocked in at an official 4.39 40 time during the combine. According to PFF, in 2019 Duvenray posted the best pass drop % amongst qualified receivers in power 5 schools. From weeks 1-6 (before the Ravens bye), Duvenray averaged only 22% of snaps per game, and after the bye his snap % almost doubled, coming in at 41%. Now, that still isn’t a lot, but the jump in snaps is at least encouraging. Unfortunately, Baltimore ranked dead last in pass attempts in 2020, and that led to their MVP QB Lamar Jackson coming forward and saying what we all thought - the offense is too predictable. What does this mean moving forward? It could mean a plethora of things, but hopefully, it means we see more pass attempts overall from the Ravens come 2021. On the bright side, earlier this year Ravens GM Eric DeCosta told Ravens reporter Todd Karpovich “I think (Duvenray and Proche)’s best football is ahead of both of those guys. We’re very happy with both those guys, as young receivers who came into a very difficult situation this year, with no OTAs, and essentially, no real training camp – so to speak – with games.” To capitalize on the promise, Baltimore also utilized Duvenray in the run game, giving him 4 carries for a total of 70 yards. Everything is on the up for not only Duvenray but the entire Ravens passing offense.
Collin Johnson - Jacksonville Jaguars
Collin Johnson is my ideal WR. He stands tall at 6’6” and weighs in at 220 pounds, which gives him the perfect build to absolutely bully opposing defenders. Just like Duvenray, Johnson is a Longhorn who never got off his leash in his rookie year. Even though Johnson didn’t perform well statistically on Sundays, one team member mentioned that his performance during training camp was phenomenal, going as far as saying “if there was an all-pro training camp, (Johnson) would go first ballot”. Johnson managed to fall into the endzone twice this previous year, and also racked up 272 yards on just 18 receptions. Obviously, it isn’t the stats that make Johnson such a desirable stash, it’s the film. At 6’6 220 pounds you would think that Johnson is good in the red zone and with jump balls, which he is, but that’s not all. Johnson has incredible body control and makes the toughest of catches look easy. Not only that, but he’s an incredible route runner. He’s smooth and crisp with the cuts, all while utilizing his size and stature. The golden ticket, though? Trevor Lawrence, of course!
(Photo Credit: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
As the sub-title suggests, these players aren’t just my favorite breakout players for 2021, but they’re prime stashes for years to come. Whether they break out in 2021 or not, each of these absolute studs should be on your radar as stashes. I personally believe 2021 will be their year. Maybe not as a complete breakout, but enough of one to make them all serviceable as a flex option, or a WR3/4. I also won’t be disappointed or heartbroken if they don’t pan out, because I didn’t draft them in the early rounds, and I didn’t have to trade the farm in order to acquire them or outbid an entire league with my FAAB budget. From the data that I’ve acquired over my many mock drafts and current startups, all these players are going no sooner than the 18th round, and that was Campbell who was going then. The rest? No earlier than the 20th round. At this cost in start-ups alone, you can get a good idea of what they’ll cost to trade for. All of them have MASSIVE upside for a one-time payment of FREE.99.