by Alex Kurpeski
Low risk, high reward moves are difficult to find. However, there are some receivers that have lost value over the past couple of years that have a chance to rebound significantly and be a part of a championship team. Below are three wide receivers that are worth inquiring about and buying cheap.
WR Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans:
Davis has been one of the biggest top-10 draft busts of this decade since the Titans selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2017 draft. At 6’3, 210 lbs Davis drew comparisons to Larry Fitzgerald during the pre-draft process, following a legendary college career that saw him break the NCAA’s all-time receiving yardage record. Following an injury riddled rookie campaign, the needle appeared to be pointing upwards for Davis following a promising 2018 season that saw him tally almost 900 receiving yards while hauling in four touchdown receptions. Though Davis’s catch rate was a bit unbalanced (65 receptions on 112 targets), he was the only starting-caliber receiver featured on a run-heavy Tennessee offense, with now deposed former starter Marcus Mariota (and journeyman Blaine Gabbert) throwing him the ball. Davis took a bit of a backseat in 2019, as the Titans offense added a pair of new pass-catchers (free agent signee Adam Humphries and rookie second-rounder A.J Brown, the latter of whom would go on to lead the team in every receiving category) and a new QB (longtime Dolphins starter Ryan Tannehill, who wrestled away the job from lame duck starter Mariota), while continuing to feed running back Derrick Henry (his touches per-game rose from 14.37 — let’s call it 14 — in 2018 to 21.4 — 21 — in 2019). Entering a make-or-break year, Davis has become an afterthought in the eyes of many due to Tennessee’s reliance on both Brown and Henry last season (a formula that helped them reach the AFC Championship game). While I wouldn’t overpay for him, I believe that Davis may be due for a return to fantasy relevance in 2020, with the motivation stemming from the organization’s decision to decline his fifth-year option. Though the additions of Brown and Humphries cut Davis’s target share in half last season (from 112 in 2018 to 69), his impending free agency could stimulate a ‘better late than never’ breakout campaign (i.e Devante Parker’s resurgence from last season).
WR Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills:
Remember this guy? The veteran slot specialist has been getting drafted at an ADP of 243, despite the fact that he is coming off of a WR34 finish in 2019, scoring 184.8 points in PPR formats. While the Bills did add a legitimate WR1 this offseason (Stefon Diggs), the team will still need to rely on Beasley as the designated checkdown option in the passing game. Though John Brown, the team’s leading receiver from last season, will certainly see his targets affected for the worse by the addition of Diggs, Beasley should maintain his steady stream of targets (106 last season) thanks to Buffalo’s decision to not upgrade the tight end spot. Beasley is far from the sexiest guy you could throw into your flex spot, but if you’re in a bind due to bye week related issues, he’s a guy who you should be glad to turn to. If you can scoop him up for pennies on the dollar, Beasley may very well be the reason why your team wins a championship in 2020.
WR Greg Ward, Philadelphia Eagles:
While the Eagles went out and added four receivers during this year’s draft (first-rounder Jalen Reagor (TCU), fifth-rounder John Hightower (Boise State), sixth-rounder Quez Watkins (Southern Mississippi), and veteran Marquise Goodwin via trade with the 49ers), the organization did not seem interested in diversifying their strengths at the receiver position, instead opting to add speedy deep threat after speedy deep threat. With veteran DeSean Jackson already on the roster, the Eagles will now go into 2020 with five somewhat redundant talents competing for roles in the passing game. This leaves Ward in a very interesting spot. A former college quarterback, Ward emerged as the Eagles primary slot receiver in the second half of last season, catching 28 passes for 258 yards in the final six games of the season. While both Reagor and Goodwin could potentially push Ward out of his role in the slot, the veteran’s experience could ultimately allow him to prevail in the inevitable training camp battle. Should he lock down a role in the Eagles passing game, Ward could carry some serious upside as the secondary checkdown option for QB Carson Wentz. Considering the state of the team’s receiving core at the end of 2019, Ward is a cheap must own player at this stage in the offseason.