Every week, fantasy owners are looking for options to fill their WR spot, dreaming about hitting the jackpot and finding a plug-and-play player in the waiver wire, free agency, or as a cheap trade acquisition.
That’s why I’m here to provide a little help and list some of the potential breakout performers for Week 8 and beyond in the wide receiver position. Some of the options here have produced in the past, but they hold potential to play at a higher level than what they are currently showing.
Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles
Seen as a bit of a reach in the draft, Jalen Reagor showed flashes of his talent before going down with a thumb injury in Week 2 against the Rams. He has speed to blow past coverage and that is an element the Eagles’ offense has been missing with DeSean Jackson’s own injury woes.
Now, Reagor is expected to return this weekend against the Dallas Cowboys, and he makes for an enticing breakout candidate.
Offensive line play has been an issue all year long for Philadelphia, but Lane Johnson is expected to play this week and so is Jason Peters. A little more time to throw could work wonders for Carson Wentz and Reagor’s ability to build some chemistry.
Dallas has allowed the fourth most passing touchdowns (16) and is in the middle of the pack in passing yards (1,609.) Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward could remain involved (especially the former), but if healthy, Reagor will be there for a healthy dose of snaps.
Nelson Agholor, Las Vegas Raiders
Agholor may not have the highest of ceilings, but is trending up as evidenced by his nine targets last week. In the previous five games, he totaled just 11 looks. Of course, his target share may be somewhat decreased if Bryan Edwards return this week, but he has become a red zone weapon by scoring three weeks in a row.
If you watch some of the game tape, you can see Agholor catching balls down the middle in traffic:
As well as outside deep throws:
I believe Agholor can pick up where he left off against the Bucs. I don’t think he can sustain a 19.5 yards-per-catch or a 75% catch percentage, but he is shaping up as an attractive, low-cost option for the rest of the season. At the very least, he’s earned more snaps and looks.
D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars
D.J. Chark is a known commodity. However, he hasn’t topped 100 yards in any game this season, and he hasn’t found paydirt since Week 4. I believe he is an excellent breakout candidate for Week 8 and beyond.
I think Chark hit rock-bottom last week, when he caught just one of his seven targets, for 26 yards.
Chark has grown frustrated with the mediocre play of Gardner Minshew. He got open a few times on the weekend, but Minshew just couldn’t get him the ball.
Fortunately for him, the Jags are planning to make Jake Luton the starter in the Week 9 showdown against the Texans. He is an efficient passer that takes care of the ball (28:3 TD/INT ratio in the Pac-12 in 2019) with more potential than the incumbent starter up to this point, so Chark gets a slight boost.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Remember A.J. Green? He’s clearly not what he once was, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a useful receiver in the right format.
After having 12 total targets between Weeks 3-5, he has rebounded with 24 in the last two games. Cincinnati throws the ball a lot, so Green’s arrow is pointing up.
Given that he has 178 receiving yards in the last two weeks, you could argue that Green has already broken out of his early-season funk. But there could be potential for more, considering that his role in the offense is growing, he plays in a high-volume passing offense and he’s due for some positive regression in the touchdown department (he still hasn’t scored in 2020) and catch percentage (he’s at 50%.)
Old Green leads the league in contested catches with eleven, one more than Kenny Golladay and Allen Robinson. He can still contribute and is worth trying to buy low in fantasy for this week and moving on.
Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers
After receiving a total of three targets in his last three games (physical ailments had a lot to do with that,) Johnson led the Steelers in Week 7 with 15 total looks. Let’s not forget this is a guy who is among the target leaders every time he’s healthy, and given his total output last weekend (catching 9-of-15 targets for 80 yards and two touchdowns) he finally appears ready to break out and be a rest-of-the season asset.
He went out with a toe injury late in last game, but he practiced on Thursday and looks like a go. Johnson is a low-end WR2 the rest of the way, but there could be potential for a little more: he has a good quarterback throwing to him, his target share is usually around 30 percent (that’s where it was after the first two games of the season, before injuries derailed his year) and he’s shown his talent and worth.
He is already a known commodity in real-life, but I’m calling a rest-of-the-season fantasy breakout. He has potential to produce at a higher pace than what he has done so far in his career and relegate Chase Claypool (and also potentially JuJu Smith-Schuster) to a lesser role in the process.