Fantasy Football: 2021 Rookie Wide Receivers With Year One Upside

by LaQuan Jones "RealDealFantasy"
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Last season fantasy football players say rookie wide receivers Justin Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb post WR1 and WR2 seasons. This season people are looking for that rookie wide receiver or two that can put up similar production and be a player that can be a weekly play.

Here are three rookie wide receivers that have year one upside and can make an impact in fantasy football. Everyone wants to hit on that rookie wide receiver in the late late rounds. These three players are basically free or someone to take with your last pick, therefore there’s very little risk.

WR Josh Palmer, Las Angeles Chargers

Now, Josh Palmer is in a unique situation were he’s potential the fourth option on offense when it comes to target shares. Obviously, Keenan Allen is the alpha target but then comes Austin Ekeler as the second passing option. Finally, Mike Williams is the current projected third option on the Chargers offense.

That leaves the aging tight end position and Josh Palmer to have whatever is left. However, I’m here to tell you “Targets are earned” not just transformed to the next player. Palmer will need to make such an impact in full NFL game speed the first couple weeks to dip into Mike Williams target share.

The rookie out of Tennessee has been heating up in training camp and preseason. Palmer has been making plays downfield, catching the ball at the highest point, and he’s shown off his soft hands to go along with his big play ability.

Palmer was drafted in the third round and has all the tools to be great with Justin Herbert. I believe we are watching something beautiful to grow soon with Herbert and Palmer. Meanwhile, Mike Williams has a shaky injury history and a lot of games where he underperformed.

There’s very low risk on this rookie who’s coming in with something to prove. Palmer is just a much safer version of Mike Williams. Williams is a great talent but has yet to record more then 50 receptions in a season. Again, targets are earned and Palmer’s very low-price tag is worth a draft pick and stash this fantasy football season.

WR Dyami Brown, Washington Football Team

I love Brown’s situation right now with the possibility of making a year one impact with Ryan ‘FitzMagic’ Fitzpatrick as his quarterback. Fitzpatrick isn’t afraid to air the ball down the field which is right where Brown flourishes. Brown has the down field big play ability and we have seen this all summer and flashes during preseason games.

‘Scary Terry’ Terry McLaurin will be the alpha dog with majority of the targets, but Brown and Curtis Samuel seem equal when it comes to the target shares. Logan Thomas does come in at tight end and he had a career high for himself last season. However, I believe that Fitzpatrick  will be focus on his wide receivers like he has been doing most of his career.

We’ve also seen Samuel in a Ron Rivera offense in Carolina and it was nothing to get too excited about. It’s uncertain how Samuel’s situation will improve especially with him missing time this summer with Covid-19. He also suffered a groin injury with no time table when he’ll be good to go for Week 1.

That leaves Brown with opportunities early in the season to stand out on paper and for fantasy football players to see him put fantasy points on the board. Clearly, you wont be starting Brown Week 1, but it’ll feel good to see him producing on the bench, knowing when his name is called he can be put in starting line-ups.

Drafted in the third round, Brown is dirt cheap and could be your very last pick or placed on your waiver watchlist to monitor his progress with the first couple weeks of the season. Either way, Brown should be stashed.

WR Terrace Marshall Jr., Carolina Panthers

This LSU stud has been making waves in the preseason, making plays down field and looking very polished. Fantasy football players may see a increase in his ADP slightly, but he will still be dirt cheap come draft day. It’s very possible for someone like Marshall to make an impact early playing in the slot or even on the outside.

Things will have to be altered in target share with the Panthers as Christian McCaffery is back. The top running back will obviously play a major role in that target share order. However, we saw Joe Brady have three wide receivers finish inside the top-30 last season. A lot of that had to do with CMC being injured. However, does Brady really need to lean on McCaffery with a system that worked with three wide receivers producing week-to-week?

With McCaffery returning from injury, Brady could slowly ease his running back into a full workload. Marshall could be a plater that receivers Curtis Samuel level volume on a week-to-week basis. However, it will all depend on how much volume McCaffery sees to start the season.

Marshall is a clear-cut stash. This is especially the case with what Joe Brady was able to accomplish with his three wide receivers last season. Of course, Sam Darnold will also need to step up and play well for his wide receivers to put up consistent fantasy points.

End Game

Overall, we all love things that are free and have upside because in fantasy football. All three of these rookie wide receivers are very talented and have been showing flashes throughout the offseason. This could lead to early production. Watchlist or bench, you should have these guys on your roster come draft day.

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