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The NFL season may have just ended with Philadelphia Eagles fans shaking their fists and waving their cheesesteaks in the air in triumph, but smart fantasy players have already begun planning for 2018 and beyond.

The pass-first NFL is never short on receivers for fantasy owners. Finding the right receivers at the right prices or in the right rounds that you can keep on your fantasy roster for several seasons is one way to set up your dynasty squad for short and long-term success.

Here are some early 2018 dynasty league sleepers at the wide receiver position.

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Early WR Dynasty Sleepers for 2018

Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers

Williams was never able to get out of his own body’s way during his rookie campaign this past year. A herniated disc suffered during offseason camp knocked him behind the eight ball early and by the time he returned midseason, there were 100 other receivers quarterback Philip Rivers could throw to. Williams ended his rookie season with just 11 receptions for 95 yards --- something you can get from Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown on a weekly basis.

While the Chargers are loaded with pass catchers, Williams could leap up the target chart quicker than you might think. Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates is no lock to return, and top target Keenan Allen is no lock to stay healthy. No. 2 and 3 receivers Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin are decent, but Williams could and should overtake them in the target department if he stays injury-free and has a great camp during the preseason.

Williams was drafted in the first round for a reason. He has (when healthy) more tools than Home Depot and Lowe’s combined. Size, strength, speed, and the ability to catch touchdown tosses over and around defenders who are all over him. Don’t assume Williams is going to be another injury-prone disappointment like Washington’s Josh Doctson. Do not sleep on this sleeper. If you snooze, you will lose out on a possible 1,000-yard year from him in 2018 and each of the next several seasons.


Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars

After finishing the regular season on the highest of high notes with 23 receptions for 475 yards and three touchdowns over his final five games, Cole vanished in the postseason. He only managed three catches for 82 yards in three playoff games and was no help at all to Blake Bortles and the Jaguars passing attack.

So was Cole a one-month wonder who fizzled when better defenses started paying more attention to him, or is he the real deal? Is his late-season production a precursor to future success? I tend to lean towards the latter.

Jacksonville will undoubtedly revamp its receiving corps this offseason. Veterans Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee may not be long for Jacksonville’s roster. Meanwhile, No. 1 receiver Allen Robinson is a free agent coming off a torn ACL. Even if Robinson is re-signed, Cole would probably be the No. 2 WR after Lee and Hurns take their talents elsewhere.

Do not sleep on Cole just because he disappeared in the playoffs. He will have no trouble moving up the depth chart during training camp unless the Jags shock everybody and draft a couple receivers and sign Robinson and another veteran. Cole and his game-breaking ability could be good for 65 receptions and 1,000 yards -- especially if Blake Bortles improves or the Jaguars bring in a better QB. Cole's fantasy needle is headed upward this year and beyond.


Kelvin Benjamin, Buffalo Bills

It was shocking when the Carolina Panthers blamed Benjamin for their passing attack problems and traded him midseason to Buffalo for draft picks. Maybe the Panthers were right, though. Benjamin was a shell of himself after joining the Bills and did nothing that would make you think he was a former 1,000-yard receiver. He only managed 16 receptions for 217 yards and one touchdown in a half-dozen games with Buffalo and was probably dropped in most fantasy leagues before season’s end.

The way things are going, Benjamin will likely have another quarterback throwing to him in 2018, and that can only mean his lowly end-of-2017 fantasy value will skyrocket. Tyrod Taylor helps receivers about as much as dollar-store aspirin helps headaches. It would be a gigantic surprise to see Taylor back at the helm of Buffalo’s offense next season, and if he is replaced by any quarterback with average or above-average passing ability, that should be a boon for Benjamin.

Benjamin needs to be 100 percent before fantasy owners can honestly think that he is done as a fantasy factor. He played with a bum knee almost all of last season and it showed as he could not separate from cornerbacks and did show off his highlight-worthy leaping ability down in the red zone. A healthy knee and a new quarterback is all Benjamin needs to bounce back and break the 1,000-yard barrier again in 2018.


More 2018 Dynasty League Strategy