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Dynasty Breakouts for 2019 – Wide Receiver

If you want to rule the roost in your dynasty fantasy football league this season and for the next several seasons, building your receiving corps around young game breakers with plenty of upside is one of the quickest ways to do it.

The NFL is a pass-first league and will continue to be that way for the near future, so fantasy owners in dynasty leagues not only have to load up at the wide receiver position, they have to be stocked with pass catchers with potential. If they have not had a 1,000-yard year yet, then they have to be destined to have one in 2019 and beyond. Dynasty leagues are not won with 34-year-old possession receivers. They are won on the backs and within the hands of receivers with big-play ability who rack up receptions and have a Cris Carter-like nose for the end zone.

So which wide receivers are poised for breakout seasons in 2019 and could become mainstays on their dynasty fantasy league squads for years to come?  Here is a look at some of the top candidates.

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Dante Pettis, San Francisco 49ers

2018 Stats:  27 receptions, 467 yards, 5 TD

Do not discard Pettis to the bottom of your cheat sheet when you look at this final numbers for the 2018 campaign. Whip out the magnifying glass and get a closer look at what he did during a four-game stretch towards the end of the season. You will notice Pettis racked up 17 receptions for 338 yards and three touchdowns, proving why the Niners traded up during the 2018 NFL draft to snatch him up in the second round before someone else did.

San Francisco has spent millions this offseason on other areas of its team, but the 49ers have almost ignored upgrading their receiving troupe. Right now it is Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, newly-acquired injury-prone Jordan Matthews, and a plethora of mediocre holdovers. The biggest name among the pass-catching crew is record-breaking tight end George Kittle, but Pettis proved last season that he can do just fine even if Kittle is monopolizing the targets.

Pettis has his drawback. He has a slot receiver’s body and has not proven that he can stay healthy for an entire season.  The sample size of one season is small, though. Hopefully, he gets some more calcium in his diet and bulks up at the gym during the offseason. The thought of a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo zeroing in on Pettis 10 times per game is extremely enticing and could turn Pettis into an annual 1,000-yard receiver if everything breaks correctly --- and neither Garoppolo or Pettis break any bones.


Tyrell Williams, Oakland Raiders

2018 Stats:  41 receptions, 653 yards, 5 TD

Stop! I know what you are thinking. How is Williams, who had a subpar fantasy season in 2018 playing third fiddle behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams in the Los Angeles Chargers passing attack, going to have any fantasy impact in Oakland when quarterback Derek Carr will be throwing 90 percent of his passes to ball hog Antonio Brown? It’s a good question, but I have an even better answer.

Pittsburgh’s JuJu Schuster did pretty darn well in 2018 last time I looked at the back of his football card. He caught 111 passes for 1,426 yards and seven scores. So do not tell me that having Brown on the field is going to be a detriment to Williams. Brown will not do any fantasy favors for Oakland’s No. 3 and No. 4 receivers, nor whomever the Raiders line up at tight end. Brown will attract double teams and keep secondaries away from shifting their coverages to Williams, though, and that should open up opportunities just like it did for Schuster the past two seasons.

Williams is two years removed from a 69-1,059-7 season, so he has shown he can post big-time numbers when given the chance. He has above-average size, speed, hands, and durability (has not missed a game over the past three seasons). All Williams needed was another opportunity to be a No. 2 receiver and Oakland has provided him a platform. Look for Williams to reach the 1,000-yard plateau for the second time in his short career and thrive as Brown’s partner-in-pass-catching.


Donte Moncrief, Pittsburgh Steelers

2018 Stats:  48 receptions, 668 yards, 3 TD

Well, isn’t this ironic? The man who is replacing the aforementioned Brown as a starting receiver in Pittsburgh’s offense is the next man up in my column!

Give Moncrief credit. The speedster put up pretty respectable stats last season considering the quarterback combo throwing to him was the dreadful duo of Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler. What is strange is that Moncrief had problems jelling with Andrew Luck in Indianapolis early in his career. The hope here is that playing with a quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger will elevate his fantasy value. If Moncrief mustered up 668 yards and a trio of touchdowns with Bortles, Kessler and a run-first offense, 900-1,000 yards and six scores is very possible in Pittsburgh with Roethlisberger, Schuster and an offense that relies heavily on airing it out.

Unless Pittsburgh drafts a receiver with a high pick later this month, Moncrief is going to be leaned on as the No. 2 WR behind Schuster, and he has improved as a receiver since his disappointing days in Indy with Luck when his route running was not the best. Moncrief should hit some home runs in Pittsburgh’s big-play offense and have the best year of his career in 2019. He will only be 26 years old when the season starts, so taking a flyer on him in a dynasty league could give fantasy owners multiple years of positive production from him.

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