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Wide Receiver Depth Chart Analysis - Week 3


It was another interesting week of games and news in the NFL, which has resulted in the shakeup of several wide receiver depth charts around the league. Injuries in Philadelphia and the trade of Josh Gordon were the main movements this week and will be featured in the article.

However, there are also several other intriguing depth charts like Miami, Cincinnati, and Tennessee where potential breakout candidates lurk. These are also depth charts worth examining, with the possibility of beating your league to waiver wire gems with some extra research.

As always, if you have any comments, questions, etc., hit me up on Twitter @DanMarcus3

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Snap Count Winners and Losers

Cincinnati Bengals

Emergence might be the more accurate word to describe Tyler Boyd than a change in the depth chart, but regardless, it’s worth noting that he is the locked in as the second wide receiver in Cincinnati. In both Weeks 1 and 2, Boyd outsnapped John Ross by a wide margin. The targets that each has accrued early on also reflect that split, with Boyd getting 14 targets compared to Ross’ six.  

Miami Dolphins

Miami has more quantity than quality at the wide receiver position, but it’s still a position group worth monitoring. Devante Parker is the key figure to keep an eye on, as he battled injury to start the season but appears unable to find the field due to talent at this point. In his absence, it was assumed that Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola, and Albert Wilson would be the top three wideouts. While that remains true for Stills and Amendola, Wilson was outsnapped by Jakeem Grant in Week 2. This depth chart is a specific example of the danger of box score scouting, as Wilson pulled in a touchdown in Week 2. Despite that, Grant has made a mark of his own by returning a kick for a touchdown in Week 1 and also has 11 targets compared to Wilson’s nine.   

Pittsburgh Steelers

James Washington jumped past Justin Hunter on the Week 2 depth chart and there’s little reason to expect Hunter to regain the role anytime soon. While it’s often a mistake to compare players at a position just because they play for the same team, the Steelers have a consistent track record of churning out productive receivers. We saw what Juju Smith-Schuster was able to do as the number three receiver in his rookie campaign, so it’s not unrealistic to expect weeks where Washington pops even though he is clearly the third target at best.

Tampa Bay Bucs

After Mike Evans, the role of the Buccaneers receiving core is unclear. Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries were both on the field exactly 50% of the snaps in Week 2, with DeSean Jackson getting 58% of the snaps. Godwin and Jackson have both shown the ability to capitalize on limited volume, though that makes them volatile options on a weekly basis. Humphries only becomes relevant with massive volume, so there’s no need to roster him with the exception being exceedingly deep leagues.

Tennessee Titans

Tajae Sharpe made a surprise appearance as the apparent number two receiver in Week 1 action, though his snap share was cut nearly in half for Week 2. While Taywan Taylor was on the field for only 40% of snaps -- tied for fourth on the team -- he made a nice play weaving his way to the end zone f18-yard8 yard score. Based on the flashes he’s shown in comparison to Sharpe, Taylor should find himself entrenched as the number three receiver sooner rather than later. That said, there isn’t likely to be much passing volume for any receivers so long as Marcus Mariota is sidelined.

 

Transactions

Oakland Raiders

The resigning of Martavis Bryant has shifted the depth chart in Oakland, leaving Seth Roberts on the outside looking in as a result. Bryant was immediately part of the game plan in Week 2 against Denver, though he totaled just 30 yards to go along with seven air yards and a 1.8 yard average target distance.  

New England Patriots

While we don’t know yet exactly how the addition of Josh Gordon will shake up this depth chart, there’s a strong chance it will. Cordarrelle Patterson is the most obvious candidate to be a casualty, though Phillip Dorsett could also find himself shifted down the depth chart. Things will get more interesting when Julian Edelman returns, though that’s still a few weeks off.

Philadelphia Eagles

Injuries to Mike Wallace and Alshon Jeffery have left the Eagles short-handed at wide receiver. While Jeffery is likely to return in the relative short-term, Wallace will not. That leaves the third receiver position up for grabs, though whoever emerges should see a decent role until Jeffery reemerges. In Week 2, that role belonged to Kamar Aiken who managed to haul in five of his six targets. Like Bryant, he didn’t turn that into much production, which may make it advantageous to turn our attention to Jordan Matthews who signed with the team earlier this week.

Note: The Browns are playing Thursday Night Football at time of publishing. Their depth chart will be examined and featured heavily in the Week 4 edition, after we see how they align without Josh Gordon.

More Risers and Fallers