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Sophomore NFL Wide Receivers Set to Bust Again - Fooled Me Once, Not Again!

Jauan Jennings - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Adjusting to the speed and the rigors of the NFL can be tough, and not every player will do it effectively as a rookie. And that's okay! Plenty of players struggle in their first year but then breakout later.

But not every player. Some struggle as rookies and then follow that up with more struggles.

Below, you'll find some reasons why these second-year wide receivers who struggled last season will struggle again.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best NFL Series, MLB Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Dyami Brown, Washington Commanders

As a rookie, Dyami Brown played in 15 games and was targeted 25 times, catching 12 passes for 165 yards. The third-round pick out of North Carolina is a tough player who can make plays on the outside—or, at least, he could in college.

But the hopes that Brown might have a key role this year with the Commanders were dashed when the team spent a first round pick on Jahan Dotson.

Now, the team has a pretty solid top-three at the position with Dotson plus Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel. If all of those players are healthy, there just isn't going to be room for Brown to make an impact.

His limited versatility is an issue too. Can Brown play in the slot? If he's limited to being solely an outside receiver, how will the team justify putting him on the field at the expense of one of those top-three players?

 

Amari Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

When the Packers took Clemson's Amari Rodgers in the third round last year, people thought "oh, another mid-round receiver for Aaron Rodgers to throw to."

But Rodgers was not thrown to. Despite playing in 16 games, he was targeted just eight times, catching four passes for 45 yards. He also played on special teams, returning a combined 31 punts and kicks.

With the Packers trading Davante Adams this offseason, there's definitely room for some players to assume larger roles in Green Bay. And with Marquez Valdes-Scantling gone too, those chances should, in theory, go Rodgers' way, right?

Maybe. But the issue is that the Packers also operated this offseason like a team that really needed wide receivers. They signed Sammy Watkins.

They drafted Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. They don't necessarily seem like a team that thought "we'll just go next-man-up and give Amari a chance" when they brought in three new receivers to replace the two departing ones.

I can't trust Rodgers in fantasy this year.

 

Dez Fitzpatrick, Tennessee Titans

The Titans used a fourth-round pick on Dez Fitzpatrick last year, who played in four games and finished with five catches on eight targets for 49 yards and a touchdown.

This Tennessee team has a primary focus, which is to get the football to Derrick Henry. That leaves limited options in the passing game.

Last year, the Titans attempted the seventh-fewest passes in the NFL—and that was with Henry missing time. In 2020, that number was even starker, as they attempted the third-fewest passes.

The lack of volume makes it tough for there to be value with the Titans receivers. First-round rookie Treylon Burks and the newly-acquired Robert Woods should be the only two guys with much value, especially with the addition of Austin Hooper at tight end, who'll be a much more reliable target than whoever the Titans' third wideout is.

 

Tutu Atwell, Los Angeles Rams

It's never a good sign for a player's future when their rookie season features zero receptions and a total of just 10 offensive snaps. But that's what happened with Tutu Atwell last season with the Rams.

Atwell's only involvement was on special teams, where he served as the return man a few times, with a total of 10 punt returns and five kick returns.

And to make the path to offensive snaps even harder on him, the Rams moved on from Robert Woods and didn't re-sign Odell Beckham Jr., which could have cleared room for Atwell to play...except the Rams signed Allen Robinson II.

Now, L.A. has three good receivers who'll play together on the vast majority of snaps. Atwell might be able to gain some kind of a role as a field-stretching fourth receiver, but that's not a fantasy-relevant role.

 

Jauan Jennings, San Francisco 49ers

Jennings was a seventh-round pick by the 49ers last year, so it wasn't like he had a lot of hype surrounding him here last season.

But unlike the rest of this list, he did something last year, and it's because of that that I'm writing about him: the one good thing he did last year might make people think they should draft Jennings in the late rounds, but they shouldn't.

The good thing: Jennings caught five touchdowns last year, which is pretty good for a rookie. If you just look at that, you might view him as someone who'll be in line for a strong second season.

But while the TDs were nice, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk both had significantly more targets than Jennings, and George Kittle did as well.

At best, Jennings is the fourth option on this team to start the season. And because of who the first three options are, Jennings is capped out as a touchdown-dependent fourth option.

That's not to mention that the 49ers' offense shouldn't be throwing the ball much this year.

The move to Trey Lance at quarterback is a move that should lead the Niners' run-heavy offense to be even more run-heavy, with more RPOs and designed QB runs.

I wouldn't want to roster the fourth option on this team.



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