Recently, I began my deep dive into the 2016 sophomore wide receiver class by looking at the top of the heap based on 2015 production and presumed 2016 workload. Now, I slide into more uncharted waters with the "Question Marks" part of the series.
For whatever reason (fate, bad luck, ancient curses, aliens, etc.), a number of the wide receivers in the 2015 rookie class suffered major injuries. In fact, the guys on this list sat out a combined 63 of a possible 112 games last year. Some of the players on this list will undoubtedly feel like less of a question mark this season, but the grouping as a whole made sense. For part two of my three-part series, I'll profile Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, Phillip Dorsett, Ty Montgomery, Devin Smith, Rashad Greene and Nelson Agholor.
Kevin White, Chicago Bears
2015 stats: n/a, missed all 16 games
While he fell into the "Question Marks" category for this series, White has the fewest actual questions surrounding his fantasy potential in 2016. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds White is an imposing physical specimen, but after missing all of 2015 with a shin injury, he's been back at square one this offseason. He has been putting in the time to develop a rapport with quarterback Jay Cutler, which is encouraging, and his play improved when he was on the field with Alshon Jeffery as well. The hope with White is that his return to the gridiron turns the Bears offense into the 2013 model, that saw Cutler throw 59 percent of his targets to Brandon Marshall (69 catches, 884 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Jeffery (56 catches, 903 yards, three touchdowns) while he was healthy. What could hold White back (aside from any lingering health hang ups), is that John Fox's offense have never been as pass-happy as the approach Marc Trestman brought in 2013-14. Offenses under Trestman (as an OC or HC) finished on average around eighth in pass attempts, versus an average finish of 21st under Fox (that number sinks to 25th if you remove his three years with Peyton Manning). Aside from Zach Miller, Jeremy Langford and maybe Eddie Royal, there won't be too many options commanding the ball outside of Jeffery and White, which is good news for his fantasy outlook. Ultimately, when and where you draft White comes down to your belief in his ascension and the volume he'll receive in a traditionally run-heavy offense. His current ADP of Round 11 on NFL.com feels about right, but a round or two higher wouldn't be out of the question.
Breshad Perriman, Baltimore Ravens
2015 stats: n/a, missed all 16 games
Perriman was starting to gain some steam this offseason as a deep sleeper, but a partially torn ACL quickly slowed that roll. While Perriman avoided season-ending surgery, he's still a huge question mark for 2015. He'll have to build a rapport with Joe Flacco (who is still working his way back from a torn ACL), and will need to vie for targets in a crowded offense that features potentially four tight ends, Steve Smith (at some point), Mike Wallace, Kamar Aiken and three running backs. Right now, Perriman isn't being drafted in NFL.com standard leagues, which makes sense. There's too much already stacked against Perriman to risk spending a draft pick on him. He'll be best left as a waiver-wire add if/when the Baltimore offensive puzzle becomes clearer.
Phillip Dorsett, Indianapolis Colts
2015 stats: 39 targets | 18 receptions | 225 receiving yards | one touchdown | 28.20 fantasy points
The Colts surprised the football world when they selected the speedy Phillip Dorsett with the 29th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, as many thought the team had bigger needs on the offensive line (yep) and defense as a whole (double yep). Dorsett's rookie season was basically a lost cause, as he was buried behind the aging and ineffective Andre Johnson on the depth chart, Andrew Luck missed time, and Dorsett suffered injuries of his own. All told, it amounted to very little production for the former Miami Hurricane, and leaves the fantasy community wondering what might be in store in 2016.
Nearly 56 percent of Dorsett's offensive snaps came in Weeks 14 through 17, when Matt Hasselbeck, Josh Freeman, Ryan Lindley and Charlie Whitehurst rotated behind center, which isn't a great example of what he could do in an expanded role with a real quarterback. With Andre Johnson and Griff Whalen both gone (combined 840 snaps and 103 targets), Dorsett should be able to slide into the No. 3 wide receiver role in a high-octane offense -- assuming Luck recaptures his old form. T.Y. Hilton (134 targets in 2015) and Donte Moncrief (105 targets) will lead the way in the Colts passing attack, but new offensive coordinator Rod Chudzinski knows Dorsett is a playmaker and will try to put the ball in his hands. Dorsett will need to stay healthy and improve on the field, but he is a talented pass-catcher worth a super late-round flier in redraft leagues. If the Colts offense stampedes back to 2014 form under Luck, he could have matchup-based value in fantasy leagues. And if not, well, he'll be an easily droppable player to make room for a more consistent option.
Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles
2015 stats: 44 targets | 23 receptions | 283 receiving yards | one touchdown | 32.30 fantasy points
Last season likely wasn't the way Nelson Agholor had hoped to enter the NFL as a first-round draft pick. He struggled to get open all year (albeit, occasionally against some very good cornerbacks), and often when he was open Sam Bradford missed him, threw the ball too late, or Agholor just flat out dropped it. Despite being the second most targeted wide receiver for the Eagles, Agholor trailed Josh Huff in catches, yards and touchdowns, and Riley Cooper in both yards and touchdowns. Things went from bad to worse this offseason, as Agholor is facing sexual assault charges while trying to earn the favor of a new head coaching regime. For more information on Agholor's case, click here.
Regardless of what happens with Agholor's case, he's really not a draftable asset in fantasy for 2016. Jordan Matthews remains as the primary target of Sam Bradford, with Zach Ertz likely to garner plenty of looks as well. That leaves Agholor as (at best) the No. 2 wide receiver in Doug Pederson's offense, which hasn't been a favorable fantasy spot thus far in his coaching tenure. In three seasons as a coordinator in Kansas City, Pederson gave on average just 53 targets to the No. 2 wide receiver per season. That's a tough market share to make a fantasy living off of, and the presence of Rueben Randle as an occasional touchdown/target vulture looms as well. When you add everything up, Agholor is best left on the waiver wire come draft day, as there are simply too many question marks (including around his quarterback situation) to risk investing a draft pick on him.
Devin Smith, New York Jets
2015 stats: 28 targets | 9 receptions | 115 receiving yards | one touchdown | 15.50 fantasy points
Bad luck seemed to follow Devin Smith in his first professional season. Broken ribs and a partially punctured lung on the second day of training camp kept him out for the early parts of the season, and a torn ACL in December finished his season early. Smith could have been an intriguing boom-or-bust player this year, but a torn ACL that late in the year will likely keep him on the shelf to start the season. He'll be a name worth watching in the event Ryan Fitzpatrick returns to the Big Apple and this passing offense takes flight, but otherwise he's not worth your time in fantasy.
Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers
2015 stats: 19 targets | 15 receptions | 136 receiving yards | two touchdowns | 27 fantasy points
A disappointing senior year in college caused Ty Montgomery to slip to the third round last year, when the Packers were happy to take him. Montgomery (6-foot, 216 pounds) was looking like a potential playmaker in the making before an ankle injury in Week 6 caused him to miss the rest of the season. He had surgery in December to repair ligaments and cartilage in his ankle, and is currently chomping at the bit to get back on the field. It's no surprise he's eager to get practicing, as the competition for the Packers third wide receiver job is at best a four-way battle right now between Montgomery, Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis and Davante Adams.
Montgomery will be behind the eight ball in this competition, as head coach Mike McCarthy already hinted that Abbrederis deserves more playing time. However, Montgomery was playing ahead of Abbrederis last year, and could earn his spot back in training camp and the preseason. He'll also have to contend with postseason darling Jeff Janis, who is fighting for more work as well. This will be a battle worth watching as the Packers offense could be set for a massive rebound with the return of a healthy Jordy Nelson and slimmed down Eddie Lacy. The third wideout wouldn't be a week-in, week-out fantasy starter, but he could have some matchup-based value in the Packers' high-octane offense. Don't spend a draft pick on Montgomery yet, but dynasty owners could look to buy-low in an offseason trade if possible.
Rashad Greene, Jacksonville Jaguars
2015 stats: 35 targets | 19 receptions | 93 receiving yards | two touchdowns | 21.30 fantasy points
A fifth-round pick out of Florida State, Rashad Greene didn't enter the NFL with much fanfare. He also didn't make much of an impact in the season either, as he missed seven games and played on just 29 percent of the snaps in his nine active games. However, his stock looks to be on the rise in 2016. So far this offseason he's been on the same page with quarterback Blake Bortles and is getting first-team reps in the slot, ahead of veteran Marqise Lee. The Jaguars passing attack won't have enough volume to make Greene a weekly starter in fantasy, but his leap-frogging of Lee is noteworthy for dynasty owners. He'll also be a name to watch on waivers in the event that Allen Hurns or Allen Robinson go down.