INDIANAPOLIS --- It was a fantasy football performance by a rookie wide receiver the likes of which we haven't seen since Randy Moss in 1998. You know, that era where you couldn't use your telephone and Internet at the same time.
Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. finished 2015 with 91 receptions, 1305 yards, and 12 touchdowns. He was a top-5 fantasy WR, despite missing the first four games of the season. He scored at least 19 fantasy points in standard scoring five of the last six weeks of the year, en route to being the player in more fantasy championship lineups than any other.
That's pretty darn good for a player whose NFL Combine profile said he “could be a productive No. 3 option”. At best, Beckham was a late round pick last fantasy draft season. He often went undrafted. Of those that did draft him, many dropped him during the first four weeks when he sat out with a hamstring injury.
This is the kind of draft pick or waiver wire pick-up that can bring you fantasy glory. So who's the next Odell Beckham Jr. in 2015 to go from barely drafted to top-5 WR? The real answer is probably nobody, but we'll offer some high-upside lottery tickets for you to consider on draft day.
All of the players below are being drafted after the 12th round in NFL.com 10-team leagues, have consistent enough quarterback play to succeed, and the opportunity in their offense for big production.
Nelson Agholor (Eagles, ADP 13th round) - Over the past two years under head coach Chip Kelly, the number one receiver in the Eagles offense has averaged 83.5 receptions, 1325 yards, and 9.5 touchdowns. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are gone now, leaving that role open. Most are drafting Jordan Matthews to fill that role, but who is to say it can't be Agholor? One executive certainly thinks so. He’s almost identical in size to Beckham, with Agholor having smaller hands. Agholar ran a 4.42 at the Combine, compared to Beckham's 4.43. Sam Bradford has to stay healthy at quarterback, but there is huge upside in this Chip Kelly offense for whoever emerges as the top target. It could be Agholor.
DeVante Parker (Dolphins, ADP 14th round) - An even better quarterback situation in Miami than Philadelphia with Ryan Tannehill continuing to improve, and a new crop of wide receivers battling to be Tannehill's favorite target. Parker will compete with Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills for production, but Landry is a short-route possession receiver, with Stills being the deep-threat. Parker is the entire package. The rookie out of Louisville has a foot issue to monitor, but when healthy, he was uncoverable in college. Parker's high-point when you combine his height and vertical jump is two inches higher than Beckham's. A ridiculous 80" wingspan doesn't hurt either in the red zone, not to mention a 4.45 40-yard dash, only 0.02 slower than Beckham's, despite Parker weighing 11 pounds more.
As a fantasy manager, you have to consider last year's rookie wide receivers were the exception to the rule. It was the best year rookie wide receivers have ever had in the NFL. Before that, they mostly disappointed in fantasy, with 2nd year wide receivers being the big sleepers that paid off. Guess what. Some of those rookie receivers you didn't hear as much about last year are pretty darn good too. So, we may want to consider them more than some of the higher-priced 2015 rookie receivers in upcoming fantasy drafts.
Martavis Bryant (Steelers, ADP 14th round) - I don't think Bryant has top-10 WR upside with fantasy's #1 WR from 2014 still around in Antonio Brown, but I definitely think he has WR2 upside. Pittsburgh has a great offense, and there is no clear leader for the 2nd most targets behind Brown. Bryant was first in fantasy points per touch last season, thanks to hauling in 8 touchdowns on only 26 receptions. Consider that he didn't catch a pass until week 7, averaging 10 fantasy points per week in his 10 games. Did we mention he never played 60% of the snaps in any of those 10 games? I don't think it's a stretch to say his snaps go way up in 2015, and if anything should happen to Brown, Bryant's stock skyrockets.
John Brown (Cardinals, ADP 14th round) - Behold, a 2nd-year WR in a Bruce Arians offense. He's the Cardinals T.Y. Hilton, at only 5"11" and 179 pounds, but like Hilton, Brown is so twitchy off the line. Before you dismiss Brown's rookie stats, remember the Cardinals had miserable quarterback play. Carson Palmer is back, the quarterback Brown had 3 touchdowns with in the first three weeks of 2014. Did we mention Palmer loves him some John Brown? “I expect huge things from him this year.”
The next two are huge fantasy longshots, but deserve a mention...
Davante Adams (Packers, ADP 15th round) - Adams would need an injury to Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb to become a top-20 fantasy WR, but the opportunity is still there in an amazing offense. Aaron Rodgers already trusts him, evidenced by Adams putting up 7-117-1 against the Cowboys in the divisional round of the playoffs. Again, a longshot lottery ticket with upside in fantasy.
Cody Latimer (Broncos, ADP 14th round) - Broncos offense? Peyton Manning at quarterback? Wes Welker and Julius Thomas gone? Tight Ends expected to block more? It's possible but more likely Latimer is an injury away from being fantasy relevant. So was Beckham though, only coming on like a monster after Victor Cruz went down. The 3rd option behind Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders could still have value.
Don't forget to monitor the progress of Colts WRs Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett in training camp too.