The SFFS poses the question “Which rookie will finish 2018 with the most receptions?”
The answer? According to the twittersphere, it’s Dallas Cowboys’ rookie Michael Gallup, who received 79 of the 177 total votes. The Falcons’ Calvin Ridley was close behind, totaling 67 selections. Those two were followed by the 49ers’ Dante Pettis and the Steelers’ James Washington, who were a distant third and fourth respectively.
The choice of Michael Gallup makes a ton of sense. No other receiver on this list has the opportunity to make an instant impact like the former wideout from Colorado State. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are gone, and the cupboard is left pretty bare in Dallas. Free-agent signee Allen Hurns is expected to earn one starting spot on the outside, but the race for the other starting job is wide open. A polished route runner, Gallup will battle it out with Terrance Williams in training camp. With Williams recently in legal trouble, Michael has an incredible chance to seize the gig with a good showing in training camp and the preseason. Even if Gallup cant beat out the incumbent, he should be no worse than fourth on the depth chart. His value is a little iffy in redraft leagues at this time, but if he has a solid mini-camp, Gallup will definitely be worth a mid-round pick. He is an outstanding dynasty selection based on opportunity alone.
The Falcons’ Calvin Ridley is also in a great spot for his rookie season. Julio Jones is clearly Atlanta’s #1 target and with teams having to double him, the Falcons other receivers will see plenty of one on one coverage. A smooth athlete and outstanding route runner, Ridley should own the third spot on Atlanta’s depth chart immediately out of training camp. As Mohamed Sanu typically lines up at the slot in three-wide receiver sets, Ridley will get plenty of snaps on the outside opposite Julio. For an added bonus, Ridley will be re-joined with Steve Sarkisian, his former offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama. Though the top of the depth chart is set ahead of Calvin, he should be on the field a ton this year, making him our choice for the 2018 rookie receptions leader. Ridley is a great dynasty add due to Julio Jones’ contract status and uncertain future in Atlanta. With our expectation that Calvin sees 60+ targets this season, he is a solid depth pick in redraft leagues.
The 12th pick in the second round (44th overall), Dante Pettis received just 21 votes. That total is not a knock on his talent, but a knock on his opportunity. A dynamic kick returner at the University of Washington, Pettis is not likely to see a lot of snaps at wide receiver this year. Projecting as an NFL slot receiver, Dante will start the year backing up Trent Taylor. The 49ers are sure to create a set of plays to exploit Pettis’ run after the catch ability, but he’s unlikely to have more than 20 catches in 2018. Not worth a redraft pick, Pettis is an intriguing dynasty grab as he could develop into a solid weapon in the slot.
James Washington, the 60th overall pick out of Oklahoma State by the Pittsburgh Steelers, should immediately step into the role vacated by the trade of Martavis Bryant. Unfortunately, that role will probably not translate to a high number of catches. Washington projects to be the Steelers #1 deep threat this season, but is unlikely to see many targets elsewhere on the field. With Antonio Brown and the emerging Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster getting the majority of Big Ben’s looks, Washington can expect only two or three throws a game. James does have the ability to turn those throws into huge plays however, making him a worthy late-round redraft add. With limited opportunity to move up the depth chart over the next couple of years, he is not an early dynasty league pick.
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