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Fantasy Football: Six Up-and-Coming Wide Receivers You NEED to Pick Up

Dan MoralesContributor IOctober 15, 2010

Fantasy Football: Six Up-and-Coming Wide Receivers You NEED to Pick Up

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    Like every other week in the NFL, Week 5 set up a lot of interesting scenarios for players to break out (or not) in week 6 and beyond. In particular, the Wide Receiver position. Headlining week 5 was the surprising trade of Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings.

    This trade has given way to a player that should now have an immediate fantasy impact, which is where we will start my list of the '6 Up-and-Coming Wide Receivers you NEED to Pick Up. 

Brandon Tate, New England Patriots

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    The biggest beneficiary of Randy Moss being dealt back to the Vikings (Outside of Tom Brady's hair, haha), was Brandon Tate. Starting in Week 6, Tate will split out opposite of Wes Welker in the Patriots pass-happy offense. Unlike the other Patriots receivers (Welker, Woodhead, Edelman, Branch), he is over 6 feet, at 6'1. He has some height, and for that reason he will probably become the biggest red zone threat out of all of the receivers the Patriots have.

    Best Case Scenario: Solid #2 Fantasy Receiver

    Worst Case Scenario: Solid Bye-Week Replacement

    Probable Scenario: #3 Fantasy Receiver

James Jones, Green Bay Packers

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    So, the NFL wants to expand the regular season from 16 to 18 games? I don't think the players want that to happen, nor the Packers for that matter. The Packers suffered an abundance of injuries, key injuries in fact. They suffered the loss of both there tight ends, Jermichael Finley and Donald Lee.

    Because of that, Aaron Rodgers had to look elsewhere to throw the ball, and it seemed as though that guy was James Jones. James Jones had the most receptions for the Packers, bringing in 4 for 65 yards. He has good size for a slot receiver at 6'1 208 as well, so he makes for a good red zone target and Rodgers seems to have good chemistry with him.

    Best Case Scenario: High-End #3 Fantasy Receiver/Low End #2 Fantasy Receiver

    Worst Case Scenario: Handcuff/Injury Replacement Option

    Probable Scenario: Low End Fantasy #3 Receiver/Flex Option

Mike Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    With Mike Sims-Walker complaining about the lack of targets he's been getting this season, I don't think Mike Thomas will be doing the same anytime soon. Thomas has emerged as David Garrard's favorite target this season, and for good reason. He's a very versatile player, running with good speed, catching the ball, hell, even running the ball. The past two weeks, Thomas has seen 5 receptions, 68 yards + 1 carry for 19 yards ,and 4 receptions, 51 yards + 3 carries for 55 yards. That is 6 and 7 catches and carries combined each of the past two weeks.

    The first two weeks he also had 6 and 4 receptions for 89 and 43 yards respectively as well. With that being said, he has had 4 or more receptions in 4 of the 5 games this season, has the most receiving yards on the team, has the most targets on the team, most receptions.. It only makes sense for you to look at Mike Thomas as a very option for you in fantasy.

    Best Case Scenario: Solid #2 Fantasy Receiver

    Worst Case Scenario: Low-End Flex Option/Low End #3 Fantasy Receiver

    Probable Scenario: Solid #3 Fantasy Receiver/Flex Option

Brandon Gibson, St. Louis Rams

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    Many people in the Rams organization and many people that cover the Rams believe that Brandon Gibson is the most likely candidate to pick up the slack for Mark Clayton, and for good reason. Gibson, although he's had his struggles this season, came onto the scene quite randomly last year for the Rams.

    Gibson started out in week 10 with 7 receptions for 97 yards, and after that was very consistent, posting 2 or more receptions in every game last season after week 10, when he was a regular in the Rams Wide Receiver Corp. With Danny Amendola as the popular Wide Receiver to pick up in fantasy (and for good reason, he's getting a boat load of targets, 19 last week), opposing defenses are going to start to target onto him and that is going to free up Gibson on the outside.

    Best Case Scenario: High End #2 Fantasy Wide Receiver/Flex Option

    Worst Case Scenario: Low-End Flex Option/Bye Week replacement

    Probable Scenario: Solid #3 Fantasy Wide Receiver/Flex Option

Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills

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    Oh my god! A Bills player as a stud pickup! What are you thinking! Yeah, I know, sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But it's true. If there has been one consistency for this Bills team, it's been Steve Johnson. Johnson was slated as the #2 Wide Receiver on the Bills depth chart splitting out opposite of Lee Evans up until this past week, when Roscoe Parrish put Steve Johnson back into his normal slot receiver role. You would think that would decrease his value and play, right? Wrong. 

    Ryan Fitzpatrick has clearly had very good chemistry with Steve Johnson, catching a touchdown pass in each of the past 3 games, and has at least 3 receptions and 30+ yards in every game this season. It makes sense as to why he's scoring touchdowns too, as he's listed at 6'2 (Some places, 6'3) so he's a pretty tall receiver who has very good hands and is playing with a small wide receiver core (Evans and Parrish listed at 5'9 and 5'10 respectively).

    The Bills offense is mediocre, but Steve Johnson's play has been very good these past 3 weeks. The Bills offense can only go up from here as well, right? The Bills are on a bye-week for week 6, but if you have room, snag him and see what happens.

    Best Case Scenario: Low-End #2 Receiver/High End Flex Option

    Worst Case Scenario: Emergency Option/Handcuff

    Probable Scenario: Low-End #3 Receiver/Flex Option  

Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks

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    The trade of Deion Branch opened the doors for two wide receivers to now have possibly a solid impact on the fantasy gridiron: Deon Butler, and Golden Tate. However, out of the two, I'm going with Golden Tate to be the one to break out. So far this week during practice, Golden Tate has been getting the majority of the time playing flanker, opposite of Mike Williams. On the season, Butler and Tate haven't gotten much to show for, but Tate does have the slight edge (8 receptions 115 yards compared to 8 receptions 83 yards).

    Golden Tate is more of a down the field threat with his blazing speed, and also is known for having great hands as well. He has a slightly bigger build then Butler, and also played and succeeded in a very pro-style offense at Notre Dame last season. Golden Tate has also posted two straight games of 3 and 4 receptions, compared to 2 and 0 receptions of Deon Butler, which could be a sign of things to come in this Seattle offense.

    Best Case Scenario: High-End #3 Receiver/High End Flex Option

    Worst Case Scenario: Emergency Option/Bye-Week option/Handcuff

    Probable Scenario: Low-End #3 Receiver/Flex Option

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