Fantasy Football 2019: Sleeper Wide Receivers to Target in Late Rounds

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 5, 2019

Arizona Cardinals' Christian Kirk makes a catch during the NFL football team's training camp scrimmage Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York/Associated Press

Some of the best wide receivers to target in the final rounds of your fantasy football draft are young players with plenty to prove.

A good amount of first-and-second year wideouts across the NFL are trying to develop chemistry in their respective offenses to earn a larger opportunity in 2019.

A few of the intriguing sleepers are coming off decent rookie seasons, but changes at quarterback could help them break out in their sophomore campaigns.

Another player to watch has the rare benefit of entering the professional ranks alongside an important offensive piece from his collegiate days. 


Christian Kirk, Arizona

Matt York/Associated Press

Christian Kirk should be one of the immediate beneficiaries of Kyler Murray taking over at quarterback and Kliff Kingsbury installing a new system in Arizona. 

Kirk, who was a two-time All-SEC First Team player at Texas A&M, played in a similar style of offense in college to what Kingsbury is putting in place for his first season in charge of the Cardinals. 

In 12 games during his rookie season, Kirk came up with 43 receptions on 68 targets for 590 yards and three touchdowns. 

The numbers do not stand out on their own, but when you take into perspective how brutal Arizona's offensive production was, they look okay.

Josh Rosen only threw for 2,278 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2018 and he eclipsed the 200-yard mark on four occasions in 14 contests. 

With a positive first season and a system with familiar concepts to build off, Kirk is in line to progress in his sophomore campaign. 

Of course, there could be concern over Kirk's improvement because of how large of an impact Murray can make right away.

If the No. 1 overall pick struggles at the start of the regular season and then progressively gets better, Arizona's wide receivers will not carry a ton of value until October and November. 

The good news for Kirk is the opportunity is there for him to take control of the No. 2 spot on the depth chart behind Larry Fitzgerald

Because there are so many unknowns from Murray's adaptation to NFL defenses to which players will carve out their spots on the depth chart in preseason, Kirk is still a late-round option to stash on the bench for the opening weeks before he proves he can make a mark in Arizona's new offensive system.


Terry McLaurin, Washington

Nick Wass/Associated Press

Terry McLaurin enters the NFL in an unique situation, as he is joined by Ohio State teammate Dwayne Haskins in the Washington offense. 

The quarterback-wideout connection built up in Columbus, Ohio, could end up reaping rewards in the nation's capital and for fantasy owners. 

In his senior season at Ohio State, McLaurin produced 701 receiving yards on 35 catches for 11 touchdowns with Haskins under center. 

The rookie has received praise from positional coach Ike Hilliard regarding his smarts on the field and handling of a NFL workload, per Alex Andrejev of the Washington Post. 

"Terry's also a smart guy," Hilliard said. "He's handled the volume of what we're asking him to do at a very, very high rate, so we're excited to have him."

McLaurin's speed and intelligent route running should help the Redskins in his first season, but it is worth pointing out he has not played a regular-season snap yet. 

While the hype is bubbling around the third-round draft pick, he is not as proven at the professional level than other options at wide receiver.

McLaurin is worth a shot in the final few rounds given his early preseason returns, and due to his draft position and rookie status, he should be available at that juncture, unless someone tries to outsmart themselves and lands him in an earlier round.


D.J. Chark Jr, Jacksonville

John Raoux/Associated Press

D.J. Chark Jr. is another young receiver hoping to benefit from a growing connection with a new quarterback. 

The second-year player out of LSU is turning heads during Jacksonville's preseason camp, as he attempts to break out as one of Nick Foles' top targets, per John Reid of the Florida Times-Union.

"DJ is greatly improved from the spring. I think you see confidence level in the offense, in himself at a really high level right now," offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said. "He's been more consistent than he was in the spring."

In 11 games, Chark hauled in 14 receptions for 174 yards in a season in which the Jaguars had two players eclipse 500 receiving yards. 

DeDe Westbrook is the only one of the two back for the 2019 season, while third-best wideout Keelan Cole also returns. 

With a new signal-caller in Foles and first-year offensive coordinator in DeFilippo, Chark should have plenty of opportunities to impress and earn more snaps. 

Just like Kirk, Chark should not be taken high in any draft because of his 2018 statistics, but if you are willing to take a flier on a player who could potentially have a strong season, he is a guy to go after in the latter rounds as a depth option.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference and Sports Reference.