The NFL’s ’s current receiving talent is unprecedented in league history. Some of the best pass catchers to ever grace the football field are playing now. In the past decade, we’ve seen previous records shattered by air-raid style offenses that have excelled against the transitioning defensive schemes of earlier years. On this next addition on the Stock Watch report, I’ll be advising you on what to do with some of the notable wideouts in the league.
Sell: Kelvin Benjamin, Buffalo Bills
Benjamin has failed to contribute at what his perceived level was since his impressive rookie campaign in 2014. He is one of the league’s tallest receivers standing at 6-5 and is well known for his ability to catch high-pointed passes. KB missed out on the Panthers’ historic 2015 season due to a torn ACL in training camp, when he initially rejoined the Cam Newton led Panthers in 2016 he put up an impressive stat line Week 1 and then quickly fell off, although he did compile a decent statistical season with 7 TDs on 63 Receptions and 931 Yards. He was the 2nd best pass catcher on a non playoff team behind Greg Olsen in 2016, not what people expected from the former Rookie of the Month. In early 2017 he was traded to the Bills for a 3rd and a 7th round pick. When he made his way to Buffalo a torn meniscus sidelined him for 2 weeks, when he made his return he caught his 1st touchdown pass in Buffalo from Nathan Peterman. Injuries troubled him all season although he did play, he didn’t meet the expectations the Bills wanted him to. It’ll be even harder for Benjamin to make a strong impression with the departure of Tyrod Taylor in the offseason, the stable of quarterbacks that could be throwing to him is unimpressive with AJ McCarron being the projected starter. Kelvin Benjamin’s rookie season was his best, here are his stats by season:
2014: Carolina Panthers
73 Catches for 1,008 Yards and 9 TDS
2015: Torn ACL, Did Not Play
2016: Carolina Panthers
63 Catches for 941 Yards and 7 TDS
2017: Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills
48 Catches for 692 Yards and 3 TDS
Hold: Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams
Sean McVay is an offensive wizard, he transformed one of the worst offenses in the Rams in one year to one of the most explosive offenses in the league, and Robert Woods was a big part of that. He was a sleeper receiver on a great offense last year. He signed with the Rams after being apart of the Bills for four seasons. He matched and beat some of his career highs despite only playing in twelve games. He marked 733 yards with the Rams, the best since he has entered the league, added a career long reception of 94 yards and tied his previous TD mark with 5. Woods grew into his role as the season progressed, it’ll be interesting to see how he performs this season, most of the offense has stayed the same, but there has been turnover at his position with the loss of Sammy Watkins and the addition of Brandin Cooks. McVay has provided third year QB Jared Goff with an impressive receiving corps compared to that of two years ago. Woods should fit in nice between Cooks and sophomore Cooper Kupp. If he is consistent he will have a good chance at breaking the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his career. Establishing himself on that roster will be important for his continued success.
Buy: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Already one of the best and most talented receivers in the league, Thomas will look to continue his dominance from last year. Thomas, 25 is a part of the young nucleus of offensive talent in New Orleans. (with the exception of Brees) The Ohio State receiver made an immediate impact in his rookie season and then followed it up with a dominant second season. This could be the year he cracks the list of top five wideouts in the game. He has improved every year and this coming season he will have a more stable role in the lineup with the benefit of having Brees as your QB and Kamara as your running back.
Buy: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
JuJu is coming off of a phenomenal rookie season where he caught 58 passes for 917 yards. The rookie sensation started off strong but caught fire in the second half of the season. He set the record for longest touchdown reception in Steelers history and became a social media icon in just one year. The Steelers traded their WR2, Martavis Bryant which will open up the spot permanently for Smith Schuster. He is now apart of the stacked Steelers offense that features him as a secret weapon. He stepped up big time for the Steelers when needed including taking a drag route all the way to the goal line in the latter moments of the Patriots game. I’ll put money on it that he will follow up his first season with an even better second, barring injury of course.