This could be the year Corey Davis finally lives up to his billing as a former first-round draft pick
When considering who is an under-the-radar receiver in fantasy football, my criteria was pretty simple. First off, they had to be outside the top 36 wide receivers by ADP, which automatically makes them a WR4 or lower.
A wideout also can't be under the radar if you are a "shiny new thing," so no rookies. I also discounted anyone who might be the first wide receiver from their team selected in your draft this fantasy football preseason. Sterling Shepard, for example, is neither a rookie nor going inside the top 36 WRs (he's currently the 40th WR off the board), but as the first Giant receiver likely off the board, we discount him as "under the radar" as well. Plus, truth be told, I like Darius Slayton better anyway!
I probably could have listed 10 other members from last year's rookie class, but I tried to spread it out a little bit and listed players below with various levels of seniority.
However, let's start our list of under-the-radar WRs with one of the younger options.
5 Under-the-Radar WRs to Target
Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins
Williams is young and only in his second year. But the reasons for liking this 23-year-old are pretty simple. To be honest, at the end of the 2019 season, Williams did not really deserve to be on your radar. However, now with Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson opting out, Williams is pretty much locked into the WR2 position behind DeVante Parker.
Plus, the potential is there with Williams. He flashed a bit of it during Week 9 when he had five catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns. He's also a threat in the return game, assuming the Dolphins trust his knee. Typically going outside the top 50 WRs, Williams is on my radar and should be on yours.
Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs
Hardman is another intriguing young wideout. And of all the receivers featured here, Hardman might be getting the most attention. He is sometimes picked as high as the seventh round. But he is also going as late as the 11th round, and there is zero reason why he should last beyond the top 100 picks.
Here is where I put in my obligatory but favorite factoid tweet about Hardman from last year:
Mecole Hardman (@MecoleHardman4) reached 21.74 MPH on his 83-yard receiving TD, the fastest speed reached by a ball carrier on a scoring play this season.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 22, 2019
Hardman had 8.3 yards of separation from the nearest defender when the pass arrived.#BALvsKC | #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/HTJyI9BGsr
I will say it right now: Hardman will be one of the top 100 players this year in fantasy football.
Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars
It is also undeniable that DJ Chark Jr. has become the best option in the Jaguar passing game. However, Westbrook is one of only 15 wide receivers with 100 or more targets each of the last two years. Given that the Jaguars will likely be playing from behind quite a bit this year, I like Westbrook to approach 100 targets again. Furthermore, for those of you who like "contract year" players, Westbrook should be on your radar as he is in the last year of his rookie contract.
Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
Talk about a forgotten man! Coming off a 65-catch, nearly 900-yard season in 2018, Davis was a popular sleeper choice coming into '19. Unfortunately, he played through the season with an injured toe that needed offseason surgery. Despite playing through the injury, he still had a career-high 14.0 yards per catch. With A.J. Brown likely to receive far more attention this year — from both opposing secondaries as well as your league mates — Davis is a sneaky acquisition often going in the late teen rounds.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
You know who also is going super late? A future Hall of Famer who is second only to some guy named Jerry Rice in NFL history in both receptions and receiving yards.
Yet, there is a good reason for Fitzgerald to be dropping on draft boards. Yes, when you acquire a talent like DeAndre Hopkins, he immediately becomes the de facto No. 1 receiver on the team. And I know people like Christian Kirk too this year, but I'm not exactly sure why. Kirk had even more targets than the aforementioned Westbrook, and still only had the same three touchdowns that the Jaguar had. And that was before Hopkins arrived. And who do you think Hopkins is going to take more targets from — the reliable veteran running patterns underneath or the young guy streaking down the sideline? I keep thinking of Fitzgerald as the guy from Search for the Holy Grail: "I'm not dead yet."
Despite being 35, Fitzgerald still had more than 800 yards and four touchdowns last season. There is zero reason why Fitzgerald can't be a solid WR5 for you this year, and he's currently going outside the top 60 WRs.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.