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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Top 5 Free Agent Wide Receivers for 2019

With free agency just around the corner I’ll be highlighting some of the biggest names available at each skill position. I’ll match each player with a team that I think would be a best-case scenario for his fantasy value in 2019. Up next are the Wide Receivers.

Golden Tate

After spending time with the Lions and Eagles in 2018, Golden Tate finds himself on the market in 2019.

1. Randall Cobb

Aaron Rodgers really likes him, but the veteran receiver hasn’t hauled in 70 catches or more since 2015. Cobb had a relatively quiet end to his days in Green Bay but is still only 28 years old and should be headed for a lucrative free agent market. Unfortunately, much of his career has been plagued by injuries that have taken a toll on what many considered to be elite catching and playmaking ability. Cobb’s apex came in 2014, when he caught 91-1287-12, a season which featured five games of 100+ yards. It’ll be hard to replicate that type of greatness, but even his 2017 numbers (80-954-8) show he can get it done when healthy.

Best fit: Cowboys

The Cowboys have Amari Cooper, who’s still relatively young, and could use another flexible WR with some experience as a go-to, possession target. With Michael Gallup developing into a viable deep threat and few exciting options besides Beasley (who could be out the door) to operate out of the slot, Cobb makes a lot of sense heading into the 2019 season.

Other possibilities: Ravens, Lions, 49ers, Redskins

2. Donte Moncrief

A truly talented WR and red zone target, Moncrief is coveted by fantasy owners for his ability to find the end zone. His debut season in Jacksonville was a bit of a washout, with just 48-668-3, but the Jags offense was never the right fit for the Mississippi product. He was a consistent scoring threat throughout his Colts tenure and could get right back to the 6-8 TD range on the right squad.

Best fit: Ravens

Lamar Jackson is just 22 and still has a lot learn about running a full-fledged passing attack, but having a red zone weapon like Moncrief could make him a truly fearsome weapon inside the 20. While Jackson develops, the Ravens receivers will continue to run simple isolation routes, which forces them to win one-on-one battles – where Moncrief could flourish.

Other possibilities: Lions, Cowboys, Patriots

3. John Brown

There’s a particular skill set here with Brown, and it involves shifty moves and game-changing TDs. Brown’s season in Baltimore had some awesome highlights early on, but he wasn’t the right fit with Jackson after Joe Flacco lost the job to injuries and ineffectiveness. He had three touchdowns in the first four games and boasted a 34-601-4 line after nine weeks but caught just eight passes the rest of the season with Jackson at the helm. He’s still a reliable and exciting playmaker, and he’s healthy – so he could provide decent value for a team in need of his services.
Best fit: Broncos

Since he played so well alongside Flacco, it makes sense that he’d make the trip to Denver alongside Joe, doesn’t it? He won’t cost an arm and a leg (about $6 million per year?), and while there are a bunch of teams who could be in play for such a young, effective deep threat – for instance, he’s familiar with the Bruce Arians playbook and could be a cheaper alternative to DeSean Jackson – the Broncos are the best fit.

Other possibilities: Bucs, Packers, Redskins, Colts

4. Golden Tate

It’ll be interesting to see what the price on Tate will be, considering his stellar career thus far and his slowly creeping age – 31. Plenty of WRs have been productive for several years after turning 30, but I suspect the competition won’t be fierce for Tate, given the recency bias of his mediocre 2018. Tate hauled in 90+ receptions in four straight seasons before breaking the streak last year, dipping to 74-795-4 in 15 games.

Best fit: 49ers

Tate doesn’t have the top-end athleticism of a Demaryius Thomas (a free agent this season but coming off a devastating Achilles tear) or Donte Moncrief (above), but he fits what Kyle Shanahan expects from wide receivers, including some after-the-catch elusiveness and high football IQ. He could end up back with the Lions or even in Dallas, but the 49ers have money to spend and Tate could be a solid addition for Jimmy Garoppolo (torn ACL), who’s expected to be back for the start of the 2019 season.

Other possibilities: Cowboys, Lions, Redskins, Titans

5. Adam Humphries

Humphries, a reliable, sure-handed target who went undrafted out of Clemson a few years back, is coming of an impressive season for the Bucs where he caught 76-816-5 and saw 105 targets. The Bucs may spend the money and bring him back, but he will definitely get a lucrative offer from a contending team. There’s probably not a coordinator who wouldn’t be interested in what Humphries offers in terms of a possession/red zone combo, but there’s one team that has made a habit of turning guys like him into stars.

Best fit: Patriots

Humphries fits nearly perfectly into the Pats scheme and he could be an upgrade over Chris Hogan, who’s headed to free agency after a lackluster, injury-plagued season. He’s in his prime and doesn’t have too much wear, considering he saw limited snaps his first couple seasons. Last year’s 72.38% catch rate is just what Belichick is looking for from his receivers, and we saw in the playoffs and Super Bowl that Tom Brady can still put it right on the numbers when he needs to.

Other possibilities: Lions, Titans, Colts