2016 Outlook: Matthews was a disappointment for most of his second season after posting solid numbers as a rookie, but he salvaged it somewhat with a strong finish. He ranked among the top 15 wide receivers just once in the first 14 weeks but placed among the top eight in each of the final three weeks. It will be hard for Matthews to continue his late-season momentum, though, as he transitions from Chip Kelly's fast-paced attack to Doug Pederson's more traditional scheme. Pederson's use of two-TE sets will force Matthews to play outside of the slot more often, which likely will chip away at his efficiency.
2016 Outlook: Jackson arguably has been the league's premier deep threat of the past decade, but durability issues continue to limit his production. He has appeared in all 16 games only twice in eight seasons, and he missed seven contests last year. When he played, though, he was effective: From Week 9 to Week 16 he caught 30 balls for 528 yards and four TDs. Only 17 wide receivers scored more fantasy points during that span. Kirk Cousins has, at the very minimum, solidified the team's QB situation, and Jackson remains one of his go-to targets. He is a boom-or-bust WR3.
2016 Outlook: Jones heads to Detroit after spending his first four years in Cincinnati. He missed all of 2014 because of foot and ankle injuries but sandwiched two productive seasons around that lost year. In 2013, he caught 51 passes for 712 yards and 10 TDs. Last season he had 65 receptions for 816 yards and four scores. Although Jones won't make anyone forget Calvin Johnson, he will find ample opportunity for success in Detroit as the primary downfield threat in a pass-heavy offense. Consider him a flex option.
2016 Outlook: Hurns was one of the more improbable breakout players in 2015. He ranked among the top 10 WRs five times (tied for fifth in the league), which helped him finish 14th in fantasy points at his position. Hurns dropped only one pass all season, and he was one of 10 WRs who scored at least 10 TDs. Jacksonville should be healthier--and better--on offense and likely will rely on the running game more than it did a year ago, so that could cost Hurns both targets and TDs. But he is only 24 years old, stands 6-foot-3 and plays nearly every down for an emerging offense. That's a lot to like.
2016 Outlook: Just when his career seemed to be on its last legs, Crabtree was reborn in Oakland. In six seasons with the 49ers, he ranked among the top 30 WRs in fantasy points just once. But with the Raiders last season, he ended up 19th. Crabtree saw plenty of targets (10th among WRs), particularly in the end zone, where the Raiders went to him 15 times (tied for 10th in the league). His strong 2015 performance makes Crabtree a clear flex option this season, but he likely will play second fiddle to the emerging Amari Cooper.
2016 Outlook: June foot surgery, coupled with Miami's deep wide receiver unit, almost led to a lost rookie season for Parker, but the 14th pick in the 2015 draft finished strong. During Weeks 12 to 17, Parker caught 22 of 40 targets for 445 yards and three scores, tying for 19th among WRs in fantasy points. On the season, he averaged 10.5 yards per target, which was sixth among WRs with at least 30 targets. Parker is extremely talented, stands 6-foot-3 and has 4.4 wheels. Durability concerns aside, Parker is a strong bet to break out as Miami's top perimeter threat this season.
2016 Outlook: Lockett was supposed to be a return specialist as a rookie but ended up becoming a reliable playmaker opposite Doug Baldwin. His 51 catches for 664 yards and six TDs left him tied for 38th among WRs in fantasy points, but a deeper look at his stats shows some serious upside. His 74 percent catch rate was seventh best among WRs, despite a high average depth of target (13.1 yards). The return of Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson--plus the re-signing of Jermaine Kearse--limits Lockett's volume a bit. But he is worth a mid-to-late-round flier because of his potential for a second-year surge.
2016 Outlook: After the Bears traded Brandon Marshall to the Jets last offseason, they used the seventh pick in the draft to take White as his replacement. Things didn't quite go according to plan, as White missed the entire season with a shin injury. Finally back to full health, he has little competition for the team's No. 2 wide receiver gig opposite Alshon Jeffery. Armed with a 6-foot-3 frame, sub-4.4 speed and pro-ready skills as a run blocker (key in Chicago's ground-heavy scheme), White will quickly make a significant impact. The 24-year-old is an enticing sleeper with a massive fantasy ceiling.
2016 Outlook: Shepard lacks high-end speed and is only 5-10 with short arms, so he isn't the most physically intimidating receiver around. But the Oklahoma product more than makes up for it with great hands, quickness and excellent route-running, which is why the Giants drafted him in the second round. Shepard figures to work all over the formation for the G-Men this season. The Giants had a third receiver on the field on 91 percent of pass plays last season, so Shepard is all but locked into a massive role as a rookie. He will also contribute as a returner, which adds a bit of value to his fantasy r'sum'.
2016 Outlook: Despite signing a five-year, $40 million contract, Smith was rarely used during his first season with the 49ers. He saw only 59 targets, which led to 33 catches for 663 yards and four TDs. He did average 20.1 yards per reception to top the NFL. The biggest reason for optimism is the arrival of Chip Kelly and his fast-paced offense. Kelly helped coax big fantasy seasons out of DeSean Jackson in 2013 and Jeremy Maclin in 2014, but Nelson Agholor struggled as the Eagles' top perimeter WR last season. Still, Smith's big-play ability and his expected uptick in volume due to Kelly's scheme make him an interesting flex option.
2016 Outlook: Diggs couldn't have made much more of an impressive debut. He took the field for the first time in Week 4 and caught 25 passes for 419 yards and two TDs in his first four games. Only DeAndre Hopkins scored more fantasy points during those four weeks. But Diggs slumped after that, managing just 27 catches for 301 yards and two TDs (both in one game) the rest of the way. Considering the Vikings snagged him in the fifth round, they still got quite a return on their investment. But until they open up their offense, he is no more than flex material, especially with Laquon Treadwell now in the mix.
2016 Outlook: While his indefinite suspension has been lifted, Gordon is still facing a four-game suspension to start the season. He has elite upside--he was fantasy's top-scoring wide receiver in 2013- but he carries obvious risk as well. Additionally, Cleveland's quarterback situation remains shaky, and Gordon is no longer necessarily the team's top receiver, with rookie first-round pick Corey Coleman joining the squad. Gordon's considerable potential makes him worth snagging, but not as one of your top two receivers.
2016 Outlook: With Jimmy Graham traded to Seattle and Marques Colston fading, Snead was presented with a rare opportunity to start in one of the NFL's best offenses as a second-year undrafted free agent. He didn't disappoint, finishing tied for 25th among WRs in catches and 24th in yards. His 69 percent catch rate (18th highest) was certainly helped by the presence of Drew Brees, but Snead dropped only two of his 100 targets. Also a quality blocker, he is the front-runner to start opposite Brandin Cooks. Even with rookie Michael thomas in the mix, Snead is well worth flex consideration in the Saints' high-volume attack.
2016 Outlook: The aging Jackson has faded into a secondary role behind Mike Evans. In his first three seasons in Tampa Bay, he didn't miss a single game and ranked among the top 11 WRs in targets each season. But last season he was sidelined for six games and saw his targets drop to just 6.7 per game during the weeks in which he played a full game. At 33, Jackson is no longer a fantasy star, but he should still start opposite Evans and can challenge defenses with his 6-foot-5 frame. He should be considered a flex option when he has a favorable matchup.
2016 Outlook: After two underwhelming seasons to start his career, Austin finally began to live up to his potential in 2015. Despite his small frame (5-8, 176 pounds), Austin managed to appear in all 16 games after missing a total of four during the previous two seasons. Though he was tied for only 40th in receptions and tied for 72nd in receiving yards, he added fantasy points in other areas. He returned a punt for a TD and led all WRs with 52 carries, 434 rushing yards and four rushing scores. Austin's versatility keeps him in the fantasy mix, but his unconventional role in a low-volume offense will limit his upside.