This is another part in a series looking at the Pittsburgh Steelers and how they will fare in terms of fantasy football production in 2015.
While the Steelers top two receivers- Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant- have much hype around them, the hype is not there for Markus Wheaton.
But should there be?
Many are projecting Bryant for a huge breakout season, but realistically couldn’t the same be said for Wheaton?
I believe it could be and am looking to get some shares of Wheaton during drafts this. And while I was only able to grab him in one league to date, Wheaton will definitely be a target late in upcoming drafts.
The good news is that you get Wheaton very late in drafts. His current ADP is No. 185, which puts him in the middle of the 15th round in 12-team leagues. At that Price Wheaton could turn into a steal in 2015.
He’s currently the 61st receiver off the board on average and will offer a much better return on that value by seasons end.
Here’s a look why.
Pros- Wheaton is off to a solid start in camp and has gotten glowing reviews from the guy that matters the most, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
While Brown and Bryant are clearly the Steelers top two targets, Pittsburgh has three wide receivers on the field almost all of the time.
Entering his third season in the league, Wheaton is only 24 and is the highest drafted receiver in the Steelers rotation. While defenses will be trying to take Brown and Bryant out of games, there should be plenty of opportunities for Wheaton to make plays.
And in this Steelers offense that could turn out to be a great thing for fantasy owners.
Cons- While I expect Wheaton’s numbers to improve dramatically, touchdowns and big plays may be hard to come by.
Wheaton caught only two touchdowns among his 53 receptions last season and was only targeted twice last season on plays inside the 10-yard line. Both of those targets resulted in incompletions.
Roethlisberger also doesn’t tend to look Wheaton’s way down the field very often, so while the number of receptions is likely to improve, for Wheaton to really produce big fantasy numbers, you are going to have to rely on run-after-catch yardage, which is often hard to project.
Projections- 67 receptions, 780 yards, four touchdowns
Verdict- Realistically, this Steelers offense could be so explosive that they could turn in three guys who go over 1,000 yards receiving. But with Le’Veon Bell and Heath Miller still in the offense, I don’t think Wheaton will get there, but he will still be a very productive target in 2015.
At the price you are paying for him, you could do a lot worse for a WR4 or WR5.
Keep this in mind. While Bryant came on the second half of last season, so did Wheaton. He actually had five more catches than Bryant during that span.
If you have the opportunity to grab Wheaton between rounds 14-16 I recommend pulling the trigger. You will get value out of him and he is one injury away for Brown or Bryant to possibly becoming a Top 25 fantasy receiver.
He’s worth a shot that late in drafts.
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