WR Position Battles (08/05/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
NFL Camp Competition – which receivers will start for the Eagles, Dolphins and Ravens?

In the lead up to the release of our 2015 NFL Preview we look at some of the most interesting position battles occurring at training camps around the league. We've looked at quarterbacks and running back, now it's receivers.

The 2015 NFL Preview will be available, tomorrow, August 6th!

Philadelphia Eagles

For the second year in a row the Eagles are trying to replace their No. 1 receiver after Pro Bowler Jeremy Maclin (85 receptions, 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns) was allowed to leave in free agency. The previous year they released DeSean Jackson. Fortunately for Philadelphia, the team has a collection of young talent at the position.

Jordan Matthews, the second year player out of Vanderbilt, posted a strong rookie season with 67 receptions, 872 yards and eight touchdowns. Riley Cooper hasn't lived up to his $25 million contract yet, but he still had 55 catches for 577 yards and three touchdowns last year. Then there is rookie Nelson Agholor. The first round pick is talented and will challenge for serious playing time.

Seven players had 28 or more receptions last season for Philadelphia. The Eagles are likely to rotate wideouts meaning there will be a lot of targets to go around. However, Matthews is a top-15 fantasy option and Agholor is a potential sleeper pick.

Projected 2015 Statistics

Receiver Receptions Yards Touchdowns
Jordan Matthews 88.6 1,190.50 10.5
Nelson Agholor 60.3 910.3 5.6
Riley Cooper 35.5 404.2 1.7

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins remade their receiving corps. Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson are out. Kenny Stills, Greg Jennings and first round pick DeVante Parker are in. Of course the team does have one holdover.

Jarvis Landry had an impressive rookie season with 84 receptions, 758 yards and five touchdowns. We project the slot receiver to be one of four players with over 100 receptions in 2015. Landry is the team's best receiving option, after him it's a toss-up.

Stills had a nice season with the Saints – 63 receptions for 931 yards and three touchdowns. Greg Jennings will be 32 in the fall but can still be productive and Parker has talent but is dealing with a foot injury.

There is a lot to like about the Dolphins receivers this season especially since Ryan Tannehill figures to take another step forward this season – projected as a top ten fantasy quarterback. Target Landry in fantasy drafts, but owning the other Dolphin receivers could prove frustrating.

Projected 2015 Statistics

Receiver Receptions Yards Touchdowns
Jarvis Landry 103.1 1037.7 8.8
Kenny Stills 57.1 815.8 5.1
Greg Jennings 59.5 638.8 5.0
DeVante Parker 31.1 404.6 2.6

Baltimore Ravens

Like in Philadelphia and Miami, the departure of a veteran receiver has created an opening for a starter with the first team offense. Torrey Smith is in San Francisco and the Ravens need to replace 767 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. Steve Smith Sr. is the team's No. 1 wideout but after him it's all question marks.

So who will lineup opposite of Mr. Smith? Baltimore used its first round pick on Breshad Perriman, a speedy receiver like Torrey Smith. Of course being a high draft pick doesn't guarantee you a starting job. Marlon Brown and Kamar Aiken have each shown promise in limited roles.

For our money, Smith and Perriman are the likely starters but neither projects as a top-30 receiver in fantasy.

Projected 2015 Statistics

Receiver Receptions Yards Touchdowns
Steve Smith 70.0 899.9 6.1
Breshad Perriman 62.2 842.9 6.2
Marlon Brown 40.3 467.3 3.6
Kamar Aiken 23.3 246.9 0.0