In this day and age, no team is going to make a run for a Super Bowl title without at least one star playing the wide receiver position. Sometimes the quarterback is so proficient that he makes a star out of the receiver. I would say that is more common than the other way around. It certainly appears that way in New Orleans, where Drew Brees has made Michael Thomas his most popular target – popular enough that BetOnline has made him an overwhelming favorite to lead the league in receiving yards.
He’s at very short odds; does he deserve to be there? Let’s take a look at the players who are highest on the futures list:
Michael Thomas, Saints +400
— You have to be in awe of those numbers from last season – 149 catches for 1725 yards. This is the product of partnering with a very efficient quarterback who doesn’t have other game-breaking alternatives. We see that being the same situation this season. No wide receiver in the NFL is so clearly his team’s #1 option.
DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals +1000
— He may be worth a play. No receiver has been targeted as much as he has over the last three seasons. It’s likely no team will throw the ball more often than Arizona. And he did get to 1572 yards a couple of seasons ago. This may come down to how much you think of Kyler Murray.
Chris Godwin, Buccaneers +1200
–He had 1333 yards last season. But he may be targeted less this season, simply because of Tom Brady’s arrival, coach Bruce Arians is planning more snaps with “12 personnel,” meaning two tight ends. So Rob Gronkowski will get a lot of attention, and let’s not forget that Mike Evans lines up on the other side. The Bucs acquired Leonard Fournette, which means they are probably exploring more balance as well.
Julio Jones, Falcons +1200
— Jones has had 4515 yards over the last three seasons. But he was down to 14.1 yards per catch last year. Atlanta WILL throw the football.
Davante Adams, Packers +1400
— His 2019 season got upset a little with turf toe. And we saw how important he was to the Packers. He was second in targets per game. Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have a lot of scary options at his disposal. Keep in mind that Adams had 1386 yards in 2018, and almost 400 in two playoff games last season.
Mike Evans, Buccaneers +1400
— He is awesome. And when healthy, he could be the most dangerous guy to deal with in the league. He is a long-distance threat in the Tampa Bay offense, although we’re not certain how well or how often Tom Brady will get the ball down the field. He’s got to share the ball too.
Amari Cooper, Cowboys +1600
— He produced 1189 yards through the air for the Cowboys. For what it’s worth, Randall Cobb and Jason Witten have left. We’ll see how much of the “pie” is fed to rookie Cee Dee Lamb. We know that Jerry Jones was beside himself when he was able to draft him.
DK Metcalf, Seahawks +1600
— We know that Seattle will commit itself to running the ball if possible. But the general consensus is that the super-athletic Metcalf, who averaged 15.5 yards a catch as a rookie, is set to take on a bigger role.
Odell Beckham Jr, Browns +1600 at BetOnline
— We’re not sure what to make of him. Beckham was targeted 133 times last year and now works with another offense, throwing more to the tight ends, as Kevin Stefanski comes in as head coach. Would Jarvis Landry be the better futures bet as far as Cleveland is concerned?
Tyreek Hill, Chiefs +1600
— We all know how dangerous a big-play receiver Hill is for the defending Super Bowl champs, but there are other targets of Patrick Mahomes that may see their roles increased, including Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardiman.
Adam Thielen, Vikings +1800
— He had a hamstring injury last season. But Thielen had a whopping 113 catches in 2018. And with Stefon Diggs having departed Minnesota, he is without question the #1 option for Kirk Cousins.
DeVante Parker, Dolphins +1800
— He really stood out last season, with 1202 yards (16.7 per catch). But let’s keep in mind that Miami’s receiving corps was decimated by injury. This year they are healthier. Chan Gailey is the new offensive coordinator, but Tua Tagovailoa is not the quarterback right off the bat, as Ryan Fitzpatrick likely to be the “seat-warmer” for a while.
Kenny Golladay, Lions +1800
— He’s a darkhorse candidate. Golladay led the league with eleven touchdown receptions, and averaged a sizzling 18.3 yards per catch. There is no one likely to displace him as the #1 option, and the Lions are going to throw the ball an awful lot as long as Matthew Stafford is healthy, no matter how much they talk about running it.
TY Hilton, Colts +1800
— Hilton has always been known as an explosive threat, but last season, injuries slowed him, and he averaged just 11.1 yards per catch. At age 30, can he experience a revival? maybe, with Philip Rivers assuming the reins at quarterback.