While most fantasy football fans cling to the top rookies before the season starts, there is almost always a few talented newcomers that take some time to blossom. For every Kareem Hunt, there is an equally talented and vital prospect such as wideout Zay Jones who patiently wait on the sidelines to show off their coveted capabilities. Often times, it takes a serious injury to a veteran starter for these eager youngsters to get on the field, which may not be ideal initially but can be a blessing in disguise. With both Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson currently sidelined with injuries, the door has recently opened for first-year receiver Dede Westbrook to show off the abilities that made him such a prolific weapon in college.
Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
Position: Wide Receiver
Percent Owned By Fantasy Teams: (Yahoo Fantasy): 28%
Fantasy Points Total Thru Week 12 (Half PPR): Projected: 10.64 Actual: 12.10
Despite playing in just two games this season, Westbrook has already garnered a hefty target share (six targets against Cleveland, 10 targets against Arizona). As was the case when he played for Oklahoma, Westbrook is effectively dynamic and is especially deadly as a deep target (19.1 yards per reception during his final year with Oklahoma). While Westbrook has yet to flash his speedy, downfield catching capabilities (8.4 yards per receptions with Jaguars), his developing rapport with quarterback Blake Bortles should allow the rookie wideout to be featured much more prominently in those scenarios as the season progresses.
Running a 4.44 yards dash at the NFL combine, Westbrook has the burst to blow past opposing defenders and will be more effective at finding spots in the open field as he continues to garner more playing time. Although Westbrook may lack the physical size to be a trusted 50-50 pass catcher (weighs 178lbs), his potential to be a consistent home run scorer will allow him to avoid one on one confrontations with opposing defensive backs more often than not.
When all is said and done, Westbrook clearly has the potential to be an exciting wideout for the Jaguars during the final stretch of this season and into next year. Given his impressive target share and breakneck speed, Westbrook is clearly a capable wideout that has shown enough on the field to be relied on by Bortles. Going forward, Westbrook is a matchup-dependent flex play and may be worth keeping in dynasty leagues given his big-play potential.