Antonio Gibson was once a highly touted fantasy asset but has become more of a high-upside receiving back in a committee. Brian Robinson profiles as the Commanders two-down back, but Gibson profiles as the best-receiving weapon in their backfield. If Robinson suffers an injury, Gibson could instantly see a huge boost in production. The Commanders let JD McKissic walk in the offseason, so Gibson will be one of the most underrated handcuffs in fantasy this year.
9. Damien Harris – BUF
James Cook is the presumptive lead back for the Bills this year, but he did not get a lot of snaps as a rookie and could end up splitting time in this backfield. The longtime Patriot is an experienced player with solid two-down upside. Harris may not wow you with his style of play, but he could see some serious touchdown upside as the primary goal-line back in this offense.
He has struggled with injuries, but when healthy he could easily see double-digit rushing touchdowns; in 2021, Harris managed 929 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. We saw Jamaal Williams take over the Lions backfield from D’Andre Swift last year, and this backfield could strike a similar dynamic if the cards fall Harris’ way.
8. Isaiah Hodgins – NYG
The Giants have lacked serious talent at the wide receiver position for years, but Hodgins was their best at the tail end of their season last year. The G-Men took a speedster in Jalin Hyatt in the draft and added a decent option in Parris Campbell in free agency. However, Hodgins is a Daboll favorite from Buffalo who developed plenty of chemistry with Daniel Jones last year. With Shepard struggling with injuries throughout his career, Hodgins is the player I would target in this receiver core.
7. Josh Downs – IND
The Colts selected Josh Downs in the third round of the NFL Draft, and I think they got one of the steals of the draft. Downs is a fantastic athlete, excellent at high-pointing balls and gaining separation as a route runner. He will slot in as the Colts surefire slot receiver between Michael Pittman Jr., and Alec Pierce, and could become the clear number two by season’s end. I think he fell too far in the draft, but if his talent translates he could be a major breakout rookie. Playing in the slot helps Downs’ floor, as he will have a defined role coming into the league.
6. Nico Collins – HOU
The Texans finally traded Brandin Cooks this offseason, so CJ Stroud will be working with a scarce wide receiver corps. Nico Collins is the longest-tenured receiver on the team, and he managed to finish second in the league with a 66% contested catch rate last year. That could prove useful for CJ Stroud, who will be depending heavily on the third-year receiver to make some plays for him.
Collins has shown flashes throughout his young career, and this year he has a serious opportunity to put it all together with an actual starting-caliber quarterback throwing him the ball. Robert Woods is aging, and John Metchie and Nathaniel Dell are first-year options with some glaring question marks. Metchie profiles as a solid possession receiver, and Dell is electric but limited by his size. If Collins is ever going to break out, now would be the time to do it.