Markus Wheaton is a Draft “Steel” in 2016

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As most of you get ready for your 2016 fantasy football drafts, I’m sure you are looking for a few late round steals that will set you apart from your competition. After all, the players you pick in the later rounds can often be key factors in your roster as the season progresses. Let me introduce you to Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Markus Wheaton.

2015 Season Stats & Analytics

Before you call me crazy, I am well aware that Markus Wheaton’s numbers in 2015 as a whole were not too impressive but hear me out.

First 10 games of 2015 season:

Rec Yds Average Yards per Game TD
16 273 27.3 1

These are dismal numbers even for a WR3, especially from a guy that was set to breakout in 2015. I understand his stats in the first 10 games are destroying my argument for Wheaton as a valuable fantasy WR in 2016, so let’s move on to the stats that explain why I’m thinking so highly of him this year.

Last 6 games of 2015 season:

Rec Yds Average Yards per Game TD
28 476 79.3 4

Total 2015 season stats: 16 games, 749 yards, and 5TDs

Again, not crazy fantasy numbers but you can’t deny what Wheaton was able to do after the bye in Week 11. Wheaton himself acknowledged that he got on the same page with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger late last season. His much-improved numbers from Week 12 on, were accomplished with both Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant on the field.

What 2016 Could Bring for Wheaton

I feel that Wheaton will pick up right where he left off at the end of the 2015 season. This year, with double coverage on Antonio Brown from opposing defenses and the absence of Martavis Bryant, will provide Wheaton with more looks, targets & opportunities. Even with Le’Veon Bell out the first 4 games, I believe the Pittsburgh Steelers’ run game with DeAngelo Williams is good enough to keep defenses guessing and open things up for Roethlisberger to air it out. There is a lot of talk around wideout Sammie Coates and I’m sure he will see targets as well with Bryant out. But until Coates can show real production in an NFL game, it is hard to make a case for him taking significant targets from Markus Wheaton, a guy that Ben Roethlisberger¬†speaks so highly of.

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Fantasy Football Draft Outlook

Wheaton’s current Average Draft Position (ADP) hovers just around 115 overall which means he is not being drafted until about the 9th Round in 12-team leagues, making him quite the late round catch for your fantasy football team. I fully expect him to rise much higher than his current ADP reflects as we get closer to the start of the 2016 season. If you are planning on drafting Wheaton, you may want to keep an eye on his inevitable rising stock and grab him before his suggested spot comes up in your draft.

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