So, you avoided Travis Kelce but drafted Cooper Kupp in your 2023 fantasy draft? Well, let’s see how that’s going…
Even worse is that Sean McVay has not ruled out the possibility of Kupp going on the IR. With Kupp possibly missing a minimum of four weeks, it’s time to look elsewhere for backup.
Ideally, the replacement for Kupp would come from your bench. If, for some reason, you do not have another viable receiver rostered, we’ll have to look to the Waiver Wire. Even if you have a fill-in for Kupp on your bench, these WRs might be good options to give your team some much-needed depth.
VAN JEFFERSON, WR LOS ANGELES RAMS
(SLEEPER: 40%, YAHOO!: 26%)
Someone I wrote about in my post-draft stash piece, Van Jefferson is the immediate fill-in for Kupp in LA. While nobody should expect Jefferson to take on the high-volume role of Kupp, Jefferson will be the Rams’ WR1 for now.
The Rams’ defense will be less than stellar, forcing them into an above-average pass rate. As the top option, Jefferson will be peppered with targets. Jefferson may not be the best option in Week 1 against a talented Seattle secondary. However, he’s worth a roster spot based on his WR1 role.
NICO COLLINS, WR HOUSTON TEXANS
(SLEEPER: 42%, YAHOO!: 55%)
Another player who is the WR1 on a less-than-ideal offense. Houston will likely struggle early on with rookie QB CJ Stroud, but Nico Collins is still the WR1.
Down the stretch last year, Collins performed at a level that could definitely contribute to lineups. After returning from injury in Week 13 until the end of the season, Collins averaged 12 PPR points per game on nine targets.
Most rookie QBs struggle early. However, it won’t take much for Stroud to perform better than Davis Mills. Stroud doesn’t need to come out of the gates “hot,” he could be lukewarm, and Collins could contribute to lineups.
NOT TOP TEIR BUT SOLID OPTIONS:
ALEC PIERCE, WR INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
(SLEEPER: 19%, YAHOO!: 6%)
Alec Pierce finds himself in an interesting situation entering 2023. Pierce will be the deep threat in Indianapolis. This proves intriguing as rookie QB Anthony Richardson has a rocket launcher attached to his shoulder.
Pierce is not exactly your “safe” replacement for Kupp. However, there’s always a chance he catches a bomb and smashes for your team. The floor is low, considering this offense will likely struggle, and he’s the second option behind Michael Pittman. But if you need a boom-or-bust guy to win your matchup, Pierce may be your guy
ISAIAH HODGINS, WR NEW YORK GIANTS
(SLEEPER: 16%, YAHOO!: 7%)
The revamped passing attack in New York has arrived. Listed on the depth chart as the WR1 and sitting out the third preseason game with other starters like Saquon Barkley and Darren Waller, Isaiah Hodgins has seemingly solidified himself in an every-down role.
While Waller will likely be Daniel Jones’ top target, this passing attack will certainly improve from last season to the benefit of Hodgins. With four finishes (10 games) as a WR2 or better, Hodgins can contribute to lineups. With the Giants’ passing game likely improving this year, Hodgins should be considered to replace Kupp.
JOSHUA PALMER, WR LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
(SLEEPER: 6%, YAHOO!: 2%)
Recent reports indicate that Joshua Palmer will start the season as the WR3 for the Chargers. While this won’t last long, he could easily hold onto this role for a few weeks.
What’s exciting about Palmer is his Week 1 matchup. The Chargers face off against the Dolphins in Week 1. Vegas has the over-under for this game, which is set at 50.5, the highest for the Sunday slate. On top of this game likely being a shootout, the Dolphins will be without top corner Jalen Ramsey.
Palmer should not be started unless the situation is absolutely dire. However, this game will be high-scoring, and the Miami secondary is depleted. This is the perfect recipe for Palmer to deliver a high-floor, flex-worthy performance.
JAYDEN REED, WR GREEN BAY PACKERS
(SLEEPER: 18%, YAHOO!: 6%)
Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs did not practice on Wednesday with hamstring injuries, meaning rookie Jayden Reed could get the start if one does not suit up for Week 1. The second-round pick showed he could play all receiver spots at Michigan State and found a way to make plays despite horrific quarterback play. He seemed to form a bond with Jordan Love during camp, meaning he could get a decent target share if he gets his chance to start. Hold on to this play until we know more about Watson and Doubs.