Since the Chicago Bears released Earl Bennett, Marquess Wilson has been a hot name in dynasty circles. The presumptive WR3 in a pass-heavy attack, Wilson’s talent and situation mean his dynasty stock has been on the rise in recent weeks, to the extent where some have been questioning whether the hype is getting out of control.
Yes, Wilson is in line to be Chicago’s #3 wide receiver, but for the upcoming season he’ll ostensibly be the 5th choice pass catcher behind Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett. Jeffery is one of the position’s emerging superstars, with Marshall having already established himself in that echelon (as well as being Jay Cutler’s BFFF and favourite target). Forte is one of the most versatile weapons in football, excelling in Marc Trestman’s offense last season. And while Martellus Bennett didn’t put up enormous numbers, he still finished as the #10 tight end in PPR leagues last season.
So, Wilson faces an uphill battle to become fantasy relevant. However, should Jeffery or Marshall get injured, Wilson jumps all the way up to the second option in that list. Or, as has been suggested, should Marshall spend more time inside and play from the slot (where he had 39% of his catches from last season), Wilson will see extended time on the outside. And the idea of that has to be intriguing to Trestman – having three WIDE RECEIVERS of at least 6’3″ to create matchup nightmares all over the field is enough to make any coach drool. There’s also the possibility (though it seems unlikely) that the Bears let Marshall walk when he contract expires after the 2014 season and Wilson gets elevated to starter status.
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Trestman has already praised Wilson this offseason, citing his potential to improve. Wilson is tall but skinny, and could stand to add 10-15lbs to his frame. To that end, Marshall and Jeffery have already planned to work out together per ESPN. Learning from two of the better players at the position can only be beneficial to Wilson, especially at this stage of his development. It’s also very much worth noting that when the season begins, Wilson will still only be 21 years old, not turning 22 until this September, making him even younger than draft Twitter favourite Odell Beckham Jr., and over a year and a half younger than Kelvin Benjamin will be as a rookie.
Wilson’s college career was short but productive, ending with 3207 yards on 189 catches (a 17 yards per catch average) and 23 touchdowns in just 33 games. Of course, his college career was also mired in controversy, which (combined with his slight frame and lack of strength) resulted in him almost going undrafted. Per Spokesman.com, Wilson acknowledged that he could have handled his fractious exit from Washington State better, which is a step in the right direction. While a few years ago it may have seemed strange to say “He’ll benefit from spending time around Brandon Marshall”, Marshall does seem a changed man and the empathy and experience he will provide could well be a comfort to Wilson.
Our friends over at Dynasty League Football have been conducting mock drafts since the turn of the year, and Wilson’s ADP makes for interesting reading. In January, he was being drafted at 223 overall, the 92nd wide receiver. In February, this rose to 218 overall, the 88th WR. March’s figures came in at 197 overall, WR 80. April’s data will be the most important to factor in, as a full month’s data after Bennett’s release will be factored in. Provided his ADP doesn’t jump too drastically, now is the time to buy in on Wilson. Depending on the owner in your league, Wilson can potentially be acquired early third round rookie pick as things stand at the minute. As we move closer to training camp and into the season, that price will only rise. As a point of reference, some rookie players taken in that range last year include Denard Robinson, Quinton Patton and Mike Gillislee.
For some additional reading, I suggest this terrrific piece by Bleacher Report’s @zachkrause2 outlining how Wilson can be a factor for the Bear’s offense. This Twitter mailbag from ESPN’s Mike Cartwright also contains some nice nuggets about Wilson.
Penultimately, check out some of Wilson’s highlights:
Then, friends, I suggest you try to get him into your fantasy team.
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