There are several players I’m higher on than consensus that I’m going to highlight over the summer months. One of the players I’m more excited about is Devin Funchess. Funchess had a promising rookie campaign that may not look like much on paper but his 31 receptions for 473 yards and 5 touchdowns opposite of Ted Ginn and Philly Brown leave me hopeful for his development. The second round draft pick out of Michigan is still only 22 years old and has only played wide receiver for TWO YEARS after converting from tight end for his senior season. Recently he’s been getting rave reviews this offseason, but I take offseason praise with a grain of salt considering coaches and beat writers tend to be biased. The Panthers didn’t address the wide receiver position in the draft, only signing UDFAs afterward. To be fair, Keyarris Garrett should be a steal for them but he shouldn’t impact Funchess.
It is a fair assumption that Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin will be the 1st and 2nd reads within this offense, but it’s not a stretch to assume that Funchess will ascend to the third read. Cam Newton has shown his ability to produce at an elite level most notably by his TD totals. Cam threw 35 TDs last season while also rushing for 10 which keeps defenses honest. This, in turn, provides opportunities for his receivers who are less likely to be double teamed. Newton threw 496 times last season, the most attempts since his rookie season, of which Funchess accounted for 12.7% of those attempts. Devin’s 63 targets should increase at the expense of Ginn’s egregious 97 targets despite Benjamin returning to his 125+ targets. Most importantly Funchess should continue to improve as a red zone threat with his 6’4″ 232 frame and 33 1/2″ wingspan (89th percentile). His best comparable player according to playerprofiler.com is Brandon Marshall which gives me great hope.
Redraft – Funchess is coming off the board, on average, as the 64th wide receiver and 171st overall (FantasyPros ADP). This drives me nuts considering the players and DEFENSES being selected before him. 8 defenses and 2 kickers have ADPs ahead of Devin which is just unacceptable in any league that doesn’t start two of each of those positions. Other notable players I would easily draft Funchess over include Mike Wallace, Jared Cook, Chris Thompson, and Darren Sproles.
Draft Stock: I would imagine that you wouldn’t have to reach any higher than the 13th round for Funchess but I know I’ll be considering him in the 10th or even 11th.
Dynasty – Devin is going in the 6th round this summer after dropping from the 5th in the spring with the addition of this years rookie class. I like his value more so in the 6th than the 5th but his upside allows a little wiggle room if you’re like me and aren’t as high on Kelvin. I prefer Funchess in the 5th or 6th round at age 22 over Benjamin at 25 in the early 2nd after missing a season due to a serious injury.