By Amol Nadkarni
WR T.Y. Hilton might be top dog in Indianapolis’ passing game, but I think that could change this season with the emergence of WR Donte Moncrief. Last season Moncrief showed glimpses of his massive potential finishing the season with 64 receptions for 733 yards and six touchdowns. He could have easily had better numbers had QB Andrew Luck not missed a big part of the season due to injury. Luck clearly had a strong connection with Moncrief, as only Hilton had more targets than Moncrief when Luck was healthy. I think this season he could double his 2015 stat line across the board as he has all the physical tools to become an elite receiver in this league.
Moncrief has the height (6’2’’) and speed (4.40 40-yard dash at the combine, which was the best time of any wide receiver in the 2014 draft class) to be a real difference maker in the NFL. Coming out of Ole Miss, Moncrief had all the physical tools to be a considered a very high-upside wide receiver prospect. He has the speed to stretch the field vertically and has exceptional leaping ability to become a very good “X” receiver. Throughout college and during his young NFL career, Moncrief has shown that he can be a playmaker when called upon and with the return of Luck under center I think he will have a breakout season similar to that of WR Allen Robinson in 2015. The main knock on Moncrief coming out of college was his inconsistent route-running, however last season he exhibited much improved technique and he clearly understands that this is an area that he needs to continue to refine to reach his massive potential. No offense to QB Matt Hasselbeck, but had Luck stayed healthy I think Moncrief would have topped 1,000 yards and had double-digit touchdowns, as the Colts passing offense was performing at an elite level under the former Stanford signal caller.
In most fantasy drafts, Moncrief can be had anywhere between the fifth and seventh rounds, which I think represents tremendous value for a player that has the potential to produce WR2 or even low-end WR1 numbers by season’s end. He can instantly slot in as a WR3 or flex option, but he is type of fantasy player that has tremendous upside and can rise up your depth chart as the season progresses. His massive upside is strengthened by the fact that Luck will return, he is in an elite passing offense and at least early on, he will go up against opposing defense’s number two corners (a matchup he is more than capable of winning on a consistent basis). If you choose not to go early on wide receivers in your draft and want a high-upside guy in the mid-rounds, Moncrief is your guy.