After a collegiate career that saw him make a position change, Western Michigan WR D’Wayne Eskridge is one of the intriguing players that adds depth to the 2021 NFL Draft class for fantasy football. With several teams in the market for an everyday WR2 or slot WR, which draft projections would benefit Eskridge’s fantasy football value the most?
Should D’Wayne Eskridge be on your fantasy radar for 2021?
The case for Eskridge is intriguing. Think about this for a second. As a fifth-year senior, Eskridge was a teammate of Corey Davis and is just two years younger (24 years old) despite Davis entering his fifth season in the NFL.
Eskridge’s “breakout” year came as a sophomore when he recorded 506 receiving yards for 3 touchdowns. Then we come to his true senior season, where he transitioned to the Broncos’ starting cornerback. However, in the fourth game, Eskridge suffered a broken collarbone while playing as a receiver, ending his season prematurely — leading to his return to college.
Overall, Eskridge caught 121 passes for 2,244 yards and 15 touchdowns throughout his Western Michigan career. He also returned 17 kicks for 467 yards and a touchdown in 2020. What is apparent when watching him is his eye-catching speed. Eskridge was a track star in high school and verified this speed when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds.
Eskridge is one of the most versatile players in the 2021 NFL Draft, but his size (5’9″ and 190 pounds) could raise some concerns. Depending on where he goes, Eskridge could be a team’s slot WR from Week 1. According to PFN Chief Draft Analyst and NFL Insider Tony Pauline, Eskridge is the No. 10 WR in the class and 71st overall prospect with a late-second-round-to-early-third-round draft projection.
If a team believes in him enough to take him here, fantasy managers need to pay attention, as this signifies they have a plan to get him involved in their offense.
Top 5 landing spots for Eskridge based on draft projections
Green Bay Packers
At some point, they have to get Aaron Rodgers more help on the perimeter, right? While Allen Lazard has played well on the field, rarely has he been a difference-maker. Where they could really use help in is the slot. According to Pauline, Eskridge is already on the Packers’ radar and could target him as early as the second round.
It’s hard to find a better landing spot for fantasy than Green Bay. Matt LaFleur is a talented play-caller, and his creativity could pay dividends for Eskridge. He already has a developed route tree, and his strong hands would keep him on Rodgers’ good side. With volume the deciding factor for fantasy production, he would rocket up draft boards should this happen.
New Orleans Saints
When you think of gadget/versatile players, the Saints are the first team that comes to mind. With the ultra-creative Sean Payton at the helm, Eskridge could have a field day in the Big Easy. He could line up all over the field for the Saints and be a fantastic complement to Michael Thomas.
The Saints could use another receiver as they lack a true WR2, although there is hope that Tre’Quan Smith could take a step forward in 2021. Jameis Winston is expected to secure the starting role this year, and it would behoove the Saints to add weapons into the offense.
Los Angeles Chargers
Speaking of potent offenses, enter the Los Angeles Chargers. Justin Herbert is a bona fide superstar and already has a talented set of playmakers. Keenan Allen does not get the respect he deserves. Mike Williams, when healthy, is a talented deep and red-zone threat, and Austin Ekeler is one of the best pass-catching backs in the NFL.
What they are still searching for is a slot WR. Additionally, there is turnover at tight end with Hunter Henry leaving and Jared Cook coming in.
What is even scarier is the addition of offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi from the Saints. Someone who utilizes motion, Lombardi might slide Eskridge around the offense, creating advantageous matchups. Few CBs can keep up with his footwork off the line, which will make Eskridge Herbert’s favorite target over the middle.
San Francisco 49ers
This one seems obvious. No one is better at scheming players open than Kyle Shanahan. Their offense is predicated on short-area explosiveness and getting playmakers in space. Does this sound a bit familiar to Eskridge’s skill set?
Can you imagine Eskridge with George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, and Deebo Samuel? Talk about a loaded offense. The 49ers would have to select him at pick No. 43, but the potential of adding another versatile threat could be worth the perceived reach.
Kansas City Chiefs
After all, this is fantasy we are talking about, right? How could you not mention the Kansas City Chiefs here?
We know how dangerous the Chiefs’ offense is with Patrick Mahomes slinging it like a backyard football game to dominant pass catchers like Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Andy Reid loves to air it out, and Eskridge fits right into Kansas City’s offense. The Chiefs also have a need at the position as Sammy Watkins is now a Baltimore Raven, and Mecole Hardman is still very raw.
There isn’t a team in the NFL that can produce fantasy points the way the Chiefs do — we see it week in and week out. With so many other pieces to worry about, good luck paying attention to Eskridge. I guarantee Mahomes will be paying attention to him, and that’s all that matters. Anyone who puts on a Chiefs jersey can be a fantasy gold mine, and Eskridge is no exception. The boom-or-bust potential is there for Eskridge, but the ceiling is sky-high in Kansas City.
Want more 2021 NFL Draft prospect news? Want to do your own mock draft?
Dive into PFN’s Free NFL Mock Draft Simulator and test your own drafting acumen. Continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PFN365) to stay in the loop on all things college football and the NFL Draft landscape.