- Jeremy Fowler, ESPN Senior NFL Writer
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Luckily for the Steelers, they have enough playmaking depth at receiver to make things interesting while Martavis Bryant is out for four games. DeAngelo Williams is a primary target at running back while Le'Veon Bell serves a two-game suspension. Here's a look at what to expect Saturday against Buffalo from the receiver targets not named Antonio Brown.
Darrius Heyward-Bey is not on this list because the Steelers know what to expect with him -- he's a reliable veteran who still has good speed. A dynamic special-teams player, Heyward-Bey is a lock to make the team.
Markus Wheaton:The Steelers have praised Wheaton's work ethic and crisp route-running for weeks. Though the Steelers do like him, I believe they knew about the looming Bryant suspension and prepared Wheaton for No. 2 status as a result. During camp, Wheaton was always the second man up in wide receiver practice drills. He's responding well so far, breaking free for three catches and a score last week against Green Bay. He can play inside or out. How will he respond without the threat of Brown and Bryant on the field with him?
Sammie Coates: Let's see what type of second gear Coates has. What an opportunity for him. He can run a go route. We knew that. I need to see him fight for the ball more on slants or balls to the corner of the end zone, assert himself a little bit more. The urgency isn't always there with him. Once he fixes that, his potential can shine through.
Dri Archer: Still don't know what his identity is. Is he a tailback? A slot receiver? A do-everything weapon? Where Archer can really make his money is on kick returns. He has Ducati-inspired wheels. But if Wheaton plays on the outside some, Archer can get some reps inside, where he can do damage with his shifty athleitcism. The 5-foot-8 Archer has a penchant for creeping to the sideline instead of fighting through contact. Time to fight through that.
C.J. Goodwin/Shakim Phillips/Tyler Murphy: This trio of fringe roster guys shows glimpses of potential, but can't put it all together yet. Phillips is especially intriguing, making a ridiculous one-handed catch in Week 1 of the preseason, followed by two costly drops in Week 2, then a physical over-top touchdown in Week 3. Not sure what to expect from Phillips week to week. He has loads of athleticism, though, as does Goodwin, who's in the same up-and-down class. For such a raw receiver, Murphy, a quarterback by trade, is flashing big time. But will time run out on him while he's trying to learn the position? He's clearly not a quarterback at this stage. Perhaps the Steelers can stash and develop him on the practice squad.