Sunday, August 22, 2010

Nick's Four Fantasy Sleepers at Wide Receiver

There are a couple of things I look for in a fantasy sleeper wide receiver. First, they must be on a team in need of a number one or number two starting wide out. Secondly, I look for players on teams who rank in the bottom half of the league in passing yardage the season before; partly because these are teams who are looking to improve their passing game. Another reason is because these teams sometimes change offensive coordinators or bring in new offensive personnel such as a quarterback. I can almost guarantee the following players will be available in the late rounds of any fantasy draft. Without further ado, here are my 2010 fantasy sleepers at the wide receiver position:

1.) Derrick Mason, Baltimore Ravens (ESPN Ranking: 42nd WR)
It's hard to write off a guy who has surpassed the 1,000 yard mark in eight of his last nine seasons. Not only that, Mason was Joe Flacco's favorite target last season as he was targeted 135 times (13th most targets in 2009). The addition of Anquan Boldin and Donte' Stallworth can be discouraging, but look at it like this, you don't add those guys unless you plan on amping up the passing game. At the same time, Mason is 36 years old and did consider retirement before his 2009 campaign. However, that didn't stop him from amassing eight double-digit fantasy performances last season. Mason can be inconsistent as he had five games with three or less points, but in the late rounds of a draft, he's nothing more than a steal.

2.) Mohamed Massaquoi, Cleveland Browns (ESPN Ranking: 58th WR)
Who likes deep threats? I know I do! Massaquoi ranked third in the league with 18.4 yards per catch last season. He only had three double-digit performances in 2009, but does inherit a new quarterback in Jake Delhomme this season. We've all seen what Steve Smith did deep down the field in Carolina. Additionally, Delhomme is way better than any quarterback who took the snap in Cleveland last season. Moreover, the Browns ranked dead last in passing yardage last season at 129.8 yards a game. That statistic can only go up. Don't be surprised if Massaquoi's large 6'2", 207 pound frame is a popular red-zone target this season.

3.) Arrelious Benn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ESPN Ranking: 59th WR)
Benn is a rookie out of Illinois that not many are talking about. Tampa Bay used a second-round pick to grab Benn who is looking to be a prospective starter come week one. The Buccaneers are coached by Raheem Morris who loves to throw the ball despite being ranked 24th overall at 157.2 yards a game last season. Do consider Benn as a legitimate risk, especially with starting quarterback Josh Freeman going down with a thumb injury (may miss a couple of weeks). If preseason means anything to you, Benn has seen only two targets through two games. With that said, I still think he has serious talent and could emerge as a dark horse candidate for the Rookie of the Year.

4.) James Hardy, Buffalo Bills (ESPN Ranking: 93rd WR)
You're not going to find many guys who are prospective number two's this late in the rankings. If the cards play out right, Hardy might be starting opposite Lee Evans with the departure of Terrell Owens and Josh Reed in the off-season. Note that Hardy has not played this preseason due to an undisclosed injury. Hardy is bigger than the previously mentioned Mason, Massaquoi and Benn at 6'5" and 220 pounds. He's also the Indiana Hoosier's all-time leader in touchdowns (36), yards (2,690) and receptions (186) in only three seasons. I may be stretching it a little with Benn and Hardy, but trust me when I say they have talent! I spent a couple of years watching them tear up the Big Ten Conference.

Other Guys To Consider:

Malcolm Floyd, San Diego Chargers (ESPN Ranking: 57th WR)

Jacoby Jones, Houston Texans (ESPN Ranking: 63rd WR)
Laurent Robinson, St. Louid Rams (ESPN Ranking: 65th WR)
Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ESPN Ranking: 67th WR)

Let me know if you agree or disagree with my sleepers by commenting below or sending an email to grays@uwalumni.com

2 comments:

  1. Yes, I have no problem with Mr. Bryant in Dallas. However, I'm not sure if he's a sleeper, already ranked the 36th overall receiver (quite high for someone who hasn't seen any real NFL action) and he's already considered the favorite for the Rookie of the Year award. I think he will have a decent year barring no injury, just wouldn't be considered a sleeper because the ceiling is already so high.

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