Here are my top 5 “Sleeper” Wide Receivers of the year. This is a position where finding a solid pick late is quite common. In some cases, WRs who go completely undrafted in many leagues end up in the WR elite…witness Joe Horn a few years ago, and most recently Anquan Boldin with the Cards last year. When in doubt, when I do choose to speculate on a sleeper I tend to lean toward RBs more than WRs due to roster space limits. But if you’re weak at WR, or are required to start several each week, here are some guys to look at in later rounds:
David Terrell WR Chicago Bears
How quickly things change…this guy was the #8 pick in the college draft in 2001, and was the top receiver taken in the class. He’s big, talented, and healthy. But the numbers haven’t been there, due to the fact that he’s had a physical shortcoming that has been hindering his progress…he’s missing a heart. But with Lovie Smith and his new coaching staff in town, as well as the recent trade of Marty Booker to the Dolphins, Terrell is arguably the #1 WR in Chicago, deservedly or not. And in my opinion, he and Grossman have to be the potential to become a respectable fantasy tandem. Going completely undrafted in many leagues, Terrell could become a solid #2 WR for your squad. Or if his preoccupation with his manicure and entourage persists, he could be completely useless. In any case, he’s more than worth a look late in your draft. At #65 in the current FantasySharks WR rankings, it won’t take much for him to WAY overperform his draft position.
Quincy Morgan WR Cleveland Browns
Another class of 2001 product, Quincy Morgan could be a big beneficiary of a revamped Browns offense. Like Terrell, he’s another big and talented receiver who’s been surrounded by a poor supporting case. Jeff Garcia is a huge upgrade over Tim Couch, the two-headed RB of Suggs and Green look to produce a running game that opposing defenses must respect, and Winslow Jr. demands attention as an offensive weapon. While might argue that the above-mentioned will make up the bulk of the Browns offense, I’m of the opinion that Quincy just might shine this year. He’s in a contract year, so you know he’ll be busting hump to bulk up his stats, and in an offense with a mobile and strong-armed QB, I think he’ll do so this year. Checking in at #58 in the latest FantasySharks rankings, he’s significantly undervalued. A guy with playmaker skills and a nice upside comes at a very low price here…just what I’m looking for in a sleeper-pick.
David Patten WR New England Patriots
Here’s a guy who many have forgotten about due to his injury problems last year, but who can put a hurtin’ on your opponent on given weeks. The Patriots run what’s basically a ball-control offense, running the ball and throwing short and quick passes. But to keep the D honest, they air it out a few times a game, and by far the most dangerous deep threat on the Pats is Patten. He’s not big and is often mistaken as Willis’ little brother at “Different Strokes” conventions, but boy can he fly! He’s developed a solid chemistry with Tom Brady, and makes a nice spot-starter for your fantasy squad. Two years ago, he caught over 60 balls for 800+ yards and 5 TDs. I expect him to at least match, if not pass those numbers this year. At #75 in the FantasySharks rankings, he’ll outperform guys ranked 40 spots higher. If he’s on the board in a late round, grab him!
Nate Burleson WR Minnesota Vikings
Don’t believe the hype! There’s a good #2 WR in Minnesota to compliment Randy Moss. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not Marcus Robinson! Despite the low-budget reputation, Burleson is a 3nd year WR who’s thoroughly outplaying Robinson in camp, yet will be drafted far later than Robinson, if at all. He quietly started 9 games for the Vikes last year, and his raw talent seems to have gained the polish it’s lacked in the past. He’s a playmaker, the Vikes score points in droves, and with Lord Randy getting double-teamed seemingly every play…watch Nate run, watch Nate catch, watch Nate score!! He’s still a work in progress, but he’s in a perfect situation for a fantasy receiver. And at an incredible #95 on the FantasySharks draft board, this guy is as undervalued as a silver dollar at strip-bar!! Watch them scratch their heads on draft day, and praise your genius by playoff-time!!
Kelly Washington WR Cincinnati Bengals
Once again, I feel a certain level of discomfort recommending a lowly Bungle as a sleeper pick. But Washington is too good not to mention here…he’s amazingly UNRANKED on the FantasySharks draft board, and I think he can put up some decent numbers. Washington spent 4 years in the Florida Marlins system before quitting baseball and becoming a star WR at Tennessee. Considered a first-round talent going into his Senior year, he sustained a career-threating neck injury that dropped him to the third round. He’s back!! Kelly’s a freakishly good athlete, possessing a rare mix of size and speed. He’s looking fantastic in camp, and I hear whispers that Peter Warrick has a degenerative knee condition that will hinder him now and throughout his career. Though the rumors of Warrick’s death are likely greatly exaggerated, expect Washington to become a very solid receiver someday…perhaps even this year. Watch the competition scour the waiver wire for him after his first big game…only to learn he’s already on your squad!