2010 Fantasy Football Preview: Sleeper WRs

SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 12: Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears in action against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on November 12, 2009 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won 10-6. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Yesterday, I listed a few sleeper RBs that I’m targeting in the mid to late rounds, and today I’ll tackle the WR position. I’ve already discussed a few 10th-round-type players in the WR preview — specifically Derrick Mason, Malcom Floyd and Devin Aromashodu — so I’ll limit this list to players with average draft positions (ADP) in the 11th round or later.

Johnny Knox (10.11) & Devin Hester (10.11)
I’ve already broken my 11th round rule. Knox and Hester are practically going on the 11th, so I’ll give myself a pass. Truth is, I like all the Bears receivers in Mike Martz’s wide open system, but I’m not sure which guy will finish the best stats. Hester seems built to be a Wes Welker slot-type guy (with more quickness), while Knox has a ton of speed. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune thinks that Knox is emerging as Jay Cutler’s top target and Rotoworld speculates that it’s because of his ability to control his elite speed a la Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. It’s entirely possible that all three wideouts will have fantasy relevant seasons.

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 29: Kenny Britt #18 of the Tennessee Titans carries the ball during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at LP Field on November 29, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Cardinals 20-17. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Kenny Britt (11.12)
The second-year Britt did not have a very good offseason, showing up to minicamps out of shape and generally driving the coaching staff crazy. But he’s doing better in training camp, even though he’s currently running with the second team. He is clearly the most talented of the Titans’ WRs and it should only be a matter of time before he’s Tennessee’s top option in the passing game. As a rookie he caught 42 passes for 701 yards and three scores. He was WR51 last year with those numbers, but with just 10 more catches and 150 more yards, he’ll be knocking on the Top 30. Seeing as he’s currently being drafted W47, he should be a good value, even in the 9th or 10th.

Nate Burleson (12.04)
Burleson went for 63-812-3 for Seattle last season and has had an up and down career. But the always-trailing Lions will be forced to throw a lot and Burleson should be able to make hay opposite Calvin Johnson, who will receive most of the attention in the secondary. And let’s not forget that Scott Linehan is the Lions’ new OC, and the last time these two worked together, Burleson went for 68-1006-9 as a member of the 2004 Minnesota Vikings. Don’t expect nine scores, but Burleson should be an effective WR3 or WR4 in PPR leagues.

Chris Chambers (12.10)
Just shoot me now. I had long given up on Chambers ever offering any consistent fantasy production, but then he gets picked up by the Chiefs and rattles off 45-730-5 in the last nine games of the season. Those are WR8-type numbers, people. So what do we do with him this year? Well, I guess if he’s still available in the 11th or 12th round you can do worse. The guy proved he could play in the Chiefs’ offense last season, and that’s something.

Chaz Schilens (13.04)
His foot is still giving him some trouble, but the X-rays are negative, so hopefully that soreness goes away. If it does, Schilens should have a nice year. He finished fairly strong in 2009, with 4.4-53-0.4 over the last five games, and now he finally has a pretty decent QB throwing to him in Jason Campbell. Keep an eye on that foot in the preseason and if the pain starts to clear up, look at Schilens in the 11th or the 12th.

CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 04: Mohamed Massaquoi #11 of the Cleveland Browns makes a catch at the 1 yard line against Jonathan Joseph #22 of the Cincinnati Bengals during their game at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 4, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Mohamed Massaquoi (13.04)
Let’s be clear — I’m not high on Jake Delhomme or the Cleveland passing game. But anytime you can get the top option in a passing game, no matter how bad it is, in the 13th freaking round, you have to take notice. Massaquoi is entering his second season after posting a respectable 34-624-3 as a rookie. We know two things about the Browns: 1) they’ll have to throw a lot to stay in games and 2) if Jake Delhomme likes a guy he will force the ball to him. If Massaquoi becomes that guy, he could take a big step forward stat-wise in his sophomore season.

Laurent Robinson (14.01)
Robinson got off to a great start in 2009, catching 11 passes for 141 yards and a TD in the first two games before going down with a season ending leg injury that required surgery. There has been little in the way of news coming out of St. Louis, but everyone expects him to start for the Rams this season, provided his leg is sufficiently healed. If it is, he could very well pick up where he left off last season — the Rams will be throwing a lot late in games trying to catch up, and that’s a recipe for PPR success.

Jacoby Jones (14.09)
Labeled as ‘immature,’ Jones has finally won over his head coach with his maturity this offseason. Now, if he can only beat Kevin Walter out for a starting job. Jones surely has more physical ability, but Walter is a good route runner and has soft hands. Jones is a flyer, for sure, but if he can beat Walter out for the WR2 job opposite Andre Johnson, a 1,000-yard season is well within reach.

Mike Williams (14.02)
The reviews have been rave for the rookie out of Syracuse. He has already won the starting split end job and has impressed Peter King, Pete Prisco and even Adam Schefter, who says that Williams “has star written all over him.” Now it’s important to keep in mind that Williams is a rookie, but when a player is impressing this much for a team in desperate need of a playmaker at WR, fantasy owners should take notice. I’d definitely look to draft Williams in the later rounds, but don’t wait too long.

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