2012 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide receiver

by Cory J. Bonini on August 27, 2012 @ 13:58:19 PDT

 

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Brandon LaFell | Carolina Panthers | ADP: 18th round

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
394949764746030150147

Steve Smith isn't getting any younger, and he is no stranger to the injury bug. LaFell showed flashes in 2011 with his ability to stretch the defense. Cam Newton's ability to manipulate defenses by forcing indecisiveness allowed LaFell to break free with regularity last season.

Entering his third year, at 6-foot-2, 211 pounds, the 25-year-old LaFell will be asked to step up. He has the promise to become the team's No. 1 receiver beyond this season, and the team needs to see what he is capable of with more involvement. LaFell needs to become tougher over the middle and more consistent on a weekly basis.

Carolina has a lot of running back weapons and will remain committed to the ground attack, so expecting a massive breakout for LaFell is unwarranted. He should step up his receptions from 36 of a year ago and find the end zone more than the three times he did in 2011. Expect LaFell to be worthy of a roster spot all year and enter your weekly lineup decisions as a flex player or bye week replacement.

Jonathan Baldwin | Kansas City Chiefs | ADP: 14th round

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
5155520502040130103

Dwayne Bowe missed much of the offseason with a contract dispute, which paved the way for Baldwin to get the majority of No. 1 reps with Matt Cassel in Brian Daboll's new offense. The system fits well with Baldwin's physical style of play, as he will be asked to run several routes (such as underneath crosses and vertical splits) that accentuate his skill set.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder is a mountain to tackle in the open field and has made a name for himself by routinely hauling in acrobatic catches. This offense will be centered on the ground game, but there is only so much progression a team can make with a possession receiver such as Bowe. A downfield threat with red zone presence is tough to come by, making Baldwin's combination of talents tough to ignore.

Baldwin comes with risk, as he has character flaws and plays in an offense not necessarily conducive to producing huge stats, but his upside has to be addressed on draft day. Roll the dice late in your draft and take him as a low-end fourth or perfect fifth receiver in all scoring formats.

Brian Quick | St. Louis Rams | ADP: 14th round

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
263636251224030150125

The rookie receiver is finding his way through the offseason, so this may not amount to much. Quick has imposing size (6-foot-5, 220 pounds), a large wingspan (34 1/4-inch arms) and insane body control. The Rams are still fleshing out their receiving corps, so no spot appears to be safe. Quick comes from Appalachian State and is quite raw. Ray Sherman has been one of the best receivers coaches in the last 20 years and has worked with some of the best. What Quick soaks up this offseason will probably define the course of his rookie campaign.

This recommendation is strictly for those looking to nab a final-round flier pick in deep leagues. The Rams sport Danny Amendola (elbow), Brandon Gibson, Danario Alexander, Austin Pettis, Greg Salas (leg), Steve E. Smith (knee) and rookie Chris Givens. It is doubtful that all of those bodies will make it out of camp, so pay close attention over the preseason to see where Quick finally fits in.

Randy Moss | San Francisco 49ers | ADP: 13th round

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

Rec Rec Yds Rec TD Run Att Run Yds Rush TD Tot TD
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

All reports out of Niners camp point to Moss' rejuvenation and rededication to the game. Even at 35 years old, he could be a fantasy asset in the right situation.

Our biggest fear is whether Alex Smith has the arm to take advantage of Moss' speed as a downfield threat. If Smith cannot, Moss really doesn't have a lot of fantasy value. Keep a close eye on this situation throughout the offseason and into preseason play.

Don't rely on the veteran wideout to be anything more than roster filler with potential for a few big games, given the right matchup, although he shouldn't be outright neglected based on missing a year or what he was in the 2010 season. Moss excels when he is motivated, and he appears to be all in with this situation.

Never discount elite players when it comes to beating the odds. Moss may do everything correctly to put himself in position to succeed, but extenuating circumstances (Smith) could hold him back.

Spend a late-round choice on him in all formats and adjust accordingly if Smith develops chemistry with Moss during the offseason.

Which wide receivers are undervalued in fantasy football drafts? Find out on the next page....

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Fantasy football sleepers: QB | RB | WR | TE | PK | DT

 

About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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