Fantasy Football: 2012 Rookie Wide Receiver Preview

by Nicholas Minnix on July 24, 2012 @ 16:09:49 PDT


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T.J. Graham, Buffalo Bills

Graham, who was also a track star, has excellent timed speed, and he puts it to use on the football field as a deep threat. He's extremely elusive, particularly at the line, and the 5-foot-11, 188-pounder can use his hands to keep from being jammed. That's essential. He's extremely dangerous on underneath, leak patterns.

Graham isn't a threat to be deployed in a great many ways, however. If the Bills envision him as a slot man, he'll have his work cut out for him to improve his route-running and physicality. He has more than adequate hands, but he doesn't have a large catch radius for that kind of duty.

The Bills also seem to have spent a somewhat high pick on a receiver whose upside isn't as great as some of the players who came off the board after him. With a little refinement, Graham may be a big-time player in the return game, something on which Buffalo seems to place a lot of value, though. Unfortunately, that's less exciting to fantasy players than to the team.

Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals earned high praise for the draft they had, and if this third-round pick is an indication, the assessment is spot on. The 6-foot-2, 211-pounder is a good prospect physically and is sound technically, but he rates so highly because of how he seems to excel at the mental aspects of the game.

Sanu can identify coverages, according to many reports, and he appears to have great awareness and vision. Those attributes are likely why Rutgers utilized him on trick plays and behind center on occasion in a wildcat-like capacity. That experience probably fed the running back mentality he has after the catch. It's easy to understand why he was considered a good fit for the West Coast offense.

Sanu has only average speed, probably the one true knock on him. He'll gain separation in the NFL because of his other abilities, though. He's a tough, bold player, and in ways his game is reminiscent of Hines Ward's. Whether he has that great of a career is TBD, but he has a shot.

T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are rebuilding, but they drafted a receiver who could make an instant difference - in the return game. Hilton's explosiveness will give him an opportunity to be a game-breaker on both kicks and punts. He appears to have good judgment, concentration and vision as well. Those assets, plus his slippery nature and stutter stepping in the open field, make him dangerous.

Of course, the 5-foot-10, 183-pounder's skills in tight spaces mean that he could be an exciting receiver, too. His suddenness may help him to subvert the press, but he's probably fairly typecast as a slot receiver. His speed, including his burst off the line, can give him nearly instant separation. There's a lot of fight in this relatively little player.

Hilton isn't physical, however. He could be a threat on underneath plays and screens, but he's not a great candidate for intermediate patterns. He doesn't look like a useful fantasy piece, even in future seasons, because of his limitations on offense. He could be a decent depth pickup if the Colts' O designs stuff for him, but he must prove worthy of such consideration in their eyes.

Josh Gordon, more

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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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