Fantasy Football: 2012 Rookie Wide Receiver Preview

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

 

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At 5-foot-11 and about 190 pounds, Keshawn Martin plays small, but with his burst and incredibly nimble feet, he can return big. He can make acrobatic catches and could enter the receiver picture down the road. Some reports imply that he loses interest or focus when the game gets physical, though.

A lot of assessors figured correctly that Nick Toon (6-foot-2, 215 pounds), Al's boy, would be underrated despite his polish and knowledge. He received negative points for his speed, but he ran a 4.43 40 at his Pro Day and has thoroughly impressed the New Orleans Saints. He may end up being worthy of a WR7-type spot in 2012 and is a solid, deep dynasty prospect.

The torn patella tendon that Greg Childs suffered in 2010 at Arkansas makes him less appealing in 2012 but perhaps worthy of rostering for the long term. The 6-foot-3, 219-pounder wasn't as physical as his size would suggest he can be. However, reports knocking his speed almost certainly examined only his 2011 season form or Combine results. By now, he should be completely recovered, and he has decent upside.

Although he isn't a threat after the catch, Danny Coale is gutsy and technically sound. He could contribute from the slot immediately and in the future for the Dallas Cowboys. That position hasn't been a source of fantasy points, however. Plus, he broke his foot in OTAs and will have to compete with others for such a chance.

Cincinnati landed another potentially underrated receiver in Marvin Jones, although not for fantasy. He has decent size (6-foot-2, 199 pounds) and speed. He needs help to separate because of his lackluster acceleration, but his brains and attitude are reportedly top-notch. He returned punts in his final season at Cal but is only a very safe option for such duty in the NFL.

The Oakland Raiders' Juron Criner is 6-foot-3 and 224 pounds, powerful in the upper body, agile and sure-handed. He runs the fade well and tight routes in general. Reports said that he disappears, though - that's discouraging. His lack of straight-line speed limits Criner to a possession receiver and red-zone threat, but he could be pretty good at it if he brings it every day.

B.J. Cunningham: a physical, fluid athlete who displays good concentration. The 6-foot-1, 211-pounder does many things well but, seemingly, nothing extraordinarily. He could be a solid depth piece for the Miami Dolphins right away but probably not for fantasy owners, although there's something about him which suggests that he could be deceptive and underrated.

Yet another quality choice on the draft's final day was Marvin McNutt, from Iowa. The Philadelphia Eagles should appreciate his separation skills; big, soft hands; and after-the-catch ability. The 6-foot-2, 216-pounder looks to have the tools to develop into a solid third receiver, which leaves him off the dynasty radar.

The size (6-foot-5, 219 pounds) and above-average speed of Tommy Streeter appealed to the Baltimore Ravens. He's too raw to make an impact in 2012. It's a real long shot, but he's an interesting project, perhaps in the mold of a faster Plaxico Burress. If he sticks around, adds a little muscle and cleans up his game, he could eventually contribute.

LaVon Brazill gained a lot of confidence because he spent most of his time at Ohio as a starter. His athleticism, solid hands and determined effort may help him to overachieve in the league. The 5-foot-11, 192-pounder's ticket to ride with the Indianapolis Colts may be via special teams, though.

In the final round, Miami drafted another possible relative steal in Rishard Matthews (6-foot, 210-pounds). He was actually knocked for his startups at the snap, but he has some deceptive burst and is faster than advertised by some accounts. He may not be much of a fantasy prospect, but he's fundamentally sound and seems to have a good understanding for how D's play him.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Toney Clemons has above-average timed speed, but it doesn't always show up on tape, and he doesn't show much knack for creating separation. The Pittsburgh Steelers have hopes for him because of his raw ability, so if he happens to make the team, there's some belief that they could coach him up.

Jeremy Ebert (5-foot-11, 220 pounds) wasn't on many other teams' radars. The New England Patriots see things that others often miss, however. This high school quarterback was very productive as a receiver at Northwestern. He's intelligent, fast (average 40 time: low 4.4s) and agile. He really sells routes and runs them precisely, and he (surprise) makes great adjustments for his QB. Ebert may not look like a dynasty prospect, but it wouldn't surprise to see him emerge eventually. He's probably on the roster bubble with the Pats, so it'd be interesting to see if someone else would give him a shot.

A lack of separation skills, explosiveness and experience in a pro-style offense will hurt 6-foot-1, 225-pound Junior Hemingway's chances of sticking with the Kansas City Chiefs. He doesn't make some catches that he should. He's good in the air, but the Michigan product probably doesn't have enough going for him.

Jordan White is a physical 6-foot, 208-pounder who seems to have the fundamentals down. He appears to lack the physical gifts that would help him to stand out in any particular aspect, though. Injuries set him back at Western Michigan, and in OTAs he suffered a broken bone in his foot. Possible missed time in training camp wouldn't help his chances to make the New York Jets' roster, and he may need all the help he can get.

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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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