Fantasy Football Sleeper: Eddie Royal, WR, San Diego Chargers

      September 7, 2012 @ 11:43:00 PDT

Now that everyone scrambled to their waiver wire after the 2012 season opener between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys to pick up Kevin Ogletree, people want to know who will be the next waiver wire darling.

After all, that's the secret to success in fantasy sports, right? Being proactive, anticipating the next move and acting on your hunches about players is key. If you have a gut feeling about a guy that nobody is on to yet, act on it before you have the chance to know if you were right or wrong - if you have a roster spot, of course.

San Diego Chargers WR Eddie Royal
The ball is in Royal's court

Just look at last year. Those that didn't bat an eye and ran to the wire to add Victor Cruz or Laurent Robinson probably took home the crown in your league - or at least made a deep playoff run.

I'm not saying that Eddie Royal will go for 100-plus receiving yards and two touchdowns (like Ogletree did) in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders, but I think Royal - for a guy that received no draft love this year - will emerge as a weapon for Philip Rivers in San Diego.

If he isn't anywhere near your radar - and I'm sure he's not - at least keep him on your watch list, especially if you're playing in a point-per-reception league. OK, Royal's 19-catch, 155-yard season in 2011 doesn't endear him to anyone. I get it.

But he's no longer in Denver, and he doesn't have to worry about Tim Tebow NOT throwing him passes. Malcom Floyd hasn't proven himself as a legit No. 1 threat, and Robert Meachem, well, looks like the same inconsistent, stone-hands receiver he was in New Orleans. Vincent Brown is out at least half of the year with a broken leg. Antonio Gates is still a viable weapon in the middle of the field, but don't forget he's 32 and hasn't played a full season since 2009.

Expect the Bolts to rely on the right arm of Rivers early and often out of the gates with Ryan Mathews (broken clavicle) on the mend. Also in Royal's favor: Rivers' and Norv Turner's love for the shifty wideout. When the QB and head coach laud a player for their athleticism and versatility and make it a point to say that he'll be heavily involved in the gameplan this year, you should take notice.

Royal was sidelined for much of the preseason with a groin ailment, but Turner still believes Rivers and Royal established excellent chemistry in their limited work together. "Philip and Eddie got that chemistry real fast," Turner said. "Eddie is a bit more the style receiver that we're used to. He's very comfortable with our system and our routes and Philip was very comfortable throwing the ball to him."

Against Oakland this Monday night, keep a close eye on how they utilize Royal against a secondary that was pretty vulnerable through the air last season. You just might be looking to find a spot on your roster for Royal after that one.

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About Keith Hernandez

Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.

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