Fantasy football undervalued players: Wide receivers

by Cory J. Bonini on September 8, 2010 @ 12:12:03 PDT's analysis of fantasy football undervalued players for the 2010 season will be updated weekly throughout the offseason. We have separated our sleepers and undervalued players this year, so be sure not to confuse the two.

Sleepers are also undervalued players in some cases, but the latter usually comes in the way of a proven player that isn't being shown the appropriate amount of love in drafts. No one likes doing the dirty work, so let do it for you! Be sure to check for weekly updates.

Note: All average draft position (ADP) figures are based on 12-team, non-PPR leagues unless specified otherwise.

Wide receivers

Lee Evans | Buffalo Bills | ADP: 9th round

The seventh-year vet has been a forgotten man in the Bills' offense over the past few years. A major lack of experience around him at wide receiver could mean he's in store for a slight rebound this year. We're not suggesting he'll return to his 2006 form (82-1,292-8), but Evans could approach 1,000 yards and score a half-dozen times (44-612-7 last year). With Terrell Owens now a Cincinnati Bengal, Evans is the top dog in the passing game, albeit an anemic one.

Lee Evans, WR, Buffalo Bills
Looking to rebound

Trent Edwards is expected to win the starting quarterback job, but Evans has enjoyed mild success with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm, too. Still on the right side of 30 years old, Evans could have just enough left in the tank to return his average into the 15-yard neighborhood (13.9 in '09). His receptions should remain low, but he has always had a knack for finding the end zone (one touchdown every 8.7 catches for his career).

Fantasy value: We don't have a problem with him being selected in the ninth round, on average. He should be drafted ahead of some of the riskier players that tend to go ahead of him. Last year was the worst season of Evans' career, and it's really tough to imagine him not improving to a degree. He is suited to be a No. 4 on your roster and will warrant the occasional flex play. 

Eddie Royal | Denver Broncos | ADP: 11th round

It's understandable why Royal is flying under the fantasy radar of most drafters. He is coming off a terrible season (37-345-0) in 14 games after a strong rookie effort in 2008. Which Royal will show up in 2010?

Even if it's the one in the middle of those two seasons, you're still looking at 64 receptions for 665 yards and about three touchdowns. Not great, but we expect Royal to be better than that. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall is now a Miami Dolphin, and two rookies were introduced to the Broncos' receiving corps.

Royal knows the system and is entering his second year in it. An explanation for the change in production comes down to two key changes: learning a new offense, and building chemistry with a new quarterback. With a year of each under his belt, the Virginia Tech export should take a step in the right direction. 

Fantasy value: We expect Royal to serve as the possession receiver for Kyle Orton in 2010. The offense spreads the ball around a lot, so don't expect huge numbers, but 75 catches for 900 yards and four or five scores as a stat line is very realistic. Draft him as a weak third receiver in point-per-reception setups, but Royal makes for a better fourth fantasy football wideout, especially in standard designs.

Jerricho Cotchery | New York Jets | ADP: 11th round

It's not so much Cotchery's 10th-round draft placement that lands him on our list as much as he is being drafted, on average, behind teammate Santonio Holmes. The latter will miss the first four games of the year by way of a suspension, and upon his return he'll have to establish chemistry with quarterback Mark Sanchez.

How long will it take Holmes to get back into game shape? He isn't even a lock to start, and Cotchery already knows the system.

Fantasy value: We aren't saying Cotchery will be a fantasy football stud or even anything more than a respectable flex play some weeks, but he should at least be going ahead of Holmes in PPR leagues on draft day.

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Also See:
Sleepers: QB | RB | WR | TE | PK | DT
Busts: QB | RB | WR | TE | PK | DT
Undervalued players: QB | RB | WR | TE | PK | DT
Overvalued players: 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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