Undervalued wide receivers: fantasy football sleepers

by Cory J. Bonini on September 7, 2009 @ 22:55:54 PDT

 


KFFL.com's analysis of fantasy football sleepers and undervalued players for the 2009 season will be updated weekly this offseason. We have released the evaluations earlier than ever before!

Our friends at MockDraftCentral.com can be thanked for the average draft placement (ADP), and each of these figures will also be current to provide you the most accurate information available. According to Mock Draft Central, the following information is from performance leagues without point-per-reception scoring and has been updated weekly.

QB | RB | TE | PK | DT

Josh Morgan | San Francisco 49ers | Average draft placement: 149.1 | Last week: 146.3

Morgan is beginning to rise up draft boards, ever so slightly. He played in 12 games last year, recording 20 receptions for 319 yards (16.0 yards per catch) and three touchdowns. Morgan, at 6-foot, 219 pounds, is tough to bring down in the open field and has enough speed to be a legitimate big-play threat. The Niners are looking for ways to get Morgan on the field with acclaimed rookie receiver Michael Crabtree since they are both scheduled to line up at split end. Each receiver in San Francisco's offense must learn all three positions, so Morgan can be moved all over the field to exploit coverage weaknesses.

Fantasy value: A 13th-round pick, on average, Morgan has started to rise up draft boards. People are worried about the perception of San Fran's offense as feeble, but head coach Mike Singletary and offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye should get them on track through a disciplined approach. We recently witnessed Morgan come off the board in the eighth round in an experts league. We like Morgan as a solid No. 4 fantasy receiver.

Ted Ginn Jr. | Miami Dolphins | Average draft placement: 110.7 | Last week: 109.7

Third-year receivers tend to break out, although that trend has been bucked several times in recent years. Ginn has a second gear like few other receivers, and his production jumped significantly in 2008 with the addition of quarterback Chad Pennington to the offense. Last season, Ginn hauled in 56 passes for 790 but scored only twice through the air. As part of the wildcat formation, Ginn chipped in another pair of scores on the ground. The Dolphins remain a run-first team, but Ginn should only improve as the team's primary target in the passing game.

Fantasy value: We like Ginn's chances of breaking out in 2009, but our expectations are tempered. If he approaches 1,000 yards and six touchdowns, we feel he will exceed his average selection of the early 10th round. It is hard to imagine his numbers being too much better than 70-1,000-6, though. View Ginn as an excellent No. 4 with upside.

Chris Henry | Cincinnati Bengals | Average draft position: 143.0 | Last week: 143.6

The maligned wideout has stepped up his game in the preseason, and a healthy elbow for quarterback Carson Palmer could mean big things in offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski's high-flying aerial assault. We have seen the talent of Henry before, but his off-the-field mishaps have contributed to down production and a lack of confidence surrounding him in fantasy circles. Wide receivers Chad Ochocinco and Laveranues Coles are hardly locks to stay healthy, too.

Fantasy value: Henry is becoming a chic pick as a No. 4 wideout, and as long as he keeps himself on the right side of the law fantasy owners could have a value.

NEW - Sidney Rice | Minnesota Vikings | Average draft placement: 198.8 | Last week: N/A

The addition of quarterback Brett Favre improves Rice's value, but more importantly, the third-year wideout is healthy. Injuries have robbed him of time in his first two years. At 6-foot-4, coupled with the lack of height amongst Vikings receivers, Rice is a candidate to catch a lot of jump balls in the end zone.

Fantasy value: We like Rice as a No. 4 fantasy receiver if you must, but he's a great fifth wideout. Fantasy owners should expect erratic production, which can be frustrating; with the right matchup Rice could make for a No. 3 receiver or a flex start.

NEW - Earl Bennett | Chicago Bears | Average draft placement: 182. 4 | Last week: N/A

A lot of fantasy leaguers are targeting Devin Hester to break out, as were we at one point, but our sources suggest Bennett is the better fantasy option since he has a stronger rapport with Bennett. The second-year receiver played with Bennett at a Vanderbilt University for a year, and Bennett knows each of the three receiver positions, which enables him to be moved around more to take advantage of mismatches in coverage.

Fantasy value: Bennett is a No. 5 fantasy receiver in most formats. His ceiling isn't all that high, though, and he isn't as sexy of a pick as the exciting Hester may be. Nonetheless, we endorse Bennett as a potential breakthrough candidate.

QB | RB | TE | PK | DT

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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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