Fantasy Football’s Wide Receiver Sleeper Picks

With the start of NFL training camps, fantasy football owners will keep their eyes on potential players for their fantasy teams. Along with top players, these owners will also need to find value picks that come later in the draft. These sleeper players, which are not ones who will be starters, can give a team’s lineup a boost when a star player is injured or you just want to go on a gut feeling and give a new guy a chance.

This player will be able to contribute and on occasion, they could have a breakout year.

Here’s a look at 10 wide receiver sleepers.

Emmanuel Sanders (Pittsburgh Steelers) -Now that Mike Wallace is gone and Antonio Brown can be iffy, look for Sanders’ number of targets to increase. Last season when playing against the team’s Wallace/Brown duo, Sanders still had 75 targets; this included a career-high 44 catches for 626 yards. Sanders could see his receptions rise to 70-80 with possibly 900 yards. One hurdle for Sanders? Will rookie Markus Wheaton challenge him?

Michael Floyd (Arizona Cardinals) – After last season’s rough year, Floyd had 14 catches for 213 yards with one touchdown. This included 22 targets in the season’s last two games (Chicago Bears and the San Francisco 49ers). The numbers came with quarterback Brian Hoyer at the helm. Floyd will be playing under a different regime this year and new coach Bruce Arians has already said he has high expectations for him. Having Carson Palmer as his quarterback should also help.

Kendall Wright (Tennessee Titans) –  In his freshman season, Wright had 64 receptions, tying him for rookie receivers. Entering his second year with five starts will help Wright take it to the next level. He should get more targets and so far this offseason, it appeared this way; he’ll also need quarterback Jake Locker to have a good season.

Justin Blackmon (Jacksonville Jaguars) – O.k, so he first has to serve a four-game suspension this season but when he returns, Blackmon will be ready for some good football. You’ll have to add him late to your roster but at some point, he’ll likely surpass fellow receiver Cecil Shorts who will disappoint after entering the season with expectations.

Mohamed Sanu (Cincinnati Bengals) – For his rookie season, Sanu got off to a good start with four touchdowns over three games but then he injured his foot and went to injured reserve. He is expected to go all out at training camp and should be the team’s No. 2 receiver behind star A.J. Green. Sanu has been described as a combo of Wes Welker and Keyshawn Johnson.

Denarius Moore (Oakland Raiders) – Now that Darrius Heyward-Bey and Brandon Myers are gone,  Moore could become a top receiving target for the Raiders. He is entering his third year in the league and over his last two, his receptions, yards and touchdowns continuously increased. The team also has Matt Flynn as quarterback and some believe he’ll be an improvement over Palmer. Moore could benefit from this and see his targets rise. Could it be a 1,000-yard season?

Vincent Brown (San Diego Chargers) – Last season’s broken ankle kept Brown out of the game but he’s healthy this summer and has already spent some time taking first-team reps. He showed glimmers of talent in 2011 and now with more experience and a new offensive coordinator, this team as well as Brown should improve.

Alshon Jeffery (Chicago Bears) – Last season wide receiver Brandon Marshall was quarterback Jay Cutler’s top target (41 percent) while Jeffery spent part of his rookie season sidelined with an injury. Now that the Bears has quarterback whisperer Marc Trestman as their new coach, change has come and one thing is spreading the ball around more. Last season Jeffery had a 15.3 yards average per catch in a partial season and should only improve in this sophomore year.

The Rookies

Tavon Austin (St. Louis Rams) – Considered a top wideout in this year’s draft, the diminutive receiver has been compared to Percy Harvin. The Rams could do well with a player like that and he could help quarterback Sam Bradford rise to a higher level. Austin is considered a great playmaker and is likely the top receiver on the Ram’s offense. Could he hit a 1,000-yard season in his rookie year?

 Robert Woods (Buffalo Bills) – Right behind Austin was Woods in this year’s draft. He is also likely ready to hit the ground running in the NFL but is his fellow rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel? Woods will probably take the second receiver spot on the Bills but how much will new coach Doug Marrone utilize a running game with talented running back C.J. Spiller? Woods has a lot of talent and potential.

Debbie Baratz

Deb has been writing about the NFL and NCAA football for the last few years. She is a full-time writer and an avid sports fan. Follow her on twitter @ldbar.

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