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Football Fantasyland 2012 Sleepers: Peas Under the Mattress (WR)

By Brettclancy @thebrettclancy

Decided my original sleeper post was too long, so I’m breaking it down by position. Intro paragraph is always the same.

You know the story of the Princess and the Pea, right? Well, the gist is that there’s this princess who can’t sleep if you put a single pea under her mattress because it hurts her back…or something. Look, the point is, in your fantasy draft this year you are the princess (deal with it, it’s a good thing.) If you can find those players (or “peas”) buried deep in the draft (or “mattress”) you will be able to sleep easy knowing your fantasy roster is ready for anything…like say losing 3 of your top four picks in the first two weeks of the season (trust me, it happens.) So, without further confusion, I present, your peapods at the WR position:

Wide Receivers

Reggie Wayne, IND: He’s going to be the worst kept secret amongst sleepers, and for good reason. Wayne ended up jus shy of 1,000 yards with the Collins/Painter/Orlovsky combo. With Garcon in Washington and Andrew Luck under center Wayne should eclipse 1,000 yards and add a few more touchdowns than last years meager offering of 4. Consider him a 3rd or 4th receiver with lots of upside.

Pierre Garcon, WAS: late addition, but totally forgot to mention Reggie’s ex-teammate on the first go round. Part of that was curiosity about the ‘Skins depth chart, but after the first preseason game (that one that doesn’t really matter) I’m ready to recommend him. Garcon was a fantasy bright spot on a bad Colts team last year. He’s a deep threat playing on a team with a big arm QB who’s offense coordinator is itching to open up the pass. His stock is currently on the rise so not sure how long he keeps the “sleeper” tag, but should be available in the 10th-11th rounds especially in ten team leagues (12 teams you may have to jump on him in the 9th)

Jon Baldwin, KC: Baldwin struggled as a rookie last season, but if the reports from camp are any indication, he’s looking to change that in a big way this season. Dwayne Bowe’s hold out has made him the #1 option in camp which should give him the trust of Matt Cassel and with a 6’3 230lb frame he should get plenty of looks in the red zone. His value tends to flux the longer Bowe holds out, but he could still be a steal in the 8th to 10th range. I’ve actually seen him hang around after that in recent drafts, so if you can hold out to the 11th he’s an even better bargain.

Michael Crabtree, SF: I’ll be honest, I have little to no idea what the 49ers game plan will be. They bolstered an already strong ground game as well as adding much needed depth at WR. Randy Moss has been impressive in camp, but I expect Crabtree to finally have that break out year. Alex Smith tends to throw to guys he trusts, and I think this could be the first year he actually trusts in Crabtree. This is only the second off season they’ve actually gotten to work together (Crabtree’s rookie hold out and the lock out last year accounted for the other 2 seasons.) I think Moss draws defenders, Davis takes away the safety and Crabtree runs free. He’ll probably go in the 10th-11th round as a 4/5 receiver. UPDATE: reports Harbaugh wants to limit Moss to 20-25 snaps per game, this should officially make Crabtree the 49ers receiver to own (you know, if you want one.)

Brian Quick, STL: For a 49ers fan, I’m way too high on the Rams this season, but I like a lot of the moves their making and seriously how do you go against a WR named Quick? That’d be like having a pass rusher named Mercilus. Names aside though, Quick is big bodied guy and at this point about the only WR in Rams camp guaranteed a starters spot. (small chance he gets beat out by Steve Smith and…did I mention it’s a very small chance?) Grab him in the 12th or later to give your bench some depth.

Danny Amendola, STL: Did I mention I’m way too high on the Rams? I can’t help it though, Amendola was a favorite target of Sam Bradford before his injury and was being touted last year as big time sleeper (before he went down for the season.) The problem with Amendola is…depending upon who steps up n the preseason it may be Steve Smith or Greg Salas in the slot, in which case, you may want to give them a look. Still, he’s the guy who’s been there and who Bradford likely trusts most. He’ll be hanging around in the 12th or 13th (probably later too if you take D/ST early)

Vincent Brown, SD: Totally forgot about this guy (so did a lot of people.) I love the home town guys (Brown played at San Diego State) and the stats can back me up. Brown was injured for much of the season, but he did manage 4 starts over which time he had 13 receptions for 229 yards (that’s 17.5 per catch) with a TD. Brown is currently fighting for a starting spot with Robert Meachem and he made a compelling case in the Chargers first preseason game with 4 catches for 81 yards and a TD. He needs to win the job first, but if he does, Brown should have a breakout year. You should be able to grab him in the 13th (or 14th if you grab a defense early) UPDATE: word is Brown broke his ankle during the Charger’s second preseason game (on a nice TD grab.) Wishing him a speedy recovery.

Kendall Wright, TEN: With Kenny Britt’s early season status in question due to injury/pending suspension Kendall Wright should be in position to make an impact early. Even if/when Britt return I look for the speedy rookie to continue to make an impact out of the slot. His coaches like him, and he’s having a good camp. Julio Jones and AJ Green proved last year that even without an off season rookie WR can be productive. I don’t expect Green-type numbers from Wright but I think he’s well worth a pick in the 12th round when the field is wearing thin. NOTE: I had Nate Washington here, but over the course of a few mock drafts realized I felt more comfortable taking Wright.

Keshawn Martin, HOU: This guy is to be considered a deep sleeper at this point considering he’s probably 3rd on the Texans depth chart, but he looked to be lining up as a starter in Andre Johnson’s absence against Carolina. He only ended up with 2 receptions for 24 yards, but also added a 12 yard run. Clearly the team likes the guy and wants to get him involved, but for now just keep an eye on his progress over the rest of the preseason and keep him in mind if Andre Johnson has to miss any time.

Laurent Robinson, JAX: So far, trading up to draft Justin Blackmon hasn’t gone as planned for the Jags. First there was the DUI and now Blackmon holds the distinction of being the last first rounder to sign a contract. Robinson meanwhile has stayed out of headlines, presumably because he’s busy learning a new offense and acclimating to a new team. Yes, Blaine Gabbert is the QB and there’s doubts surrounding him, but Chad Henne’s going to be putting pressure on the second year player to prove he was worth a top 10 pick last year. Robinson will likely fall into at least the 11th and I really like his upside. Worst case scenario you drop him after a few weeks of not producing for the next big thing.

The One That Got Away:

Chad Johnson, MIA: That’s right, call up the Monkees, cause I’m a believer. I’ve heard some people say that the man formerly known as Ochocinco is just around to make Hard Knocks interesting, but I don’t think so. Right before the Johnson signing there were reports that Joe Philbin was not pleased with what he was seeing out of his receivers, and ever since Johnson hasn’t been a distraction and seems re-dedicated to football. He’s well worth a flyer in the late rounds…pending his preseason performance. UPDATE: Remember that last sentence about preseason performance? Yea, well looks like his is over. is reporting that Johnson has been cut by the Dolphins following his arrest in a domestic dispute with his wife.

Still looking for a Dolphins WR to believe in? Roberto Wallace is my guy to watch. He’s been having a really good camp and lead the team with 4 receptions for 71 yards in their first preseason game. He’s also 6’4, so that should help in the Red Zone. He’ll have to climb the depth chart so I can’t recommend drafting him at this point, but I just don’t know that Legedu Naanee is the answer (though his name is fun to say)

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