Overlooked Rookie WRs Who Can Make or Break Your Fantasy Draft in Late Rounds
Digging for, and eventually uncovering productive late-round wide receivers is what separates the good fantasy football owners from the owners who win all the bragging rights at season's end.
Every year, a handful of guys totally overlooked in the NFL draft get slighted again in fantasy football drafts across the country and become major contributors on their respective teams.
Even wideouts selected in the first four rounds in April frequently fail to initially garner attention in the fantasy realm.
Well, I'm here to make sure you don't miss out on a rookie receiver who you'll later regret by-passing in your fantasy draft.
Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders
Now, it's early—the Raiders have played in only one preseason game. However, in that game, Streater caught six passes for 66 yards on eight targets.
All of his receptions came against the second- and third-string units, but eight targets for one player in a preseason game is a noteworthy accomplishment.
In a recent post by Steve Corkran of InsideBayArea.com's Raiders' Blog, head coach Dennis Allen was quoted as saying the following about Streater's performance: "I thought he did a nice job. He executed like he’s been executing all of camp, caught the ball well, was able to get up the field and not a lot of wasted movement."
High praise for an undrafted wideout from Temple.
Streater displayed a knack to finding the soft spots in the zone and exhibited soft hands.
At 6'3'' and 210 pounds, he's a big target and has the size to fend off smaller defensive backs.
At the very least, continue to track Streater's play in the preseason. With team's likely loading the box to stop Darren McFadden and deal with speedsters Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford, Streater has a great chance to slide into that possession, chain-moving target role that will be terrific for PPR leagues.
T.J. Graham, Buffalo Bills
Graham was picked in the third round, so he's certainly more well known than Streater, but still someone who will likely be overlooked in the majority of fantasy drafts.
The Bills selected him to bring a big-play dimension to their quick-passing game that opposing defenses easily deciphered and exploited down the stretch in 2011.
While Graham, who doubled as a track star at N.C. State, is a raw route-runner, he has shown vast and rapid development during Buffalo's training camp along with an innate ability to come down with the football in traffic.
Joe Buscaglia of WGR550.com in Buffalo raved about the rookie's showing at St. John Fisher College: "Looking shaky at best throughout OTA's and mini-camp, Graham became someone the first-team could start to depend on by making tough catches and showing the burst that made him a second-day pick."
Though slightly bigger and with more downfield speed than former Bills wideout Roscoe Parrish, Graham will likely slide into a similar role in 2012.
Remember, Parrish was underutilized on offensively-anemic Bills teams coached by Dick Jauron. But head coach Chan Gailey loved what Parrish brought to his offense and made him a surprising focal point of the passing game in 2010 before the veteran wideout was lost mid-way through the year to injury.
Keshawn Martin, Houston Texans
Martin was a key cog to a successful Michigan State team that went 11-3 and beat Georgia in the Outback Bowl last season. Mainly from the slot position, the 5'11", 188-pound Martin grabbed 66 passes for 777 yards with four touchdowns in 2011.
The Texans, a club desperately looking to find a go-to complement to Andre Johnson, look a flier on Martin in the fourth round after selecting DeVier Posey in Round 3.
According to head coach Gary Kubiak, Martin's out-shined the rest of the team's rookie class thus far: "He's a talented young man. He's the one guy out of the rookies that has acted like a pro from the get-go, handling himself mentally, physically and can run all day. This thing doesn't look too big for him and that's a great sign for our team." (h/t CBSSports.com)
With Houston being a run-heavy team, the ceiling for Martin is astronomically high, but Johnson's dealt with a rash of injuries over the last two years, so the former Spartans' role may be larger than anyone envisioned.
If Johnson is healthy, Martin will likely see plenty of one-on-one coverage out of the spacious slot position.
He has underrated late-round value as a Wes Welker-type PPR receiving option on one of the more balanced teams in football.
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