Fantasy Football Sleepers 2012: 5 Late-Round Receivers Worth Snatching Up
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
A late round fantasy draft pick can define a team. Depending on the scoring system implemented in your league, the wide receiver position can be extremely valuable.
Some fantasy teams win their leagues based on those star players drafted in the first round; an Aaron Rodgers or an Arian Foster, perhaps. However, for many, it is those late round draft picks that can make or break a team.
Finding a diamond in the rough is a fantastically rewarding feeling, and one that proves worthy of showboating in your best friend's face.
It can be the difference between a single high point scoring player and a fantasy owner working the free agency pool like the $1 DVD bin at your local Blockbuster (if they still exist).
Here's your cheat sheet to five late round wide receivers to draft before your idiot buddies do.
Young hauls in a pass
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Titus Young picked a good year to enter the NFL with the Detroit Lions. Quarterback Matthew Stafford had a break out season, Calvin Johnson emerged as the top receiver in the league and the Lions made the playoffs.
Entering his second season, Young should continue to improve on his rookie season which featured 48 receptions for over 600 yards and six touchdowns.
The Lions should remain as one of the most pass-heavy offenses in the league. Last year, they were first in passes attempted (666), first in passes attempted per game (41.6), third in passing touchdowns (41) and fourth in passing yards per game (300.9).
An added bonus is playing across from Johnson, who will draw the focus from defensive secondaries.
If Young can earn the No. 2 receiving spot alongside Johnson (Nate Burleson is also in the running), expect big numbers in his sophomore season.
Collie bringing in a touchdown pass
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Rookie gunslinger Andrew Luck is at the helm of this offense and will be looking to prove himself early on in the season. The two have potential to hook up many times, especially with the career of Reggie Wayne waning.
Despite Collie's single touchdown reception last year, he is very quick and has arguably the most reliable hands on the team
Err on the side of caution with Collie, though, as he is prone to concussions and was taken out of the Colts' most recent preseason game against the Redskins.
If he's healthy come draft day, he's worth a shot.
Heyward-Bey celebrates a touchdown
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Darrius Heyward-Bey may be the No. 1 receiver on the Oakland Raiders, but he still passes nearly unknown in many fantasy leagues.
Shoulder problems during the preseason have limited his work with quarterback Carson Palmer, yet with No. 2 receiver Denarius Moore questionable for week one, Heyward-Bey will see a lot of balls directed his way to start the season.
He caught 64 passes for 975 yards and four touchdowns in 2011, a near three-fold increase in each statistic from the previous year.
Expect similar numbers, if not better, this season.
Simpson will turn heads in Minnesota
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
The uber-talented wide receiver is in his first season with the Minnesota Vikings where he will play the No. 2 position opposite Percy Harvin.
Simpson is suspended for the first three games of the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, which should make him even easier to grab in many fantasy drafts.
From TwinCities, Vikings wide receiver coach, George Stewart, provided this added motivation to draft Simpson, "In terms of a guy who can stretch the field, we haven't had one here like him—and I'll go out on a limb when I say this—since Randy Moss."
The only red flag with Simpson is his quarterback—the ever-underachieving Christian Ponder.
Randle is a new weapon on the Giants
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
Rueben Randle was selected by the New York Giants late in the second round of this year's NFL draft.
The highly admired receiver out of LSU is currently battling for the third spot in the depth chart—vacated by Mario Manningham—after Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.
If Randle wins the spot, he should put up enough fantasy points to be relevant in most leagues. The Giants run plenty of three receiver sets to give Randle playing time.
Some fantasy football projectors view Randle as a player to watch, rather than one to draft, but will likely be kicking themselves in the behind if he busts out a spectacular start to the season.