Prior to the Bengals' Sunday night contest against the Steelers, Whalen had spent the first six games of the season on the inactive list. In 2011 Whalen played in four games for the Bengals, grabbing four receptions for 27 yards.
The Bengals have had issues at wide receiver save for A.J. Green, whose 44 catches for 636 yards and six touchdowns lead the team. Mohamed Sanu caught his first three passes of the season against Pittsburgh, while Jermaine Gresham and Andrew Hawkins have shown flashes, but haven't taken up the mantle to take some pressure away from Green.
Whalen hopes to bring that element to Cincinnati's passing game as the season progresses. Most of his catches against the Steelers came from taking advantage of Pittsburgh's defense, which for most of the game keyed in on Green.
The Steelers managed to hold Green to one catch for eight yards, while Gresham was held in check with three catches and 19 yards. Hawkins had two catches for 17 yards, while Sanu gained 27 yards on his three catches.
This is how Whalen produced and will be how he produces for the rest of the season. The Bengals will likely continue to use Whalen as a fourth or fifth receiver (and in some cases play him as a third receiver), meaning his main job will be to get open for Andy Dalton and make sure he could be a safety valve.
This won't ensure a lot of points for fantasy owners on a week-to-week basis. He will be targeted a bit more than one expects (seven times in Week 7), and at times he might score a few points for you, possibly scoring a touchdown or two by the end of the year.
Pick up Whalen only if you have any of Cincinnati's other receivers already on your team. If any of them were to miss time due to some lingering injuries—Hawkins is nursing a bad back, while Sanu has already missed two games this season—Whalen might be a good guy to have on your bench and ready to start.
But other than that, I'd take a pass on the second year player out of Stanford.