Fantasy Football 2013: Young WRs to Target Late in Your Draft

Tim KeeneyContributor IAugust 29, 2013

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 25:  Mohamed Sanu #12  of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Oakland Raiders at Paul Brown Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

If there's one major position you can wait on in fantasy football, it's wide receiver. 

Not grabbing at least one running back in the first three rounds usually proves devastating, and while the quarterback position is far deeper than usual this year, you still want to make sure you land an elite signal-caller. 

But with the NFL becoming a "passing league" more and more each season, the list of receivers putting up big numbers is continually growing. 

Not only are there plenty of proven pass-catchers available in the middle and later rounds, but as your draft winds down, there are always a slew of young studs just waiting to break out. 

Let's take a look at some from the latter category.

Note: If you're looking for America's favorite sleeper, Kenbrell Thompkins, I didn't include him because his average draft position is up to the seventh round. You're going to have to pay for him.


Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals

Consider the following: With a comically bad group of quarterbacks—John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer—throwing him the ball last year, Arizona Cardinals No. 2 WR Andre Roberts tallied 64 catches for 759 yards and five touchdowns. 

With the vastly talented Michael Floydwho is having a preseason that suggests major growth from an already encouraging rookie seasonlining up across attention-grabbing Larry Fitzgerald, there's no reason last year's first-round pick can't improve those numbers with gunslinger Carson Palmer under center. 

In 12-team leagues, Floyd is being as a WR4. He's going to finish the season as a low-end WR2. Think 75 catches, 900 yards and six to eight touchdowns.


Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears

Although Alshon Jeffery was drafted with just the No. 45 pick in last year's draft, everyone knew his potential. As such, his injury-riddled, 24-catch rookie season was seen somewhat as a disappointment. 

But reports this preseason have been glowing. 

CBS Chicago's Jeff Joniak called Jeffery a playmaker, saying that he has looked "polished and better equipped to impact the attack." The Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs said he looks "like a completely different player from a year ago." He called Jeffery "more fluid, more refined, more powerful and certainly more sure of himself."

Jeffery is the clear No. 2 target behind Brandon Marshall, which in itself will lead to very serviceable numbers at his current average draft position.

But if Marshall's return from hip surgery turns out to take longer than expected, the ceiling for Jeffery is sky-high. 



Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals

In Weeks 9, 10 and 11 last season, rookie Mohamed Sanu tallied 11 catches for 98 yards and four touchdowns, and was quickly establishing himself as a dangerous threat out of the slot and in the red zone before suffering a stress fracture in his foot that forced him to miss the rest of the season.

According to Pro Football Focus, via the Cincinnati Enquirer's Paul Denher Jr., he caught 12 of 14 targets out of the slot, three of which went for touchdowns. Meanwhile, his catch rate out of the slot ranked third in the NFL behind just Larry Fitzgerald and Eric Decker

The sample is undoubtedly small, but those are some intriguing numbers and some impressive company. 

Sanu is now healthy, he's the No. 2 target behind A.J. Green, and he's ahead of where Chad Johnson was going into his second year, according to head coach Marvin Lewis

Being drafted as the 57th WR on average, Sanu will is a nice choice to end the season as a major steal, especially in PPR leagues.