My Little Fantasy: Wide Receivers Flying Under The Radar

Anthony LanzaContributor IAugust 14, 2009

Ah yes, it's that time of the year when the football isn't quite good enough to watch from start to finish.

We're getting there, but in the mean time, the fantasy side of the sport is in full swing. 

Each day, hundreds of drafts are being completed. From the leagues where it is a science in selecting a team name, to the leagues where there's that one guy who has his team set to auto draft.

Very frustrating.

This is the time where we can't hide behind our "knowledge" of the game any more. It is showcased via the draft for all to see. If you have an awful draft, your buddy's will be sure to let you know about it.

"Why would you select him that high?! What a joke!"

But within every fantasy football draft, there is thought process that a "coach" must go through, especially in the later rounds.

Everyone can make decent picks in the early rounds, the true fantasy gurus win later on.

Here is a look at a few fantasy players that will be around in the mid to late rounds that could have major fantasy implications for your squad.


Earl Bennett WR  CHI  ADP: 149

It has been years since there has been a receiver of any relevance in Chicago. Much of that can be attributed to lack of quarterback play.

Enter Jay Cutler.

Cutler is by far the best quarterback that the organization has seen since Jim McMahon.

Earl Bennett should benefit greatly from the Jay signing. Earl did not see the field much last year as a rookie, so projecting his numbers is not an easy one.

His body of work in the offseason has left many surprised. Word out of camp is he has more then exceeded expectations, catching every ball that was thrown his way.

Remember, both Cutler and Bennett were teammates back at Vanderbilt where Bennett left as the all time leader in receptions in the SEC.

Their chemistry has been great thus far, and should improve with the season. Devin Hester will be the number one receiver, but look for Earl to get several opportunities opposite of him.

Currently he is being drafted between the 10th and 12th rounds with an average draft position (ADP) of 149. Expect about 60 receptions and 700-800 yards receiving from the former Commodore, a great value in PPR leagues.


Davone Bess WR  MIA  ADP: 199

Bess began making an impact with the Dolphins towards the end of last season. In the final six weeks, he caught five or more passes in five of those games.

With Greg Camarillo coming off of ACL surgery, Miami has slated Davone as the starting receiver along with Ted Ginn Jr.

He has impressed in camp, earning him the right to keep the spot heading into the preseason.

Bess has sleeper value, especially in PPR leagues. His added playing time on the field will only increase his statistics.

The second year receiver should also see added value if he ends up returning punts and kicks for the Dolphins this fall. He currently is competing to be the top punt returner, which would allow Ginn to focus strictly on being the number one receiver.

Bess will be around at the end of the draft, and may even be there in the final two rounds.

He has the potential for a 65 receptions, 700 yards and a handful of touchdowns if he returns kicks.


Patrick Crayton  WR  DAL  ADP: 174

Crayton caught the attention of many early on last season when he had three 80 yard receiving games in the first six weeks.

His production quickly fell off as he only cleared 50 receiving yards in one game the remainder of the season.

Much of this can be attributed to both Terrell Owens and the mid season acquisition of Roy Williams from Detroit.

Couple those with the disaster that was the Dallas Cowboys offense at the end of the season, and that may be why Crayton drifted into the shadows.

No more T.O. and a new season can only be good news for Patrick.

He will be the number two receiver in the offense again this year, but should be able to hold onto the position over Miles Austin.

With the coaches already giving him their blessing in training camp, look to see a worry free receiver on th end of many Tony Romo passes.

When he manned the number two spot in 2007, Crayton was impressive (50 rec., 697 yards, seven TD).

Look for the sure handed receiver to put up similar numbers again in 2009.


Chris Henry  WR  CIN  ADP: 161

I know, I know. You here the same thing about Chris Henry every single season.

"Dude, Henry is my sleeper this year."

A few arrests later and he may have become the biggest disappointment in recent fantasy memory.

But this year is going to be different.

For starters, he is able to play the full season (knock on wood). There are no current suspensions hanging over his head to start the season.

Consistent reports from both players and coaches alike have said that Henry has completely changed his mindset and attitude.

Carson Palmer has even been quoted as saying he could be on the verge of a Randy Moss type of career.

High accolades for a guy who should just worry about making it through a season trouble free.

Some numbers to keep in mind: The last time Carson played a full season with Henry was in 2006. During that season, Chris hauled in nine touchdowns on just 36 receptions. 

With a 6'4" frame, Chris Henry is a prime target in the red zone, where the fantasy scoring counts the most.

No one can argue his upside, with the sky being the limit for the great talent. If the pieces fall into place, he could have a monster years and become one of the greatest steals at the end of your draft.

Take a shot on him when you feel comfortable at the receiver position.


Keep an eye on...Chaz Schilens OAK, Robert Meachem NO, Nate Burleson SEA, Laurent Robinson STL.


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