Fantasy Football Sleepers Part One: Wide Receivers

Nick AllenCorrespondent IAugust 19, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 14:  Chaz Schilens #81 of the Oakland Raiders looks on during their NFL game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 14, 2008 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Raiders defeated the Chiefs 23-8. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

First off, before writing this article, I think I should define the term sleeper. I have a few definitions that I would use. 

I would define a sleeper as an undrafted player that obtains unexpected success, or a player that is drafted in the later rounds of a fantasy draft and outperforms his draft position significantly.

The key to winning your fantasy league is finding several of these sleepers late in your draft. I have constructed a list of a couple wide receiver sleepers for the upcoming fantasy football season that will help you in your search for one of those gems.

Oh, and just for the record, this list will not include rookies.

Earl Bennett

I'm actually pretty high on Earl Bennett this year. I know he's never caught an NFL pass, but he was very impressive in college when he played for Vanderbilt.

Oh yeah, who played QB at Vanderbilt in 2005? None other than Jay Cutler, who now happens to play for the Bears along with Bennett.

Bennett had an impressive career at Vanderbilt, too—in only three years he set the SEC record for receptions. He could be huge in a PPR league.

Yet, it seems Bennett is going virtually unnoticed in most leagues while Devin Hester is getting the majority of the love. I really have no clue why.

I don't see Hester as a good fantasy option at WR. Honestly, I think he will be too inconsistent to be a solid fantasy option.

I would compare him to a guy like Eddie Royal last year. Wait who was Royal's QB?

Bennett is owned in around 17 percent of ESPN Fantasy Football leagues—definitely take a look at him if he is available in your league. I expect big things this year.

Chansi Stuckey or David Clowney

I like both of these guys, but one of them is going to be a No. 2 while the other will be the third option. Whoever wins the No. 2 job is going to be a nice pickup in most formats.

Stuckey is my pick to win the No. 2 role, so I'll start with him.

With the departure of Laveranues Coles, and the addition of Mark Sanchez (I'm really big on him) Stuckey's fantasy value has skyrocketed, in my opinion.

Last year, Stuckey was a pleasant surprise for the first three weeks of the season. Through those three weeks, Stuckey had 12 catches for 122 yards and three touchdowns. After that, he was pretty much a non-factor, while Jerricho Cotchery and Coles got most of the love.

Welcome to fantasy relevance, Stuckey. Clowney is really his only big competition, the Jets added no WRs via free agency. The reason I give Stuckey the nod is he has a better track record than Clowney (one catch last year).

Now, I'm not completely ruling Clowney out. He could easily win the No. 2 job, I just don't see that happening yet.

Although, Clowney has been very impressive in the preseason. In the opener, he caught three passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. He seems to be building a connection with Sanchez, as his first pass was a 48-yarder caught by Clowney.

The preseason isn't over and injuries still happen, if anything happens to either Cotchery or Stuckey (knock on wood), Clowney better be on your team.

Robert Meachem

It seems as if I've been saying this for a few years now but I think this is his year.

Obviously, he has my (and many others) No. 1 fantasy QB throwing him the ball, in Drew Brees, that can only help him. Meachem has been working with the first team offense majority of OTAs with Marques Colston and Lance Moore coming off offseason surgeries.

He's made the most of this opportunity, in the preseason opener he caught three passes for 77 yards, including a 64-yard catch.

Right now he is the team's No. 3 wide receiver, but I don't think it will be like that for long though.

I'm not a Lance Moore believer, I don't see him doing anything like what he did last season. I see Meachem taking over the No. 2 role at some point in the season.

Right now, he is a good pickup for deeper leagues. Keep him in mind, I think he will be a great in-season pickup.

Chaz Schilens

I was extremely high on Chaz this year, until I learned that he broke a bone in his foot yesterday. I still really like him, although I'm unsure of the severity of the injury.

While watching the Cowboys-Raiders preseason game, Chaz really stood out. He was very impressive catching five passes for 52 yards in two quarters. He even drew a 47-yard pass interference penalty.

I would never invest in a Raiders WR, as their leading receiver last year had only 22 catches. Chaz is the exception, as I started to read up on the guy I realized why the Raiders made the right move and passed on Michael Crabtree. Schilens is taller (6'4") and faster (4.30s 40-yard dash time).

It should also be noted that in the final two games last season he caught six passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns.

This list concludes part one of my fantasy sleeper series, next up: RBs.

This article is also featured at: Front Row Fantasy Sports