Devin Aromashodu’s (D.A.) name has popped up, again and again, in discussions regarding favorite fantasy sleeper candidates for 2010.
While not having the same finish as Jerome Harrison (CLE RB), the Bears WR amassed 22 catches, 282 yards and 4 TDs in his last 4 games of the '09 season.
It was a notable stretch for the previously unknown Aromashodu, who spent 2008 on a practice squad after catching just a handful of passes from Peyton Manning in 2007.
How much of a sleeper is Aromashodu in 2010?
Coming out of Auburn, Aromashodu was productive, if unspectacular, amassing 50+ catches, 1,007 yards and eight TDs in his last two college seasons.
Miami selected Aromashodu, a tall, rangy, and deceptively quick talent, in the seventh round of the '06 draft.
Prior to his final four games in '09, Aromashodu’s most notable playing time came in Indianapolis, during the final games of the '07 season. That's when he first caught my attention.
I've put Aromashodu on my sleeper list ever since.
When we last saw D.A., he was lighting up the MIN and DET defenses in weeks 16 and 17. The receiver was also notching the “most added” reports in most dynasty leagues.
At 6′2″ and 200+ lbs., Aromashodu's size projects very well in the NFL. He also ran a 4.35 40 in 2006. His speed was on display during last season's closing weeks.
Consider, also, that after CHI’s less-than-ideal year, QB Jay Cutler went to D.A. early and often once the two established a good comfort level.
In an offense somewhat starved for offensive performers last year, Aromashodu rose to the challenge. He's locked up a starting spot heading into training camp, and most likely for the 2010 season.
His work ethic, progress and continued production will weigh heavily on whether or not he keeps his high place on the Bears depth chart.
Chicago also added the evil offensive genius, Mike Martz, as their offensive coordinator. Most won’t mistake the Chicago offense for the Greatest Show on Turf (St. Louis Rams) of old, but there does exist at least the nucleus of what could be a productive offense.
Jay Cutler and his receiving core will have plenty of opportunities if the Bears can run the ball like they did back in '08.
In the NFL, WRs can explode onto the scene, then fade away just as quickly (TB WR Michael Clayton). Or, they can arrive on the scene and become a household name (NO WR Marques Colston).
In most cases, however, few really rise to any level of fantasy prominence. When looking for WR sleepers, you must be quick on the trigger, but also have a modicum of patience while the player’s future takes shape.
As mentioned in an earlier article, your roster spots are like gold. You can't afford to hold a player for years with the hope of greater production (ATL WR Michael Jenkins) unless you have factored that into your strategy.
In most cases, you want to take a “catch and release” approach to your WR sleepers. Your release point should be determined by your level of depth, competitiveness and other team needs.
WRs are far too numerous and streaky for owners to jump on every Johnny-come-lately who has a stand-out performance on a given week.
Aromashodu has everything you could want in the next previously unknown fantasy WR stud. Good hands, very good speed, coming off a confidence boosting 2009 finish and playing in an offense looking for play-makers, behind Cutler's strong arm at QB.
Toss in Mike Martz, and D.A. should have every opportunity to become the most productive WR in the offense.
With Devin Hester moving to the outside, or playing from the slot, Aromashodu should be nearly guaranteed a starting position. Still just 26, a full year of stats could place him in the top 30 in dynasty WR rankings…perhaps higher depending on final numbers.
Largely depending on your team’s current situation, Aromashodu will be either a prized sleeper candidate, who could become an every-week starter, or a sell-high candidate for ultra-competitive teams.
For the latter, do not be shy about dangling D.A. in trades as his sleeper status is not in question. For the former, I would still suggest dangling D.A. in hopes of finding a Bears fan or fellow coach that is more of a gambler and has D.A. on his radar, depending on his return value.
The odds for NFL WRs rising from obscurity to fantasy stardom suggest trading D.A. if you can get known value in return, letting another coach take that risk.
If you have the luxury to wait out another year, there is the possibility that you have the next Marques Colston, but if you take that gamble, give yourself a timetable in which the experiment must come to an end when/if production isn’t realized.
I will admit that I am high on D.A., at least as far as my sleeper candidates go. But I'm still a little skeptical of his ability to stay healthy, given his position and the reality of the situation.
I believe the combination of his intangibles, along with his situation in Chicago, sets the table nicely for Aromashodu to emerge as a WR3 … and perhaps a bit higher with just the right amount of fairy dust.
But note that this is all said fully understanding that his best value may be as a “trade high” prospect. You can never become “blind” to all the possibilities.
Projection: 78 Receptions, 978 Yards, 7 TDs