Fantasy Football 2010: Top Wide Receiver Sleepers
With the NFL becoming more pass-happy in recent years, wide receivers have become a valuable commodity in fantasy football . With so much talent on the field there's plenty of incentive to dig deep in order to find some great, under-the-radar pickups.
With the high frequency of injuries in the NFL you likely won't succeed unless your roster is equipped with capable players, guys who are ready to jump in and contribute, should the injury bug bite.
Since it almost certainly will affect you at some point, you must be ready.
Since wide receivers have become so vital, we're here to calm your nerves and quell your fears about potentially missing out on some serious victory-inspired fantasy football glory.
Mike Sims-Walker (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Mike Sims-Walker is hardly a household name, but he certainly burst onto the scene in 2009.
Seemingly out of nowhere, the 6'2", 25-year-old receiver tallied 63 catches for 869 yards and 7 touchdowns last season for Jacksonville.
While he struggled to put up big numbers in the second half of the season, it's still unclear how well he'll be able to do in 2010 with no proven receiving threat on the opposite side of the field.
However, as the illustrious John Madden always said, "Big-time players make big-time plays."
We'll certainly find out if Mike Sims-Walker is a big-time player this season.
Do not build your fantasy football team around him (unless you deliberately plan on being horrible), but he's a nice find in the mid to late rounds.
Hakeem Nicks (New York Giants)
Nicks battled with some injury problems as a rookie last season but wound up ranking sixth in the league in yards-per-catch with 16.8.
Nobody is sold on the Giants' run game, and Eli Manning did most of the damage through the air in '09, but the Giants figure to present a solid offense yet again in 2010.
Nicks doesn't have spectacular speed by any means, but he's tough to bring down considering his size and has displayed big-play ability on several occasions.
New York does have a bit of a crowded receiving corps, but considering he was a first-round pick in '09, Nicks should have his chances.
Mike Wallace (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Wallace led the NFL in yards-per-catch last season. With Santonio Holmes out of town, Wallace should find himself in the starting lineup for the Steelers this season.
The uncertainty at the quarterback and offensive line positions for Pittsburgh is certainly an issue, but Wallace provides some insurance.
While his ability to make a big play anytime he's on the field is extremely enticing, there is uncertainty right now as to how consistent he can be on a weekly basis.
Given his speed and production from last season, he can be a difference maker for your fantasy squad.
Antonio Bryant (Cincinnati Bengals)
Bryant has had an inconsistent career and last season was a perfect example of that inconsistency.
Although he was hampered by a lingering knee issue with Tampa Bay it is still worth noting his huge year in '08 (1,200 yards, 7 touchdowns).
The Bengals, who weren't exactly proficient through the air last season, now have a legitimate deep-threat and Bryant is likely to be the target in those instances.
Carson Palmer will be looking to rebound from a subpar year as well, so expect the Bengals to be a bit more pass-oriented in 2010 as they defend their AFC North Division title.
Kenny Britt (Tennessee Titans)
Britt, like Nicks and Wallace, wasn't at the top of his team's depth chart as a rookie but he should have more opportunities this season.
He's a big, fast target that has shown some big-play ability already.
His numbers improved significantly once Vince Young was implemented as the starting quarterback, and the pair are expected to improve on their output this season.
Britt seems like a nice mid-round value pick. If Young can continue to progress then Britt's value could sky-rocket.
Dez Bryant (Dallas Cowboys)
It’s risky to depend on a rookie because you don't know how well they'll adapt to the NFL, or how often they'll even be seeing the field.
However, with Roy Williams looking fairly useless at this point in his career, the Cowboys need to find someone to line-up on the other side of '09 breakout star, Miles Austin.
Bryant was undoubtedly the top receiving prospect coming out of college this year, but slipped in the 2010 NFL Draft due to worries about his character.
So, what better team to take this guy than the Dallas Cowboys?
Oh, Jerry Jones, how Jerry Jones of you.
Bryant has blazing speed to go along with his ideal frame of 6'2", 225 pounds.
Like most rookies, he'll likely take some time to get adjusted to the league. However, once he does, watch out.
Early Doucet (Arizona Cardinals)
Doucet came out of nowhere to grab two touchdowns passes in the high-scoring, no-defense Wild Card playoff game against the Green Bay Packers last season.
A third-round pick out of LSU in 2008, Doucet has been stuck behind Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston in the vaunted Cardinals group of receivers.
However, with Boldin's move to Baltimore, Breaston and Doucet will move up the depth chart.
He'll most likely be the no. 3 receiver for the Cardinals. But be aware that Matt Leinart is Arizona's quarterback this year.
With that in mind, it remains to be seen as to whether or not the Cardinals will be more run-oriented than they were with Kurt Warner under center.
Either way, Doucet has a chance to breakout and become a steal. Grab him late, if you can.
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