Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide Receivers To Grab In The Middle Rounds

Nicholas RoddyCorrespondent IAugust 30, 2010

Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide Receivers To Grab In The Middle Rounds

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    CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 15: Terrell Owens #81 and Chad Ochocinco #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals look on during the preseason game against the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium on August 15, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 33-24. (Photo by Joe
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Wide receivers have become a dime a dozen in fantasy football.  If you don't own Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, or any of the top tier receivers, then your roster will take a hit.

    But if you get lucky on one or two middle round sleepers, they can more than make up for the loss in big named wide-outs.

    With some leagues now starting three wide receivers, they are becoming more and more important.  Owners can't just take two studs and call it a day.  They need to look for the high potential players that can give the team a surprise boost.

    Here are some sleeper wide receivers to target in your upcoming fantasy draft.

Wes Welker

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    ATLANTA - AUGUST 19:  Wide receiver Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots reacts during the preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on August 19, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    Here is a question for you: Who led the NFL in catches and was second in receiving yards last season?  Well if you had any brains at all you would look at the picture and think Wes Welker.  Bingo.

    What if I told you that he was falling into the sixth round of most fantasy drafts?  Would he qualify as a sleeper?

    The New England Patriots' Energizer Bunny, Welker has been a horse that can single-handedly move the Patriots' offense.  He is considered to be the best slot receiver in the NFL.

    A guy with 123 receptions and 1,348 receiving yards last season, while sitting out two games, is going behind receivers like Mike Sims-Walker and Michael Crabtree, two guys who never caught double-digit passes in a game last season.  Welker did it seven times.

    If you are looking for the best receiver in PPR leagues, look no further than Wes Welker in the fifth round.

Derrick Mason

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    INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 16:  Derrick Mason #85 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Lucas Oli Stadium on January 16, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The Colts defeated the Ravens 20-3.  (Phot
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The 36-year-old from Michigan State is still hauling in catches left and right, and totaling 1,000 yards year in and year out.  But what makes him even more important is the arrival of another receiver.

    Anquan Boldin is the new number one target for quarterback Joe Flacco, bumping down Mason to a second receiver.  But this actually makes Mason better for fantasy owners.

    In years prior, Mason was the guy and was often double-teamed by opposing defenses. With the addition of Boldin, teams will now have to double him, leaving Mason primed to go one-on-one with cornerbacks.

    Mason will likely take a step down in receptions, and land somewhere in the 60 range.  He will probably still catch those balls for 1,000 yards and score about six touchdowns.  Not bad for a number three receiver on your fantasy team.

    Just because a team brings in a new stud receiver doesn't necessarily mean that the old number one will drop off.  Derrick Mason is a prime example.

Terrell Owens

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    CINCINNATI - AUGUST 20:  Terrell Owens #81 of the Cincinnati Bengals is pictured before the NFL preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Paul Brown Stadium on August 20, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    If all of the rumors out of Cincinnati are true, Terrell Owens is primed for a spectacular season. 

    With the duo of TO and Chad Ochocinco, Carson Palmer will have no problem finding an open receiver.  However, one problem is that there might not be enough balls to go around.

    While with the Buffalo Bills, Owens caught 55 passes for 829 yards and five touchdowns.  Pretty good numbers for having Ryan Fitzpatrick as a quarterback.

    Those numbers are pretty similar to Laveranues Coles' 2009 numbers as the number two receiver with the Bengals.  Chances are Owens will catch more passes than Coles, and break more tackles for long touchdown scores.

    If you can ignore possible off-the-field troubles that come with him, Terrell Owens could make you a fantasy winner this season.

Johnny Knox

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    CHICAGO - AUGUST 21: Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears warms-up before a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at Soldier Field on August 21, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Radiers defeated the Bears 32-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Johnny Knox burst onto the fantasy scene in his rookie season in the Windy City.  The Chicago Bears receiver became a steady target for Jay Cutler, and was a great return specialist.

    With a season under his belt, Knox is primed for an even better season.  With Mike Martz as the offensive coordinator in Chicago, Cutler and company will have a much better season distributing the ball and getting into the end-zone. 

    Knox is currently going in the 10th round in most drafts, after guys like Cadillac Williams, Donald Brown, and the Jets defense.  

    Chances are he will raise his productivity and will likely have over 1,000 yards returning the ball on special teams.  In leagues that reward return yards, he is a very nice number three fantasy option and could give you a bonus of six to eight touchdowns.

Pierre Garcon

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  Pierre Garcon #85 of the Indianapolis Colts catches a touchdown pass in the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Pierre Garcon had some sensational games for the Indianapolis Colts, but had plenty of games where he disappeared.

    The former Mount Union MuCaw, Garcon became a significant target for Peyton Manning in Week 11 at Baltimore.  That game, he caught six passes and broke 100 yards for the first time in his career. 

    After going for over 100 yards two weeks later, he either did not have an impact or was injured in the season's final four games.  In the AFC Championship Game, however, he went off for 11 catches and 151 yards, leading the Colts to the Super Bowl.

    With Anthony Gonzalez back and healthy, Garcon will likely be pushed down the the number three or four receiver in Indy.

    But with Manning's ability to distribute the ball to all of the receivers, Garcon can be a significant fantasy contributor this season. Look for him in the seventh or eighth round.