Last season Miles Austin transformed from and eleventh round pick to a bona fide Fantasy Football stud.
Austin had impressed a lot in training camp and preseason but wasn’t taken too seriously because he had a proven receiver in front of him (Roy Williams) and a tight end at the top of the fantasy football rankings (Jason Witten).
Austin in 2009 may have been one of the greatest fantasy football sleepers of all time.
The situation that Austin was in took him from relative unknown to the third best receiver in fantasy last season.
What situation was that exactly? Austin earned himself the number two spot on the roster over Patrick Crayton and was behind the grossly underperforming Roy Williams.
It isn’t always easy to predict who will be the next deep sleeper, but if we follow the same type of equation that helped Austin, we can make some assumptions.
Listed below are some receivers that find themselves in great situations to become the Fantasy Football 2010 surprise of the season.
Mike Williams: Seattle Seahawks
Yes, that Mike Williams.
You may remember Williams as the USC standout receiver that tried to enter the pro draft early along with Maurice Clarett. Both players have had their issues off the field, but only one of them is back in pro football.
Williams is listed as the third receiver on the depth chart, ahead of newly drafted Golden Tate.
So how does Williams compare to Austin from 2009? Instead of Roy Williams ahead of him on the depth chart, he has TJ Houshmandzadeh who has yet to live up to his large contract.
Now there are rumors swirling that say Housh could end up being traded or even released, making Williams a starter. Obviously Williams won’t have as high powered offense around him as Austin did in Dallas, but things could still work out very nicely with he and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
Mike Williams: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No, the other Mike Williams.
There is a little concern about the quarterback situation in Tampa since Josh Freeman has a broken thumb on his throwing hand.
Everything I am hearing about Mike Williams in training camp, practices and preseason so far this year are eerily similar to the news coming out of Dallas about Austin last year.
Williams is penciled in as a starter alongside Maurice Stovall, although it could end up being rookie Arrelious Benn by start of the season.
Williams should be the top receiving option for the Buccaneers, but the jury is still out on whether he will be a worthy fantasy football starter or not.
Early Doucet: Arizona Cardinals
Doucet has been praised since the end of 2009 as being the biggest fantasy football breakout star in 2009. Much of this was because of the likelihood of Anquan Boldin leaving the team, and how Doucet ended the season.
Doucet has all the ability to be a top receiver, although he is still listed as the third option at receiver behind Steve Breaston. Doucet has the chance of being serious sleeper candidate, however, it would be much more likely if Kurt Warner was still quarterback and not Derek Anderson.
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Bryant has freakish skill and ability and is sitting securely at the third receiving spot now that Patrick Crayton has been traded to the San Diego Chargers.
Again the key for this Cowboys receiver to be a breakout candidate will be Roy Williams. Williams has to feel the rookie receiver breathing down his neck and could either lose his job quickly, or only lose it at the beginning of next season.
Either way, Bryant has a great chance to show what he is capable of and earn himself a good amount of targets each game.
Brandon Lloyd: Denver Broncos
The underachieving receiver in this situation is Eddie Royal. In his rookie season Royal accumulated nearly 1,000 yards receiving and couldn’t break 350 in his sophomore season.
Many think that Demaryious Thomas will be the starter come start of the season, but Lloyd is only in his third season and has been the most impressive receiver so far this preseason.
Thomas isn’t even a guarantee to play in the season opener with his foot still bothering him.
Kyle Orton may be the most underrated quarterback in football, so Lloyd really might not be too bad of a WR2 or a Flex with the right matchup.
Jacoby Jones, Houston Texans
Jones has ridiculous speed but has yet to really breakout.
Kevin Walter is listed as the number two receiver, but his play is politely considered as “uninteresting.”
The Texans offense has been getting better every season and that means the passing game is getting more prolific.
I’m not ready to compare Matt Schaub to Peyton Manning, but the Texans could use to spread the ball around to more than just Andre Johnson.
Dexter McCluster, Kansas City Chiefs
Dwayne Bowe is the main target in Kansas City. but he is slowly slipping out of favor in the KC clubhouse.
At the same time, Chris Chambers came in from San Diego halfway through the season in 2009 and he shined. Chambers could end up being the top dog in the receiving corp and McCluster has the athleticism and playmaking ability to be a very valuable slot receiver.
McCluster can play multiple roles for the Chiefs and has been pretty impressive throughout the preseason (108 rushing yards/6.35 avg., 77 receiving yards/7.7 avg.).
Louis Murphy, Oakland Raiders
Chaz Schilens would have been in this spot if it weren’t for his knee injury (out 3-6 weeks). During that time, Louis Murphy will be taking over his spot.
The Raiders receivers have the easiest fantasy football strength of schedule.
Jason Campbell is actually a very solid quarterback if he can have some sort of stability.
A healthy running game will set up easier decisions, and those decisions could be to hit Murphy deep.
Ted Ginn, San Francisco 49ers
He was rushed out of Miami after the team wasted a first round draft pick on him, and has previously been a fantasy football bust.
His chances of turning his career around are much better in San Francisco where he will be used as a special teams threat, but also as a slot receiver.
There will be a lot of focus on Michael Crabtree in his sophomore season and on Vernon Davis who broke out in 2009.
If there is a sophomore slump and Davis can’t repeat, Ginn could be a very good Flex player. Those are big variables, though.