2011 Fantasy Football Sleeper: Mark Clayton

Fantasy Knuckleheads@_knuckleheadsCorrespondent IJune 10, 2011

Mark Clayton was on fire before going down with a season ending knee injury week 5 against the Detroit Lions.  His first game with the Rams he caught 10 passes for 119 yards and went on to compile 300 yards and 2 touchdowns in his first four games.  That is an average of 75 yards and 5 catches a game, extrapolate that to a full season and you have 80 catches 1200 yards and 8 TDs which are equivalent numbers to Andre Johnson’s 2010 stats.

The Oklahoma Sooner alum’s Clayton and Sam Bradford showed some deep threat chemistry as Clayton was third in the NFL with five 25+ yard receptions before he went down.  Only Antonio Gates (7), Desean Jackson (6) and Brandon Lloyd (6) had more.  That’s pretty good company to be in.  With Josh McDaniels calling the plays this year in St. Louis you can expect this trend to continue.

The St. Louis offense should be exciting to watch this year with Sam Bradford having another off-season of experience, the speedy Donnie Avery coming back from an injury as well and Danario Alexander budding into a solid NFL wide receiver.  These two receivers should take pressure off of Clayton and allow him to be single covered at times during games so Bradford can get him the ball with ease.

Currently, Mark Clayton is ranked as the 54th fantasy wide receiver according to Yahoo! experts, which is greatly undervalued in my opinion, and 89th according to ESPN, which is CRAZY!  If healthy, I look for the former first round pick to be a borderline #2 or solid #3 fantasy WR this year and right now you can get him at #5 WR value! This my friends make Clayton a “bona fide” fantasy football sleeper.

Resigning Mark Clayton is St. Louis’ #1 priority once the lockout ends, as he was clearly Sam Bradford’s favorite target before his injury. You should have the same priority of drafting Clayton for your fantasy team and you will not be disappointed. Watch his average draft position and pay attention to the WR’s available on the board so you’ll know when it’s the right time to pull the trigger.