Fantasy Football: NFL's Top 10 Sleepers at Wide Receiver

Daniel WolfSenior Writer IJuly 10, 2010

Fantasy Football: NFL's Top 10 Sleepers at Wide Receiver

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Fantasy Footballers are beginning to research for their teams right about now, and for some the planning can be very intensive because big dollar jackpots could be at stake in some leagues.

     The hardest thing to predict is which players are going to produce and which are not, and this gives even the most experienced fantasy footballers migraine headaches year in and year out.

    This article takes a look at a few wide receivers, who may not be your top choice, but they could be sleepers that might turn into a late-round steal.

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No. 10: Donte' Stallworth, Baltimore Ravens

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    NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 7:   Donte Stallworth #18 of the Cleveland Browns points on the field during the game against the Tennessee Titans on December 7, 2008 at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Every NFL fan should already know the story about Stallworth from the past year-plus, so moving on.

    Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome has added much-needed weapons for his young quarterback Joe Flacco, and Stallworth is one of those additions.

    According to reports from organized team activities and minicamp, Stallworth looks like a man on a mission to rebuild his NFL career by being focused and working extra hard to become a solid slot receiver for Flacco in 2010.

    2009 stats: N/A due to a year-long suspension

No. 9: Early Doucet, Arizona Cardinals

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Wide receiver Early Doucet #80 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the football during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game against  the Green Bay Packers at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Glendale, Ari
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    With the departure of Anquan Boldin, the Cards have already penciled in Steve Breaston as the starter opposite of Larry Fitzgerald.

    But Doucet is a much more physical receiver and closely matches the style of play that Boldin brought to the field.

    Even though his 2009 stats are nothing to shout out about, Doucet broke out during the playoffs while filling in for other injured receivers, and he has a chance to possibly unseat Breaston and become the No. 2 starter with a solid showing in training camp and preseason.

    2009 stats: 17 receptions, 214 yards, one touchdown

No. 8: Mohamed Massaquoi, Cleveland Browns

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    CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 29:  Mohamed Massaquoi #11 of  the Cleveland Browns runs during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 29, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Despite having a few too many drops, Massaquoi was one of Cleveland's bright spots in 2009 as a rookie.

    A new veteran quarterback in Jake Delhomme should help Massaquoi develop into a big-play receiver in 2010, especially in a receiver group that has many uncertainties outside of him being the clear-cut No. 1 receiver on the depth chart.

    2009 stats: 34 receptions, 624 yards, three touchdowns

No. 7: Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 20:  Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs in for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers during the game on December 20, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/G
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Even though it appears the Steelers will turn into a run-first team during Ben Roethlisberger's suspension, the departure of Santonio Holmes moves Wallace into the No. 2 starter spot opposite of Hines Ward.

    The promotion from No. 3 receiver to No. 2 receiver will let Wallace get the ball more often than in his 2009 rookie year as long as he doesn't hit the dreaded sophomore slump.

    2009 stats: 39 receptions, 756 yards, six touchdowns

No. 6: Jordan Shipley, Cincinnati Bengals

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    PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07:  Wide receiver Jordan Shipley #8 of the Texas Longhorns runs for a touchdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the third quarter of the Citi BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl on January 7, 2010 in Pasadena, C
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer looked lost at times in 2009 without his possession receiver, T.J. Houshmandezadeh, who left for the Seahawks via free agency, but the Bengals have addressed that by adding not one, but two, possession receivers.

    Rookie tight end Jermaine Gresham and rookie receiver Shipley will make up for the loss of Houshmandezadeh in 2010, and Shipley has a good chance to completely take over that role and become Palmer's favorite target.

    2009 college stats: 116 receptions, 1,485 yards, 13 touchdowns

No. 5: Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins

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    NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 03:  Brian Hartline #82 of the Miami Dolphins during the pregame against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on September 3, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Even with the addition of Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall, Hartline is a player to watch.

    A solid possession receiver to compliment Marshall's big-play abilities, Hartline will see plenty of shorter passes across the middle and will be a great outlet receiver for quarterback Chad Henne if protection breaks down on the line of scrimmage.

    2009 stats: 31 receptions, 506 yards, three touchdowns

No. 4: Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers

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    ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 19:  Malcolm Floyd #80 of the San Diego Chargers makes a catch ahead of Jabari Greer #33 of the Buffalo Bills  on October 19, 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo won 23-14.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Get
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    With the uncertainty surrounding Pro Bowl receiver Vincent Jackson, the Chargers may look for more production out of Floyd in 2010.

    Even if Jackson does re-sign and play in 2010, Floyd's role will be expanded due to a positive increase in production during the 2009 season.

    2009 stats: 45 receptions, 776 yards, one touchdown

No. 3: Mario Manningham, NY Giants

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 08:  Mario Manningham #82 of the New York Giants makes a break against the San Diego Chargers on November 8, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    The Giants went into the 2009 season with question marks in their young receiver group, similar to the Browns and Raiders going into the 2010 season, and the Giants had no idea who would step up to produce.

    Manningham was one receiver who did step up and he should see increased stats in 2010 because he became a reliable target and playmaker for quarterback Eli Manning.

    2009 stats: 57 receptions, 822 yards, five touchdowns

No. 2: Robert Meachem, New Orleans Saints

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    NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 27:  Robert Meachem #17 of the New Orleans Saints takes off during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Louisiana Superdome on December 27, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    The Saints didn't really need any other big-time playmakers on their roster, but in 2009 Meachem, a second-year receiver, became one the the offense's biggest playmakers.

    Seemingly always breaking out of coverage on deep passes, Meachem has shown a knack for getting open and taking it to the house for a touchdown.

    2009 stats: 45 receptions, 722 yards, nine touchdowns

No. 1: Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    He may have missed the first five games of the 2009 season due to a contract holdout, but in 11 games Crabtree was able to step into the Niners' offense and produce at a high level.

    If he played a full season's worth of games, he could have surpassed 1,000 yards receiving as a rookie.

    Look for big plays and big numbers out of Crabtree in 2010.

    2009 stats: 48 receptions, 625 yards, two touchdowns

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