2011 fantasy football | 5 deep, deep sleepers at wide receiver

When you are faced with deep dynasty drafts, many of the rankings you find online just won’t cut it.

I participated in an auction draft for one of jzak’s teams on Saturday, a 12-team, 30-player behemoth. Then on Sunday, I participated in a 12-team in-person snake draft with 20-man rosters.

That morning, I began a long-draft dynasty, where owners have up to 12 hours to make picks. In that one 12 teams will finish with 28-man rosters.

We fantasy players sometimes must scoop crumbs from the bottom of the bag. We’re looking for one last chip during the draft because the waiver wire is going to be lean. The following players might just be chips.

This list of deep, deep wide receiver sleepers is not all-inclusive by any stretch. There are probably a hundred wide receivers with a shot at coming out of absolutely nowhere, whether because of the offense a team runs, opportunity, skills, size or draft pedigree.

These are just five players, out of dozens I targeted, that ended up on my roster in that 28-man monster. None of the players are among the top 66 wide receivers according to average draft position at Fantasy Football Calculator.

Donnie Avery, WR, Rams

It was only four years ago that the Rams made Avery a second-round pick. Now he’s competing with 11 wide receivers for roster spots in what has been a great competition, according to Rams beat writers.

As it is right now, only Danny Amendola seems like a safe wide receiver pick in St. Louis, but one of those other receivers will likely be the No. 1.

Mike Sims-Walker, a free agent addition, is being drafted well ahead of Amendola, but he’s no sure thing. Danario Alexander needs surgery on his knee but is refusing to get it. Greg Salas is a rookie. Mardy Gilyard is Mardy Gilyard. The list could go on.

Avery had two catches for 23 yards and a touchdown on Saturday. He has the best draft pedigree of the bunch. He is an injury risk, but at his asking price (not-drafted in most leagues), he’s as solid a lottery pick as you can make. Unless he gets cut in a couple weeks. In that case, you can drop him for another deep, deep sleeper.

Josh Morgan, WR, 49ers

As long as Michael Crabtree isn’t on the field, Morgan will get a chance to earn a few more looks. He had 80 targets last year.

Last year, Morgan went 3-82-1 against Seattle in Week 14 then hauled in seven passes for 106 yards the next week against San Diego. That’s why he was on several championship-winning rosters.

In PPR leagues, Morgan scored at least seven fantasy points in 9-of-16 weeks. That’s not Calvin Johnson-esque, but you could probably get Morgan for a quarter in your auction draft if they didn’t force you to start the bidding at $1.

Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders

Moore has been the talk of Oakland’s training camp. He doesn’t have ideal size but he’s quick and has been better than every other Raiders receiver. Hue Jackson likes him a lot, which means he’ll get at least a couple opportunities.

The Raiders offense isn’t exactly an air assault, but targets equal receptions and it sounds like Moore is the kind of player who can do more with a reception than most.

You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket. Moore is a $1 scratchoff who will be given every opportunity to at least get you your money back.

Dezmon Briscoe, WR, Buccaneers

Mike Williams (yes, that one) is the go-to receiver in Tampa, but there is a bit of suspense regarding the slot opposite him.

Arrelious Benn, one of the top WR picks in the 2010 NFL Draft, is the favorite in a lot of people’s eyes. Coming off a serious injury, Benn is expected to play this weekend, however many of the Tampa Bay beat writers still think Briscoe takes the field as TB’s WR2 in Week 1.

Josh Freeman looks like a quarterback ready to take a leap, potentially into superstardom. Even with a small uptick in production, the Buccaneers offense should be more productive than it was last year.

Owning the No. 2 receiver on that offense, or even a player who loses that job by a slim margin, at a last-pick-of-the-draft cost is a worthwhile investment.

Randall Cobb, WR, Packers

I already own Cobb in way too many leagues. However, in the PPR dynasty I missed the boat on the first two rounds of receivers and punted the position.

I needed serious upside with all of my WR picks. Cobb has at least as much as any other receiver on my roster. Cobb is only 5-10, 192 which means he’ll likely get pushed around. He’s listed as the fifth receiver on the GBP depth chart. But he has top end speed and has been the talk of the preseason in Green Bay.

A knee injury suffered last weekend may keep him off the field for Week 1, but as a future prospect Cobb is a potential gold mine. If nothing else, the offense he’s attached to should provide plenty of opportunities to show off his talents once he gets his shot.

If you want to take a glimpse at the  kind of gamebreaker Cobb was in college, check out this YouTube video. Yes, he is blowing away Vanderbilt in some of those highlights. He’s also schooling Mississippi State, who was ranked 21st during the game. … Then watch him break ankles against Auburn.

Now imagine him in Gold and Green, sprinting out of the slot and catching an Aaron Rodgers pass in the open field.

Like I said, there are dozens of other deep, deep sleepers. Share your picks in the comments or start a sleeper conversation in our forums.

7 Responses to “2011 fantasy football | 5 deep, deep sleepers at wide receiver”


  1. Joe

    wasn’t your leave draft on sunday a 14 team draft??? lol

  2. Joe

    live*

  3. Dante Bruno

    Heres a sleeper at WR, Taylor Price New england

  4. Nick

    Antonio Brown is making a strong case for this list

  5. ep

    Joe,
    You are correct.

    Dante Bruno,
    Nice. Any wide receiver is potentially dangerous in that offense. I’d own Price or Brandon Tate in 2011 before I’d own Deion Branch.

    Nick,
    Brown is a great late pick. He and Emmanuel Sanders have crept into the top 60 WRs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they scavenge targets/catches from each other as the Steelers WR3 by committee. But it’s worth taking a shot on one of them. If one guy gets the job he could easily get to 800 yards and 5 TDs with a higher ceiling. Not bad for a last-round pick.

  6. jzak

    WR sleeper? Look no further than Cecil Shorts. He’s been wowing everyone in Jacksonville preseason so far and could be the No. 1 guy by midseason if he continues this upwards arch.

    David Garrard has recently sung praises for Cecil, suggesting he has mega upside.

    Just a suggestion.

  7. ep

    jzak,
    Anyone who gets that kind of praise is worth taking a chance on at the end of a draft, even if he has a lot of talent ahead of him on the depth chart.