Fantasy Football Sleeper Wide Receiver Spotlight:
Whether Vincent Jackson returns to San Diego or not, the Chargers should still have a productive receiving corp for Philip Rivers to put up big numbers.
Second-year-receiver Vincent Brown should have a lot to do with that as he is the perfect fit in the Chargers' offense. If Brown was with another offense, I wouldn't be as high on him. Despite being listed at 5'11 and 184 lbs, Brown's physicality and speed makes him a viable deep threat.
He adjusts well to the football in the air and aggressively attempts to reel it in at it's highest point. Brown had only 19 receptions for 329 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games of limited action last year. He did however average 17.3 yards per reception and should see his role grow in San Diego next season.
Gates is another speedy receiver who should enter the season as third choice on the depth chart in Miami. Gates will be even less popular in drafts than Brown because most of his work last season came on special teams. He had only two receptions on offense but was electrifying as a return man.
With Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess around him, Gates should see a lot of single coverage next year. His speed and agility will make him very difficult to cover. Depending on how well he develops with coaching, Gates could be very valuable to whichever fantasy football teams take a chance on him.
He may have his issues off the field, however Baldwin's time on the field in Kansas City last season was mostly a success. The Chiefs' offense was a mess last year but Baldwin showed off good range and strength to overmatch cornerbacks in the open field.
Playing across from Dwayne Bowe, with better quality at quarterback, the young receiver could be a star next year.
I was beating the Emmanuel Sanders drum prior to last season and I plan to continue to do so this year. Sanders never really got into his rhythm last year as injuries plagued him from the start of training camp, in fact from the Super Bowl the previous year, to the finish.
With a big day out against Denver in the playoffs, he showed what he can do when healthy. Mike Wallace could potentially leave Pittsburgh, which would make Sanders the starter, but even presuming Wallace stays, Sanders should have a big year with Todd Haley running the offense.
Having watched every Steelers' pre-season and regular season game of the past two years, the scary thing is I believe Sanders to be better than Antonio Brown. His potential is limitless because of his athleticism, size and reliable hands. Once he gets on page with his quarterback, an issue last year, Sanders will be a starting caliber fantasy receiver. Maybe more in the future.
Much like Sanders, I am constantly supporting the plight of Eddie Royal. Royal is a quality receiver who has been lost because of the Denver scheme, depth chart as well as his own injuries. If he can find the right home in free agency, Royal will be a solid late round selection as a second starting receiver.
His potential may not be as high as other guys listed, but he is more of a certainty than any of them. Reuniting with Jay Cutler in Chicago could be his best move.
This is a make-or-break season for Rice in my opinion. If he cannot stay healthy this year then I won't even consider him as a starting option next year. However his injury history will allow you to grab him later in drafts this year.
Outside of missing most of last season, or at least not being 100 percent, Rice was also working with an injured quarterback and a running game which didn't ignite until he was already on the sideline.
Because Rice is a deep ball specialist, the running game is vital to his success. The Seattle offense was setup to run off of play-action and target Rice deep. Couple that with Tarvaris Jackson's loss of arm strength through his pectoral injury and Rice had no hope last year. This year, if he can stay fit, should return him to relevance.
Normally I'm the biggest skeptic when it comes to ageing players. Nobody wanted Randy Moss last year for good reason too. However, unlike most receivers, Moss' limitations aren't physical. When he was last on the field he could still get open and he hasn't gotten to the point where he is shrinking.
Moss' biggest issue is motivation. After a year out, I believe he will be determined to come back and prove himself next season. Moss has all the physical abilities, he just needed a fire lit beneath him. He appears to have that now that he wants to return.
Sticking with the ageing receiver theme here. When Ochocinco moved to New England, I was one of the first people to say that I didn't like the addition. Ochocinco was not and never will be the receiver that that group needs, or in other words, someone who can stretch the field.
My problem with the Ochocinco addition was that Deion Branch played his role. Branch is a free agent this year and I expect Ochocinco to step into his role. His route running is outstanding and his consistency catching the football is proven throughout his career.
A year in the system, with another off-season and training camp upcoming, should give Ochocinco every opportunity to earn Tom Brady's trust.
Amendola missed essentially the whole of last season after being injured in the first game of the year for the Rams. He led the Rams in receiving the previous season and actually had five receptions before being injured last year.
With the Rams offense expected to improve this year, the possession receiver should be a favourite of Sam Bradford's. Amendola is a lot like Wes Welker of the New England Patriots, if he is in the right scheme/situation, he could put up huge numbers.
With Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell hitting free agency, the Bengals will likely add another receiver in the off-season. The third position on the depth chart should be fought for between Jordan Shipley and Andrew Hawkins.
While Hawkins had an impressive rookie year in Shipley's absence, Shipley's 600 yards as a rookie should give him the edge. Working with Andy Dalton in a much improved offense to the one he played a part in as a rookie, Shipley should be a solid third option starter.