We are going to follow up with Part II of our rundown of sleeper wide receivers from around the league. Since we end up drafting more wide receivers than any other position in fantasy football, it is necessary to dig a little deeper to find viable sleeper candidates. We'll take a look at every team from around the league and give you some names you need to know for the mid-to-late rounds of your fantasy drafts this year. Here is the second batch from Miami to Washington.
The Dolphins tabbed Jarvus Landry in the second round of the draft with an eye to the future. The team may decide to let Brian Hartline walk after this season and in Landry, they think they have the perfect guy to groom as a replacement. He will need to wrest the No. 3 job from Brandon Gibson, but if he does, he could pay off as a late round dart in deep PPR leagues.
Cordarrelle Patterson is already getting drafted too high to merit “sleeper”status. If anything, he is being overdrafted at this point, with questions about who will be throwing him passes still undecided. Greg Jennings is cheaper, but doesn’t have the upside anymore to be much more than a flex option. Jarius Wright has some intrigue if he can manage to outlast Jerome Simpson for the No. 3 job. But let’s be honest, it would have to be an extremely deep league for you to call his name on draft day.
New England Patriots
Tom Brady likes to spread the ball around, which means anyone in the mix to catch passes has a chance to be fantasy relevant. Danny Amendola will look to bounce back from a lackluster debut in New England. He missed time with injuries and saw Julian Edelman emerge as Brady’s favorite target. Amendola’s injury history keeps his price low, but with the team installing more three-wide sets, there will be plenty of opportunities for him to make some noise in PPR leagues, at least until he gets hurt again. At least the injury risk is priced in this year.
New Orleans Saints
Kenny Stills has been nicked up in camp, which has allowed rookie Brandin Cooks to steal all of the pre-season buzz. If your leaguemates forget about the second-year speedster, take advantage of the discount to get a piece of the Saints passing game. He will be hard to trust on a weekly basis, like many Saints receivers who have filled the “home run” role in the past, but you know Drew Brees is going to lob a couple of deep shots his way every week. That’s the kind of weekly upside you want on your bench to deploy in your flex spot when the matchups are right. The fact that Stills re-injured his quadriceps and is questionable for Week 1 should only suppress his value a little more, making him even easier to grab late.
New York Giants
I always like to target receivers heading into their third year, which brings us to Rueben Randle. The departure of Hakeem Nicks and injuries to rookie Odell Beckham have cleared the way for Randle to begin the season as the starter opposite Victor Cruz. At 6’3”, Randle has the size to become a red zone favorite of Eli Manning’s. As I mentioned, his stock is trending into low WR3 range, so expect to have some competition for his services in your draft.
New York Jets
Jeremy Kerley is one of those players you want to root for and this year he will be someone you will want to consider grabbing late, especially in PPR drafts. He doesn’t have the upside of a lot of the other players on the list, but aside from outside threat Eric Decker, Kerley looks like Geno Smith’s most reliable target in the wake of the team’s release of Stephen Hill. The Jets' slot man should get his targets each and every week, making him a solid bench player for deep leagues.
The Raiders have a pretty crowded receiving corps, and their passing attack doesn’t figure to be one of the league’s elite ones, so you may want to look elsewhere for your sleepers, but looking at the landscape, third-year man (there it is again) Andre Holmes is the guy in silver-and-black that I am tempted to place my bets on. At 6’4”, he has the size and wingspan to go up and get the ball, and was garnering a ton of buzz early in camp. However, he has fallen behind Rod Streater and Denarius Moore as the pre-season continued and now seems best left on the wire to start the year.
Jordan Matthews was an easy choice as the Eagles candidate. He is already locked in as the team's slot receiver, which will instantly put him in the middle of Chip Kelly’s machine-gun offense. I have seen some people argue that he is the best receiver on the Eagles right now. However, working on the inside, he will have company for targets in Darren Sproles and Zach Ertz. I think he is priced right as a WR4/5, and he is a player that I think will come on stronger as the year progresses. Obviously, any injuries to Jeremy Maclin or Riley Cooper will only expedite his arrival, just be aware that he will not be on the field all the time as Kelly keeps his pieces moving.
Markus Wheaton was hailed as the new Mike Wallace when the Steelers drafted him last year, and now he will have his chance to prove it after Emmanuel Sanders landed in Denver. Wheaton has locked down the “X” role held by the two former Steelers, and the stage is set for him to have a breakout year as a result. He is lumped in with other WR5’s like Hakeem Nicks, Greg Jennings, Steve Smith, Danny Amendola and Miles Austin. You don’t really need me to tell you why grabbing the speedy 23-year-old over these injury-prone veterans is the right move, just thank me later.
St. Louis Rams
Here we are at the end of the pre-season, and not only is Kenny Britt still standing, he has landed a starting job for his former coach Jeff Fisher. The Rams definitely have a need for someone with Britt’s skills to work the outside of the field, and his price is so low that it really can’t hurt to take a chance and see if he can have a bounceback season. Yes, he is an injury risk, a headcase and he has lost a step from his prime. But there really aren’t any other receivers of his ilk sitting in his tier, as most No. 1 options will be drafted much, much earlier.
San Diego Chargers
After taking a long look at the Chargers corps of receivers, it is really hard to get excited about anyone beyond Keenan Allen. Malcom Floyd is what he is, a boring veteran who won’t make much noise and will likely get hurt at some point. Eddie Royal is a nice slot-man, and he will have his one or two big weeks, but for the most part is best left on the wire. Vincent Brown has been released. That leaves CFL veteran Dontrelle Inman as the best sleeper candidate here, albeit one for only the deepest of leagues. He’s not going to get too much action until injuries hit, but Inman can make some noise if he can find his way onto the field at some point. I feel I’ll be writing about him again at some point this year.
San Francisco 49ers
Steve Johnson comes over from the Buffalo Bills, where he was their leading receiver for the last four seasons. Now he is third in the pecking order behind Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin, and will see much fewer targets than he has in the past, particularly since the Niners run the ball so much and don’t use very many three WR formations. Still, he should rotate in and out to keep the aging Boldin fresh, and he does have a track record of success that makes him a viable stash in deep leagues.
Doug Baldwin has been one of my favorite late-round targets this year, as no one seems to like him as much as I do in my drafts. I have consistently been able to land him as a WR5/6 on my teams as others chase flashier names. Baldwin isn’t flashy, and he doesn’t have the size that everyone covets at only 5’10”. What he does have is a starting job and the trust of his quarterback. He also has Percy Harvin on the other side of the field, which means he is only another injury away from being the number one target. That’s enough upside to go along with what should be steady production otherwise.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rookie Mike Evans will team up with Vincent Jackson to form one of the most imposing pair of wideouts the league has ever seen. Evans will likely be the first rookie wideout to come off the board in drafts, so it is sort of a stretch to label him a true sleeper. The only question left to be answered is how much of an impact can he have in his first full season? At 6’5”, he will excel in the red-zone and will benefit from getting single-coverage thanks to his running mate across the field.
Justin Hunter is on just about every sleeper list out there, and I see no reason to keep him off this one. This kid has a ton of talent, and he seems ready to put last year’s issues behind him. He has a unique combination of size (6’4”) and speed and has been making plays all through the pre-season. Nate Washington is still around, so Hunter will have to bide his time as the slot receiver, but Hunter is a big play waiting to happen any given week. His strong pre-season has him rising in the ranks, so hopefully you got shares in him while they were still cheap.
The only person who wasn’t particularly excited when DeSean Jackson signed with Washington had to be Andre Roberts. Jackson’s arrival means that instead of finding himself in the starting lineup, Roberts will remain one of the better third receivers in the league, which unfortunately puts a cap on his prospects to begin the year. The good news is Jay Gruden likes to run a lot of three wide receiver sets in his offense and both Pierre Garcon and Jackson have a history of missing time with injuries. You could do worse with your last roster spot in a deep PPR league.