The Patriots’ somewhat surprising decision to trade Randy Moss has opened the door for other wide receivers to step up in his absence, perhaps even a certain rookie third-round selection. Looks have also become available in St. Louis, where Mark Clayton suffered a season-ending injury, meaning the emergence of a new fantasy option at the wide receiver position could be on the horizon.
Taylor Price | WR | New England | 0 percent Yahoo! ownership
Seemingly everyone’s favorite to take over the lion’s share of Randy Moss’ production for the New England Patriots now that he’s in Minnesota is Brandon Tate, and rightfully so. A dark horse to take over some of that production, perhaps not right away but as the season moves along, is Patriots third-round pick Taylor Price. Price stands six feet tall and weighs in at 205 pounds and was clocked running a 4.41 forty-yard dash at the NFL Combine. With decent size and great timed speed, it isn’t hard to envision him running deep routes and catching passes from Tom Brady at some point going forward.
Price attended Ohio University of the MAC and was the leading receiver on a team that didn’t throw the football much. He caught scouts’ eyes at Senior Bowl practices, and further raised his stock posting stellar measurables at the NFL Combine. Coming from a non-power conference makes the leap from the college ranks to the NFL that much more daunting for him. He should be aided by having one of the best quarterbacks in the league throwing him passes. Taking into account the fact that Brandon Tate is relatively unproven still, and Julian Edelman is better suited in a Wes Welker-like slot role, Price has an opportunity to move up the depth chart in short order if he performs well in practice and makes the most of any opportunities he’s presented. Being a wide receiver in the finely-tuned passing machine that is the New England Patriots’ offense makes him an even more intriguing option in dynasty leagues, and a must add in those formats immediately. In re-draft leagues, owners should take wait and see approach with him in all but the absolute deepest of leagues, but keep him on your radar.
Brandon Gibson | WR | St. Louis | 1 percent Yahoo! ownership
Sunday’s season-ending patella tendon tear to Mark Clayton’s right knee has opened up a large number of looks and touches. My top pick to fill Clayton’s void is Brandon Gibson. That void is quite substantial as well, as Clayton caught 22 of Bradford’s 92 completions (23.9 percent) the first four weeks of the season. The 6′1, 206-pound wide receiver should compliment slot man Danny Amendola quite well. Gibson played in nine games for St. Louis last year, catching 34 passes for 348 yards (10.2 yards per catch) and one touchdown. He has played in three games this year, catching eight passes for 117 yards at 14.6 yards per catch and one touchdown.
Those searching around the ‘Net are likely to find Laurent Robinson touted as the player to most likely benefit from the injury to Clayton, but I’ll caution against him. Robinson currently sits atop the depth chart, but he has a history of injury that includes missing all but three games last year due to a fractured fibula as well as missing two games this year because of a foot injury. Toss in that Robinson has exactly one game of over 100 receiving yards to his credit in his career, and it appears any sleeper hype surrounding him is much ado about nothing.
Another wide receiver that may see some hype leading up to the Rams next game is Mardy Gilyard. While I believe Gilyard has long-term potential, I think the rookie wide receiver from the University of Cincinnati has an uphill battle this year in gaining fantasy relevance. He not only has to continue learning Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s offense, but he also has to continue his transition from being a college wide receiver to learning the nuances of being an NFL wideout. Now in his sophomore season, and in his second year in Shurmur’s offense as well, Gibson appears to be the leader of the pack at wide receiver opposite slot man Danny Amendola. There is a reasonable chance that Gibson could outproduce Amendola in non-PPR (thus yardage and touchdown only) scoring formats. Gibson is a must-add by owners in need of a wide receiver in deep leagues.
Josh Shepardson is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Josh in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of B-Chad.
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