Sometimes a change of scenery is all the break a talented, athletic receiver needs. This year, Jerome Simpson is that receiver. Coming out of college and entering the draft in 2008, Simpson was brimming with potential. His last two seasons of college he had averaged 51 receptions, 887 yards and 13.5 TDs. He was a second team and a consensus All-American. His athleticism delivered a 4.42 40-yard dash at the combines. Then he got drafted by the Bengals.
Early in his Bengals career, he was buried behind Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson. He didn’t get his first true chance until Weeks 16 and 17 of the 2010 season. He delivered. In those two games, Simpson had 18 receptions, 247 yards and three TDs. He was one of the top sleepers heading into the 2011 season, but didn’t live up to expectations. The “Why?” is telling though: He’s not better than A.J. Green. Simply put, Green ran away with the position and relegated Simpson to secondary status. The highlight of his season ended up being his TD flip against Arizona; go ahead and YouTube if you forget how amazing it was.
Enter the 2012 season. Simpson has been running as an every-down X receiver all preseason. He is the Vikings’ best outside threat by a wide margin, and he has Percy Harvin in the slot as a compliment, not as competition. He has a young QB in Christian Ponder that has shown serious improvement this offseason and appears to have chemistry with Simpson. The aspect of Simpson’s game that I am most intrigued by is his TD proficiency. Going back to his freshman year of college, Simpson has 51 TDs in 56 games started. Kyle Rudolph is the only other true red zone target on the Vikings roster, so I see a high number of targets for Simpson this year
Now for the bad: Simpson is an idiot who had 2.5 pounds of marijuana delivered to his house and will miss the first three games of the season because of this, um, indiscretion. However, Simpson is being drafted in the 14th round of PPR drafts right now. I see Simpson as a late-flier, roster stash that could develop into an every week flex or WR3 option and a possible No. 2 WR come playoff time. I think last season, when he had 50 receptions for 725 yards and four TDs, is his floor. What I project him to achieve in 2012 is 55 receptions, 780 yards and eight TDs. Those numbers would put Simpson firmly in the WR3 tier. When I consider that production will be compressed into 13 games, I’m sold.
Basically when time is running out and you are scrambling on who to take before you are forced to draft your kicker, you can do a lot worse than Simpson.
Just an average guy that enjoys talking fantasy. Follow me here in the forum under username murphysxm.
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