Mention Donte' Stallworth's name around a fantasy owner who wasted a high draft pick on the Saints' wide receiver last year and you might be the victim of a violent attack not unlike the pounding Danny Williams gave Mike Tyson recently.
On the other hand, if you were to mention Stallworth's name to the other members of the angry owner's league, you would probably be greeted with the loudest chorus of laughter this side of an Anchor Man screening.
What you may not realize is that amongst those chuckling owners, at least two of them probably have the 24 year-old receiver on their short list of deep sleepers. And while it's probably too late to change the minds of the owners who were burned by Donte' last season, I will do my best to convince the rest of you that this third-year wideout has major upside.
Back up a few words in that last paragraph and something should peak your curiosity if you missed it the first time. For those of you who are too lazy or stubborn to follow directions, I'll spell those words out again using bold letters: Third-year wideout.
For those of you that don't understand the significance of those words, welcome to Fanball.com. Anyone who has visited this site more than a handful of times is well aware of the fact that wide receivers are known for breaking out during the third year of their careers.
And let's not forget that Stallworth already had a breakout season as a rookie in 2002 when he finished with 42 receptions and eight touchdowns. That's one touchdown for every 5.25 times he caught a pass. He also averaged 26.5 yards per score that season, which is a gigantic number in leagues that award bonus points for touchdown length.
Keep in mind that Stallworth only played in 13 games as a rookie. Okay, so you probably knew that he missed three games that season due to a hamstring injury. After all, Donte' is more famous for suffering injuries than Colonel Sanders is for selling chicken in a bucket.
In 2003, Donte' missed two games with a quadriceps injury, and another three games with a sprained ankle. And even when he did play, his numbers were dreadful, in part because he was relegated to No. 3 receiver status behind Joe Horn and Jerome Pathon. Stallworth broke the century mark in receiving yards during weeks one and 17, but had only two games with 50-plus yards receiving in between those weeks.
Donte' finished last season with 25 receptions for 485 yards and a meek three touchdowns. For those of you who are not keeping score at home, he missed more games due to injury than he scored touchdowns.
Given Stallworth's injury track record alone, you are probably asking yourself how I could possibly see upside in him. For starters, I'm buying into the rigorous offseason workout program he took part in, which resulted in a decreased body fat percentage of 5.5 percent.
"I'm more lean this year," Stallworth told the New Orleans Advocate of the workout program in June. "I've dropped some fat and made muscle. The best part is my body feels a lot different. I'm doing a lot of different things, but we're putting a lot of emphasis on the hamstrings."
Now that Stallworth has finally dedicated himself during the offseason, there is reason to believe that he could spend less on the trainer's table and more time catching touchdown passes. Saints' head coach Jim Haslett was so impressed with Stallworth during the offseason workouts that he named him the No. 2 receiver ahead of Pathon.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that you should spend a high draft pick on Stallworth, as many of us did last season when he was in demand after that big rookie season. This year, Stallworth is rated just inside the top-40 receivers in all scoring formats, which means he should be the fourth receiver on your roster.
Quick, name another receiver ranked near Stallworth that combines his youth, speed, and playmaking ability, and is just one season removed from scoring eight touchdowns. Let me save you the trouble. None of the wideouts ranked near Donte' come even close.
There is virtually no risk in using a late-round flier on Stallworth. If he bounces back from the dismal 2003 season, you'll look like a genius. And even if he encounters more injury problems and has another substandard season, he'll be the fourth receiver on your roster, so no harm done.
Let the other owners mock and ridicule you for selecting Stallworth on draft day, while you rest assured knowing that there is a strong possibility that you'll be the one having the last laugh.
I picked him up in a draft with moulds, and travis taylor, brandon lloyd - all will be bargains where they were selected, 4, 9, 12 respectively[/u]