There's a ton of these type of threads throughout the cafe, but I thought it would be interesting to rank the lower-end WR "sleepers". I have high hopes for some, some tempered expectations for others. How would you rank them? I'm thinking:
1. Reggie Williams. Jimmy Smith is losing a step to age and Leftwich will be converting his "go-to" receiver adjustments to the big, speedy Williams. Concerns that many "rookie" WR don't have good first years factors into this, but the Jags are a up-and-coming offense with much to prove.
2. Lee Evans. Many would consider this high for yet another rookie on this list. However, Buffalo clicks the best when Eric Moulds has a bonafide threat opposite the field from him (see Peerless Price). Evans could easily provide that threat if he gets in gear early and builds the necessary chemistry with Bledsoe.
3. Brandon Lloyd. Someone needs to be the go-to receiver in Niner-land, especially since the Niners will need to air it out to keep up with more potent offenses. From what I'm hearing, Lloyd is the current No. 1 receiver of the bunch. Will that change??
4. David Terrell. With Marty Booker gone from Chicago, Terrell finally has his chance to prove that he's ready to take the limelight, right? In this past weekend's preaseason game -- his first to impress the crowd and earn the No. 1 ranking, he didn't catch a pass at all. Will he ever reach his potential??
5. Darius Watts. Rod Smith is aging and Lelie continues to underperform. Quarterbacks like Jake Plummer enjoy finding a speedy go-to guy to jack the ball to on a regular basis. Watts wasn't expected to make a splash until later in the regular season, but has really turned some heads this preseason.
6. Justin Gage. Again, the Bears need a top receiving threat. Terrell is the answer on paper, but Gage is trying to make his case on the field. A preseason hammy injury has slowed the learning curve. Is it just a matter of time until Gage is filling Booker's shoes??
7. Rashaun Woods. This Niner rookie is looking to make some noise in a crowded, but unspectacular, receiving corps. Last word was that he is battling for the fourth WR position -- not encouraging considering the competition includes a number of also-rans and underachievers. I think it takes Woods most of the season to get up to speed, and even then it could be a year or two down the road until he emerges from the pack.
Lloyd - The number 1 in SF right now. And yes they will not be good last year but neither was Arz. Im not saying Lloyd will put up Boldin like numbers, but if SF is playing from behind most of the game, that means better number in garbage time for the WR's.
Williams - I like this kid a lot. The fact that he is starting only adds to his potential. He is young, and inexperienced, but Leftwich and Jax realize jimmy is getting up there in years and they will need to find their WR of the future.
Terrell - See reasonings behind Lloyd. With Booker gone, he becomes the main option. I just don't look for Grossman to be as accurate as Rattay assuming he stays healthy.
Evans - Finally some speed along Moulds again. Moulds will get the doubles and Evans will be the deep fly man. Assuming Bledsoe can get the ball off quicker this year, he could put up very good numbers for a 2WR, in the NFL.
Major drop off:
Watts - Don't even know if hes starting now or Lelie or what. Bu this kid has done well in preseason and with all the hype should be strating by week 3. but lelie will get the first crack at it and if he does well, then Watts could be used as a 3rd WR all year long.
Gage - The 2WR in Chicago. Again still not sold on Grossman.
Watts - Right now is fifth I believe on SF depth chart. Hes just having a hard time learning the offense. Woods won't do much of anything until late in the season or next season at best.
1 - Lloyd - Number 1 in SF, I bet he surprises this year with defenses focusing on Barlow, Lloyd will get some passes. Plus I've seen him make some amazing catches-
2 - Terrell/Gage - Right now I would rank these guys about even since I have a feeling that Terrell is going to bust again and Gage will take over as the number 2. Gage is a playmaker-
3 - Evans - I think that he's pressing Reed pretty hard for the number 2 spot and with teams double covering Moulds, Evans will fill the role that Peerless Price once had-
4 - Williams - I think that he has the opportunity to put up last year Andre Johnson type numbers.
5 - Watts - Like what I have seen so far in preseason, but he's still number 3 on the depth chart and I will be curious as to what Plummer does in the regular season- Primarily a running offense-
6 - Woods - The guy is listed as number 5 on the depth chart, from what I have heard the 9ers have been a little disappointed in his performance thus far. I think in the future he will be great, just not this year-
1. Lloyd - #1 WR on a team that will have plenty of garbage time passing yds - could be the next Boldin.
2. Gage - With Terrell still sucking, Gage will be the main WR threat in CHI. Des Clark may lead all non RBs in receptions for that team, but I can see Gage having a few 100 yd games this yr.
3. Reg Williams - First of all JSmith is not losing a step - in fact what I have read is that he looks as quick and explosive as he did when he was 25. There hasent been a DB that has been able to stick with JSmith all preseason. Unless he gets injured, you can expect Smith to get the vast majority of passes thrown his way. Reggie on the other hand is no slouch - he's apparantly extremely talented. Lefty has a few very very good option to go to. I wouldnt consider Reggie anything more than a very very deep sleeper right now and probably shouldnt be holding a roster spot at this point in time.
4. Lee Evans - between all of the offensive weapons in BUF, I cant see Evans being a viable fantasy option right away. This is not an endorsement that he isnt good or doesnt help his team in any way - I just cant see more than 700 yds 4-5 TDs for him - and thats an optimistic projection.
5. Watts - again, another guy who's ceiling is the #2 WR spot on a run oriented offense. Dont waste a roster spot on a guy who would be ecstatic with a 700 yd season.
6. Terrell - what a disapointment he has been for the Bears. Its too bad for them, because he has done nothing this preseason to show he belongs. Dont expect anything from him. I will be suprised if he is still playing in 3 yrs. When Booker got traded he should have been the one to step up, but from what I have read, he simply hasent and its Gage thats impressed.
7. Wood - Buried deep on SFs roster - his ceiling is limited right now. If some injuries to those ahead of him on the depth chart open some room in the lineup, then I can see taking a chance on him. For right now however he isnt fantasy relevant.
Lloyd - just like everyone else, I believe he will suceed due to garbage time. Right now he is the only WR set in stone and I think he makes a nice sleeper.
Reg Will - this kid is immensely talented and I can see Leftwich looking his way a lot this year. Jimmy aint dead yet, but right now Williams should compliment him nicely.
Lee Evans - maybe its me, but why is Evans being taken 2 rds after Williams? They are both starting, and Evans can make a huge impact on his team if he suceeds as a #2. Whether that translates into fantasy production or not is the question.
David Terrell - yes he sucks, but he is the primary receiving threat in Chicago. Don't expect much, he is a perennial underachiever who may end up the benefactor from garbage time if anything.
Derrius Watts - well, I'm not sure what to make of him right now. I am not banking on anything, because a starting spot isn't guaranteed and besides Denver is a primarily a rushing team.
Justin Gage - sure the guy has potential, but I don't think he has the opportunity to suceed. If he can supplant Wade, which isn't out of the question, then he has the possiblity of becoming a factor in Chicago, but being buried in the depth chart behind Wade and Terrell of all people is never good.
Rashaun Woods - those expecting a boldin type season will be dissapointed, he won't be anywhere near that. Because of injury problems he is behind his teammates, and right now buried in the depth charts. The likelihood of Woods making any impact is slim to none.