The Bengals are doing their best to condition fans and outsiders not to expect too much from rookie wide receiver Jordan Shipley. But it’s not working — not for fantasy owners.
With Antonio Bryant on the mend, the team is in need of a No. 3 receiver. Sure, it has Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco to throw to all day long, but both of those players are at their best when working the outer edges of the field. Shipley, on the other hand, can dink-and-dunk, and in today’s NFL it’s fashionable to have a dink-and-dunk weapon. Last week, Shipley showed he has what it takes when he made five catches for 50 yards against Denver.
The comparisons to New England’s Wes Welker seem to bother Shipley (what third-round rookie would want to be held to such high expectations?), but there are connections no one can deny. Both hail from the South, and both have incredible quickness. Oh yeah, and both caught a ridiculous number of passes in college. Welker is doing the same in the NFL; soon, I expect, Shipley will be, too.
Fantasy owners looking for potential impact rookies do not need to search for very long this year. San Diego’s Ryan Mathews and Detroit’s Jahvid Best both could be star feature backs, and C.J. Spiller might be in position to make a splash while his Bills counterparts are on the sideline. Dallas WR Dez Bryant has all the talent in the world, and Mike Williams is already the No. 1 receiver in Tampa Bay. But don’t forget about the 5-11, 193-pound Shipley, who just might prove to be the best bargain of them all.