Athlon continues its release of the 2010 college fantasy draft kit with a look at wide receiver sleepers.
It’s never easy defining sleepers. Is a sleeper a player who is ranked after No. 25 or is it someone who isn’t ranked? An owner playing college fantasy football for the first time may consider someone like SMU's Aldrick Robinson or Oklahoma State's Hubert Anyiam a sleeper. However, a veteran of many college fantasy leagues and probably wouldn’t consider either much of a sleeper. Jerrell Jackson will emerge as a key weapon for the first time in his career at Missouri and is currently ranked No. 20 in our rankings. Is it fair to call him a sleeper? Probably not, but you get the picture. Defining sleepers isn't easy.
With that in mind, this list takes into account each fantasy owner has a different knowledge set when it comes to college football. Don’t take a sleeper as your first wide receiver in 120 leagues, but consider taking these as a WR3 or WR4, in hopes they can be a starting option this year.
Luther Ambrose, UL Monroe – Ambrose may not have elite size for a receiver (5-foot-9, 173 pounds), but should be one of the top playmakers in Sun Belt play this year. Ambrose posted 766 total offensive yards last season and the Warhawks should involve him even more in the offensive gameplan this year.
Cole Beasley/Darius Johnson, SMU – With Emmanuel Sanders playing on Sundays for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Mustangs need a No. 2 receiver to emerge. Although Aldrick Robinson will end up as the best fantasy pick from the receiving corps, don’t count out Beasley or Johnson from emerging as a WR3 in 120 leagues.
Jarrett Boykin, Virginia Tech – Change of roles in Blacksburg this season? The Hokies have a rebuilding defense, while the offense should be among the best in the ACC. Boykin averaged nearly 21 yards per reception last season and should be Tyrod Taylor’s No. 1 option this year.
Jeremy Ebert/Sidney Stewart, Northwestern – Finding pass catchers never seems to be an issue in Evanston. Whether its Ebert or Stewart, a receiver is going to emerge as a fantasy option in BCS-only leagues and one to watch in 120 leagues.
Jarred Fayson, Illinois – The Illini ranked 87th nationally in passing offense last season and with a new coordinator and quarterback taking over, improvement could be difficult to come by. However, if Fayson is a clear No. 1 option for quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, look for 50 catches and value in select matchups.
Jarmon Fortson, Florida State – Bert Reed may lead the team in receptions, but Fortson is the one for fantasy owners to target. After leading the team with four touchdown catches last year, Fortson should be in for an even bigger 2010.
Jamel Hamler, Fresno State – With Ryan Mathews off to the NFL, expect the Bulldogs to throw more in 2010 and Hamler should emerge as the team’s leading receiver.
Chris Harper, Kansas State – Former Oregon quarterback should be one of Kansas State’s top playmakers this season. Harper is an athletic 6-foot-1 target, but also has solid speed. Can the Wildcats get enough consistent play from the quarterbacks to make Harper a factor every week in the passing game?
Adrian Hodges, Bowling Green – Hodges will have a new quarterback throwing to him (likely Matt Schliz), but with Freddie Barnes out of eligibility, there’s plenty of room to improve upon his 46 catches from last season.
Marvin Jones, California – The Golden Bears lack depth in the receiving corps, leaving Jones as one of the few proven pass catchers. Jones became Kevin Riley’s favorite weapon last year, catching 43 passes for 651 yards and six scores and should easily push those totals higher in 2010.
Wes Kemp, Missouri – Someone is going to emerge as a top-30 fantasy option at receiver from Missouri. Jerrell Jackson could lead the team in receptions, but don’t count out Kemp from becoming a factor for owners in 120 leagues this season.
Lindsey Lamar, South Florida – Finding weapons for quarterback B.J. Daniels is a concern for new coach Skip Holtz, which prompted the move of Lamar from running back to receiver. Lamar isn’t huge (5-foot-9, 160 pounds), but is a dangerous playmaker for South Florida to get the ball to.
Keshawn Martin, Michigan State – With quarterback Kirk Cousins and a deep set of receivers returning, the Spartans could have the Big Ten’s best passing game this year. Martin never topped more than 18 receptions in a season, but with Blair White finished with his eligibility, expect Martin to see an increased role in the offense.
Dejuan Miller, Oklahoma – The Sooners desperately need someone other than Ryan Broyles catching passes this season. Miller showed signs of emerging as a legitimate No. 2 threat, catching 25 passes over the final six games.
Josh Moore, Oklahoma State – New coordinator Dana Holgorsen won’t throw as much as he did at Houston, but the Cowboys will pass more than they did last year. Hubert Anyiam is the top fantasy option in the receiving corps, but Moore could catch plenty of passes has an inside receiver.
Kashif Moore, Connecticut – Marcus Easley led Connecticut with 48 receptions for 893 yards and eight scores last season, but has expired his eligibility. With Easley gone, Moore should become Zach Frazer’s favorite weapon.
Jameel Owens, Tulsa – Owens received a waiver to play immediately following a transfer from Oklahoma. Damaris Johnson is still Tulsa’s No. 1 receiver, but Owens is too much of a talent to keep off the field as a No. 2 target.
Ahmad Paige/Phillip Livas, Louisiana Tech – New wide-open offense should provide a couple of options for fantasy owners. Take a gamble on either receiver late in the draft as a low-risk, high-reward option.
Kito Poblah, Central Michigan – There’s a lot of change on offense at Central Michigan this year, but with Antonio Brown and Bryan Anderson departing the receiving corps, someone has to pickup the slack. Poblah could catch over 60 balls this year.
Gerell Robinson, Arizona State – Arizona State has a new coordinator and changed its offensive attack, looking to throw more in 2010. Although the approach is intriguing for fantasy owners, the Sun Devils have concerns at quarterback and along the offensive line. If the Sun Devils find the right pieces on offense, Robinson could end up among the top 50 fantasy receivers for 2010.
Casey Robottom, Tulane – Tulane is shifting from a run-first attack to leaning more on the pass in 2010. With the Green Wave expected to struggle in the wins department and Jeremy Williams finishing his eligibility, Robottom figures to be in line for a bump in touchdown catches.
Tyler Stradford, North Texas – There’s a new quarterback taking over in Denton, but the Mean Green should have one of the Sun Belt’s top offenses. Stradford is an Oklahoma transfer who has been impressive in practice, but is finally eligible and ready to make an impact.
Deonte Thompson, Florida – Thompson has the talent and there’s a need for receivers to step up in Gainesville. With John Brantley taking over and Florida passing more in 2010, Thompson should provide plenty of big plays in the passing game.
Antavious Wilson, Marshall – Wilson finished last season on a high note, catching 29 receptions over the final four contests. With a new spread offense implemented, Wilson should easily surpass last season’s totals – 60 catches for 724 yards and three scores.
Johnathan Wilson, Kansas – Todd Reesing is out of eligibility at quarterback and the Jayhawks also must replace their top two receivers from last season in Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier. Wilson caught 35 passes for 449 yards last season, but figures to push his totals closer to the 50-60 catch mark – despite having a new quarterback in Kale Pick.
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