Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide receivers to target late in drafts

Brandon Marshall's loss of a healthy hip is Alshon Jeffery's gain. - Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Upside is the name of the game at the end of fantasy drafts. Here are some possible targets for owners looking to add some depth to their receiving corps.

The cat's outta the bag on Kenbrell Thompkins. Just for fun, here's a graph of Thompkins' ADP courtesy of


This graph is exactly what fantasy owners want to see for their 13th-round pick in one month. Thompkins has huge upside as the primary outside receiver. That's the way fantasy owners want to draft. It's all about targeting players that have the chance to be difference makers. Those guys that are going to score five points per week won't do much. Consistency is nice, but chances are guys like that can be add-dropped on the wire. Here are a few guys that have the ceiling and are worth a late-round pick in your draft:

Alshon Jeffery - Brandon Marshall's hip isn't in the best shape and he had an appointment to get it checked out and the chances of him missing a game has increased by quite a bit. If Marshall does miss time, Jeffery has some serious potential as Jay Cutler's top option. Jeffery had a decent finish to his 2012 season with seven targets, four catches and 76 yards. He could have some stand-alone value even with Marshall healthy. He's a great player to take around pick 100.

Michael Floyd - It's a similar situation for Floyd, except that Larry Fitzgerald is one of the most durable receivers in the NFL. Floyd had himself a big preseason and he's been lining up almost exclusively in two-wide sets. He was the only starter to play in Week 4 of the preseason and the team is doing everything they can to get him going. The Bruce Arians offense is expected to infuse some new life into the pathetic Cardinals. He's worth a look.

Rueben Randle- Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are one of the best WR tandems in the NFL. The Giants were 12th in passing offense and first in scoring offense, but most of the teams in their division have become worse on defense. Randle has been one of the best players in camp and Eli Manning has been singing his praises. He's a solid player to pick up late and a must-handcuff guy for those that draft Nicks. It's also not a bad idea for Cruz either.

Justin Blackmon - He's going to be suspended for the first four games of the season, which explains why he won't be a player going in the first 100 picks of drafts. He did have a strong finish to his 2012 season, finishing with back-to-back games of 79 yards and one score. The Jaguars did have a nice preseason on offense and with Maurice Jones-Drew looking good, they might be able to move the ball.

Cordarrelle Patterson - The Vikings have giving Cord quite a view looks in their preseason action. He's caught four of his five targets in the last four games. The team is using him as their kick and punt return man and also gave him some carries, so the Percy Harvin comparisons are going to come to mind. He's hardly Percy Harvin, but if you have some patience and won't need a starter for a few weeks, Cord's worth a look.

Deep Leagues

Markus Wheaton - The Steelers losing Mike Wallace opens up some doors for some of their receivers. Antonio Brown looks to be safe as a low-end WR2 and Emmanuel Sanders isn't a bad player to think about either. However, neither player is a true stud and Wheaton has been making some serious plays in the preseason. He had five targets in Week 2, eight targets in Week 3 and seven in Week 4. Many of them came with the second team, but it's clear that he knows how to get open. If Sanders flops, Wheaton has the potential to be a WR3. Plus, the Steelers aren't running the ball much either.

Quinton Patton - The 49ers need some depth at receiver. Michael Crabtree is expected to miss time until the latter part of the year and he could be eased back into the role as the top option in an effort to keep him fresh for the playoffs. The team also brought on Anquan Boldin, but AB hasn't been the healthiest of cats in the league. He's played in 16 games in just one of his last six years.

Patton has been getting open using his speed and he shined in Week 3 with four catches, 36 yards and a score on six targets. He's a high-upside player and could be the team's third option even with Boldin healthy.

Kenny Stills -  The Saints have some serious skills at picking up receivers in the draft. Famously, they were able to snap up Marques Colston out of Hofstra in the seventh round and haven't really stopped since. Most of it is on Drew Brees, but that's beside the point. Stills was taken in the out of Oklahoma after flirting with 1,000 receiving yards and he's been shining in the preseason. He put up a few highlight-reel catches against the Texans in Week 3 and he's been a nice option to stretch the field. The comparison that comes to mind is Robert Meachem in the Saints system and he put up WR3 value in some formats. Give him a look late.

Keenan Allen - We already know what the Chargers have in Malcom Floyd, and it's not much. What's more, Robert Meachem was supposed to be a "sleeper" last year, but that didn't happen with the Chargers cutting him. Allen has some speed, but the team hasn't really been able to get him the ball. He's a complete longshot to have value, but the mystery makes him an interesting guy.

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