Today, as the season fully kicks off in earnest, I want to direct your attention to a few guys who probably won't get any face time on SportsCenter, but whom I'll be watching very closely in the stat lines this weekend. If they show signs of life, I will certainly claim them off waivers because I think there are already indications they could play big roles this year. This post will focus on wide receivers; in no specific order, here are a few players that I will be watching:
Emmanuel Sanders - Pittsburgh This guy was overshadowed in the preseason by Antonio Brown, but I stuck with him in several leagues and already have him rostered. Sanders is probably owned in most leagues, but if he is available you may want to grab him even before lineups lock Sunday. He is extremely speedy and Ben Roethlisberger loves to throw to his third wide receivers (see Mike Wallace in his rookie year). Sanders is apparently a better route runner than Brown and more polished, so he could play a huge role on a prolific offense this year. If he puts up even four catches this week, I'd grab him quickly.
Dezmon Briscoe - Tampa Bay Briscoe is a talented No.3 on the Bucs - a young, up and coming team that showed promise last year. With Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn on the outside and Kellen Winslow also gaining attention, this quick slot receiver could gain a lot of targets. If he shows signs of life early on I would add him because the opportunities will likely be there.
Harry Douglas - Atlanta This kid has a ton of talent and has flashed it at this level, but he has struggled with injuries in his first couple of years. But don't overlook him, because he is in a great situation with an emerging QB in Matt Ryan. Douglas is also quick and showed it with a long touchdown in the preseason. With Roddy White and Julio getting all of the attention, he could have a huge year.
Jabar Gaffney - Washington Gaffney was just named the No.2 in Washington. Obviously I'm not wild about Rex Grossman as starter, but if he somehow pulls off even a decent year, Gaffney could be a player. He has always been underrated; he has good hands and decent speed and is a good route runner. I could see him catching 65 balls in the Redskins offense if Grossman shows up.
Cecil Shorts - Jacksonville Cecil who?!? This is a deep sleeper, but this rookie out of Mount Union has gotten rave reviews in Jaguars camp. Garrard was loving him before he got cut, but if the kid is talented I see no reason why he can?t thrive with Luke McCown (especially since many think McCown has to be better than Garrard). If he has a big week 1, don't overlook Shorts.
Bernard Berrian - Minnesota I could see Berrian either stinking it up like last year or developing some great chemistry with McNabb and having a rebound year. If he has lots of targets or McNabb goes to him in big situations, let that be a sign to grab this guy. There aren't too many options in Minnesota and McNabb has always been a great thrower. Give him a look if you are thin at wide receiver, and watch his stats this week...
Arrelious Benn - Tampa Bay I mentioned Briscoe earlier, but I also have my eye on Benn. He was a fellow rookie with Mike Williams last year and was picked ahead of him in the draft. He is a big body who is also strong and fast; he reminds me of Braylon Edwards, only a little faster and stronger. If he shows an early chemistry with his studly young QB, grab him!
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