In this article, we will be taking a closer look into extremely deep sleepers at the WR position. Not one of these players ADP has them being drafted higher than a Top 65 WR, most of them are not being drafted at all. No one is expecting these guys to be weekly starters nor should they. A Week 10 victory could be the difference between enjoying a deep playoff run and watching your buddies making that run in your place. These five guys could put a team over the top in a close game during crunch time and maybe if everything lines up just right, they could be regular fantasy starters this year.
Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
Baldwin will be a starting WR with an injury-prone Percy Harvin being the only player ahead of him on the depth chart. With Golden Tate now catching passes from Matthew Stafford in Detroit, Baldwin could realistically lead the Seahawks in targets or come close to it. Harvin, Seattle's star WR has only played 10 games over the past two seasons and has completed a 16-game season just once in his career. He is also a slot receiver, so while he would take targets away from Baldwin, he is not a threat to fill Baldwin's niche out on the outside. In 2013, Baldwin caught 50 passes with only 73 balls thrown his way. He statistically has the 10th-best hands in the NFL based on catch rate (receptions / targets) and drop rate. With just two drops on 52 catch-able balls, his drop rate was an impressive 3.85-percent. Last season Baldwin added 778 yards and five touchdowns to his stat line. The 25-year-old is one of the most dependable WRs in the NFL. To go along with his great hands, he is an excellent route runner and knows how to catch the ball at its highest point. Surely, Russell Wilson will be looking Baldwin's way more than ever before. Not only is he a potential late-round steal, he's a potential star player in 2014.
Last year with the Steelers, Cotchery put together his best season since 2008. He caught 46 passes for 602 yards and 10 TDs all while playing as a third option behind Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. Now in his 11th season, the 32-year-old WR is a serviceable weapon and a viable red-zone target. We are not yet sure exactly what his role will be in the Panthers offense. He is expected to be the WR2 or possibly WR1. If rookie Kelvin Benjamin does not acclimate himself to the Panthers offense as quickly as expected, Cotchery's value would be increased, especially early in the season. It's hard to put a value on a dependable veteran presence. He may prove to be a very valuable asset for Cam Newton. Cotchery could realistically be a very good bench stash and a nice flex play when dealing with injuries and bye weeks. Don't expect another double-digit TD performance; nevertheless, more targets, receptions and yards are very real possibilities.
Gibson was quietly having a solid first year in Miami when his 2013 campaign ended due to an ACL tear. He emerged as Tannehill's safety valve when he was under pressure and a go-to target on third down. He was flourishing and living up to his potential, the way many who watched him in St. Louis expected in previous seasons. If he can remain healthy, he has to be the favorite to win the slot receiver role in Miami. He is a much more polished receiver than rookie Jarvis Landry and third-year man Rishard Matthews. In just seven games, the 26-year-old WR caught 30 passes and three TDs. Nobody that watched the Dolphins last season should be surprised if Gibson emerges as an excellent complement pass-catcher to Mike Wallace. Monitor Gibson's preseason performances as he could be a fantastic deep sleeper.
Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland Browns
Andrew Hawkins is the WR2 on the Browns' depth chart. With Josh Gordon suspended for the season, Hawkins only competition for a starting job is Miles Austin and Nate Burleson. Austin's troubled hamstrings have hindered him for years, while Burleson has dealt with injury woes of his own. Hawkins has an extremely high probability to lead the Cleveland WR corps in targets. It's not all good news though. He suffered an ankle injury that forced him to miss the first half of the 2013 season. Even after returning, he never got back on track. Prior to last season, he had a mini-breakout in Cincinnati. He caught 51 passes for 533 yards and four touchdowns. He is very versatile and could cause serious issues for opposing defenses by creating mismatches. His athleticism and play-making ability in space could be a tremendous asset to an offense that could really use a spark. Jordan Cameron will no doubt be Johnny Football's top target, but Hawkins has a shot to be his No. 2 guy. A second option on any team has at least some fantasy value. As stars begin to get banged up and bye weeks loom, keep an eye on Hawkins. He could be a late-round steal or game-saving waiver wire find.
There was a lot of buzz surrounding Detroit's practices this spring and all the buzz coming out of Lion's camp involved Jeremy Ross. The sophomore receiver has done an impressive job to secure a roster spot in Detroit and has been tremendous in camp. Ross was expected to be nothing more than a special teamer, but he may climb the depth chart as high as WR3 to start the season. If the former undrafted receivers out of Cal does in fact win the spot as third receiver, he could be a potential fantasy contributor within the Lions offense. Even with Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and Eric Ebron getting their fair-share of targets, Matthew Stafford throws enough passes to go around. The Lions would love to take as much attention off Megatron as possible. If the rumors and speculation out of Detroit is accurate, Ross is a player to keep an eye on heading into the season. He is a super sleeper that could develop into much more than even the Lions expected. Ross will have a tough task ahead of him to beat out Kris Durham, Corey Fuller and Ryan Broyles to secure a prominent role though.