Locker Room Sleepers Bracket Round One: Aaron Dobson vs. Greg Jennings
This post appears as part of our 2014 Ultimate NFL Sleepers Bracket. View the other entries below, or check progress at the overall bracket.
Jon Collins (@joncollinsFSLR) opens for Aaron Dobson:
Rookie wide receivers and tight ends often have a challenging transition to the NFL game in their first season (a fact I’ve covered elsewhere). As a fantasy community in general, though, we draft rookies based on name, ‘fit’ with their current team and general hype. Sometimes it works out just fine (see Allen, Keenan) but more often than not owners overpay for rookie receivers on draft day.
As a result, we wind up disappointed and this fact along with generally unfair expectations of year one contributions we end up thinking a player didn’t measure up and thus we under value them in the following year. As such, sophomore receivers present a great buying opportunity.
Aaron Dobson is the best such example in this year’s receiver crop. We’re currently drafting Dobson with a late right pricetag, outside of the receiver top-50 according to FantasyPros’ ADP data. He didn’t finish far behind that number in an injury abbreviated first season, and while he is still recovering at the moment all indications are that Dobson will blow that out of the water in 2014.
It was an up and down season as he transitioned to the NFL to be sure: Dobson caught right around 50% of his targets (37/71), but he made the 37 receptions count – averaging 14 yards a piece. A second round pick in 2013, it took him a while to acclimate to the pro game and to a complex offense coordinated by Josh McDaniels in New England but by the end of October he was looking like a player who was starting to put it together. During a three game stretch after the lighbulb moment and before injury thew him off track Dobson made 13 receptions for 228 yards (76 per game) while scoring three touchdowns. The ability is there.
He is projected by most around the team to see every down work for New England this year and should grow his production on volume alone, let alone progression.
Jason Willan (@ConsultFantasy) promotes Greg Jennings:
Greg Jennings got off to a slow start in his first year with the Vikings and battled knee and Achilles issues during the middle of the season. However, in five December games, the eight-year veteran caught 32 passes for 365 yards and two touchdowns, with a quarterback change from Christian Ponder to Matt Cassel paying major dividends for Jennings down the stretch. He was a top-20 fantasy receiver over the last five weeks of 2013, and with Cassel or first-round draft pick Teddy Bridgewater expected to open 2014 as Minnesota’s signal caller (not to mention the addition of Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner), the Vikings passing game is likely to get off to a faster start this season.
Jennings isn’t as sexy a fantasy pick as teammate Cordarrelle Patterson and you won’t find him at the top of any fantasy football rankings, but the veteran can be useful as a low-end WR3 or flex play, and he has even more value in PPR scoring formats. Based on a current ADP in the 12th-to-15th round, Jennings has the potential to give savvy fantasy owners a nice return on investment.
Jason Willan (@ConsultFantasy) is the Fantasy Consultant, a self-described fantasy degenerate that has been participating in fantasy sports leagues since the spiral notebook scoring era. He is a head writer and fantasy football guru at GridironExperts.com.