Camp Battles: New England WR
Once a team famous for no-name talent at wide receiver, the Patriots are now a team with perhaps too many recognizable pass catchers. The additions of
To further complicate matters for fantasy owners, this is the Patriots passing attack; in recent years New England has made a habit out of spreading the football around, never going back to the same receiver two games in a row. It makes relying on Patriots skill players risky for fantasy owners. But with this cast of characters, the team will offer a couple of viable fantasy prospects. Moss is one, but who else is worth considering?
Welker is a return guy, right? Well, fantasy owners have been quick to forget that Welker snatched 67 passes last season for an awful Miami passing attack. In this bunch, Welker will not catch that many balls; New England is too deep at receiver and he is too important to the club as a return man. However, he must be figured into the depth chart, likely as a situational receiver able to stretch short tosses into large gains.
Washington may have the most upside of the remaining receivers. He has good size and ability, but has been limited by injuries throughout his career. Now healthy, he has been given more practice reps thanks to the minor injuries suffered by Moss and Brown. Against Carolina, Washington hauled in three passes for 37 yards.
When healthy, Stallworth has been a very good fantasy receiver. When he played all 16 games in 2005, his last year with the Saints, Stallworth caught 70 passes for 945 yards. Problem is, in five years, Stallworth has only made it through two without injury, missing a total of 12 games. His consistency is also a concern (of the 12 games in which he played in 2006, he gained fewer than 10 yards in three of them). Still, Stallworth's career numbers have been far better than his counterparts, and for that fantasy owners must keep their fingers crossed that he stays on the field.
Washington is a "deep" sleeper fantasy owners should pay attention to. He has taken full advantage of his limited opportunities in camp, and he could finally return to the level of success he once had as a freshman at Tennessee.