The Best Young Wide Receiver that No one is Talking About
WR Ace Sanders, JAX - Sleeper (undervalued)
Ace Sanders is the best young wide receiver that no one is talking about. This is partially because he was a late round pick, and partially because he plays in Jacksonville (where networks have to apologize for putting on their games). Which is ridiculous to me, because they have been a very competitive franchise since their inaugural season in 1995, but that's a whole other topic. Sanders quietly put together a very good rookie season in Jacksonville. Despite having a four week stretch when he struggled with injury (and had very little production), he still managed to catch 51 passes for 484 yards and a TD, get involved in the running game, and even throw a 21 yard TD pass. These are strong numbers for a rookie playing in for an anemic offense that ranked 31st in the league in yards per game, and dead last in points. Sanders is an extremely versatile player who can line up and make an impact anywhere on the field. He can carry the ball on reverses or pitches, catch screens, go deep, or wreak havoc in the middle of the field from the slot. He reminds me a lot of former Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins WR Antwan Randle El. A guy that can do it all on the field from dangerous return man to throwing a huge TD in the Super Bowl.
No one has benefited more from the Jaguars' offseason "moves" than Ace Sanders. Blake Bortles (if they use him like they did at UCF) is a perfect fit for Sanders; Bubble screens, slants, and the ability to take a shot now and then is a game plan that Sanders can thrive in. The faster they get Bortles in and Henne out, the better for Sanders' fantasy value. Also with Justin Blackmon's off-field struggles, Sanders will be propelled into a moredominate starting role. He should also have enough talent around him with Cecil Shorts and rookies Marquise Lee and Allen Robinson, that it will be hard to key in on any one or two guys. I'm not a Toby Gerhart believer, but if he can play up to his contract that will also be a big boost to Jacksonville's retooled offense. Maybe most importantly of all, drafting Miami tackle Brandon Linder and rebuilding that O-line should create a lot more time and options for all players to flourish.
Sanders is definitely a talented young receiver with a big opportunity in front of him. You can bring him in as a WR6 that has WR3 potential. You can draft him late and get great value because most casual fans don't know who this guy is, and others fear the Jacksonville offense. However he has the talent to put up nice numbers, and the Jags have made a lot of big moves this offseason to improve that offense. Make sure at the very least you put Ace Sanders on your radar, he's a WR to look out for in 2014!