Sleeper Spotlight: Why Mohamed Sanu May Make An Impact In Cincinnati

The Cincinnati Bengals spent a third round pick on Mohamed Sanu in 2012 and at times he showed some signs of breaking out during his rookie season.  While his year ultimately was caught short due to a stress fracture in his foot, that will likely send him further under-the-radar as we head into 2013.

One thing working in Sanu’s favor is the significant talent that is around him.  Obviously A.J. Green is going to get the bulk of the attention and is one of the premier wide receivers in the game.

After drafting Tyler Eiffert in 2013 they now own an impressive tight end duo, with Jermaine Gresham there as well.  Defenses are going to have to game plan for them, helping to open things up on the outside.

The Bengals also added more talent to the backfield, drafting Giovani Bernard to pair with BenJarvus Green-Ellis.  It’s just another weapon for defenses to try and stop.

In other words, defenses can’t possibly game plan for every weapon the Bengals have and the person that will often be forgotten will be the secondary wide receivers.  Opponents are not going to want to let Green beat them.  They are going to commit to shutting him down, and that should leave one-on-one matchups on the other side.

Enter Sanu, since Andrew Hawkins is expected to lineup in the slot.  In his final season at Rutgers he amassed 115 receptions for 1,206 yards, showing just what could be possible.  As it is, despite just 16 receptions in his rookie season, Sanu managed to find the end zone 4 times.  That number alone has to get fantasy owners salivating.

Prior to the 2012 draft, here are a few scouting reports:

According to nfl.com (click here to view): “Sanu came in as a heralded recruit, missed only one start at Rutgers and has continued to develop significantly each year. He has good size and is capable of making a lot of plays within a West Coast offense. He is a player who can separate well and excels in the short to intermediate passing game, an ideal receiver for a timing-based, pass-often offense. He is a polished all-around player.”

According to Walter Football (click here to view): “Sanu is a dynamic receiver who does everything well. He has big strong hands and is very reliable. Teams can know that Sanu will go across the middle of the field and make tough catches. He has fantastic body control, which allows him to make highlight-reel catches along the sideline. Sanu is physical with corners and is a good route-runner. He played at X (split end), Z (flanker) and the slot in college. Sanu uses quickness and route running to get separation from defensive backs. His size allows him to shield off defenders. Sanu should be a reliable NFL receiver to move the chains. He’ll make a big impact on third downs and produce points in the red zone.”

He may not make significantly big plays, but he’s going to be used to move the chains and could be a major asset in the red zone.  He’s got a good quarterback throwing him the ball and, working as more of a secondary option, he should get ample opportunities to make plays and rack up the receptions and TD.  The team proved last season that they trusted him and, if healthy, is it impossible to think that he could reach 50+ catches and 8-12 TD?

Those aren’t WR1 expectations, nor are they WR2, but if you can get him in the latter rounds and see what develops he’s well worth the risk.  He’s not going to be a superstar, but he offers the potential to be a viable option in all formats.

What are your thoughts of Sanu?  Do you see him as a potentially viable fantasy option?  Why or why not?

Make sure to check out all of our 2013 preseason rankings:

Breakout Candidate: Why The Dolphins' Lamar Miller Could End The Season As A RB1
Breakout Candidates: Which Sophomore Wide Receivers Could Emerge In 2012?

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