I know it's a little early to start talking about fantasy football. I mean, after all we are in the middle of a lockout and nobody can really know for sure if there's even going to be a full season, or at least a shortened season. Unless the lockout is lifted soon, fantasy leagues around the country won't be able plan their drafts until last minute.
However, it isn't often that a Bengals player gets labeled as a sure thing, or even a sleeper, so you'll have to forgive me for getting excited.
On Tuesday, NFL.com fantasy editor Michael Fabiano wrote about some of the sleeper picks that could make big impacts on fantasy teams. One of those sleeper picks was Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson.
Jerome Simpson, WR, Bengals: One method to predicting sleepers is to look at which players were the hottest at the end of the previous season. Enter Simpson, who went off for 18 catches, 247 yards and three touchdowns in the final two games of the 2010 campaign. While he will lose some targets to rookie A.J. Green, Simpson still figures to see more than his share of opportunites as the potential No. 1 wideout in the Bengals offense. Regardless, he figures to record the best numbers of his pro career.
I'm not saying that Simpson is going to be a top pick or anything, but I could see how he could make somebody look like an evil genius come fantasy league playoffs.
If the Bengals decide to let Chad Ochocinco play for another team in 2011, Simpson will be forced onto the field to play opposite of A.J. Green. That doesn't necessarily mean he'll be successful, though. He's got a new offensive coordinator, a new quarterback, possibly a new running back and a less than awesome offensive line. All of those pieces need to come together, in the aftermath of a lockout, for Simpson to have success in 2011, or at least enough success to help you win fantasy football games if you pick him.
However, if those pieces of the puzzle fit together, Simpson could really have an incredible year. If he can duplicate what he did in the final few games of the 2010 season for an entire season, he could be a household name by the time the 2011 season draws to a close.