Last year Laurent Robinson didn’t catch his first touchdown until his 5th game with the Dallas Cowboys. That was normal or even good for Robinson considering in the prior 4 years he averaged 1 touchdown and 250 yards receiving per season. But last year rather than reverting to form he performed at a torrid pace and posted his best season by far, scoring 11 touchdowns with 858 yards receiving.
Robinson was the latest example of a receiver who emerges out of nowhere to finish near the top of the fantasy point rankings. It happens every year. Remember Mike Sims-Walker in 2009 or Stevie Johnson in 2010? The Minnesota Vikings have a breakout candidate for 2012 in Jerome Simpson. He has played one fewer season than Robinson and has had five 100-yard receiving games (two more than Robinson’s career total), three of which were last season, in 24 regular season games.
Having the Measurables and the Opportunity
Simpson has identical size to Robinson, both measuring 6’2” and 190 pounds, and has already made a few dazzling big catches. With Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph roaming the middle of the field, Simpson will have the opportunity to see more deep balls come his way. Last season the fifth-year receiver was catching passes from Andy Dalton, widely regarded as having only average arm strength, but Christian Ponder, the Vikings presumed starter, has a stronger arm and occasionally put it on display his rookie season. Ponder was excited with the addition of Simpson.
“Jerome was running a dig, which is 20-yard in-route, and the cushion was unbelievable because everyone’s afraid he’s going to run right by them, he’s so fast. That just adds a whole other dimension to our offense.” Adding, “The guy is so fast. He’s so athletic. I think he’s going to be a great asset to our ‘X’ position.”
Where to Target Jerome Simpson
Like Mike Sims-Walker, Stevie Johnson, and Laurent Robinson, Simpson’s best value will be the waiver wire. He will be suspended for the first 3 games of the 2012 season due to off the field activities and then will have to get in-game timing down with Ponder. He’s worth noting to proactive fantasy owners who want to unearth the next in-season star, a la Denarius Moore.