July 31, 2012; Napa, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Rod Streater (80) during training camp at the Napa Valley Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

Rod Streater-Fantasy Football Sleeper or Preseason Mirage?

August 13, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Rod Streater (80) prepares to catch a pass against the Dallas Cowboys in the second quarter at O.Co Coliseum. The Cowboys defeated the Raiders 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Raiders Wide Receivers have been risky propositions the last few seasons of fantasy football. There have been flashes of brilliance from Denarius Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and even Jacoby Ford. At different times over the past few years, they’ve been hot pickups and big disappointments. Well, this preseason there’s a new receiver in town and he’s starting to get attention as a legitimate fantasy football option. Let’s take a look at Rod Streater and see if he’s just a preseason mirage who vanishes as soon as the season begins or if he has a legitimate shot to be relevant in Fantasy Football this year.

First, some background: Streater went undrafted out of Temple after catching just 19 passes his Senior season. To be fair to Streater, the Owls are far from a pass-heavy system and he was severely limited in his opportunities to make plays. The Raiders signed him after the draft and he immediately started impressing Raiders new coach Dennis Allen. He was a standout in rookie minicamp and OTAs and came into the preseason with a solid chance of making the team.

Dec. 17, 2011; Albuquerque, NM, USA; Temple Owls wide receiver (18) Rod Streater scores a second quarter touchdown against the Wyoming Cowboys in the 2011 New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Last week in the Raiders exhibition opener, a 3-0 yawner against visiting Dallas, Streater was about the only offensive standout hauling in six passes for 66 yards all in the first half. He led the team in targets with eight. People started taking notice before they fell asleep or turned away from the lackluster Monday Night Football opener.

Last night against the Cardinals, Streater again impressed catching seven of the eight passes thrown his way for 43 yards. In the two games he 109 yards on 13 catches and a team-high 15 targets. The biggest news for Streater though may have had nothing to do with any passes thrown his way. Jacoby Ford who was ineffective in the team’s first exhibition game left the game with an injury and was on crutches after the game. Last year Ford missed eight games with a foot injury and that seems to be what he injured last night as well.

Now, before we go too crazy, let’s all take a deep breath and remember this is preseason. It’s “fake football” as Michael Wilbon always reminds us on PTI. Darrius Heyward-Bey is expected to be the #1 and seemed to have a great connection to Carson Palmer at the end of last year finishing with three touchdowns in his last five games and four straight 70 yard games and two games over 130. Denarius Moore is expected to be the other starting wide-out with Jacoby Ford as the third option and Juron Criner a fifth-round pick from Arizona also expected to be in the mix for receptions. Also, be sure to remember that this is a team that will be best served by getting plenty of touches for Darren McFadden as a run-first offense.

All that being said though, Streater carries some serious potential. I see him as a legitimate sleeper going into the season. Obviously the coaching staff likes his skill set and are giving him the opportunity to prove himself early on in preseason. Juron Criner has struggled and actually started camp behind Eddie McGee on the depth chart. Denarius Moore hasn’t been able to get on the field in either preseason game due to a nagging hamstring injury and that could leave Streater starting across from DHB with Ford’s recent injury.

Don’t be that guy that takes the “sleeper” in the fifth round or anything like that. There’s a chance Streater is just a preseason wonder. However, as your draft winds down and you’re getting your second backup wide receiver, Streater is worth a shot with the other issues the Raiders WR have had being consistent. I’d take him as a fourth or fifth WR in most leagues. He has some serious upside and whether he’s on your team or the waiver wire keep a close eye on how things play out over the first few weeks of real football.

Tags: Fantasy Football Sleepers Oakland Raiders Rob Streater

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