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Checking Out The WR2s

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In the NFL, the number one wide receivers get all the glory.  Larry Fitzgerald.  Andre Johnson.  Randy Moss.  They're the offensive engines of their respective teams and the heart of any successful fantasy team. 

But what about the poor, forgotten number two wide receivers? <sniff>

Like most little brothers, they end up in the shadow of their more famous teammates. Oh sure, some guys make a name for themselves - I'm sure Anquan Boldin and Wes Welker were near the top of your draft list - but for the most part the number two wide receivers tend to be overlooked by fantasy owners.  

Fear not little brothers, your time is coming.  Here are some of the best WR2s in the NFL that are owned in less than 60% of CBS Sportsline leagues.  If they're not owned in your league, now is the time to consider picking them up.

Patrick Crayton, DAL (Owned in 59% of leagues) - Crayton has always been one of those guys you picked up off the waiver wire as a bye-week fill in... this season you'll need to move more quickly. Now behind Roy Williams instead of Terrell Owens, Crayton will continue to draw second-rate defensive coverage, giving him an opportunity to make some noise.  He won't win a championship for you, but he's averaging 5 TDs a year over the past four years, so he's certainly capable of winning a game for you.  Besides, Williams has only started 16 games once in his five-year career, so Crayton should see at least some time at WR1.

Jeremy Maclin (Owned in 46% of leagues) - Some websites show Kevin Curtis as the Eagles' WR2, but he's been hurt this summer and hasn't really had a chance to play. That's not the case with Maclin, who is leading the Eagles in receiving yards (129) during the preseason.  Maclin has the skills and the opportunity to be a fantastic WR2 for the Eagles and somebody worth a pickup in your fantasy league.

Deion Branch, SEA (Owned in 38% of leagues) - OK, I admit it, Branch has been a giant bust for the Seahawks as a WR1 but the last time he was a WR2, he won the Super Bowl MVP.  Some guys just aren't ready for prime time. With T.J. Housmandzadeh on board, Branch slides back to the WR2 position where he's the most comfortable.  He was injured last season, but project his 2008 stats out to a full season and he finishes with 60 catches for 824 rec yards and 8 TDs.  That kind of production is worth a spot on your fantasy bench.

Earl Bennett, CHI (Owned in 34% of leagues) - I can see the reluctance of owners to jump on Earl Bennett, seeing how nobody has ever heard of him and that he's never caught even a single pass in an NFL game.  OK, those are good points. But Bennett is the WR2 in Chicago this year and when he was in college at Vanderbilt he played with a QB named...wait, let me look this up....Jay Cutler.  That's convenient, isn't it?  The Bears aren't going to have a great passing offense and when they do throw the ball they'll be looking to TE Greg Olsen a lot.  Devin Hester isn't a great WR1 though, so if you're looking for a deep sleeper, Bennett could be your man.