August 14, 2008
Looking to feed the West Coast Bias, let's talk about - Mike Martz and the San Francisco 49ers! Heard anything about those guys lately?
Okay, we know the Niners are struggling at quarterback, and we know the offense looked pretty bad in the preseason opener against Oakland. But I can't get past the feeling that there's at least one great wide receiver value to be had from Martz's Monster, and maybe that guy is rookie Josh Morgan.
If you don't remember Morgan from draft weekend, there's a good reason why - he didn't go until the sixth round. Day Two choices generally don't lounge in the Green Room. Morgan showed modest improvement at best in his four years at Virginia Tech, and some off-the-field issues cut down his draft stock. He's seen as a possession receiver, not someone who's going to make a lot of intermediate and deep plays.
But there are plenty of pro-angles for Morgan, too. He's thick (6-1, 220), physical and extremely athletic (to separate him from all the other wideouts in the league who are merely "athletic"), and he's quickly established a rapport with quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan, grabbing four passes for 64 yards last weekend in Oakland. We're not talking about garbage time here - all of Morgan's receptions were in the first 20 minutes of the game, first-string reps. The duo has also looked tight in practice, to the point that O'Sullivan downplayed the growing consensus that Morgan is his go-to guy. Mike Nolan says Morgan is in the running for a starting position; it certainly helps that some of the veteran receivers are nursing injuries (Bryant Johnson, notably, has a nagging hamstring problem).
Martz has a history of taking unheralded receivers and making them fantasy assets: see Az Hakim in 1999, Mike Furrey in 2006, or Shaun McDonald last year. Ricky Proehl was surprisingly useful in St. Louis, too. Maybe we're looking at another lottery ticket that cashes.
In most shallow and medium leagues, you don't have to run out and grab Morgan. See the rest of the month play out. You can probably watch some September games, too. My only aim here is to tell you the guy exists, and he belongs somewhere on the bottom of your cheat sheet. Honest.