Fantasy Football: A Look At Some Sleepers
Total Pro Sports – When it comes to fantasy football, your studs may lead your team, but often it is the sleepers you grab in the late rounds that can make the difference between a playoff team and a championship team. And who knows. Your sleeper at the beginning of the year may turn out to be your stud at the end of it.
Although there are several rookies who would fit the bill as late round steals, we have already discussed such players and will therefore stick to the veterans. What constitutes a sleeper is a guy who may not be high (or even on) some draft boards, but has the potential to develop into a strong contributor on your fantasy football team. And just a side note, I don’t include the likes of DeSean Jackson, Anthony Gonzalez, Ray Rice, etc., as sleepers, even though they are listed as such by NFL.com. We all know these guys will produce, and if you didn’t think so then you may need to do some more studying prior to your draft.
Here is a look at 10 guys you may want to keep your eye on as your draft develops:
Felix Jones, RB, DAL : This is likely the highest rated player we will look at, but we just had to include Felix Jones here. He has not been given the best of rankings among running backs from fantasy experts, but with the very real possibility that he may take over starting duties from Marion Barber in the Cowboys backfield, even a “middle of the pack” ranking does not do this Razorback alum justice.
Tim Hightower, RB, ARI : After drafting Ohio State’s Chris Wells with their first round pick, everyone has already moved him ahead of Hightower on the Cardinals depth chart. That move may be a bit to early. Wells has struggled with some injury problems in camp and if he can’t adapt to life in the NFL quick enough, it will be Hightower’s backfield once again.
Jamaal Charles, RB, KC : The criticism continues to pile up on Chiefs running back Larry Johnson and that is great news for second-year man Jamaal Charles. With an extra year of experience, the Chiefs may find that now is the time to pass the torch to their 2008 third round pick. Hopefully Charles can run with it.
Fred Jackson, RB, BUF : Jackson is not the lead man in Buffalo, but he will be for the beginning of the season with Marshawn Lynch suspended for the first three games. That alone is great news to fantasy owners with Jackson on their roster, and should he perform well he may be in line for a promotion.
Trent Edwards, QB, BUF : We don’t particularly like Trent Edwards, but we love Terrell Owens. Sure, he may have a knack for getting on quarterbacks nerves, but if history tells us anything, it is that his first year on a new team is always a very productive one. If that is the case this season in Buffalo, Edwards will be the beneficiary.
Kyle Orton, QB, DEN : When Denver traded Jay Cutler to Chicago for Kyle Orton, they may have seen something in the former Bears quarterback. While I still don’t see it, what I do see is Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal lining up at the wide receiver positions for the Broncos. That is enough of a reason to look for Orton as a possible backup. You should also keep in mind that he plays for a bad team, and that means a lot of throwing at the end of the game. You just have to love those points during “garbage time”, as some of us like to call it.
Sidney Rice, WR, MIN : He wasn’t much to look at before, but now with Brett Farve slinging the passes in Minnesota, Sidney Rice may finally get the opportunity to break out. Rice will likely get the starting job opposite Bernard Berrian and if Favre is given the green light to throw, you may find Rice to be on the other end of many of those passes.
Torry Holt, WR, JAC : It was not long ago that Holt was one of the premeire fantasy football wideouts. He has fallen since then, but after being let go by the Rams and picked up by the Jaguars, we feel that the 33-year-old may still have something in him. It also doesn’t hurt that he will likely be the number one receiver on Jags team that is thin at that position.
Donnie Avery, WR, STL : It is only fitting that we mention Avery following Holt. With the Rams vet gone, Avery will be expected to step in and take on the number one role. On a Rams team that will likely be throwing a lot near the end of games, that is great news in the fantasy football world.
Joey Galloway, WR, NE : He is the third receiver on the Pats, but that seemed to work out quite nicely for JabarGaffney two years ago when he hauled in five touchdowns. Galloway poses more of a threat than Gaffney did and we feel his numbers could be even better this season if Brady is back in top form.
Catch us next week when we look at the sophomore jinx and other issues concerning the 2009 fantasy football season.