Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fantasy leagues are won and lost in the late rounds of the draft. I remember my first season of fantasy football when I was about 12 years old. I thought I knew a lot of football but I was proven sorely wrong when after doing no research at all I found myself dropping tons of my mid-late round picks to pick up free agents by mid season. By that point I got into it and was doing tons of research and totally obsessed so I ended up doing fair in an inactive league. The most important things in fantasy if you want to be successful are to do your pre-draft research and stay active during the season on the waiver wire and with your rosters. This list will provide you 8 of my fantasy football sleepers that you should keep in mind on draft day organized by position. This list is comprised of mid to late round sleepers. Once you've finished this article be sure to check out More Fantasy Football Sleepers 2011 and How To Find Fantasy Football Sleepers as well as these player specific articles on Jeremy Maclin, Michael Vick and Mike Williams.


Sam Bradford
Sam Bradford set the rookie record for completions last year as well as boasting decent statistics with 3,512 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. This year I think he will improve on all three of those categories. Last year the Ram's receiver core was devastated by injuries. This year they are likely to add Mark Clayton and Danario Alexander if hes healthy, both of whom were injured last year for most of the season. The Rams nearly made the play offs with a rookie quarterback in the weak NFC west following a 1-15 season prior to his arrival. He shows a lot of poise and could be one of the next stars in the NFL.

Josh Freeman
He isn't THAT much of a sleeper but some people only draft 1 quarterback so I think it is fair for me to put him on this list. He is arguably my number one sleeper this year. He is not all that much of a secret after posting 3,451 yards, 25 touchdowns, 5 interceptions and 364 rushing yards. These numbers are very impressive for a player who has only played in 26 NFL games and is entering his third season. I think that this year he makes the jump to the first or second tier of quarterbacks if he can rack up more passing yards. Last year he had 0 rushing touchdowns which is very unusual considering he had 364 rushing yards so that is an area where he will most likely improve. I intend on drafting him in my fantasy league if I can (shhh don't tell anyone).

Running Backs

LeGarrette Blount
Well if you did your homework then you should already know about Blount. He is another borderline sleeper this year because last year he had 1,007 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. This year it is very hard to find a solid running back who is their teams number one. Blount is a hard runner who should get more touchdowns this year. He is only entering his second season and should improve this year. I am a big buyer on the Tampa Bay offense.

Shonn Greene
Shonn Greene was disappointing last year at where he was drafted which is why I think you should draft him this year. I know a little counter intuitive but he is being hated on in most mock drafts that I participate in. Last year he had LT looming over his shoulder taking at least half of the work load. The bad news is LT is still on the team and will still get carries. The good news for Greene owners is that he wore down late last season and was ineffective. This year the Jets will use him less often and Greene more often. His main problems were pass blocking and receiving which often kept him out of the game and gave away what was going to happen when he was on the field. Last season he still manage to post solid second year numbers with 766 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. He warrants a mid round flyer. You can never have too many running backs there like gold in fantasy.

Ryan Mathews
Another total bust last year I know but I think that like Greene he is being underrated and avoided by some fantasy players which is not warranted considering his talent. He was injured nearly all year or being nursed by the coaching staff to keep his ankle safe. He had major problems but hopefully the off season will heal him up. He has the talent to be a top back in this league if he is healthy. He has Tolbert looming over his shoulder which could be a problem. Tolbert will steal goal line work but Mathews is very explosive. He is a risky player but he has a lot of reward. You shouldn't be afraid to pull the trigger on Mathews.

Felix Jones
Felix is a young running back who will be entering his fourth season. He put up decent stats last year with 800 rushing yards and 450 receiving yards but only 2 touchdowns. This year he will be the starting running back assuming that he holds off Tashard Choice. He is great out of the backfield and is a very fast back. His touchdown totals are low but he was always in a running back trio before and he was only used as a speedy change of pace back. This year those things should change and his fantasy value should rise.

Wide Receivers

Jacoby Ford
I really like Jacoby Ford as a player. He is an extremely fast and quick player who had three return touchdowns on special teams last year. He had a few moments of glory on ESPN where he had some amazing catches. I think that he takes the number one WR role in Oakland and puts up big numbers this year. Last year he had 470 yards with an 18.8 average after not being used in a WR role for the first 6 games. To add to that he had 4 touchdowns (not counting the 3 return TD's) and 155 rushing yards. He is extremely explosive and it should be in Oakland's game plan to get the ball in his hands more often. Hopefully he doesn't turn into a player like Josh Cribbs, Dexter McCluster, and Devin Hester who are all great return men but don't have a lot of fantasy value.

Michael Crabtree
If you don't want to pick him I understand just because Crabtree has been a sleeper pick on many sites for three years in a row now but the third year is supposed to be the breakout year for receivers. The last two seasons were very disappointing if you picked Crabtree early. He disappeared in way too many games but he did still rack up 741 yards and 6 touchdowns. He actually had a decent end of the year while he was sitting on everyone's bench. I'm a little scared about Crabtree but he has the talent to be a star wide receiver in this league. If he falls in your draft don't be afraid to grab him but don't put yourself in a position to have to rely on him every week if you don't have too because all that reward has to have some risk too.

Jordy Nelson
Nelson has a stud quarterback who is arguably the best in the league to get the ball to him. He is quick and sure handed. Donald Driver is still on the team this year but his stats declined last year and he broke his 1,000 yard season streak. Jordy is expected to fill his slot. The only downside is that Rodgers spreads the ball around a lot and Nelson could be considered the third target for the Packers. He has Jennings ahead of him at receiver and the tight end Finley to compete with as well. Last year he had 582 yards and 2 touchdowns. All around Nelson is a solid pick and is a desirable third or fourth wide receiver (depends if you do 2 or 3 Rb's). Plus I love the Packers so that helps :).

For more sleepers be sure to check out More Fantasy Football Sleepers 2011.

Check out my rankings by clicking the links on the top of the page or these.


Anonymous said...

Nice guide ,Bear

Anonymous said...

i see its going well =D Bear,

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