Archive for Sleeper Spotlight

Draft Day Decisions: Three Late Round Tight Ends To Target

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Are you looking for a late round tight end who could emerge as a TE1?  Here are three players worth considering:

Rob Housler – Arizona Cardinals
We’ve already discussed Housler in-depth (click here for the article), so we aren’t going to revisit everything once again.  That said, he is our favorite sleeper tight end and currently owns an ADP of 186.3 according to fantasypros.com (he isn’t being drafted in MyFantasyLeague.com or Fantasy Football Calculator).  There are just a lot of things stacking up in his favor:

  • New head coach Bruce Arians brings a passing offense that saw Coby Fleener & Dwayne Allen (a pair of rookies) totaling 71 catches for 802 yards and 5 TD a year ago
  • Carson Palmer is now at QB, meaning the Cardinals finally have a viable quarterback throwing the football
  • Larry Fitzgerald will draw the bulk of the attention in the passing game
  • A questionable running game
  • Has been drawing big praise from his new head coach

When you put that all together, exactly why shouldn’t we be rolling the dice in the latter rounds?

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Sleeper Spotlight: Three Underrated and Underdrafted Running Backs (Stacy, Hillman & Ellington)

by Will Overton

After a couple of brief years where the dominant thought shifted a bit we are back to the thinking that fantasy owners need to go running back early and often, if not back to back in the first two rounds. The reasoning behind this is that we’re told the depth just isn’t there at running back this season, which there is a case for.

This is why guys who may be perceived as going too high like Matt Forte and Chris Johnson, going in or near the second round, are going when they are. Inevitably though every year we have a few guys who fly under the radar and end up being top 20 backs. So while there may not be depth on the surface, it always shows up, it’s just a matter of finding those late round steals.

Last season it was Alfred Morris and to a lesser extent it was Stevan Ridley who was drafted in every league, but never much higher than the 75 – 90 range. Now the question is who will it be this season. I’ve got a few names of guys being drafted outside the top 100 overall right now who could finish the season as top 20 running backs. Read more

Breakout Candidate: Could The Cardinals’ Rob Housler Emerge As A Viable Fantasy Option?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

On a weekly basis no position seems more unpredictable than tight end, does it?  In any given week there seems to be a seemingly unknown player coming out of nowhere to produce big numbers only to disappear into obscurity the following week.  That just adds to the value of having an option you can depend on week in and week out and makes it more important to find the unknown talent who could emerge as something more than a flash in the pan.

One such option could be the Cardinals’ Rob Housler, who has shown growth as he enters his third year in the league.  He played 15 games in 2012 picking up 45 receptions for 417 yards and 0 TD.  Considering that came courtesy of a QB group that threw for just 3,383 yards and that he didn’t sit atop the depth chart early (Todd Heap had that job, though he played just two games) the numbers look even better.

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Sleeper Spotlight: Can Chris Ivory Emerge As A Must Use Running Back

by Ray Kuhn

Yes, I know it is weird. It almost sounds like I have it backwards. Chris Ivory’s fantasy stock is rising for this season and a large reason why is because he was traded from the Saints to the Jets this offseason.

Ivory is now entering his fourth season in the league, and until now has only shown flashes of production. Part of the reason why he struggled was due to his health issues, but inconsistent playing time was a bigger problem for the talented running back. Whether it was Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles or Mark Ingram ahead of him on the depth chart, Ivory very rarely got to carry the load for the Saints aside from a game or two. The Saints also do have Drew Brees, so the emphasis was not always on running the ball and controlling the clock.

The Jets certainly do not have Brees behind center, and instead some combination of Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith will be quarterbacking in 2013. What that means is that despite the fact that Ivory is downgrading in surrounding talent, his opportunity is certainly increasing. With that comes a likely increase in production.

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2012 Week 17 Fantasy Football Sleepers

by Ryan Lester of www.lesterslegends.com

Sometimes you need a fantasy gem to be successful. Here is a list of LestersLegends’ under the radar players that could possibly pull out a win for you in Week 17.

Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
Wilson turned a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers into yet another case that he belongs in the discussion for Rookie of the Year. Wilson threw for four touchdowns. This is a week after running for three scores. He has 25 passing touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns, and just 13 turnovers (10 interceptions, three fumbles). He played poorly in the first meeting with the St. Louis Rams, but he is an entirely different quarterback these days.

Montell Owens, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Owens also had a tough matchup last week (New England Patriots). He only managed 42 yards on the ground, but he chipped in with 77 receiving yards. He has a more favorable matchup this week against the Tennessee Titans. The Titans rank 23rd against the run, allowing 127.5 yards per game. They are also one of five teams to have allowed 16 or more rushing touchdowns. Read more

Sleeper Wide Receivers: Could Leonard Hankerson or Damaris Johnson Hold Value?

Injuries to Pierre Garcon and Jeremy Maclin have opened up potential playing time for a pair of young receivers.  Could either of them be worth gambling on in Week 3?  Let’s take a look:

Leonard Hankerson – Washington Redskins
Pierre Garçon is officially listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game, opening the door for someone else to step in against a Bengals defense that has allowed 308.5 passing adds per game over the first two weeks (fourth most in the league). They also have given up 4 passing touchdowns while failing to record an interception.

According to Zac Boyer (via Twitter):

“If #Redskins’ Pierre Garcon can’t play against #Bengals on Sunday, it seems very likely Leonard Hankerson will replace him at split end.”

Hankerson had two catches for 68 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 after failing to record a catch in the season opener. While he is still a risky play, in three receiver formats he definitely is worth considering. I would grab him now if you have a need and monitor the news over the next day or two before depending on him. Read more

Week 1 Sleeper: Quarterback Jake Locker: Why He Could Post Big Numbers Against New England

Throughout the week we will highlight some potential sleeper options, giving you the positives and negatives in order to help you make a decision.  Let’s kick things off with Jake Locker:

Positives:

  • Taking on the Patriots, there is a good chance Locker is going to have to play catchup early on. That is going to increase his opportunities to make plays in the passing game.
  • The Patriots secondary was among the worst in the NFL in 2011, allowing the second most passing yards per game (293.9) and the tenth most passing touchdowns (26). With no major changes and the expectation of playing in front, there is no reason to think things will change this week.
  • Has a strong running game, led by Chris Johnson, which should help to keep the Patriots honest (even if they have a big lead).
  • Has a high upside group of receivers including Kendall Wright, Nate Washington and tight end Jared Cook. Read more

Late Round Sleepers: Quarterback Edition

Looking for players worth targeting after the 12th round of your fantasy draft?  Then this series of columns will definitely be for you.  We are going to look for players at each position that currently have an ADP greater than 150 (according to Mock Draft Central) who are worth targeting.  Let’s kick things off with the quarterbacks:

Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens
Current ADP = 158.20
I have already covered Flacco as a sleeper (click here to view), so make sure you check that out.  The fact is that, while Ray Rice is going to be the focus of the offense, Flacco has the potential to post big numbers.  As it is he was 12th in yards, 13th in TD and 14th in fewest INT in 2011 with numbers that have been consistent for three years running:

  • Three straight seasons of at least 3,600 yards
  • Three straight seasons of at least 20 touchdowns
  • Three straight seasons of 12 INT or fewer

All it will take is a small step forward for him to perform as a QB1.  With Torrey Smith developing and the appearance of them putting more trust and faith in the passing game, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he reached that level, would it? Read more

Deep League Sleeper: Should LaVon Brazill Be On Your Radar?

Are you looking for a wide receiver sleeper who is flying not only under, but probably completely off, most radars and has the potential to start? LaVon Brazill may be just the guy you are looking for. He is competing with Austin Collie and Donnie Avery to start opposite Reggie Wayne for the Indianapolis Colts, hardly an imposing group to overtake (especially if the team decides to keep Collie in his role as the slot receiver, though at this point reports have Collie working on the outside in two receiver sets and in the slot for three receiver sets).

The 5’11″ Brazill was drafted in the sixth round (206th overall) out of Ohio University. His five year college career really hadn’t amount to much until last season when he exploded with 73 catches for 1,150 yards and 11 TD. For good measure he returned punts (he had three return TD in 2009) and kickoffs as well

A knee injury cost him all but three games in his junior season, so that is something that has to be monitored closely. As it is, scouting reports prior to the draft pointed to a lack of speed.  In Sports Illustrated’s scouting report prior to the draft (click here to view) they said, “Lacks a second gear and top-end speed” to be exact. Read more

Three Sleeper Tight Ends To Target

Are you looking for a tight end that may not be on your league mates radar?  Here are three guys that have the potential to be fantasy gold mines either on draft day or off the waiver wire:

Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings
We’ve already spoken about him individually (click here to view), so I won’t go into too much detail here.  The bottom line with Rudolph is that as the 2011 season progressed he became a bigger and bigger threat in the red zone, scoring all three of his touchdowns in the final seven games.  At 6’6” and 258 lbs., you would think that he is a prime candidate to develop into a go to guy inside the 20 yard line.

Throw in the departure of Visanthe Shiancoe, and Rudolph should be in line to start for the Vikings and get plenty of opportunities to thrive.  Remember Shiancoe was forth on the Vikings in receptions (36) and yards (409) a year ago and those opportunities have to go somewhere.

Of all the possible breakouts at the tight end position, Rudolph may have the best opportunity to thrive.  Obviously a healthy Adrian Peterson could cut him down a little bit, but you have to expect the Vikings to limit Peterson to keep him on the field all year long. Read more