Victor Cruz? DeMarco Murray? Jackie Battle? T.J. Yates?
Yes, raise your hand if you drafted them last season!
Instead, you drafted Hakeem Nicks, Felix Jones, Jamaal Charles, and Matt Schaub. In fact, you drafted them so prematurely that the rest of your league ribbed you for the remainder of the season after they got hurt.
Before you start drafting your defense and kicker in those final rounds, roll the dice and take a chance on a sleeper who can come off your bench by midseason to give you potentially huge fantasy numbers!
Below are Flaming Bag of Poo’s eleven sleepers that you can steal during your fantasy football draft parties next week. (Lesser blogs give you only ten sleepers. But even an NFL Cheerleader knows each team starts eleven players on the field!)
From the near-obvious to the not-so-obvious…
Cedric Benson is like one of those Peace Corps workers that land in unfamiliar new homes like Azerbaijan or Senegal; Benson won’t be productive until he first learns a new language. Yes, he’s a big powerful running back, but it’s not his troubled past keeping him behind James Starks on the depth chart. Benson has never played in this offense before, he doesn’t know the playbook, and he doesn’t know the jargon in this West Coast offense. By midseason, he’ll be fluent, and the natives will erect statues made of cheese for him in his honor outside Lambeau.
Toby Gerhart is no Adrian Peterson. Problem is, still recovering from a torn ACL, Adrian Peterson is no Adrian Peterson either. The Vikings will go the entire preseason with Peterson on the sidelines, so even if he is ready to start Week 1, can you really trust his knee for 25 carries per game? Expect the Vikings to baby Peterson and his knee all season. With the rest of this roster, Peterson can’t carry the offense on his back—much less on a balky knee.
Colin Kaepernick is just one three-game losing streak from starting for the playoff-bound 49ers. Alex Smith has been living on borrowed time since the moment the 49ers drafted Kaepernick and introduced him to new head coach Jim Harbaugh. Kaepernick played in a pistol offense at University of Nevada Reno, but he looks like he was shot through a cannon when he sprints past the secondary on a quarterback keeper. Kaepernick is a weapon, not a back-up.
Ben Tate has a better Madden NFL rating than he does a fantasy football ranking—all because he plays behind Texans stud Arian Foster. But last year, playing on that Houston turf has led to injuries to Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and even Arian Foster. Tate will already get the carries each game, and he’ll be “the man” when Foster gets his predictable hamstring injury.
Brandon Stokley, a Louisiana-Lafayette graduate, enjoyed his most productive season with some other southern bumpkin named Peyton Manning throwing him the ball. That’s why, when Manning came to Denver last spring to check out the Broncos, Stokley hosted Manning at his home. Rumor has it, Stokley also fluffed Manning’s pillows, shared his WiFi password, and delivered breakfast in bed to him. Much better than the Four Seasons Hotel. Manning intends to return the favor by finding his old buddy in the slot running past outside linebackers.
Nick Foles may be the best kept QB secret since fans found out that Michael Vick was secretly running illegal dog fights. Sure, maybe Philly fans have never heard of Foles before. But most Philly fans haven’t heard of diets and mouthwash either. Foles was always a gunslinger at University of Arizona. Foles is more Brett Favre than Michael Vick, and that must appeal to Andy Reid who has seen all three. If the opposing defenses don’t hurt Vick, Vick is going to hurt himself.
Curtis Brinkley is the kind of player you’d normally find in the huddle with Tom Brady. Unheralded. Undrafted. Undersized practice squad veteran. This week, his biggest battle will be outperforming back-up RB Jackie Battle now that Ryan Matthews has once again proven to be as fragile as San Diego native Scott Peterson’s alibi. Battle proved last year with the Chiefs that he doesn’t have breakaway and big play potential. Brinkley has been around Philip Rivers long enough to know when he’s going to get a shovel pass that he can take to the house.
Buffalo Bill defense ranked 26th last season, but they proved at times that they had were capable of forcing turnovers (which is crucial for a fantasy football defense). By committing millions to improve its defensive line with Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, while also drafting cornerback Stephon Gilmore, the Bills won’t have to win games 38-35 anymore. Besides, the Steelers Steel Curtain is going to look like your grandma’s lace curtains this season, so let your best friend swipe up the Pittsburgh defense.
Daniel Fells hasn’t even caught a pass from Tom Brady in a preseason game. There’s not even any photos in existence of him catching a ball in Patriots training camp. Like Gronk being a secret weapon last season, Fells will be this year’s New England secret weapon at tight end when Hernandez or Gronk go down. Because Belichick relies so heavily on the double tight end set, Fells will see the field more often than most other tight ends around the league not named Gates, Finley, or Graham. Former Bronco Fells was good for three TDs last year—with some camera-shy dude named Tebow occasionally sharing the ball.
Cole Beasley sounds more like the name of a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, than a Dallas Cowboy starting wide receiver. But even if you were sitting sixth on the depth chart coming into this season, you would have a chance of starting for the Cowboys in Week 1. The injury report on Dallas wide receivers is longer than Kim Kardashian’s dance card for one night in Vegas. And of course, some guys have been on both lists. A former SMU Mustang, Beasley may hate comparisons to slot receivers like Wes Welker, but you don’t have to grow ‘em big down in Texas for Romo to dump down to you when defenses will be blitzing him every play.
Kirk Cousins was the best quarterback drafted by the Redskins this past spring. Yup, you read that right!!! Despite his poise, athleticism, and Heisman smile, RGIII will be another Heath Shuler in DC. Politicians (and there are plenty of them in Washington) believe the Redskins were just asking for a quarterback controversy when they drafted this Michigan State Spartan three rounds after taking RGIII. Yes, there will be a quarterback controversy all right! RGIII will get himself injured when he realizes the Eagles defense is a lot faster and stronger than the Kansas Jayhawk defense. Cousins will be the second coming of Joe Theismann, but with less of a conscience while making throws.
REMEMBER: YOU HEARD IT HEAR FIRST. AND ONLY FROM FLAMING BAG OF POO!!!
Fantasy Owners: don’t forget to include “Research” while itemizing your timecards at work this week. Remember to look especially busy as if solving complex problems on your computer screen.