Before we even take one step forward in this column, let's take at least one step back. What is a "sleeper?" In this day of rapid information, it's almost impossible for a moderately interested fantasy sports player to not hear about almost every player, whether it's a guy tearing it up on the practice squad or the latest free agent signing. So do "sleepers" exist anymore? No, not in the old sense of the word -- guys who you grab while your league mates are, at least metaphorically, asleep at the wheel. But in the actual application of that term -- players who are drafted far below their actual value (which you therefore recognize, while others don't) ... they are EVERYWHERE.
I prefer to call them "slippers" instead of "sleepers," because they simply slip in the draft from where they should go, not fly under the radar where folks don't know about them [Actually, my brother came up with that term, so props are due where they are due. But does he have a fantasy football column? Ha!]. Anyhow, since sleeper is the preferred nomenclature, let's run with that.
So, as we used to say back in the neighborhood, "Who ya got?"
Let's break it down by position.
Forget about his injury last year; the questions are whether he is the starter and whether his offseason shenanigans will affect him. Leinart is extremely talented and has one of the best set of receivers in the league. What's more, the running game is getting worse and worse, meaning this could be an air show in the desert. Use Leinart's somewhat shaky status and grab him late -- he could easily be a top-10 quarterback when all is said and done.
Maybe folks just don't trust quarterbacks named Matt. Schaub had inconsistent starts before getting hurt last season, but the guy has an absolute hose for an arm and throws to one of the best wide receivers in the league,
After tossing 22 touchdowns in 2006 and 21 TDs last season, Rivers shouldn't be on this list -- except that he's recovering from a torn ACL. That should scare some owners away, and if that's the case, Rivers could be a big time value. With a full season of receiver
(Here's something worth noting -- RotoExperts writer
I'm not one of the guys who thinks Turner will simply take his career 5.5 yards per carry and keep it going in the Georgia Dome. But Turner is being listed as barely a RB2 (that is, maybe going as the 19th or 20th RB overall). If that's the case, he should provide some pretty good value, because Turner is as talented as any other back in the league. Yeah, you heard that right. As bad as the Falcons are -- and they are in contention for being the worst team in the entire NFL -- running the ball hasn't been something with which the Falcons have ever struggled. With
Why does White consistently get no love? He's ranked as a flex back (that is, as the 25th-30th running back) but gained more than 1,100 yards last year, scoring seven TDs.
There's been a lot of chatter about the decline of
It's not like folks don't know about Galloway, who has been in the league for 14 years (Random trivia: the Seahawks selected
Yes, that's the Giants' Smith, not the Panthers' stud. While the Carolina star is a top-10 receiver and therefore generally gone by the third round or so, the Giants version is a guy for whom you might not even have to use a draft pick at all. But he has a decent chance to be
He's been hyped up for a few seasons and has disappointed his owners. That's good news for you this season, because he should take a step forward, as should his quarterback under Mike Martz's offensive tutelage. While
While it's hard to predict success for a tight end, with
Seriously? There's no such thing as sleepers in these categories. Sure, every season one or two kickers and one or two defensive squads completely outshine their peers. The only problem is that there is no rhyme or reason about why that's the case. Last year, the Ravens were one of the top defenses drafted, and were decidedly mediocre. A few years ago,