It's tough enough to find sleepers in standard, 10- and 12-team fantasy leagues. Want a bigger challenge? Try finding some upside at the end of a 14- or 16-team league drafts.
The late rounds of deep leagues are where true elite fantasy owners thrive. Whether it's taking a guy with incredible talent or finding someone who is going to get a chance to blossom in the right situation, identifying sleepers in deep leagues is a huge key to a successful season.
There's a lot not to like when taking a look at Campbell's stats from last season. His 13 touchdowns were 21st in the NFL and his 202.8 passing yards per game were 19th. However, he did throw only six interceptions, tied for league-best among starters. What this tells me is he is feeling the pressure to perform and is hesitant to make a mistake. He's also had to change offensive systems in every season of his career. This year will mark the first time he had an offseason to spend improving instead of learning a new system.
Leftwich was brought to Tampa Bay to serve as competition to
If you're a talented running back with a troubled past you can bet your bottom dollar there is a certain team in Cincinnati that will bring you aboard. The Bengals drafted Scott out of Abilene Christian in the sixth round. He's incredibly fast and has up-the-middle toughness that makes him a chore to take down. His athleticism is freakish and he's the type of player that makes it to the highlight reel on a weekly basis. The nice thing is Scott can be had late in drafts (he's usually not even drafted at all) and he could wind up being the starter if a few things fall his way. If you can't say no to upside, Scott is your man.
Charles averaged an impressive 5.3 yards per carry in his rookie season. He was also a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield with 272 reception yards on 27 catches. Larry Johnson is past his prime and his lack of blocking and ineffectiveness in the passing game will allow Charles to be the third-down running back from the start. Charles has big-play ability and he's one Johnson injury away from stepping into the lead role.
Bush enters the 2009 campaign coming off the most rousing performance of his young career. In last year's Week 17, he received 27 carries and burst out for 177 yards and two touchdowns. He's clearly muddled in a three-way committee with
Coffee was a third-round selection out of Alabama and is
Bennett was a project his rookie season and an unsuccessful one at that. He didn't catch one ball in 2008 and it was reported that he had trouble understanding the playbook. Things changed when the Bears acquired
Personifying the bad boy image the Bengals can't seem to avoid, Henry gets another chance to prove he is worth a spot on fantasy rosters. With
Lewis' yards and receptions have increased in all of his three NFL campaigns. Last season he caught 41 passes for 489 yards and two touchdowns. He hasn't been a red zone threa yet, but there have been positive signs. He has the build to be an ideal goal-line target so the Jaguars may opt to utilize that skill at some point. Still, if Lewis improves for a fourth straight year you can expect 50 receptions and 550-600 yards. At a thin position, Lewis' upside makes him worth the pick.
Beckum has superb route-running skills and excellent hands despite not having the prototypical body of an NFL tight end. His blocking needs work, so the Giants will exploit him for his speed and pass-catching abilities. That is good news for fantasy owners as Beckum can catch passes while