Fantasy Football: Early Sleepers Worth Watching

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIMay 21, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 04:  Roy Helu #29 of the Washington Redskins carries the ball against the New York Jets at FedExField on December 4, 2011 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

It's never too early to start preparing for fantasy football.

Here is a look some potential sleepers for the 2012 season.

 

Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego Chargers

The Chargers needed a pass-catching tight end to back up Antonio Gates, who has dealt with injuries the past two seasons. Green is 6'6" and 235 pounds, and is expected to bulk up into the 240-pound range before the season.

The Louisiana-Lafeyette product was a fourth-round pick and runs the 40-yard dash in the 4.53-second range. He is raw, but he's an outstanding receiver with tremendous upside. With the way quarterback Philip Rivers spreads the ball around, Green is almost sure to see some catches in 2012. If Gates isn't back at 100 percent, the rookie will likely see a lot of balls thrown his way.

He's definitely worth taking a flier on.

 

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 27:  Running back Roy Helu #29 of the Washington Redskins rushes against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 27, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Roy Helu, RB, Washington Redskins

During his rookie season, Helu rushed for 640 yards and two touchdowns on 151 carries. He also caught 49 passes for 379 yards and another score. But Helu has the ability to turn into a legitimate No. 1 running back.

With Robert Griffin III now on board, Washington's offense should be much improved. Helu will likely be the beneficiary of increased attention on the team's passing game. With tight end Fred Davis, receiver Pierre Garcon and Griffin, opposing defenses can't just stack the line and defend against the run. 

Helu should be able to find running room, and given head coach Mike Shanahan's ability to turn running backs into Pro Bowlers, he should have a great 2012 season.

 

TAMPA, FL -  MAY 4: Running back Doug Martin #22 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes upfield during a rookie practice at the Buccaneers practice facility May 4, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

When the Bucs traded back into the first round to draft Doug Martin at No. 31, most expected him to split carries with incumbent starter LeGarrette Blount. Now it looks like Martin is going to end up as the starter.

With all the free agent additions the Bucs made, Martin could get lost in the shuffle when people are thinking about the team's offense. The Boise State product is a legitimate No. 1 back and does all of the things that Blount can't.

Martin is a complete, three-down back who can help out in the passing game and won't fumble the ball. He should have a very good rookie season and will be a solid No. 2 back on your roster.