Fantasy Football Sleepers 2012: Rookies That Will Help You Win Your League
Let's get one thing clear here—the following rookies I'll outline are sleepers. You won't find Trent Richardson, Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III here, because they'll all be targeted by someone in your league and likely be taken too high.
And of the three of them, only Richardson looks poised to have an solid fantasy season, at least in my opinion.
No, these are players who will sneak through the cracks at your draft and surprise folks. These are the guys like Chris Johnson, A.J. Green and Cam Newton, folks that had big rookie years but were taken on the cheap in fantasy drafts their rookie years.
These are the guys who will quadruple the return you paid to land them on draft day. Let's take a look at three deep sleepers at three different positions who could be fantasy saviors for you this year.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
LeGarrette Blount who?
Martin is likely to get a ton of touches in Tampa Bay, and could be a factor in the passing game in third-down situations as well. It's not out of the question to think he could seize the starter's role for himself, leaving Blount in the dust and giving you a valuable commodity.
Monitor him closely during training camp. If he gets the majority of the touches for a Tampa Bay team that should be very good at running the ball this year, Martin and not Trent Richardson could end up winning fantasy football's Rookie of the Year distinction.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears
Justin Blackmon doesn't have a quarterback to get him the ball. Michael Floyd won't see a ton of production next to Larry Fitzgerald, at least not yet in his career. Kendall Wright's production is reliant on Jake Locker.
Guess what? That makes Alshon Jeffery—yes, Alshon Jeffery—the most compelling rookie wideout. And before you go scoffing and calling me an idiot, consider that there's been nothing but positive returns coming out of Chicago.
And it looks like the team will try to keep him involved, according to Gene Chamberlain of CBS Sports:
If the Bears can't get Jeffery the ball as often as they would like with Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, Earl Bennett and Devin Hester also getting touches, they know he'll at least be a big part of their red zone and goal line packages.
"Four state championships in basketball (Calhoun County High, S.C.)," Tice pointed out. "You want to throw the ball up to him and let him go get it. He's going to do that."
Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, TE, Indianapolis Colts
Tight ends are very often a rookie quarterback's best friend, and in the case of Andrew Luck, that's especially the case when you played with the tight ends at Stanford. Chemistry goes a long way between a quarterback and receiver, and we already know Luck and Fleener work well together.
But the ace in the hole for the young Colts' offense might be the other tight end they drafted, Dwayne Allen. According to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN, it's Allen that has been the more impressive player:
But while Fleener's been streaky in the early stages of his first camp, I'm told Allen's steadily been the same guy I've been watching over the last couple of days. He's thick (6-foot-3, 255 pounds), athletic and versatile. He's playing the "F" spot in the offense of Bruce Arians, a "move" tight end who can line up anywhere, shift anywhere, block as needed and get open to show off his quality hands and run with the ball.
It's probably too gushing a review off a small sample, but even this cynic is having trouble resisting ...
Allen looks like he was built for this offense.
Fleener or Allen—who will have the better rookie season?
Both of these guys should be considered really deep sleepers, and only drafted as back-up tight ends for your team. But in an offense that will rely heavily on the tight end—and a quarterback in Luck that often utilized his tight ends in college—you might just get surprising production from one of these guys.
Keep an eye on both.
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