Fantasy Football 2012: Underrated Sleepers Who Will Push You over the Top

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IAugust 18, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 18:  Wide receiver Greg Little #15 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after scoring on a 76 yard touchdown reception against the Arizona Cardinals during the thrid quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Browns 20-17 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Greg Little is going to be a solid producer for fantasy football owners in 2012, but nobody's talking about him in that way right now. He's not the only sleeper you need to know about before your fantasy draft begins, either. 

Everyone knows that Aaron Rodgers will score a boatload of fantasy points, but he's not going to be the player who gets you over the top of your competition at the end of the season. It's the underrated sleepers nobody talks about that end up winning fantasy leagues.

Here are a few of the biggest sleepers that will help you rule your fantasy league during the 2012 season.


Greg Little, Wide Receiver, Cleveland Browns

Brandon Weeden is going to be great for Little, and vice versa. Both of them are going to benefit from one another's skills, and the Browns are going to have a competent offense in 2012. 

Weeden has a stronger arm and quicker trigger than Colt McCoy—the team's starter in 2011 and current doghouse dweller. McCoy only threw for 14 total touchdowns last year, a number I expect Weeden to hit two-thirds of the way through the 2012 season. 

Little did quite well last year with McCoy, hauling in 61 passes for 709 yards and two touchdowns. He also dropped 14 passes—the second-highest total of any receiver last year, according to Pro Football Focus

He dropped an easy pass in the team's second preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, proving he's not out of the woods yet in that department. Little also showed why the Browns currently have him listed as the No. 1 receiver on their depth chart, though, with a couple of phenomenal plays (h/t 

Little is going to be a major steal if you can land him in the later rounds of your fantasy draft, and he's going to put up solid numbers—especially leagues that utilize PPR, or points per reception. 


Jacquizz Rodgers, Running Back/Wide Receiver, Atlanta Falcons

Rodgers is officially listed as the No. 3 running back on the Falcons' depth chart, but he's going to be a big part of the team's offense in 2012. 

Oregon State head football coach Mike Riley knew how to use him, as you can see from the video above, and it won't be long before Mike Smith, head coach of the Falcons, figures out to get the most out of this special athlete. 

Recently, Smith told the Atlanta Constitution-Journal: "Quizz is someone that we feel is a three-down back. He can come in and do the things that a three-down back does. He’s is not just a change of pace back."

Rodgers also perform feats in the passing game you'd expect from a No. 3 wide receiver. All in all, Rodgers is a truly talented player who will become for the Falcons what Darren Sproles has become for the New Orleans Saints—if he's utilized properly, of course. 

The Falcons haven't been as successful as the Saints about incorporating Rodgers into their scheme so far. Given a little more time, though, he's going to become an impact player for his team. 


Greg Olsen, Tight End, Carolina Panthers

Don't fall asleep on this guy. 

Olsen has quietly caught 23 touchdowns in the last four seasons, and as Cam Newton continues to get a firm grasp on the passing game, he is going to find his tight end on a regular basis. Last season, Newton targeted Olsen 85 times, but the two only combined for 45 receptions, according to Pro Football Focus.

That's a completion rate of just 52.9 percent—a disappointing result, no matter how you slice it. The thing is, Olsen has been better than that throughout his career. In 2010, he caught 66.1 percent of the passes thrown his way by Chicago Bears quarterback, Jay Cutler.

As Newton's accuracy and command of the offense improve, so shall Olsen's reception and touchdown totals improve. 

By the end of the year, Olsen is going to be a top-10 tight end in the NFL, and he'll produce plenty of fantasy points for the lucky players that drafted him. 


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