Fantasy Football Sleepers 2012: The Best Sleeper Pick at Every Position
It's fantasy football time again and you want to know who to pick that's going to win you the trophy.
That's where I come in.
I'm here to help with some late-round sleeper ideas. These are the guys who you find in muck that help solidify your roster and send you to the playoffs, not back to the drawing board for next year.
Let's take a look at the best sleeper pick for each position.
Defense: Kansas City Chiefs
Peter Aiken/Getty Images
The Kansas City Chiefs' defense struggled because of the injury bug that engulfed their entire team a season ago. Not only did injuries hit their defense, they crippled their offense.
This left the defense out to dry for much of the season. Teams smelled blood and took it to them.
Teams didn't pass successfully, though, as the Chiefs allowed a sixth-best 201.3 yards per game through the air. That was mostly due to their fierce pass rush.
Against the run, not so much. KC's front seven was abused, allowing 132 yards per game on the ground. That was good enough for 26th best in the league.
In the offseason, the Chiefs drafted defensive tackle Dontari Poe to solidify the middle of their front seven.
With safety Eric Berry back from injury in the secondary and the added beef in the middle, Romeo Crennel's defense is chomping at the bit for a chance to make up for it's poor showing against the run in 2011.
Tight End: Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns
Larry French/Getty Images
Rookie quarterbacks love tight ends and that is the main selling point for Jordan Cameron.
The guy ahead of him, Benjamin Watson, had three concussions in 2011 and is on the back-nine of his NFL career as a result.
If there is one thing for certain in the Browns' tight end unit, it's that Evan Moore and Watson are going to get injured.
After being selected in the fourth round in 2010, the Browns took last season to develop Cameron's talents and blocking. He's been drawing nothing but high praises this offseason and could be the steal of your fantasy draft. In his lone preseason appearance, he snagged two passes for 58 yards, including an exciting 42-yarder.
While everyone else is picking from last year's stats, don't be afraid to hold off on picking your tight end because you know you've got Cameron in your back pocket.
Kicker: Greg Zuerlein
Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE
The St. Louis Rams cut Josh Brown in the offseason and will turn to rookie Greg Zuerlein. Call this is a completely gut call on this one, but the Rams' offense isn't as terrible as some may believe.
If Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson can stay healthy, Zuerlein may be able to step in and become a solid option at the kicker position.
The Rams play in a dome, which will greatly help the rookie in his first year in the NFL.
NFL.com's draft profile likes his accuracy from all distances, and you should, too.
Wide Receiver: Vincent Brown, San Diego Chargers
Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
Update on Sunday, August 19 at 8 a.m. ET by Mike Hoag Jr.
Vincent Brown suffered a broken ankle after catching a touchdown pass from Charlie Whitehurst in Saturday night's preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Brown is expected to be out for about eight weeks as a result, according to U-T San Diego's Kevin Acee:
Vincent Brown has broken ankle. Expected to miss at least eight weeks. That means at least five games, probably.— UTKevinAcee (@UTKevinAcee) August 19, 2012
--------End of Update--------
The San Diego Chargers found a great replacement for Vincent Jackson in Vincent Brown. They did it smartly, before Jackson even left town.
One Vincent for another.
Luckily, Brown played sparingly last season and was able to mature and develop slowly, with Jackson still on the roster and producing. Things have changed since then and Brown figures to be a much bigger part of the offense in San Diego.
He did rack up 19 receptions, 329 yards and two touchdowns in only four starts last season.
Philip Rivers likes to sling the ball around but doesn't have too many other options to focus on this season. Brown's sure-hands and good route running will serve him well in SoCal this season.
Running Back: Ryan Williams, Arizona Cardinals
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Ryan Williams suffered a season ending ruptured patellar tendon in his rookie campaign. Now, the running back has returned to a seemingly dismal situation known as the Arizona Cardinals offense.
After Kurt Warner, the Cardinals have failed, although they've tried, to bring in a suitable quarterback to run their offense.
They've also had nothing but injuries at their running back position, Williams included.
Why should you trust anyone on this offense?
Someone is going to have to get carries and move the chains, or try to, in Arizona. I'm betting that it's going to be Williams who is the guy to do it.
In his first preseason appearance on August 17, Williams carried the rock five times for 25 yards and a touchdown. The performance came 364 days after suffering the season-ending injury during last year's preseason.
Beanie Wells will steal a lot of Williams' carries, but he will still factor into the offense in order to keep Wells fresh. One injury to Wells and this is Williams' show to run.
Quarterback: Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Blaine Gabbert had a pretty awful rookie season. But then again, he was thrown into the fire in a pass offense that was in shambles.
This year, it's the running game that is the biggest question mark in Jacksonville. Maurice Jones-Drew continues a holdout which will undoubtedly change things for the Jaguars this season.
That brings me to Gabbert.
The Jags have added wide receivers Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson to create a pretty potent receiver stable for the second-year QB from Missouri.
With those additions, Mike Thomas already at wide receiver and Mercedes Lewis at tight end, Gabbert has the tools he needs to succeed this year.
While it's just preseason, Gabbert has already shown more poise and pocket presence than he did during his rookie campaign. During the Jags Week 2 preseason matchup against the New Orleans Saints, the QB completed 11-of-13 passes for 112 yards.
While it's just preseason, it seems like he's doing everything right and could get even better as the season wears on and he gets more experience.