Fantasy Football Sleepers 2012: Undervalued Players to Target on Draft Day

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2012

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 20:  Titus Young #16 of the Detroit Lions celebrate a second quarter touchdown while playing the Carolina Panthers at Ford Field on November 20, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

After building a strong foundation in the early rounds of a fantasy draft it's equally important for owners to fill their rosters with strong options in the middle and late rounds. Between injuries and bye weeks, those players will play a major role in a team's success.

The best way to do that is targeting undervalued players who are flying below the radar. Every pick an owner can make that will outplay their draft position is another step toward the fantasy playoffs. Let's look at three players who will fall into that category.


QB: Carson Palmer (Oakland Raiders)

Palmer is currently getting drafted behind quarterbacks such as Alex Smith and Josh Freeman despite having far more fantasy upside. The Raiders signal-caller reached double-digit points in seven of his last nine games last season.

When you consider he did that despite sitting on his couch for the first six weeks, it's even more impressive. Factor in another offseason of development for Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford and it's hard not to like Palmer's fantasy potential.

If Darren McFadden can stay healthy for at least a majority of the season, the Raiders offense has a chance to surprise a lot people. That makes Palmer the perfect fantasy backup, especially for QBs with injury concerns like Michael Vick.


RB: Cedric Benson (Green Bay Packers)

The Packers were clearly unhappy with their running back situation and decided adding Benson would bring some much-needed stability to the backfield. He's rushed for more than 1,000 yards in three straight seasons, scoring 19 touchdowns over that span.

Benson doesn't have game-breaking speed and he'll only make a marginal impact in the passing game, but he should still manage to grind his way to serviceable fantasy numbers. You can't say that for a lot of RBs getting taken outside the top 100.

While Aaron Rodgers will lead a pass-first attack, Benson should bring more balance to the offense and should be in line for plenty of carries around the goal line, which has a chance to lead to the first double-digit TD season of his career.


WR: Titus Young (Detroit Lions)

There are plenty of question marks surrounding the Detroit running game. That means Matthew Stafford should take to the air early and often once again. Even though Calvin Johnson will remain his main target, Young is in line for a breakout season.

The second-year receiver out of Boise State caught 48 passes and six touchdowns as a rookie. With opposing teams making even more of a concerted effort to keep Johnson from taking over the game, Young will benefit with more targets.

He's more explosive than Nate Burleson and should take over as the clear No. 2 option pretty quickly. In an passing offense like the Lions', that's enough to make Young a sneaky pick in the middle rounds with a great opportunity to become a weekly fantasy starter.