Fantasy Football 2012: 10 Fantasy Sleepers Who Could Win You Your League
The middle-to-late rounds of you fantasy draft are always the hardest—do you go with the proven veteran or the talented rookie? However, those rounds can help win you your league at the end of the season, and these sleepers are the guys who you need to get for ultimate bragging rights.
While drafting these 10 guys and no one else will obviously tank your season, if you draft a few proven stars in the early rounds and then pick up three or four of these guys in the later rounds you are setting yourself up for a great year.
When you try to show your friends, coworkers, family members and anyone else you may be playing against that you're the best, try to add these guys into the mix.
QB Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Phillip Rivers might have struggled last season with his 20 interceptions, but I don't expect him to have that many miscues again in 2012.
Rivers had never thrown close to that many picks before, and the usually reliable quarterback (who might have a bit of a rep as a risky thrower) should cut down on those numbers without a problem.
Rivers' 20 interceptions may have put a damper on his season, but the rest of his numbers were impressive. With 4,624 passing yards (the second-best of his career) and 27 touchdowns he did have a good year apart from his turnovers, but no one remembers that.
Rivers' ADP is in the seventh round in ESPN leagues. If you can't get a guy like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees you should probably wait until you can snag Rivers in the sixth or seventh round.
QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan has one of the best receiving corps in the league on his team with the two-headed monster of Roddy White and Julio Jones. These two are dependable, explosive guys who will constantly be padding Ryan's stats.
The Falcons have had a good ground game that has hurt Ryan in the past, but with Michael Turner getting old and wearing down, the team will be looking to develop into a pass-first team.
Matty Ice has a good arm, and he can get the ball to his favorite targets. He can usually let them do the rest and could easily build on his career highs in passing yards and touchdowns this season.
RB Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Doug Martin has been named the starting running back for Tampa Bay this season, taking over for LeGarrette Blount.
It's not that Blount is a bad running back—he's proved time and again that he's an explosive player—it's that Martin is just that good.
The Bucs don't exactly have a top passing game, and they are one of the teams that rely heavily on its ground game. Martin is going to be getting a lot of touches, and if he is truly better than Blount, he's worth a draft pick in all formats.
He is also going in the mid-seventh round as of now, and if you need a third running back he is a great option for your team.
RB Rashad Jennings, Jacksonville Jaguars
Rashad Jennings is going to get his shot in the NFL this year with star running back Maurice Jones-Drew's holdout causing problems. Jennings will start in Week 1, and even with Maurice Jones-Drew back, he could do well this season.
With MJD back in Jacksonville, a lot of owners will be dropping Jennings after Week 1. However, if MJD struggles like Chris Johnson did after his lengthy holdout, Jennings could find a niche in the Jaguars' offense.
While he's by no means a guaranteed sleeper, he could put up good numbers for the first few weeks or so.
WR Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars
Another Jaguar who could benefit from MJD's holdout and potential struggles, Justin Blackmon is going to be rewarded through the air instead of on the ground.
Blackmon is a freak of a receiver. He has great size, speed and hands and is a true game-changer. He could end up being one of the best receivers in the league down the road, and it could all start this year.
If the Jaguars decide that they'd rather pass than give the ball to Jennings or MJD, Blackmon will be the one benefiting.
Blackmon is going at the end of the 11th or beginning of the 12th round, and I would be willing to take him as early as the ninth or 10th with his potential.
WR Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers
According to ESPN's fantasy projections, Cam Newton is going to throw for almost 4,000 yards this season, and, believe it or not, not every yard will be going to Steve Smith.
Brandon LaFell is the team's second wide receiver on the depth chart, and he will be Newton's option for quick, short passes, giving LaFell the opportunity to gain a ton of yards after the catch.
Shockingly, LaFell is going late in fantasy drafts, if at all. He is only owned in 24.8 percent of ESPN leagues, and he looks like a great sleeper that can be acquired in most formats.
If you're in a PPR league, LaFell might just become your new best friend, and even if you're not, he's worth picking up to see just what he can do.
WR Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
If you were a rookie quarterback in the NFL and you had a Hall of Fame wide receiver on your team, wouldn't you throw to him?
With Andrew Luck under center, Reggie Wayne will have a revitalization this season. Luck is a much better quarterback than Wayne was used to last season, and he'll be targeted more than in 2011 too.
Rookie QBs typically rely on their most talented wideout quite a bit (i.e., Cam Newton and Steve Smith last season), and that means Wayne is in for a big season.
While he's owned in 100 percent of ESPN leagues right now, it might be worth trading to get him.
WR Eric Decker, Denver Broncos
Do you remember the last time Peyton Manning's favorite wideout wasn't a great fantasy player? I don't.
This year, Eric Decker is going to become Peyton Manning's new best friend, as he is arguably the Denver Broncos' most talented receiver. Manning loves guys like Decker, and we could easily see him explode this year.
Bleacher Report's own Tyler Conway and myself agree that Decker is going to be Peyton's new No. 1 receiver, and if our prediction comes to fruition, you can expect Decker to be among the league's top fantasy options.
WR Titus Young, Detroit Lions
Of all the guys on this list, I believe Titus Young could be the biggest sleeper this year.
Last season, Matthew Stafford threw for over 5,000 yards, and while a good deal (1,681) went to Calvin Johnson, the rest was spread out to the team's other receivers.
Last year, Young went for over 600 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie. This year, he'll be playing an even bigger role and will emerge as the team's second receiver.
Young is a great option for short passes where Stafford can let Young do most of the work. With Megatron being double- and triple-covered, you can expect Young's numbers to keep rising.
WR Kevin Olgetree, Dallas Cowboys
Owned in just 4.1 percent of ESPN leagues, Kevin Ogletree has become one of the hottest names on the waiver wire.
After catching eight balls for 114 yards and two touchdowns, Ogletree has become a must-own in all leagues. If Wednesday night's performance is any indication, he will have a huge year. He had two touchdowns and was targeted at least three times in the endzone.
Last season we saw a guy named Laurent Robinson emerge as an elite fantasy receiver in Dallas, and it looks like Ogletree could replicate that performance this season.
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