Fantasy Football Sleepers 2012: Potential Waiver Wire Stars to Keep an Eye on

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22:  Kendall Hunter #32 of the San Francisco 49ers runs the ball against Chase Blackburn #93 of the New York Giants during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Picking up the right players at the right time can win you your fantasy football league. Fantasy owners who had the fortune of adding Victor Cruz or Laurent Robinson off the waiver wire last season can attest to the power of finding a gem well after the draft is over.

As the season goes along, there are sure to be some breakout players that are currently sitting around on the waiver wire. These players may not be ready to be picked up right now, but they all have the potential to make a big splash as the season goes on.

Keep an eye on these players and have a leg up on the competition when they start showing signs of promise early on in the season.


Danny Amendola, WR, St. Louis Rams

The typical comparison of Amendola to fellow former Texas Tech receiver Wes Welker may not be totally legitimate, but there's enough there to give Amendola plenty of upside.

After a 2010 season that saw Amendola rack up 85 receptions for over 600 yards, it was clear that he was a dependable receiver after only two years in the league. However, his true breakout season came to a crashing halt when he dislocated his elbow last season.

With Brandon Lloyd gone, the Rams will need Amendola to once again be a steady factor in the passing game.

The number of times Sam Bradford targets Amendola in Week 1 is definitely worth keeping an eye on for owners looking to add depth at wide receivers.

At only 5'11" and 188 pounds, Amendola's touchdown potential may be limited but he's definitely a factor in PPR leagues and is currently owned in a mere 18.5 percent of ESPN leagues.


Kendall Hunter, RB, San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers love to run the football, that much is clear.

The 49ers were third in the league last year in rushing attempts with 31.1 per game. They added new receivers in Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, but this will still be a run-first team as Jim Harbaugh will still rely heavily on his defense to win games while using his offense to control the clock.

Hunter is currently the second running back on the depth chart in San Fran, but with Frank Gore nearing 30 and coming off of a season in which he lost a step, one has to wonder how much he has left in the tank. Hunter showed flashes of promise in a backup role last season.

He went over double digit points twice as a backup and showed a good burst when called upon to give the offense a boost in his rookie season.

The 49ers brought in Brandon Jacobs and drafted LaMichael James this offseason, but Hunter remains the most complete back behind Gore in this offense.

Hunter's value isn't high enough to warrant an add right now, but if Gore gets off to a slow start then Hunter could become very valuable to owners as the season progresses.


Santana Moss, WR, Washington Redskins

If Robert Griffin III can have as much success as Cam Newton did in his rookie season then Santana Moss has a shot at being this year's Steve Smith.

If fantasy owners can remember, Smith was pretty much left for dead by most drafters. Concerns over the speedster's age (32) and decline in production (46 receptions 554 yards 2 touchdowns) were legitimate and it seemed like he was no longer a hot fantasy commodity.

Turns out Newton was just what Smith needed to be revived. With the upgrade at quarterback, Smith saw a career revival. He caught 79 passes for over 1,300 yards and seven touchdowns, regaining must-start fantasy status.

Now Smith finds himself in a similar situation. At 33, and career lows across the board, Moss has been written off. He's owned in less than 10 percent of ESPN leagues.

The Redskins added a slew of new weapons for RGIII, but if Moss is able to build a rapport with the young QB early in the season, we could see a similar revival for Moss.