Fantasy Football: Top Sleepers at Each Position

Brian HutchisonCorrespondent IJuly 8, 2009

IRVING, TX - OCTOBER 05:  Running back Felix Jones #28 of the Dallas Cowboys runs for a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals at Texas Stadium on October 5, 2008 in Irving, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Football season is just around the corner and fantasy drafts have already begun. Fantasy magazines are lining the front row at your local book store and ESPN is calling out this years fantasy studs, and duds.

After winning 50 percent of my leagues last year, I feel I now have some legitimacy to my fantasy football opinions. (If you are wondering; Yes, my record was 1-1)

Rookie running backs were definitely the surprise of the league last year for fantasy players, and don't hesitate to pick some up this year as well.

Although I don't see any of the rookie running backs having as much impact as Matt Forte or Steve Slaton, players like Donald Brown, LeSean McCoy, and Shonn Greene could be in store for big years.

Now, here is a list of players who might not be first round picks, but could help out your fantasy football team tremendously.

Quarterback - Carson Palmer

Carson Palmer is looking fantastic in camps this offseason and is getting a lot of work in with his recievers. We all heard about Chad Ochocinco's plans of moving in with Palmer to further their friendship and better their chemistry. Although Palmer's wife decided that wouldn't be a very good idea, it still shows me that Chad is really serious this year about making the Bengals relevant again. The other good thing about Palmer is that he is being drafted between rounds 7-9. I beleive he has just as much value as players like Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rogers, who are being drafted between rounds 4-6.

Runningback - Felix Jones

In Jones' first five games as a rookie he averaged a whopping 8.9 yards-per-carry. He has a knack for making big plays and is a dangerous weapon in a very dangerous offense. Jerry Jones has recently said Jones will touch the ball between 12-15 times per game this year. That's almost double what he was getting last year before his injury. Jerry Jones has also said he is thinking about using Jones and Marion Barber on the field at the same time, using Jones to split out as a reciever or run some type of wildcat offense. The main reason for this it to cut down on Barber's touches to keep him fresher for the postseason. You can pick this guy up between rounds 6-8 and he could potentially be used as a number two runningback.

Wide Receiver - Lee Evans

Who is the most excited about the signing of Terrell Owens? Lee Evans. He finally has a legitimate receiving threat lining up on the opposide side of the ball. He will no longer recive all of the defensive attention nor face double teams all game long. He has amazing speed and is a true deep ball threat. If teams put too much attention on T.O. and Marshawn Lynch, Evans will find a way to beat you deep. Don't be worried about Trent Edwards, either. He is entering his second year in the NFL and has progressed majorly since his arrival in the league. He should do just fine this year.

Tight End - John Carlson

John Carlson had a great rookie year last season, leading the Seahawks in all major reciving categories. The Seahawks have also announced that Carlson will be used as an every down player. (He only played on 1st and 2nd downs last season) He is also expected to have more plays drawn up for him this year, requested by one of his biggest fans, Matt Hasselback. Don't worry too much about the signing of TJ Houshmandzadeh. He might take some of Carlson's catches, but he will also open up field, giving Carlson more room to run after the catch.

Defense - New England Patriots

The Patriots suffered so many injuries last season they didn't even look like the real Patriots. With Vince Wilfork, Richard Seymour, Adalius Thomas, Ty Warren, and an improved secondary all coming back for 2009 expect the Patriots to regain their scary, intimidating defensive prowess. Jerod Mayo stepped up as a rookie last season and won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. The Patriots offense will also be much imroved with Tom Brady coming back from injury. This will allow them to attack opposing offenses in much better field position than they did last season.