Don't Get Caught Napping: FF Sleepers You May Have Missed This Year
What late round sleepers do you like for the upcoming FF draft? I'll bet you missed some of the guys on this list who hold some serious potential, and can help beef up your bench. Look for a lot of these names late in your draft and grab them for some depth on your roster.
Julius Jones (RB, Seattle Seahawks): Julius Jones is the starter for an offense that is looking for success running ball. JJ's stock increased with the loss of Maurice Morris. Now Jones is looking to lead the team in carries, under a new offense that is looking to balance their attack more with the run. Jones is only 28 and is a former 1,000 yard rusher. He's an underrated starter that could be worthy of a late round pick.
Earnest Graham (RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Graham was expected to have a standout season last year, coming off of a 1,200 yard 10 TD performance in '07.
But an injury plagued season that was made worse with Warrick Dunn leading the team in rushing.
Now Graham is backing up Derrick Ward.
Ward (a sleeper pick in his own right) rushed for 1,000+ yards last year under Brandon Jacobs, who also rushed for more than 1,000 yards. While Ward and Graham may not may not combine for over 2,000 yards, I see both of them having success running the ball, and Graham's TD potential makes him worthy of a pick.
Felix Jones (RB, Dallas Cowboys): Felix Jones is second in line to Marion Barber in Dallas. Barber was given an increased workload last year, and it hurt his value. He saw a decrease in almost every rushing category.
Now the Cowboys are looking to give Felix Jones more carries in his second season. Jones is looking to do better than his '08 season when his play time was kept short due to injuries. This season he is 100 percent and if he can showcase his talent, Jones will see his chances to earn some yards and get some TDs.
Ahmad Bradshaw (RB, New York Giants): With Derrick Ward playing in Tampa Bay, Ahmad Bradshaw takes shotgun next to the touchdown hungry Brandon Jacobs in the Giants backfield. Jacobs and Derrick Ward both rushed for 1,000+ yards last year for the first time in the NFL since 1985. Ahmad Bradshaw is only 23 years old and looks to fill the role of Ward in the Giants offense. I believe this means Bradshaw will earn a lot of yards and a couple TDs.
Anthony Gonzalez (WR, Indianapolis Colts): Gonzalez is now standing across from Reggie Wayne in the Colts offense. Now that Marvin Harrison is gone Gonzalez takes the role as No. 2 receiver, and with Wayne to draw coverage, a young set of running backs to keep opposing defenses guessing, and quarterback Peyton Manning throwing to him, Gonzalez has a lot of upside.
Torry Holt (WR, Jacksonville Jaguars): Holt saw a dramatic drop in his stats last year when he failed to surpass 1,000 yards for the first time since his rookie season, and received the lowest TDs of his career. Now playing for the Jags, Holt will be catching passes from a better QB (David Garrard) and has MJD to draw attention away from the pass. While Holt is turning 33 don't look for the once elite receiver to fall off the radar yet.
Donnie Avery (WR, St. Louis Rams): Avery was a fantasy worthy receiver last year while he backed up Torry Holt. Now that Holt is gone Avery will get his chance to show his speed and catch some long balls while defenses focus on the threat of Steven Jackson.
Miles Austin (WR, Dallas Cowboys): Austin is competing with Patrick Crayton for the role of No. 2 receiver next to Roy Williams. Austin is five years younger than Crayton and holds a significant size advantage. Austin could see the benefit of being a target to Tony Romo. The Cowboys lost the distraction of T.O. and Austin has potential of having a standout season.
Devin Hester/Earl Bennet (WRs, Chicago Bears): I like both Bears receivers as sleepers this season. Hester now has a full year of wideout experience under his belt, and should look sharp for new QB Jay Cutler. Bennet is a second-year receiver that didn't factor into the Bears offense in '08. But what I like about Bennet is that he became a college star at Vanderbilt when he was catching passes from who else but Jay Cutler. Look for their history together to make an impact.
Rookie Class: There’s a lot of rookies with potential in this years draft. Knowshon Moreno has probably the most upside, looking to start his rookie season as the starting back for the Broncos, a team that just traded away their franchise quarterback. Chris Wells looks to take the starting role in Arizona, but will compete with second year back Tim Hightower for the job. Donald Brown is a handcuff to Joe Addai and could win the starting role at any point of the season. Michael Crabtree and Percy Harvin are the best looking receivers out of the rookie class. Crabtree could be in contention for the No. 1 receiver role, but has to compete with several other talented wideouts in San Francisco. Harvin has the same issue, but could take control in a pass offense that needs serious help in Minnesota. Every rookie holds serious upside and could earn a starting role for their clubs.
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