So, chances are by now you have at least one Fantasy Football guide for the 2009 season. How many times have you looked through the rankings? 10? 20? More? Now, how many of those rankings include injured players or defenses still ranked highly? You can't exactly update a printed guide...
Free Agents get signed, players get traded or demoted, injuries occur...the list goes on, really. On top of that, those lists are made for favorites, not for sleepers or underdogs.
There are always players who don't pan out, or who blow up from the bottom. Here's five stories you won't see in those mundane guides.
Whoever wins the slot position in Kansas City (Amani Toomer or Mark Bradley, according to the depth chart) will catch a lot of balls. Wes Welker caught 111 balls from (new Chiefs) QB Matt Cassel last year, who often went to Welker as a check-down, or on short routes to let Welker do his thing.
Welker only scored three touchdowns, but in a PPR league, his catches made up for it. Looking at new Chiefs head coach Todd Haley's Cardinals team last year, the third WR (Steve Breaston) went for 1,000+ yards.
Haley knows how to coach receivers and use them properly in his system—any receiver he has will put up numbers.
In his second year, Finley is impressing everyone at camp, and pushing incumbent starter Donald Lee for his spot. Finley has matured greatly, and changed his mindset to try and help the team win games (as opposed to criticizing the QB).
If he lives up to his potential, Finley could be a starter by the end of the year, and at 6'5" tall, provide QB Aaron Rodgers a big, Tony-Gonzalez-sized target in the end zone.
While Lee will get every opportunity to start the season, Finley will definitely see more playing time than he did last year.
Last year, the little-known Walter caught 60 balls for 900 yards and 8 TD's while starting opposite Andre Johnson. He's obviously not a No. 1 WR, but is a solid choice for a second or third, as he gets yards and scores when Johnson isn't available.
Since Houston plays some weak pass defenses this year (NFC West for example), look for every member of Houston's passing offense to thrive.
However, since this article is on sleepers, look particularly for Walter in the middle rounds, and laugh at those who ask who he is.
Yipee, Chicago got a better quarterback! Now, who does he have to throw to? Devin Hester? Rashied Davis? Earl Bennett? Juaquin Iglesias (Is that Enrique's little brother?)? Johnny Knox[ville]?
The three returning receivers (Hester, Davis, Bennett) totaled for 86 catches and 5 TD's last year. There were 10 receivers in the NFL last year that caught more than that by themselves.
Olsen caught 54 passes, 5 for TD's, and didn't start half of the games. Given that he and Jay Cutler are developing a rapport already, Olsen figures to be Cutler's big target when the inept receivers can't get open.
Last year, Turner put up gaudy numbers overall (17 TD's, 1700 yards), but fantasy owners should note a caveat to that—he beat up on the little guys. Of Turner's eight games where he rushed for over 100 yards, only one of them was against a defense that didn't rank in the bottom half of the league (San Diego).
Also, there were six games in which he didn't score at all. Since Turner isn't a threat to catch the ball, fantasy owners who relied on him to score were out of luck for six weeks last year.
Facing the NFC and AFC East divisions this year, Turner won't have the same opportunities to run amock as last year. A couple of those teams figure to be top 10 in run defense this year(Giants, Redskins). Look for him to still put up good numbers, but be inconsistent and overall not as good as last year.