Fantasy Question of the Week: Who are the Sleepers?

John BucoCorrespondent IJune 26, 2008


Fantasy seasons are often made with the addition of the right sleepers.  Whether it is at the beginning of the season or halfway through, a sleeper player can determine the difference between victory and defeat.

Players like Earnest Graham, Braylon Edwards, and Derek Anderson come to mind from last year.  I rode Earnest Graham the whole way to a league title.

So, who stands in line as the sleepers for this year's competition?

1.  Julius Jones

Okay so, maybe not a sleeper per se, but he has been on the back burner in Dallas for the last two years.  Now, he has the opportunity to shine as the feature back.  I'll make a believable prediction:  1300 yds, 10 TDs.

2.  Matt Forte 

Everyone has been talking about this guy since Cedric Benson was cut.  He's going to have to win the position battle with the "other" Adrian Peterson in training camp, and if he does, look for him to have a great rookie season.  Prediction:  1050 yds, 7 TDs.

3.  Selvin Young 

Denver has been looking for replacements for their Super Bowl team for the last decade.  It seems they have found their Elway replacement.  Now they need a Terrell Davis replacement. 

Each year, they have found different people to fill the role:  Mike Anderson, Olandis Gary, Tatum Bell.  Will Selvin Young be the long term answer?  Prediction:  750 rush yds, 400 rec yds, 8 total TDs.

4.  Chris Brown/Steve Slaton

I'm not sure who to go with here.  But one thing is for sure, Ahman Green is not built for endurance.  I would love to see what Steve Slaton can do behind the much improved Houston offensive line.  Prediction:  Brown, 900 yds, 5 TDs; Slaton, 800 rush yds, 400 rec yds, 8 TDs.

5.  Trent Edwards 

This may be Buffalo's season to break .500.  Don't mistake this as a bad team, but they have arguably the toughest opponent in the league to face...twice.  Unless thwarted by an extreme amount of bad luck, chalk up two wins for the Patriots against the Bills. 

Look for the Bills to take second in the division and fight for the wild card behind Marshawn Lynch and Edwards.  Prediction:  2500 yds, 15 TDs, 13 INTs.

6.  Tarvaris Jackson 

Jackson knows that if the Vikings want to make and advance in the playoffs, the pressure is on him.  Adrian Peterson is one of the top two backs in the league.  Jackson has got to find some way for the passing game to support him.  Can he do it?  Possibly.  Prediction:  2200 pass yds, 400 rush yds, 22 TDs, 11 INTs.

7.  Jerry Porter

Time for a new life and new start.  If Porter ends up having a great attitude, he could have a career year on the receiving end of David Garrard.  Prediction:  1000 yds, 7 TDs.

8.  Bryant Johnson:  Jerry Porter Part II.  He needed to get out of the shadow of Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald.  He may be part of the Alex Smith puzzle.  But Alex still needs a 6' + receiver to go up for jump balls.  Prediction:  600 yds, 3 TDs.

9.  Malcolm Kelly

The final rookie on my list.  Possibly the most lucrative sleeper.  If Jason Campbell hits a strong year, Kelly could be up there with McFadden and Mendenhall has front runners for Rookie of the Year.  Prediction:  700 yds, 6 TDs.

10.  Kansas City Chiefs Defense

I thought I ought to throw one defensive unit on here.  The Chiefs probably won't score too many points this year, but I sincerely doubt they'll give up many.  Between Glenn Dorsey and Tamba Hali, they have a strong defensive front. 

Their line backing core is average, but solid with Donnie Edwards anchoring the unit.  Surtain is getting up there, but he's still a leader and a strong force in the secondary.  Prediction:  12 INTs, 40 sacks, 3 shutouts.

There are some others out there, but these are my favorites.  If you miss out on Darren McFadden, Rashard Mendenhall, or the few other top rookies, consider taking a chance on one of these guys.  They may make your season.