It’s amazing how many phenomenal athletes, especially NFL rookies, get overlooked come fantasy football draft today.
Today, the focus of this piece is to make sure you’re selecting the right rookie for your team—and the impact they will have on your season.
So when it comes time to begin taking that risk of picking up NFL newcomers, let’s take a quick glance at 10 late-round rookie sleepers who could end up being point machines for your fantasy team.
And from early second round rookies to guys taken as late as the sixth round, it’s now time to countdown 10 rookie sleepers for the 2010 fantasy football season…
Drafted No. 58 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, running back Ben Tate played college football at Auburn before being taken in the third round by the Houston Texans.
Over his four years at Auburn, Tate rumbled for 3,321 rushing yards on 678 carries with 24 touchdowns, also racking up 336 receiving yards on 53 receptions.
As a senior in 2009, Tate had a career-high year in the rushing department—garnering 1,362 yards on 263 attempts, averaging 5.2 yards per carry, and scoring 10 touchdowns.
Unfortunately—for both fantasy football fans and Texans fans—Tate broke his ankle in Houston’s preseason opener and has been placed on injured reserve, forcing me to push the star RB to No. 10 on this list.
So at this time, Tate may have to wait until later to prove himself worthy of being a “sleeper” pick…
Selected in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, running back James Starks could be a great late nab for your 2010 fantasy football team.
Starks, who played college football at Buffalo, missed the entire 2009 season due to a shoulder injury.
However, in a three-year college career, Starks racked up 3,140 yards and 34 touchdowns.
Drafted as the No. 193 pick overall, Starks could easily be a late-round sleeper in the 2010 fantasy football season.
Selected in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, quarterback John Skelton may be your rookie QB answer when it comes to drafting a late-round sleeper for your fantasy football team.
Skelton, who played college football for the Fordham Rams and was picked No. 155 overall, has career stats of 9,923 yards and 69 touchdowns.
In 2009, Skelton passed for 26 touchdowns and rushed for five more—leading the nation in passing yards per game (337.09) and total passing yards in a season (3,708).
In addition, the former Fordham quarterback was second in the nation in total offense (348.18 yards per game) while ranking third in completions per game (25.82).
So if you want a late-round QB sleeper, you may want to consider Skelton.
Selected in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, wide receiver Mike Williams played college football at Syracuse and was drafted as the No. 101 pick overall.
Prior to quitting the team midway through the 2010 season, Williams had garnered 746 yards on 46 receptions through just seven games.
As a sophomore in 2007, Williams tied a school record with 60 receptions, racking up 837 total yards and 10 touchdowns before being suspended for the entire 2008 season for academic reasons.
Williams was inked to a four-year contract on June 4, 2010; and if he’s available as a late-round pick, he may be a sleeper for your fantasy team in 2010.
Selected in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, wide receiver Taylor Price played college football at Ohio and was taken as the No. 90 pick overall.
Price, who set a school record with career receptions at Ohio (149) is ranked second in school history in receiving yards (2,019).
As a senior in 2009, Price started all 14 games for Ohio while setting a new career high in receptions (56), total receiving yards (784), carries (11), and rushing yards (103).
And if you need a WR late in your fantasy football draft, consider nabbing Price if he’s still available.
Selected in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, wide receiver Andre Roberts played college football at Citadel and was the No. 88 pick overall.
During his college career, Roberts racked up 3,743 yards with 286 receptions and 36 touchdowns.
So if your team is in dire need of a rookie who could do some major damage as an NFL receiver in 2010, look no further than Roberts.
Selected in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, wide receiver Eric Decker played both college football and college baseball at Minnesota before being drafted as the No. 87 pick overall.
Over his four-year college career at Minnesota, Decker played in 45 games (starting 44) while garnering 3,119 yards on 228 receptions with 24 touchdowns.
As a senior in 2009, Decker missed the second half of the season due to a sprained foot—but still managed to rack up 758 yards on 50 receptions (along with five touchdowns) through the first eight games of the season.
And he may end up being a great catch for your 2010 fantasy football team.
Drafted No. 85 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, quarterback Colt McCoy played college football at the University of Texas before being drafted in the third round by the Cleveland Browns.
Through his four years in Austin, Texas, McCoy set numerous school records and ended his college career with 13,253 passing yards, 112 touchdowns, and an amazing passing completion percentage (70.2).
On the ground, meanwhile, McCoy garnered 1,589 yards on 447 carries, scoring 20 career rushing touchdowns.
Make no doubt about it: If McCoy is available in the late-rounds of your fantasy football draft and your starting QB is questionable at best, I’d highly recommend picking up the former Texas star.
Drafted No. 84 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, wide receiver Jordan Shipley—also a former Texas Longhorn along with Colt McCoy—was taken by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of the draft.
In 2009 as a senior, Shipley racked up 1,485 receiving yards on 116 receptions, scoring 13 touchdowns en route to an average of 12.8 yards per catch.
Over his four year career at Texas, Shipley garnered 3,191 yards, 248 receptions, and 33 touchdowns.
He is also highly regarded in Austin for returning a punt against Texas Tech in the 2009 season to give the Longhorns a 34-32 victory.
If you need a receiver and Shipley’s available in the later rounds of your 2010 fantasy football draft, don’t even think twice: Just take him.
Drafted No. 48 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, quarterback Jimmy Clausen—the highest draft pick in this top 10 list—would be a steal of a pick if he is still available come the later rounds of your 2010 fantasy football draft.
Clausen, who played college football at Notre Dame and left early as a junior, had three very successful years as the play-caller for the Fighting Irish.
Over his three year college career, Clausen passed for 8,148 yards with 60 touchdowns.
In his final year with Notre Dame as a junior in 2009, Clausen garnered 3,722 passing yards with 28 touchdowns while adding three touchdowns on the ground.
Hey fantasy football owners, does anyone need a sleeper QB?
Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at email@example.com