Top Fantasy Football Sleeper on All 32 NFL Teams in 2011

Jason KarlAnalyst IIIMay 18, 2011

Top Fantasy Football Sleeper on All 32 NFL Teams in 2011

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    DENVER - DECEMBER 26:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos rolls out and looks to deliver a pass against the Houston Texas at INVESCO Field at Mile High on December 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Texans 24-23.  (Photo b
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    What could potentially be the worst effect of no games being played next season because of the lockout? A world with fantasy football, of course!

    Evey year, there are 'washed up' veterans who make an impact, as seen with Brandon Lloyd or players who come out of nowhere to help you win your league.

    Here's a look at the best sleeper candidates for each team in the NFL.

Arizona Cardinals: RB Beanie Wells

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    GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 05:  Runningback Beanie Wells #26 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football during the NFL game against the St. Louis Rams at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Rams defeated the Car
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Chris "Beanie" Wells disappointed greatly last season and did not warrant such a high draft pick.

    Wells, though, should get the majority of the goal-line carries and will probably be the starting back for the Cards in 2011, even though Arizona spent a second-round pick on the speedy Ryan Williams.

    Wells has immense talent and could fall in a lot of drafts this summer.

Atlanta Falcons: WR Julio Jones

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    ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 01:  Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide rushes for a touchdown during the Capitol One Bowl against the Michigan State Spartans at the Florida Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty I
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Julio Jones is a physical specimen at 6'4''. He ran in the 4.3s at the combine and can catch passes in tight windows.

    Jones improved tremendously his junior season, showing why he was considered an elite wide-receiving prospect.

    With an elite talent like Roddy White playing opposite of him, Jones will have opportunity to make an impact on the field.

    White was consistently double teamed at the end of last season, so Jones could be a perfect candidate to take some of the burden.

Baltimore Ravens: WR Torrey Smith

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    SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 20:  Wide receiver Shaky Smithson #1 of the Utah Utes is tackled by defensive back Larry Parker #29 of the San Diego State Aztecs at Qualcomm Stadium on November 20, 2010 in San Diego, California. Utah won 38-34.  (Photo by Stephen Du
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The Ravens offense has lacked a legitimate speedy threat for years, but that will change with the recent drafting of Torrey Smith.

    Smith can become a perfect compliment to Anquan Boldin and will stretch the field, allowing Joe Flacco to finally show off his arm strength.

Buffalo Bills: RB C.J. Spiller

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    MIAMI - DECEMBER 19:  Running Back C.J. Spiller #21 of the Buffalo Bills runs against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Miami, Florida.The Bills defeated the Dolphins 17-14.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Many people drafted Spiller fairly high last year with the hope that he could be a poor-man's Chris Johnson.

    Spiller disappointed, but he still has potential. He can catch passes and is a threat to score every time he touches the ball.

    Spiller will compliment the bigger Fred Jackson, but will still receive a fair amount of carries.

Carolina Panthers: QB Cam Newton

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Cameron Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers runs down field against John Boyett #20 of the Oregon Ducks during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Though Newton has to refine his passing game, his great running skills can make him a great fantasy option.

    Newton will run and should start from Day 1 for the Panthers.

    Without weapons in Carolina, Newton could feel the pressure to make plays on his own, which will lead to a lot of quarterback runs.

Chicago Bears: WR Johnny Knox

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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears runs ahead of Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers for a 32-yard gain in the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (P
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Though Knox really is not a sleeper anymore, after his breakout season last year, he will enter only his third season in the league.

    If Jay Cutler can continue to improve, Knox can take another step forward, becoming the No. 1 target in Chicago.

Cincinnati Bengals: WR Jerome Simpson

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    BALTIMORE, MD - JANUARY 2:  Jerome Simpson #89 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball against Lardarius Webb #21 of the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens lead the Bengals 6-0 at the half. (Photo by
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Jerome Simpson broke out at the end of last season for the Bengals, finally justifying the team's second-round selection in 2008.

    Teams will be keying in on stud A.J. Green, so Simpson can build off from the latter part of the season.

    With great speed, he can stretch the field and be a viable option for whoever is quarterbacking the Bengals.

Cleveland Browns: RB Montario Hardesty

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    CLEVELAND - SEPTEMBER 2:  Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns hands the ball off to Montario Hardesty #31 against the Chicago Bears during the preseason game on September 2, 2010 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the B
    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Yes, star Peyton Hillis will be drafted high, but he has been injury prone his entire career.

    With a career high of 270 carries last year, Hillis could be in for an injury-plagued season.

    Montario Hardesty missed all of last season, but was drafted in the second round in 2010, so the potential is there.

    Even if Hillis does not get injured, Hardesty should still see a large amount of carries.

Dallas Cowboys: RB Felix Jones

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    GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 25:  Runningback Felix Jones #28 of the Dallas Cowboys rushes the football during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 25, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated th
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Felix Jones is another name who disappointed, but he will be the lead back in 2011 for a loaded Cowboys offense.

    Jones should be able to catch passes and make an impact with his speed.

    Though the Cowboys drafted DeMarco Murray in the third round, he is more of a situational back.

Denver Broncos: QB Tim Tebow

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    DENVER, CO - JANUARY 2:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos drops back to pass as running back Lance Ball #35 looks to make a block against the San Diego Chargers at INVESCO Field at Mile High on January 2, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by
    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    In three games starting last year, Tebow ran for 199 yards.

    Tebow probably won many people their leagues with his great fantasy play down the stretch.

    With a willingness to run, Tebow should be able to run for more than 600 yards next season, with close to seven-to-eight rushing touchdowns.

    He will go later in drafts, but could end up being a top fantasy quarterback.

Detroit Lions: QB Matthew Stafford

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    CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 12: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions drops back to pass as Stephen Peterman #66 prepares to block Matt Toeaina #75 of the Chicago Bears during the NFL season opening game at Soldier Field on September 12, 2010 in Chicago, Illin
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Though Stafford is injury prone, he can be a fantasy stud if healthy for the entire year.

    The Lions have a top-five receiver with Calvin Johnson and a solid tandem of running backs with Mikel Leshoure and Jahvid Best.

    Stafford could put up top-10 fantasy-quarterback numbers in that offense.

Green Bay Packers: WR Jordy Nelson

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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Jordy Nelson #87 of the Green Bay Packers catches a 29 yard touchdown pass over William Gay #22 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Nelson was Aaron Rodgers' top target in the playoffs, and he should move into the starting lineup with James Jones expected to leave in free agency.

    Nelson is a solid possession receiver and will form a great tandem with Greg Jennings.

    Rodgers can make all his weapons around him better, and Nelson will benefit greatly.

Houston Texans: TE Owen Daniels

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    DENVER - DECEMBER 26:  Wide receiver Owen Daniels #91 of the Houston Texas makes a first quarter touchdown reception in front of D.J. Williams #55 of the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on December 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos de
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Daniels came back from a serious ACL injury last year and performed admirably down the stretch.

    He struggled for most of the season, but was arguably a top fantasy tight end at the end of last season.

    Daniels seemed to fully recover from his injury and with Andre Johnson on the outside, the seams will open up for the talented Daniels.

Indianapolis Colts: WR Austin Collie

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    LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 17: Austin Collie #17 of the Indianapolis Colts moves the ball upfield after making a reception against Kareem Moore #41 of the Washington Redskins at FedExField on October 17, 2010 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Gett
    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    Collie could have had a huge fantasy year if not for the two concussions he suffered.

    In the pass-happy offense, Collie receives plenty of targets from Peyton Manning, who trusts Collie's great hands.

    If healthy, Collie could prove to be a solid No. 2 fantasy receiver next season.

Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Mike Thomas

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 19: Mike Thomas #80 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs back a kick off return for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
    Scott Boehm/Getty Images

    Thomas is a smaller at 5'8'', but with unbelievable speed, he is a threat to score.

    He formed a nice dynamic with David Garrard and should be a solid fantasy sleeper, especially with Mike Sims-Walker expected to leave.

Kansas City Chiefs: WR Jonathan Baldwin

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 26:  Jonathan Baldwin #82 of the Pittsburgh Panthers watches as teammate Dion Lewis #28 fumbles the ball at the goal line against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game on December 26, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    At 6'5'', Baldwin will have the height advantage over every corner in the league, making him a great red-zone threat.

    Baldwin will play opposite of stud receiver Dwayne Bowe, so he should receive single coverage on most downs.

    Also, with Jamaal Charles opening up the offense, Baldwin will see eight-plus targets a game.

Miami Dolphins: RB Daniel Thomas

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    LAWRENCE, KS - OCTOBER 14:  Daniel Thomas #8 of the Kansas State Wildcats carries the ball as Olaitan Oguntodu #44 of the Kansas Jayhawks defends during the game on October 14, 2010 at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Im
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are expected to leave in free agency, so the burden of carrying the run game will fall onto the shoulders of second-round pick Daniel Thomas.

    Thomas was a workhorse at Kansas State. He can pound the defense inside and break a few runs to the outside.

    The Dolphins will feed him carries so Thomas can be a great sleeper.

Minnesota Vikings: RB Toby Gerhart

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    MINNEAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 21: Toby Gerhart #32 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball against the Green Bay Packers at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on November 21, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    The Vikings could potentially have Christian Ponder starting for them, so the majority of the offense will focus around the running game.

    Though Adrian Peterson is the best running back in football, he cannot shoulder the entire load.

    Gerhart could spell Peterson on third downs and possibly receive six-to-10 carries a game.

New England Patriots: WR Brandon Tate

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    FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 02:  Brandon Tate #19 of the New England Patriots carries the ball as Reshad Jones #20 of the Miami Dolphins chases after him on January 2, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    The Patriots had a prolific offense in 2010, and if Tate can improve, he can give the offense a sorely needed deep threat.

    Tate has legitimate 4.3 speed and could be one of Tom Brady's favorite deep-play targets.

    Tate seems fully recovered from his ACL injury he suffered two years ago.

New Orleans Saints: TE Jimmy Graham

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    BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 19:  Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints runs the ball after a catch against the Baltimore Ravens  at M&T Bank Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Saints 30-24. (Photo by Larry Frenc
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Four of Graham's five touchdowns came in the final three games of the season.

    At 6'6'', Graham is a huge target in the red zone, and with Jeremy Shockey's release, Graham will be the main receiving threat at the tight-end position.

    Graham will quickly become one of Drew Brees' favorite targets.

New York Giants: WR Mario Manningham

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 19:  Mario Manningham #82 of the New York Giants  against the Philadelphia Eagles at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 19, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    With the status uncertain for Steve Smith, Manningham will take over in the starting lineup across from Hakeem Nicks.

    Manningham quietly had nine touchdowns to go along with 944 yards.

    He should improve on those numbers. In Manningham's final three games, he caught 16 passes for 346 yards and four touchdowns.

New York Jets: RB Shonn Greene

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    FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 16:  Shonn Greene #23 of the New York Jets runs down field against the New England Patriots during their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Greene will most like take as the starter pushing LaDanian Tomlinson to a reserve role.

    Greene will receive close to 20 carries a game in a run-oriented offense. He may fall to the mid rounds in fantasy drafts, even though he is likely to put up solid starting numbers.

Oakland Raiders: WR Jacoby Ford

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 21:  Ryan Clark #25 and James Farrior #51 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Jacoby Ford #12 of the Oakland Raiders during the game on November 21, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Jacoby Ford may be the fastest player in the league.

    If Jason Campbell can get the ball to Ford on fly routes or even in open space, he will be a fantasy threat at wide receiver.

    Ford will benefit from such a strong running game with Darren McFadden.

Philadelphia Eagles: TE Brent Celek

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 09:  Brent Celek #87 of the Philadelphia Eagles completes a two-point conversin pass against Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers which didn't score due to a penalty on Celek during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Celek had an abysmal year last season after big things were expected from him.

    Drops haunted him throughout the year. Eventually Celek became more of an in-line blocker because of the Eagles offensive-line struggles.

    With the addition of legendary offensive line coach Howard Mudd and first-round pick Danny Watkins, the Eagles line should tremendously improve, allowing Celek to run his routes.

Pittsburgh Steelers: WR Emmanuel Sanders

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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Emmanuel Sanders #88 of the Pittsburgh Steelers makes a reception against Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Packers won 31-25. (
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Sanders improved as the season went on and with deep speed, he could possibly push for more playing time.

    Sanders proved to be a deep threat for the Steelers, which are tough to stop with Sanders and Mike Wallace on the field together.

    Another offseason should help improve the raw-but-talented Sanders.

San Diego Chargers: WR Malcom Floyd

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    SAN DIEGO - AUGUST 21:  Wide receiver Malcolm Floyd #80 of the San Diego Chargers catches a pass against Terence Newman #41 of the Dallas Cowboys during their pre-season NFL football game at Qualcomm Stadium on August 21, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Vincent Jackson may not re-sign with the team, leaving Floyd as Phillip Rivers' No. 1 target.

    Though he missed five games, Floyd still had 717 receiving yards with a 19.4 average per pass.

    At 6'5'', 230 pounds Floyd is deceptively quick, very much like Jackson.

San Francisco 49ers: WR Michael Crabtree

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    SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 14:  Michael Crabtree #15 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after scoring a touchdown while defended by Ron Bartell #24 of the St. Louis Rams at Candlestick Park on November 14, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ez
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Crabtree has seemingly fallen off the map after a promising rookie season.

    His immense talent is being wasted because of the lack of any consistent quarterback play.

    Crabtree though has enough talent to become a playmaker with a quarterback. He is a possession receiver who uses his great skills in running after the catch.

Seattle Seahawks: WR Mike Williams

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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 16:  Wide receiver Mike Williams #17 of the Seattle Seahawks catches a two-yard touchdown against Danieal Manning #38 of the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter of the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16,
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Williams had a breakout season last year and will continue to improve.

    He is a red-zone target with his immense size (6'5'', 235 pounds) and could be the top target for whoever lines up under center for the Seahawks.

    Williams is a solid possession receiver who will be entering his second season since his comeback.

St. Louis Rams: TE Lance Kendricks

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    ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 20:  Scott Tolzien #16 of the Wisconsin Badgers throws a second quarter pass to Lance Kendricks #84 in front of Courtney Avery #5 of the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    One of the Rams main goals this offseason was to upgrade the receiving threats for Sam Bradford.

    They spent a second-round pick on the pass-catching tight end Lance Kendricks who can spread the defense from the tight-end position.

    Kendricks has solid hands and could develop into Bradford's security blanket.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Arrelious Benn

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    TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 05:  Receiver Arrelious Benn #17 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs after a catch against the Atlanta Falcons during the game at Raymond James Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    The Buccaneers drafted Benn in the second round last year, and while he did not have a bad rookie season, his numbers pale in comparison with fellow rookie Mike Williams, who had 11 touchdowns and close to 1,000 yards.

    Benn, though, has as much talent as Williams, and you can expect teams to shadow Williams, leaving more window of opportunity for Benn to make an impact.

Tennessee Titans: QB Jake Locker

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 30:  Quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies scrambles against the Stanford Cardinal on October 30, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. Stanford won 41-0. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Locker could be a solid fantasy quarterback because of his great running abilities. Locker ran in the mid 4.5's at the combine and used his elusiveness at Washington to get away from opposing defensive players.

    Locker will have to improve his horrid accuracy, though, as that is the one aspect of his game that is holding him back.

Washington Redskins: RB Ryan Torain

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 26:  Ryan Torain #46 of the Washington Redskins dives for a touchdown over Don Carey #22 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the game at EverBank Field on December 26, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Gett
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Torain perfectly fits Mike Shanahan's one-cut running system.

    He averaged 4.5 yards per carry, but durability will be a concern for him. Torain should open the year starting and he could be a nice late-round sleeper. He can catch the ball and is a tough, hard-nosed runner.