2011 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Andre Roberts of the Arizona Cardinals

Ken KellyContributor IIIJuly 15, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 25: Wide receiver Andre Roberts #12 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the football on a 74 yard touchdown reception against the Dallas Cowboys during the second quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 25, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Our sleeper list continues with Andre Roberts of the Arizona Cardinals, as he joins Marcus Easley on our watch list this summer.  

Roberts is listed as a player with “rising value” in our Dynasty Essentials Guide, but based on what we’re seeing all over the country, the amazing lack of press he’s getting is likely pushing him back into the sleeper category.

Roberts was drafted by the Cardinals in the third round of last year’s draft after an up-and-down collegiate career at The Citadel.  Roberts posted 77 catches, 792 yards and seven scores as a senior. Those numbers aren’t awful, but paled in comparison to the 95 catches, 1,334 yards and 14 touchdowns he scored as a junior.  

The Cardinals drafted Roberts with the intent he could become a nice slot receiver since he showed such polish and refinement on his routes in college.

Turns out he could be much more.

After suffering through a miserable training camp that featured him being confused with the offense and dropping multiple easy passes, the Cardinals showed some faith in his ability and kept him on the team in 2010.  

Unfortunately, a shoulder injury kept him from moving up the depth chart to pass players like Stephen Williams, Max Komar and Early Doucet early on.  He spent most of the year struggling to adapt to the NFL, making poor decisions returning punts.

The up-and-down season continued with some spotty performances until Christmas night. Roberts arrived with a five-catch, 110-yard performance that included a 74-yard touchdown pass from John Skelton. 

While one night certainly doesn’t make a career, all reports show Roberts has been building on that effort ever since.

Going into 2011, he is vying to become the Cardinals No. 2 receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald.  Free agency is going to be huge for him since Steve Breaston’s exit could be the last domino to fall to give him an even greater opportunity. 

Early Doucet and Stephen Williams are both squarely in the mix, but Doucet seems to get hurt more often than not and Williams blew a major opportunity with his playing time last season.

The Cardinals quarterback corps is also likely going to look much different in a month’s time.  With a trade for a veteran like Kevin Kolb or a free-agent signing like Matt Hasselbeck or Donovan McNabb seemingly on the horizon, the Cardinals are destined to be much better throwing the ball next season.  After all, they couldn’t be much worse.

Roberts is a player you could likely land on the cheap as a free-agent pickup or via trade from an owner who isn’t sold on his ability or situation.  While he may never ascend to be a star player, you just never know.

He has talent.  He has an opportunity.  He should have a quarterback.  That means you have a sleeper.