Don't Fall Asleep on These Guys: 2011 Fantasy Football Ultimate Sleeper Guide
You have read countless articles and posts in regards to the 2011 Fantasy Football season. Most of them being over the last week thanks to a prolonged lockout keeping teams from signing, trading and releasing players.
Not to fret because I have been there every step of the way. I have called my sources, consulted my friends and constructed every possible outcome in any mock draft situation. These are the facts.
However, since my friends are idiots, my sources are Jim Tressel and Tiki Barber and a mock draft is only useful for the first three minutes, I find myself in position to make an educated assumption on the top fantasy sleepers in the league.
Keep in mind that I am rushing to get this done before anymore lineup shuffling occurs.
Joking aside, and that is the only thing I know how to do, let us take a look at who my Fantasy Football sleepers are for the 2011 season.
Matthew Stafford - Detroit Lions
This is as legit as it gets folks. Over the past two seasons, he has only played 13 games but has shown signs of stardom. He even began last season with some solid numbers, but the injury bug took him down once again.
If he can stay healthy he is a top five quarterback. I repeat, top five. This guy has tools all around him at his disposal including Jahvid Best, Brandon Pettigrew, Nate Burleson, Titus Young and Calvin Johnson.
This is a loaded team on offense but only if they stay healthy. I can still see Stafford becoming an elite quarterback, he just needs to avoid getting hurt every game.
Kevin Kolb - Arizona Cardinals
He has never started more than seven games in a season and that was last year when Michael Vick went out with an injury. He is now an Arizona Cardinal and will be given the full reigns to run this offense.
He had the chances in the past but like Matthew Stafford, got bitten twice shy by the injury bug. If he can stay healthy, he is a top ten quarterback in fantasy football.
Remember, he has Larry Fitzgerald catching passes, and we all know how good his hands are. You can toss a melon toward him, and he could snag it with one hand while sipping hot coffee in the other.
With the addition of Todd Heap at TE, Kolb could get any fantasy owner a solid QB1 for those PPR owners not willing to draft a QB early on. You can save yourself a pick or two and draft another WR or RB.
Sam Bradford - St Louis Rams
In his rookie campain, he threw for over 3,500 yards with a 60 percent completion rate and 18 TDs. This guy is the real thing. He left Oklahoma with a bad arm injury and people questioned whether or not he could still play at the level he did before.
He came out last season and proved he could do it. He plays with a chip on his shoulder with a team that no one gives any credit to, the St Louis Rams.
The Rams were on the cusp of making the playoffs last season and winning the NFC West before a 16-6 loss to the Seahawks cost them that chance.
This is the season where Bradford will show the Fantasy world he is worthy of being drafted among the top 15 QBs.
Joe Flacco - Baltimore Ravens
OK, so this is not too far of a stretch but his ADP (ninth round) makes him a sleeper in my eyes. How does a guy with his numbers drop to the ninth round? In any league type!
It is simple. He plays in Baltimore and people still do not trust the Ravens offense. I have no idea why they would not. He has thrown for over 3,600 yards each of the past two seasons and tossed 21 and 25 TDs respectively.
What also is amazing about him is his INT total has continued to drop. He opened his first two seasons with 12 and 12 but finished last season with 10. If he can find a way to get the ball to Anquan Boldin and Ray Rice, they can do the rest.
The Ravens 2011 schedule is also helpful to his arm with games against last season's 32nd, 31st, 29th, 28th and 23rd ranked pass defenses.
Daniel Thomas - Miami Dolphins
Let me put it to you this way. Do not ever draft a rookie RB with your first few picks. If you have to draft one, just wait until the sixth round or later to do it. If you are looking for an example, try Ryan Matthews last season.
As a rookie, his ADP was the second round. Jahvid Best? He was a fourth-rounder every place I looked. That being said, those two examples only benefit you for the 2011 season and drafting Daniel Thomas.
No one will be ready to pull the trigger on him too early based on Mathews and Best from last season so he will end up dropping into your lap in the later rounds.
Splitting time with Reggie Bush will also help him get more goal line carries thus more chances at some short yardage rushing TDs.
LeGarrette Blount - Tampa Bay Bucs
Why not? All he did last season was surpass any and all expectations of an undrafted rookie. Not many people remember this guy, but he was the kid from Oregon that punched that Boise State player back in 2009.
Oh yeah! Now we remember. Well, all he does now is prove to everyone that he is the real deal and that Tampa Bay got a hell of a steal by signing him last year.
Anyone who played fantasy football in 2010 can tell you, he was the best waiver wire pickup, aside from Michael Vick, of the 2010 season. His only downside was pass catching. He finished 2010 with only five catches, but I can assure you that number will increase by the end of September in 2011.
He is one of the few running backs in the NFL that can be considered the true number one back on his team. He might not be too big of a sleeper, ADP is fourth round, but if he plays a full season like he played most of 2010, he will be an elite RB in no time.
Roy Helu - Washington Redskins
Any RB playing for a Mike Shanahan run offense deserves to be considered a sleeper. Mike loves to use RBs when at all possible. He finds them later in the drafts and tosses them into the game regardless of their seniority.
Aside from playing for the right coach, Roy Helu is built to be an NFL RB. He is 6'0", 215 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.4 seconds.
He is a beast in a quick body. He can get down the field in a hurry and break tackles easier than most NFL RBs. He might not be the starter but given Shanahan's history with RBs, he should see playing time earlier than most.
If he proves he is worth it, it will pay dividends for your team. He is not a starter but is easily the best player you can draft to add to your bench, so you can prepare for the day he gets the call.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis - New England Patriots
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, aside from having such a glorious name, should be considered a top rated sleeper. He showed up to play in 2010 for a pass happy New England Patriots offense and finished with 1,000 rushing yards and 13 TDs.
That is enough motivation for anyone to draft him, let alone in the later rounds. He seems to be falling into the sixth round in most drafts. If you are still looking for a good RB in the sixth round, grab him.
Even with a crowded backfield, BJGE is going to get 200 carries, and when he does, he will give you 1,000 yards. FACT!
Knowshon Moreno - Denver Broncos
When Knowson Moreno was playing at the University of Georgia, he was unstoppable. He was fast, quick, and hard to tackle.
His abilites are no joke, but the main reason I like him as a sleeper is that he has the abilities to break off a 75-yard run on a consistent basis if not for injuries. If Moreno does not get injured, he would be considered a second-round pick on a yearly basis.
He played all 16 games in his rookie campaign and looked real good during that time. Given the new coach, John Fox, he should receive more of an opportunity to become the RB we all expected out of him in 2009.
Kenny Britt - Tennessee Titans
Why? He is playing for a veteran QB, Matt Hasselback, that has more question marks than the Riddler. If that is not bad enough, the backup is a rookie, Jake Locker, that many people, myself included, think is overrated.
So why would I chose Kenny Britt to be a sleeper? Because he is a big play threat type of guy. In the final five games he played in last season, he had 26 catches, 566 yards and five TDs. He showed us that he can make the big plays when it counts.
If you care little about a players offseason activities or problems with the law, then this is your man. But since fantasy football is all about knowing your players better than anyone else, you have to consider those issues first.
If he does not allow that to interupt his game play than this guy can wind up with 75 catches, 1,300 yards and 13 TDs. He is a high risk/high reward guy.
Mario Manningham - New York Giants
If you were looking for a solid WR2 that no one else has jumped on yet, look no further. Super Mario just moved up the depth chart in 2011 with the departure of Steve Smith.
He was playing as the No. 2 guy last season with the injuries to Smith but he is now a true number two and that spells disaster for defenses. He has the ability to get down field in a flash and can his 15.7 YPC was good enough to 15th in the NFL last season.
Oh, and did I mention he had more TD catches than Andre Johnson, Marques Colston, Miles Austin, TO and Larry Fitzgerald? Mario will be given the chance to play opposite a huge target in Hakeem Nicks and that only helps him out.
This is a guy I would only pass on if I was drunk and passed out on the floor in the kitchen. Even then I would manage to wake up long enough to draft him. He is that valuable.
Chad Ochocinco - New England Patriots
Don't fall victim to the rumors, Ochocinco is not going to be released by the Patriots anytime soon. He will finish the season a Patriot and might even be playing for them in Indianapolis in February.
How he falls to a sleeper role is beyond me. This guy was once an elite WR and a no doubter to be drafted. His numbers suffered in Cincinnati over the past few years but now he has one of the best QBs in the NFL throwing to him.
Unlike Randy Moss, this guy can handle the pressure and will finish the season with 1,200 yards and 10 TDs. I might stand alone when I say this about him, but I can see him playing strong, at least for one year, in New England.
Julio Jones - Atlanta Falcons
The Matt Ryan/Roddy White show is only fun to watch if they are winning. It is not fun to watch an embarrasing home playoff loss to the soon-to-be Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers.
How do you bounce back from such a bad loss? You go out and get more weapons. Julio Jones is another weapon for Matt Ryan to use in 2011. Julio Jones is a 6'3", 220-pound beast of a WR to compliment Roddy White.
This is the only rookie I can say is a lock to produce in 2011. He has nothing but talent all around him and can benefit from Roddy White playing across the field and shifting the defensive focus to him or Tony Gonzalez.
Jacoby Ford - Oakland Raiders
If the final 10 games of 2010 was a preview to the kind of season we could expect from Jacoby Ford, I am all in. I really like this guy. His speed is awesome (ran a 4.28 40 at the 2010 combine) and his ability to get open is an underrated stat of his.
He not only catches the ball, he returns it and runs it as well and scored five TDs last season to add to his two receiving TDs. The guy has nothing but upside and although his broken left hand slowed him down a bit, he still can pull out the numbers you can hope for out of a guy who's ADP is the ninth round.
There are plenty of other options available before him, but if it is getting late, and he is up there, grab him. It will be well worth the risk.
I chose to not focus on TE, K or DEF. There is not one player or team in any of those categories that would be a sleeper to think about besides the ones you have already read about: Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen and Todd Heap.
One last thing before you leave, if any of these players help you win a championship make sure to send the money to me at Peoplewhoareawesomelikeme@fantasygods.com
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