Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2012 Fantasy Football Sleepers

For those of you that have followed me throughout the pre-season, you have probably heard me discuss most of these names at one point or another. However, here is a list of some of my favorite sleepers, with my current rankings in brackets.
See my QB, RB, WR and TE rankings as well for a more detailed look at each player. Note that guys I've written about a lot like Fred Jackson, Percy Harvin, Titus Young won't be touched on in this article even though based on their ADP, are big sleepers of mine.


Matt Ryan, ATL (11) - Ryan has never had a season with 4200 yards or 30 TD. However, with two of the best WRs in his league and an offense that is shifting away from its conservative past, there is tons of upside in Ryan. Since the Falcons have expressed a desire to rest Turner more this year and start passing more, Ryan could be in for a huge year.

Carson Palmer, OAK (15) - Palmer was the #1 pick in the 2003 draft and became a fantasy stud prior to his 2008 ACL/MCL injury. When he returned to full strength, the Bengals had become a running team, limiting Palmers fantasy stats. Now with the Raiders, a team that likes to throw deep a lot, a 4300 yard season is definitely within reach.

Josh Freeman, TB (16) - After a breakout 2010 (3451 yards with a 25 TD and only 6 INT), Freeman took a step back last year due to only 16 TDs and 22 INT. However, his completion percentage and yardage actually improved. Plus, he now has a shiny new toy in WR1 Vincent Jackson. If Freeman can improve off last years disappointing interception rate, as I think he will, a top 10 fantasy QB season should be on the horizon.

Running Backs

Ryan Williams, ARI (37) - I love Ryan Williams talent, and he looks healthy coming off a serious knee injury. Beanie Wells isn't a long term answer at RB for the Cardinals so Williams has the opportunity to take over feature back duties.

Rashad Jennings, JAC (40) - Maurice Jones-Drew is looking more and more like he will be missing the start of the season due to his contract situation, and Jennings will benefit greatly. He has looked amazing in training camp, and should be a RB2 as long as he starts. He has a career rushing average of almost 5.4 yards/carry and should be very successful in MJD's absence.

Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL (42) - Michael Turner is no spring chicken, so there is a good opportunity for Rodgers to get significant work this year. Coach Mike Smith has been praising Rodgers throughout training camp and recently referred to him as a three-down back. A great pass catcher, Rodgers should be heavily involved from the start of the year and should see his role grow as the season continues.

Ronnie Hillman, DEN (43) - Only 5"10, 190 lbs, Hillman will break in as the 3rd down back in Denver early in the season. However, the upside is much greater. He rushed for 38 TDs as the feature back for San Diego State University in college so he has proven to be effective in goal line work, and McGahee has a lot of wear on his tires after 8 seasons.

Wide Receivers

Greg Little, CLE (42) - Little had a good rookie season (60 catches for 709 yards and 2 TDs) despite only having one season as a WR in college (he was a RB for his first two collegiate seasons). Brandon Weeden is a big upgrade from Colt McCoy's terrible play last year. I expect him to lean heavily on Little this season, so Little has WR3 upside.

Jonathan Baldwin, KC (51) - Baldwin has been inconsistent this off-season, failing to impress in two pre-season games despite a stellar training camp and OTAs. However, he has the talent to be a star receiver in the NFL and looks like he will be the heir apparent to Dwayne Bowe. Far more talented than Steve Breaston, I expect him to see his role grow throughout the season at the expense of Breaston.

Danny Amendola, STL (57) - Amendola was a breakout star in 2010, especially in PPR leagues, as he racked up 85 catches for almost 700 yards and 3 TDs. Now healthy from a gruesome elbow injury that limited him to just one game last season, Amendola looks like he will be Bradford's go-to WR and should be a PPR star again and perhaps even push weekly WR3 in standard leagues.

Tight Ends

Fred Davis, WSH (8) - Davis was in the midst of a break out year (796 yards and 3 TD in 12 games) before he was suspended for the last four games of the season due to violating the leagues drug policy. He is a super talented TE, and rookie QBs traditionally lean heavily on their TEs as they are big reliable pass catchers.

Brent Celek, PHI (10) - Celek was relegated to blocker for a lot of the pass two seasons, so he hasn't been able to reach the potential that he showed in his breakout 2009 season. However, in the 2nd half of last season, Celek became an important part of the offense, often being a security blanket for Vick (35 catches for 542 yards and 3 TDs). A tight end that you can get often outside the top 15, I expect top 10 fantasy TE stats.

Kyle Rudolph, MIN (17) - Rudolph is a huge target, at 6"6, 260 lb with a huge wingspan and giant hands. He has developed a great rapport with Christain Ponder, so expect they will connect often throughout the year. Rudolph will go as far as Christain Ponder (Ponder has been very inconsistent in his short NFL career thus far) can take him but he has the talent to be a top 10 fantasy TE.

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