Sleepers Fantasy Football Busts & Sleepers Cheat Sheet
Fantasy Football Information for our 2009 Sleepers
Fantasy football sleepers are kind of like fantasy busts in that you have different types of players that can qualify for this category. On one hand you have young players that are just waiting to break out onto the scene like DeAngelo Williams a season ago. On the other hand you have veteran players that maybe have had a few down seasons, but are ready for a comeback like Thomas Jones in 2009.
Most NFL players need to be in a situation where they are in a system that fits their abilities and have good teammates around them to excel at this level. Rarely do you find a player like LaDainian Tomlinson in 2003 or Calvin Johnson a season ago, that can rise above being on the worst team in football and still have wonderful success.
I believe the Reddog (my dad) said it best one time when he told me, “in any fantasy draft everyone knows who the top 50 players are, but it is what a fantasy owner does after those first 5 rounds that helps you win more years then lose.”
One painful lesson I’ve had to learn in this game is that because “everyone” knows the top 50, any average joe can come in and get that “player of the year” in any season. Like wise even experienced fantasy players in the end have as much of a chance at busting with their top 5 picks as anyone else.
But it is knowing which players will breakout and selecting a few of those players that can keep you in the hunt for a fantasy title most seasons.
Below I’ve selected some of the players off of our 2009 sleepers list and where I see them going in your draft.
Houston Texans Quarterback Matt Schaub
The Texans have been an offense that has been coming on the past few seasons. There are two main reasons I believe Matt is ready to take the next step for fantasy owners and those reasons are offensive line improvement and a respectable running game.
Sure the Texans once had a good running game when Dominic Davis was strong for a few seasons, but that was awhile ago. With Steve Slaton now having a proven season of pro bowl like numbers, defenses will be forced to game plan and have respect for the Texans running once more.
This in turn will allow the Texans to carve up teams in the secondary as they should have more success down the field.
For many years in Houston the offensive line has been one of the worst in football. Poor David Carr never really had a chance to succeed when his was pummeled all the time. But now the Texans have one of the more under rated offensive lines in football and are ready to provide Matt Schaub with time to find his receivers.
Look for Matt as a very nice mid round quarterback in this years fantasy football draft.
Kansas City Chiefs Running Back Larry Johnson
Just this past week I wrote and article on Larry Johnson and noted he has come out publicly and said that he is now happy to be a Chief. The reason that he is happy is because of the new management and that new offensive system fits his running style.
While Johnson has truly been a big baby of the past two seasons I do believe he is primed to have a solid fantasy year for your team. No doubt he is not worth selecting as your second round pick, but he would make a fine 5th rounder this season.
The offensive line has turned the corner in it’s rebuilding phase and they are now ready to provide LJ with better running room. Look for Larry to have a very surprising 1,300 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns this season as the Chiefs establish their running game once again.
Baltimore Ravens Receiver Mark Clayton
This one is pending on the fact that Derrick Mason stays retired this year. But even if Mason does come back I do believe his days of being the No.1 target are over.
Mark Clayton is now coming into his 4th season in the league and is primed to become Joe Flacco’s No.1 receiver for years to come. While Clayton may not be a top ten fantasy receiver, he does have the skill set to be a solid player in this league.
If your in a fantasy football league that allows only two starting receivers then you won’t want to have Clayton as a starter at the beginning of the season. But as the year moves along I do believe the connection between Clayton and Flacco will start to heat up.
Flacco has one of the best offensive lines in football and that will come in handy for finding Mark down the field for big plays. It also doesn’t hurt that the Ravens play the Browns and Bengals four games a season either.
Look for Clayton as a steal pick in the later mid rounds of your fantasy football draft.
Philadelphia Eagles Tight End Brent Celek
A good amount of you probably don’t know who this guy is and I wouldn’t blame you for not knowing. What I like about Brent is the fact that for one L.J. Smith is now out of town and Celek will be the starter.
The most important piece of information about Celek is the deficiency of the Eagles receiving core to have a big, tall receiver on the team, that has proven to score touchdowns.
There has also been talk of the Eagles not using Brian Westbrook as the goal line runner. Someone is going to have to fill this void and it could very well be their tight end Brent Celek.
If your the type of fantasy football owner that likes to wait until the final rounds of the draft to get a tight end then consider Celek as a nice option on draft day.
Houston Texans Kicker Kris Brown
Yup I’m writing about another Texans player on my sleepers list for this season. Since I’ve now had two players on this article as write ups, it should tell you what I think about the Texans offense coming into the 2009 season.
This year Houston should make a very strong run at the playoffs in the AFC South division. My only problem with the Texans is that they are kind of like the Saints in the NFC in that their defense is a little shaky.
But I do believe they have enough talent on the other side of the ball to get it done and have a winning season this year.
With this success Kris Brown should benefit and be a nice late round pick kicker for your fantasy team.
Washington Redskins Defense
I know a lot of older fantasy football owners have a strong case of PTSD when it comes to the Redskins and being a starting fantasy defense. But with the addition of Brian Orakpo and Albert Haynesworth this team is primed to start creating some sacks and turnovers this season.
This defenses checkered history in fantasy football will make many owners pass on this talented defense. Because of this you can get them at a much cheaper price then they should go at with the talent they have.
Fantasy Football Information Writer Sean E. Douglas: fantasy-info.com