Fantasy Football Sleepers
In 1998, Atlanta Falcons RB Jamal Anderson rushed for 1,846 yards and had 16 total TDs. This made him the first true fantasy football sleeper of all time. There may have been surprises in the past, but during the late ’90s when fantasy football’s popularity was exploding, Anderson became the quintessential sleeper.
Anderson had 410 carries that year. This truly signifies what makes for a quality sleeper: opportunity. If you give the ball to any back 410 times, if he’s still alive at the end of the season, he definitely had a good season.
Last year, WR Miles Austin, RB Rashard Mendenhall and RB Jamaal Charles burst onto the fantasy scene because they were simply given a chance on the field. This season, the same principle applies.
QB Chad Henne (Miami Dolphins)
The Dophins added WR Brandon Marshall and with him come great numbers. He and Wes Welker are the only wideouts to have three straight seasons with at least 100 receptions and 1,000 or more receiving yards. Henne’s got a very strong arm and a great set of running backs to rely on. Henne will improve by leaps and bounds.
WR Devin Aromashodu (Chicago Bears)
Aromashoduken!! Late in the ’09 season. Aromashodu was the only wideout on the Chicago Bears worth the consideration for a roster spot. The Bears now have offensive coordinator Mike Martz who will certainly look to use Aromashodu all over the field. Whether it’s breaking off a short route or going deep, he’s got the skills, speed, hands and leaping ability to make a big difference in a high-powered passing offense. QB Jay Cutler will fulfill his role as “gunslinger” under Martz and his go-to guy will be Aromashodu.
RB Justin Forsett (Seattle Seahawks)
In the four 2009 games where Forsett had 10 more carries, he averaged just under 100 yards per game on 6.3 yards per carry and three touchdowns. Don’t allow the presence of new head coach Pete Carroll dissuade you from making this pick happen. Forsett has already proven himself as the most reliable backfield option in the Seattle, it’s just a matter of him getting the touches.
RB Felix Jones (Dallas Cowboys)
Finally given the No. 1 spot in the Dallas Cowboys backfield, Jones is poised to make a fantasy leap. Most fantasy football fans are going to be skeptical of how many touches Jones can expect. But given his electric talent and big-play potential anytime he gets the ball, Jones will absolutely command a larger role on offense. Leading the league in yards per carry in 2009, Jones was often considered the better running back in college when he was paired with current Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden. Jones will prove that point right in 2010 when he runs all over opposing defenses.
WR Devin Thomas (Washington Redskins)
The Redskins will likely be without WR Santana Moss to begin the season due to his ties with alleged HGH use. This will provide Thomas, who was already considered by many to be a viable sleeper, even more opportunities to make plays. QB Donovan McNabb knows how to spread the ball around, but the Redskins have limited options at the position.
QB Matt Moore (Carolina Panthers)
If you end up with an elite option at QB like Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, you may want to take Moore towards the end of your draft. Moore very quietly went 4-1 as a starter last season by beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and New Orleans Saints. He completed 63% of his passes and threw eight touchdowns and only one interception. Moore could be easy trade-bait if a big-time QB gets injured and a team is need of a replacement. Most encouraging was he managed to get the ball to WR Steve Smith on a regular basis. Smith had a touchdown in each of the final three games of the season. Moore presents exceptional value as a very late round draft pick.
Written By: Matt De Lima