Don’t Sleep On These Sleepers

Expect big things from Flacco's big arm this year.

It’s that time of year again. Fantasy football drafts are in full effect. Every year, it seems a few position players will come out of nowhere to put up solid fantasy stats. Being able to identify these players in the preseason and taking a flier on them in your fantasy draft could prove to be very helpful as the fantasy season plays out. It’s easy to say Wes Welker, Terrell Owens and Clinton Portis could be players that would garner sleeper/value pick status, since they are lower than usual in most drafts. But here at www.thefantasygeek.com, we dig deeper to really identify some mid- to late-round steals.

Quarterback

Joe Flacco – Through the first six games of last season, Flacco had 10 TD passes. He cooled off a bit after that, but should be in line for a big year with Anquan Boldin and the speedy Donte Stallworth in the mix.

Kevin Kolb – In two starts last year, Kolb threw for 718 yards and 4 TDs. He’s the man in Philly now, and is in line for a breakout season.

Others to watch: Chad Henne – Kyle Orton – Carson Palmer – Matthew Stafford

Running Back

Jahvid Best – I’m not concerned with the fact that Best is a rookie, since the opportunity for fantasy success is all that matters. Best is Detroit’s starter and has a chance to be a very productive fantasy play this season. So far, in two preseason starts, he’s racked up 78 yards on 14 carries, a 5.5 YPC average. The only question mark for Best is his durability.

Leon Washington – Washington is rumored to be starting Seattle’s third preseason game. Typically that’s the game in which the starters for the regular season get their final tune up. Even if Washington isn’t the starter in week one, he’s a nice late-round pick with upside.

Others to watch: Arian Foster – CJ Spiller – Ahmad Bradshaw – Kareem Huggins

Wide Receiver

Jabar Gaffney – In Denver’s final game of 2009, a game Denver needed to advance to the AFC playoffs, coach Josh McDaniels sat Brandon Marshall. Gaffney stepped up with 14 catches for 213 yards. He’s proven in the preseason to be Kyle Orton’s go-to guy and should definitely fly under the radar during fantasy drafts.

Hakeem Nicks – First off, Nicks should stop throwing left hooks, (resulting in his ejection during the Giants second preseason game) and prove he’s the deep threat the Giants think he can be. He showed signs as a rookie last season and should develop more trust from Eli Manning this season.

Others to watch: Malcom Floyd – Mike Wallace – Devin Aromashodu

Tight End

Chris Cooley – Cooley is my sleeper of the year. He’s always been a productive TE and that’s with below-average QBs throwing him the ball. Now he has a veteran QB in Donavan McNabb. Fred Davis may steal some production, but I see Cooley having a bounce-back season.

Cooley can be drafted in rounds 8-11.

Dustin Keller – Keller is quickly turning into Mark Sanchez’s safety net. I would not be surprised to see Keller as one of the Jets leaders in receptions this season.

Others to watch: Zach Miller – John Carlson – Jermaine Gresham

Hopefully, these sleepers will help you fill out your rosters this season and prove to be quality fantasy players that make a difference. Some on a weekly bases and some as bye-week replacements. Good luck with your drafts.

Watch for our weekly online chats, where unlike the big sites, we make it a priority to answer all your questions. Once the season starts, we’ll be holding a chat every Sunday morning prior to games kicking off.

If you want to hit me up with any questions you can find me on Twitter @thesammyc.

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