We're always on the look out for fantasy football sleepers, especially before the fantasy draft. I watch the NFL player news headlines daily, so I can keep a bead on who's rising and falling through the ranks. Let's get one thing straight, sleepers are not sure bets, but they're bets worth making. This is how I personally define a fantasy football sleeper.
So breaking into the "you won't believe" realm here's my current "hottest" sleepers for 2012.
Josh Freeman | QB | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Finding a 4500 yard, 32+ TD QB in the draft is a tall order, after the first four big names are off the board. So every year I try to lock in at least 2 quarterbacks that I know can be picked up later in the draft, but still will post top 10 numbers and have a chance to land in the top 5. This year my number 1 sleeper QB to try and steal late is Josh Freeman, here's why.
- Mike Williams (WR) is in his magical 3rd year. Plus he was a stud his rookie season (11 TD), the same year Josh threw for 25 TD w / 6 INT. Forget last years sophomore slump!
- Vincent Jackson (WR) is in town, nuff said.
- Upgrades on the offensive line, especially Carl Nicks, considered by many as the best tackle in the NFL.
- And finally, their lack of defense, period. I'm thinking Tampa knows its easier to score, than to stop other teams from scoring, especially when you look at the high scoring teams in their division such as the Saints and fast rising Panthers.
I've seen some websites downplay Tampa this year, including the fantasy value of both Freeman and Jackson. Which I love because if this type of bashing continues to drive down his stock, I'll be able to pick him fairly late in the fantasy draft.
Robert Meachem | WR | San Diego Chargers
Meachem is leaving my home team, but hell I don't blame him. He's now getting paid #1 WR money, plus he moves to the 1st or 2nd option in the passing game. But I'm sure you're wondering who the heck he is. And if he's so damn good, why didn't the Saints feature him more. Well here's what's up with Meachem and why I see him as a big sleeper.
- Robert Meachem was, in many people opinions, under utilized in New Orleans. When he was given a chance (Colston injuries) the man shined and posted some good stats in an offense that likes to spread the wealth.
- Norv Turner likes to go deep, considerably more than Sean Peyton. And in my honest opinion, Phillip Rivers has a better deep ball than Drew Brees. Both of these factors bode well for Meachem, who's projects to be the vertical threat in San Diego.
Stevan Ridley | RB | New England Patriots
Many fantasy football guru's void RBBC AKA Platoons. However, today's NFL running backs are often times part of a committee approach. Finding the "best" committee back has to be part of your strategy, especially in deeper leagues. Ridley's yards-per-carry average last year was 5.07. And something that turns me on A LOT is how much he was utilized during the final three games of the regular season, which is usually a sign of things to come. Ridley is currently the "biggest" play maker in the backfield, which makes 16 to 20 carries per game very obtainable as well as red zone duties. I'm putting the tag of sleeper on Ridley because I feel he may drop a little further than most committee backs, when in fact he should be the first committee back taken in the 2012 fantasy football draft.