We've talked (written) quite a bit about Sleepers, Rankings and Overrated or Underrated players so far. Some of those players will be in the list below, and some will be new names. We're going to go through from top to bottom and take a look at guys you can target who will out perform their Average Draft Position (ADP): Guys who will make your team better.
= Excellent Value vs. ADP
= Sleeper pick (click player's name to read full article)
- Michael Turner, RB, ATL ~ Turner had a monster 2008 breakout campaign and then crashed back to earth last season, much as I predicted he would in last year's rankings. This season I expect him to once again be a high end performer at his position. In non-PPR leagues, I like him better than Ray Rice and Steven Jackson.
- Greg Jennings, WR, GB ~ Jennings had a drop-off in 2009, but in this, the year of the WR, I expect him to perform up to his old elite status. If you miss out on the likes of Brandon Marshall and Roddy White, grab Jennings. I like him this season over Larry Fitzgerald who is still going more than a full round ahead of Jennings.
- Shonn Greene, RB, NYJ ~ Nobody is sleeping on Greene entering 2010, but he's still slipping into round 3 in most drafts. He is the primary back on a run first, second, and third team. He's a workhorse who should outproduce guys like, Rashard Mendenhall, Jamaal Charles and DeAngelo Williams, all of which are going ahead of him. We may very well see him as a first round pick in 2011.
- Ryan Mathews, RB, SD ~ I was originally down on Mathews entering 2010, as a rookie thrust into the starting RB role on a team with a terrible offensive line, but from everything I'm seeing, he should be a real threat in 2010, and like Greene above, he should outperform, Mendenhall, Charles and Williams.
- Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR ~ He had 11 TDs, and out-performed his partner, DeAngelo Williams, last season. In 2008, he had 10 TDs. There's no reason to believe he won't hit double digits in 2010. He's the better back on the team, but he's being drafted two rounds later.
- Joseph Addai, RB, IND ~ With the exception of his 2008 injury plagued season, Addai has been about as consistent as they come, and every season he seems to get dissed in fantasy circles. He puts up top 10 RB numbers, but he's the 21st RB drafted this year.
- Wes Welker, WR, NE ~ Hard to imagine having to tell people to target Welker, but his off-season surgeries have people worried. They shouldn't be. He looks to be ready to start the season on schedule, and even with a slight drop off in production, he's still a top 15 receiver in PPR leagues.
- Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, NYG ~ Bradshaw quietly outperformed Brandon Jacobs last season, and I believe he'll do it again in 2010. He may even take over the primary back position for the G-men this year, but Jacobs is still being drafted ahead of him.
- Ricky Williams, RB, MIA ~ Last season Williams racked up 1385 all purposes yards, and 13 TDs, 11 of which were rushing. More important, he was just as productive with Ronnie Brown in the line up as he was without. Seven of his 13 TDs came before Brown went down.
- Devin Aromashodu/Johnny Knox, WR, CHI ~ Knox and Aromashodu look to be the top 2 receivers in Chicago this season. Devin Hester appears to be an afterthought. In Mike Martz's offense, both should get plenty of targets, but they are both being drafted after guys like Steve Breaston, Hines Ward, and Santana Moss. They should out-perform all of these guys, and at the very least have more value and upside for where they are being drafted.
- Thomas Jones, RB, KC ~ I've seen Jamaal Charles go in the first round of some "expert" drafts, and if he were the only solid RB on the Chiefs bench I could buy that price tag. However, the team went out and grabbed Jones for a reason. They plan to use him. In fact he's listed first on the team's depth chart, and he's working with the first team players. That doesn't mean he'll outperform Charles by any means. But he should be a goal line thief, and he will steal carries. Considering he's going over a dozen rounds later, you should be targeting him as an RB4 or Flex player.
- Jabar Gaffney, WR, DEN ~ The Denver Broncos have a lot of question marks heading into 2010. With top wide receiver Brandon Marshall gone to the Miami Dolphins, Gaffney appears poised to be the team’s number one receiver. Gaffney, as well as Williams and Manningham below are all be drafted after guys like Jerricho Cotchery, Derrick Mason, Golden Tate, and Donnie Avery.
- Mike Williams, WR, TB ~ On a Tampa Bay team where many thought Sammy Stroughter and Michael Clayton were a lock as starters this season, reality has a decidedly rookie flavor. William's has grabbed hold of the WR1 spot and does not appear willing to relinquish it.
- Mario Manningham, WR, NYG ~ Manningham enters New York Giants training camp battling with Hakeem Nicks for the starting split-end receiver position opposite Steve Smith. Experts have predominantly already written Nicks into the spot, and rightly so, he’s the better all around playmaker and blocker than Manningham. But are they jumping the gun? Mario, Gaffney, and Williams can all be had in the last couple rounds of most 10-12 team drafts.
- Arian Foster, RB, HOU ~ With the severe injury to rookie Ben Tate, and the continuing fumble issues with Steve Slaton, Foster has the upper hand on being the Texans primary production at the RB spot. He's currently the 47th RB off the board. That will change after this week's news that Tate is hurt, but he will likely still be undervalued.
- Alex Smith, QB, SF ~ Smith seemed like the next Ryan Leaf after his first round selection by the San Francisco 49ers in 2005. He had Pamela Anderson size bust written all over him. But last season when the team finally gave Smith a chance, and he looked solid. This season he could put up top 15 QB #'s in a weak division. He makes an excellent QB2 pick up.
- Michael Bush, RB, OAK ~ Bush is going to run all over Darren McFadden in 2010. Fantasy owners are already drafting him ahead of the former 1st round bust. Still Michael Bush is being drafted later than Reggie Bush, a player he should easily outperform.
- Chester Taylor, RB, CHI ~ Taylor enters 2010 in what appears to be a 50/50 timeshare with Matt Forte, yet Forte is being drafted a good 10 rounds before him. Simple math tells you Taylor is a bargain at that price.
- Bernard Scott, RB, CIN ~ Cedric Benson was a workhorse for the Bengals last year, and this season Cincinnati looks to give more reps to Scott. If Benson struggles or gets injured, Scott could take over in a big way. He is one of the more important handcuffs in the league if you draft Benson.
- Mike Bell, RB, PHI ~ Bell is a sneaky pick, especially in non-PPR leagues. How much you believe in Mike Bell’s value may be tied to how you feel about LeSean McCoy. Is McCoy the second coming of Brian Westbrook in his prime, or is he more potential than production? In 2010 the answer will likely be somewhere in between. Bell will be a goal-line thief, and he could well split time with McCoy 50/50. For a last round pick he could be a diamond.
You will note that there are no tight ends and only one quarterback on this list. The depth at both those positions is significant this season, and most players at those spots are being drafted about where you'd expect them to be, therefore I have focused on the two positions where value is more readily found.