Looking for another article that waxes on for seven paragraphs about WHO you should take #2….Rodgers or McCoy or Ray Rice?? Well, that is NOT this article. "WHY??", you ask. Good question, inquisitive Fantasy Reader. Because, seasoned Fantasy GM’s know that titles aren’t won in the first round, they are earned in the 8th, 10th, 12th, etc. Any schmuck can take Foster #1, but who has the knowledge and experience to draft a player that dramatically out-performs his draft pedigree? Well, YOU, that’s who, because you’re reading this article, while your league competitors are sleeping in, YOU are working on finding difference-making sleepers.
Ahh, yes the elusive "Fantasy Sleeper". These are the draft picks that GM’s brag about to their friends after hoisting the trophy. Did you take Stafford in the 9th last year? Freddy Jackson in the 8th? Cam in the 12? If you did, then congrats, b/c you were probably a bit richer come late-December. Of course, you have to have established studs on your team. I define a "stud" as a player with serious, game-changing skills AND opportunity. A sleeper has those skills….and is just waiting for his opportunity. HOW does he get on the field? Usually, through an injury to the starter. And WHO is the most oft injured players by position? Running Backs. So, your Sleeper List should be packed with these guys. And, the end of your drafts should be awash with them.
Ok, now go get your notebook….go ahead, I’ll wait…..ok, write down this name: Ryan Williams. Ok, some of you only wrote "Ryan Wil___", then you stopped to say, "But, HEY Philip….Beanie Wells is the man in the Desert!" If that’s you, then back up a paragraph. We know Beanie is the opening day starter, but WHO takes over the role in Week 5 when he goes down? Ryan Williams, he’s waiting for opportunity!
But, who is this guy? Didn’t he get injured in the pre-season last year? He’s NEVER even played in the NFL. Yes exactly, so….he’ll be SITTING there for you, like a ripe berry hidden on an elusive vine, just WAITING to be plucked in the 12th Round. What’s the risk in that? While your fellow drafters are taking kickers (really, people still do that?) or asking "Was AJ Green taken yet?" (yeah, like NINE rounds ago, dude!), you’ll be slyly smiling as you load up your bench for the future. Ryan is a slightly taller MJD, and has a similar mix of speed and power. He is the All-Time leader in the ACC for Rushing Yards and Rushing TD’s in a season, and he showed rare talent in last year’s camp. But after a ruptured patella tendon, Fantasy GM’s have forgotten about him. Trust me, he goes undrafted in 90% of mocks that I participate in. The ‘bad’ news is that his stock is RISING, because with each day that Beanie takes to recover from off-season, "complicated" knee surgery, people are catching onto RyWill. I saw Beanie in-person last year and he’s just "solid", not explosive or special. Couple that mediocrity with just TEN catches all year and lingering knee pain…….when Ryan gets his opportunity, he won’t be giving the role back. And, whoever is in that role will get the benefit of some Wide Open Spaces to roam with rookie wide-out Michael Floyd added to the all-world Larry Fitz. The Cards website wrote in June, that they expect him to be play a "major role" in 2012. By the way, I love taking RB’s with Major Roles in the 12th Round!
We will all get to find out in a few short weeks, as the Cards report to camp on July 24th.