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Next Year's Sleepers - Wide Receivers

August is a big month for this blog as we get a lot of search engine traffic from people searching for "fantasy football sleepers".  Names are considered and whispered and scribbled down on pieces of paper, secret weapons waiting to be unleashed at just the right point of your draft.  

That may be my favorite time of the fantasy year; when fantasy football is a field full of hope and excitement and dreams of fantasy football glory.

But that was a long time ago.  For many fantasy teams, fantasy football is now like the opening scene of Terminator 2, an apocalyptic wasteland where a merciless robot is crushing a river of human skulls.

Why did I draft Matt Leinart?!

While you can't go back in time naked (and please, don't pretend that you can) you can start to prepare for next fantasy football season.  The time to start looking for sleepers isn't in August, when every goofball with a printer is publishing a magazine, it's right now.  Like mold, sleepers are born in the stale ends of the previous season.   That's why the next three articles will be all about sleepers for next season.  Each of these guys are practically useless this season and longshots for next season.  But that's why they're called sleepers.   If you play in a league where you can stash players away on practice squads or grab them as keepers, they're names to know.

Laurent Robinson, Atlanta -  Atlanta?  Yeah, I know, but next year they're likely going to have Brian Brohm or Colt Brennan throwing the ball and they'll need somebody who can actually catch it.  The rookie has 21 catches for 199 yards - not eye-catching by any stretch, but more catches than hyped fellow rookies Anthony Gonzalez, Ted Ginn or Craig Davis.  Robinson has had a catch in each of the last seven games and showed some speed with yards after the catch last week against Tampa.  He could be the Falcons' #2 WR next season.

Robert Ferguson, Minnesota - While it seems like Ferguson is about 40 years old and out of football, he's actually only 27 years old and is actually playing football.  He's a receiver and he plays for  the Vikings, so it's understandable if you didn't know that.  In fact, he's playing well lately with 10 catches for 117 yards over weeks 8 through 10.  Remember, this is with one of the worst passing offenses in the game.  If the Vikes have the guts to change their quarterback situation next year (for example, trading Chester Taylor for Derek Anderson), Ferguson could be an actual fantasy contributor.

Jeff Webb, Kansas City  - Dwayne Bowe is having a great season for the Chiefs, but his performance has overshadowed another Chief having a surprising year.  Webb's 220 receiving yards rank him 3rd on the team behind Bowe and Tony Gonzalez, and his 7 catch, 78 yard performance against the Bengals in Week 6 was fantasy-worthy in just about any league.  The Chiefs are another team that needs to install a legitimate passing game, but if they do Webb could have a major role.