Everybody loves a sleeper and it's often a sleeper - that one guy - that separates the champs from the chumps in fantasy football. For the next couple of days I'm going to review who I think were the Top Five biggest surprises of the 2006 season, review how people (including me) missed them, and see if there's anything we can learn from this season. Counting down from number five...
#5 - Jon Kitna and Mike Furrey
What Happened? -- QB Jon Kitna found a new mentor in offensive coordinator Mike Martz and his career was reborn in Detroit. He threw for 4208 yards and 21 touchdowns. The 22 interceptions didn't help, but any QB that puts up 4000/20 numbers is fantasy gold. Mike Furrey came out of nowhere (OK, the defensive backfield to be precise) to be a great fantasy #2 with 1086 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns.
Should We Have Seen This Coming? -- Well, maybe Kitna. He had some good years in Cincy, including a career best 3591 yards and 26 touchdowns during his last full season in 2003. We knew that Roy Williams was a stud, and with Mike Martz calling the shots everybody expected that it would be bombs away. But Mike Furrey? The guy was a safety the year before! No way. Looking back it might seem obvious, but Furrey is one of the great sleepers of the past decade.
Who Aren't We Seeing This Year? -- The easy choice is Joey Harrington in Atlanta, but if I write about him much more they'll match me up with him on eharmony.com. OK, so answer this question: Who's the number 2 WR in Houston? Quick! Quick! Bzzzzt, time's up.
It's Kevin Walter, a four-year veteran out of Eastern Michigan. He has fantasy stud Andre Johnson ahead of him, and former backup Matt Schaub in the starting quarterback role. Schaub doesn't have the history or experience that Kitna had, but he has had scouts drooling over him for years. The guy is full of potential. Sure it's a long shot -- and I admit I downplayed Walter's potential in an earlier comment -- but since we're talking crazy sleepers then put down Schaub and Walter as possible fantasy gold by the end of the season.