I've completed my run around all 32 NFL teams, identifying a sleeper from each, and now I'm going to sum it up for you in a nice, little package. This will make it much easier for you to see the QBs, WRs, RBs, DEFs, and TE I listed as potential sleepers for 2012. These are varying degrees of "Sleeper" but I think that all of these guys are either being drafted below their actual value, or won't be drafted at all but could turn out to be useful later on in the season.
Like, how do Brandon Lloyd and Leonard Hankerson wind up on the same list? Well, Lloyd will be drafted but I think he's being rated too low. Hankerson won't but you might pick him up later in the season because that's how I see things in Washington.
I ended up listing four quarterbacks, nine running backs, thirteen wide receivers, two defenses, and only one tight end. I didn't have any plan on how many of each to list before I started, but I tried to mix in a quarterback when I could. Apparently, I rarely ever decided that I could identify a tight end sleeper, which is a mistake on my part. Finding a sleeper at tight end can be very important, look how valuable they've become. Stupid me :(
I guess that just calls for a more comprehensive look at tight ends.
Here's the full list of sleepers for 2012:
Palmer is a guy that I think is going to be a highly valuable QB2 and backup. Having a good backup QB is crucial these days. Last year I ended up taking a risk and drafting Peyton Manning, which sucked. But supplemented that selection by drafting Matthew Stafford, which was awesome. Cutler could be taken as a QB2 or QB1, but I think he's in line for a career season. If Locker starts, he'll be fantasy valuable. Tebow is a deep sleeper, but if he starts, he's also fantasy valuable and the Jets fans will be chanting his name after they watch a few more Mark Sanchez throws.
Running backs, receivers, and more after the jump.
I read an interesting article on Football Outsiders today about broken tackles. Hillis was last in the NFL among running backs in broken tackle percentage, accumulating just four by their count on 183 touches. That's... not good. But players can still produce even if they don't break tackles and I think the Chiefs are going to ease Jamaal Charles into action and Hillis will get that heavy work you'd see around the goal line.
While a player like Bryce Brown is a very deep sleeper, I think Best could turn into a RB1 with elite value. Players like Donald Brown or Mark Ingram should settle in nicely to a RB3 spot but have potential to be on your starting roster before too long.
Lots of names here but I really like Lloyd, Brown, Floyd, Tate, and Robinson. Most of the others are much deeper, but Decker and Little should definitely be drafted and could be very productive. The rest are definitely guys you'll mostly just keep an eye on, but I like them for one reason or another.
Owen Daniels, Texans
Identifying a few more guys that I think are being rated too low: Jared Cook, Kellen Winslow, and Ed Dickson.
Right now the Rams defense is being rated as maybe one of the bottom five defenses in the NFL. I definitely think it's better than that, and on some days it will be one you'll want to start potentially. Over the offseason, Buffalo really stepped up its defensive reputation by adding Mario Williams, but it could be as good as top eight.
Fewer and fewer fantasy leagues seem to be relying heavily on team defenses as an option, but it's mostly just a week-to-week thing. I try to wait as long as possible on defense, don't get sucked in when owners start nabbing San Francisco or Baltimore and panic. Wait for it and grab Buffalo after a few more teams have gone off the board. If the Bills are gone, grab the Seahawks!
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