Here's a round-up of links that attempt to predict some fantasy sleepers for the 2012 season. So if you end up getting shelacked this season you can't blame me. Here's some advice you can bank on!
Sleeper #1: WR Greg Little - Cleveland
Fantasy Football Sleepers: Ravens, Steelers, Bengals, Browns - Fake Teams
New on playcalling will be Brad Childress, the former OC of the Philadelphia Eagles and head coach of the Minnesota Vikings that was often credited with turning Donovan McNabb into a Pro Bowl quarterback, something that Pat Shurmer will hope that he can do for Brandon Weedon or maybe McCoy. All of which is better news for guys like Little. If Little can improve his hands, drop fewer passes, there is no other player on this roster standing in his way. With a new offensive coordinator, a new quarterback, and Trent Richardson added as the top young running back in the NFL, things should really be opening up for Little. Definitely don't keep him under your radar anymore.
We haven't seen anything good from the WR position in Cleveland since Braylon Edwards left. The Browns do appear lined up to be much better on offense this season though and we've seen how a change in schemes and make a big impact.
Sleeper #2: QB Jay Cutler - Chicago
Fantasy Football Sleepers: Packers, Lions, Vikings, Bears - Fake Teams
The Bears added Alshon Jefferey in the 2nd round, a player that was once projected as a top 15 pick until weight concerns dropped him to 45. It could turn out to be a major steal for Chicago and Cutler. And so now, one of the league's top quarterbacks is looking at his best set of weapons to date.
He's had Marshall before (and they flourished together) and he's had all of these Bears for a long time, but he's never had them together. If you put these receivers on the field and lineup Forte and Bush behind Cutler, I believe he could be in line for 35+ touchdowns and over 4,500 yards. I have no idea what kind of an offensive coordinator Mike Tice will turn out to be, but he's got to do better than the guy he replaced, Mike Martz.
I've never liked Cutler as a QB since he arrived in the Windy City but he finally has some weapons this year. I still lack confidence he can perform down the stretch and win, but he should put up good fantasy numbers regardless. I will say 35/4,500 maybe a bit high but not unreasonable.
Sleeper #3: Bills Defense/ST
Fantasy Football Sleepers: AFC East - Fake Teams
The Bills made the biggest move of the off-season by signing Mario Williams to the largest contract in team history to help accommodate their switch to a 4-3 defense. Lining up opposite of Williams will be the newly acquired Mark Anderson, who had 10 sacks for the Patriots last season. Marcell Dareus, the third overall pick in 2011, will enter his second season in the middle with a healthy Pro Bowl DT in Kyle Williams. On top of that, the Bills used the 10th overall selection on CB Stephen Gilmore, who some considered to be the best defensive back in the class and might turn into a shutdown cover corner.
These guys are going to be very hard to move the ball on. They are massive up front and have talent behind them. They could be this year's 49ers.
Sleeper #4: TE Vernon Davis
Fantasy Football Sleeper - Fake Teams
I know I will be targeting VD in my upcoming fantasy drafts while others are going to reach and take Gronk/Graham in the late 1st/early 2nd rounds. Vernon Davis with a ADP of 54.2 (yahoo) is a steal in the early 5th round. With the other weapons the 49ers added (Randy Moss-who knows how long he lasts, Mario Manningham-solid #3 WR, and A.J. Jenkins-needed deep threat) it will be tough for opponents to double VD. A single covered Vernon Davis is an open Vernon Davis. Enjoy having VD (no pun intended) and wait a bit on your TE.
Davis isn't much of a sleeper in the fact he is a sure-fire every week start. The author postulates that with Gronk, Graham and Gates out there Davis could be the 5th TE off the board which could push him back into the 4th or even 5th round. He's a steal even in the fourth as he could see an increase in targets as the author points out. Davis is a mismatch on any LB/S in the league.
Sleeper #5: RB Ryan Williams - Arizona
Fantasy Football Sleeper Hold - Ryan Williams - Fake Teams
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.
I can see Williams going undrafted in some if not most leagues. Given Wells has never stayed healthy he looks like a good handcuff pick for anyone picking Wells. I'm still just not sure the Cardinals offense is that much better this season.
Hotdogs, Hamburgers, and Fantasy Football - Fake Teams
Jones had a solid rookie season by all accounts. He finished with 54 catches for 959 yards and 8 TDs. There have been plenty of reports out of Atlanta, that they are ready to unleash Matt Ryan and open up the offense. All of this lands Jones on many pre-season sleeper lists. In most drafts Jones is being taken towards the end of the third round into the beginning of the fourth. Are you kidding me? A top 10 WR? This is just not going to happen. The Falcons still have a solid running game and despite the possibility of opening up their offense will still maintain some form of balance. In addition, JONES ISNT EVEN THE BEST WR ON HIS TEAM. Roddy White has been Matt Ryan's number one option and finished the 2011 season with 100 catches for almost 1300 yards.
So do you agree Julio Jones is a good sleeper pick or will he disappoint those who draft him too early? My concern is that all the deep vertical routes will continue to go to Roddy Jones and that Ryan will look to Gonzo in short yardage and the red zone. Old habits are hard to break if the crutch is still there. Should one of those two miss some time then Jones prospects go up tremendously. Otherwise I'm not feeling Jones as more than a #3WR worthy of some bye week starts