2011 Fantasy Football Tips: Sleepers


Leagues are won and lost in three places:

-The draft

-Who to start and sit

-Free Agent Pickups

One of the most important parts of the draft comes in identifying the late round bench players who could fill in for your starters  during their bye-weeks or possibly have a break out season and blossom into one of your starters.  Think Arian Foster and Brandon Lloyd from last year.  Here are ten players who you need to target in this year’s draft that you can get late and have the potential to explode and help you win your match-ups.


Matthew Stafford:  Remember the game where he dislocated his shoulder, went back into the game, threw the game winning touchdown?  Remember the medic who said ” You need X-rays!”  Stafford is a gamer who understands football and can make any throw out there.  If he can stay healthy, he would be a top five QB. With teammates like Megatron, Nate Burleson, Rashied Davis, Maurice Stovall, Titus Young, Brandon Pettigrew and Jahvid Best and an updated Offensive Line, Stafford has plenty of weapons and coaches who knows how to take advantage of them in Scott Linehan and Jim Schwartz.  Stafford has been going between rounds 7-10 and is a backup who could possibly knock your starting quarterback out of the lineup.

Kevin Kolb:  Question Marks galore, but still, Kolb was the starter for the eagles and was not going to lose his job unless he got injured, which he did.  Great arm, check.  Good Decision making, check.  Weapons?  Larry Fitzgerald (the guy who gets better when he’s double covered),  Early Doucet, Chansi Stuckey, Ryan Williams (who got drafted because of his receiving ability out of the backfield), Beanie Wells, and newly added Todd Heap.  MAJOR CHECK!  Kolb has the perfect scenario to be one of the most dangerous QB’s in the league, with a coaching staff who lives by throwing the ball.  They may not win a lot of games, but Kolb should be a fantasy stud this year.  Especially considering that he’s been getting drafted in rounds 7-9.


Brandon Jacobs:  I’m sorry but isn’t Brandon Jacobs a running the size of a DE who still steals yards, carries and TDs from Ahmad Bradshaw.  Jacobs is a monster who is undervalued because of injury this year.  Last year, he had seven games in double digits points and had more touchdowns than Steven Jackson and will look to improve on that this year.  Going in rounds 8-10, Jacobs will provide fantastic depth for any fantasy lineup.

Rashad Jennings:  Who?  Yeah, I know.  But if anyone has ever owned Maurice Jones-Drew, they’ll know that Jennings has stolen more than Robin Hood.  Carries, Yards, Receptions, TDs.  Even when MJD was healthy, the coaching staff leaned on Jennings more and more as the season went on.  He had more fantasy points last year than Shonn Greene, Jonathan Stewart, and Donald Jones.  Going in rounds 10-13, Jennings is a steal, considering guys like Beanie Wells are going in rounds 6-8.

Ryan Torain:  Ok, so he missed a month last year, so he broke his hand in training camp, so he’s had more injuries than Evil Knievel.  Other than that, he’s still a first string running back who’s big and fast, can take any down reps including goal line and put up 8 double digit weeks last year.  He had one less fantasy point than LeGarrette Blount and is going in rounds 7-10, where you’d have to spend a 3-5 rounder on Blount.


Kenny Britt: The most talented receiver on the team, Britt is almost done recovering from a nagging hamstring injury that cost him 6 games in 2010.  Britt finished fourth in yard per reception, beating DeSean Jackson and Mike Wallace.  He had 9 double digit games, found the endzone in7 of them, and only played in 10 games total.  This guy is fantasy money when he plays.  He’s gaining a veteran quarterback who knows how to put up stats.  With an upcoming suspension likely, Britt is probably the picture for high-risk, high-reward, but in rounds 5-8, he could boost your team and fill in as your flex/backup that could end up starting for you.

Chad Ochocinco: Six time Pro-Bowler. 10,000 yards receiving. Combined with Tom Brady and an offense that needs a speedy number one.  Last year he had 79 receptions, more than both Mike Williamses, Austin Collie,  and Mario Manningham.  Ok, he’s not Randy Moss, but he does provide the Patriots with a number one, allowing Brandon Tate to play 2 and Wes Welker to play slot.  What happened last time Brady had a true number one, even one that was aging? Season record for touchdowns and yards…  Will Ochocinco provide this? No way, but is he worth more than rounds 7-10 than he is being drafted.  Absolutely.

Jacoby Jones:  More receptions than Johnny Knox, Steve Breaston and DeSean Jackson; almost as many yards as Donald Driver; with the body of Andre Johnson, just not his targets…or other abilities.  Still he plays in a high powered offense and was just re-signed to a new contract this past summer.  With 7 double digits games, including the last five of 2010, Jones is a little known steal with huge upside that you can get in rounds 11-15.


Tony Moeaki: The sophmore out of KC is expected to hit a slump this year, but I doubt it.  With 47 receptions, 556 yards, and 3 touchdowns in his rookie season, Moeaki should improve on his numbers this year and find more red zone targets.  You can get him in rounds 13-16 and he has starter numbers and talent.  How is that a bad move? Huge value for the sophmore.

Visanthe Shiancoe:  In 2009, Donovan McNabb threw 79 passes to TEs for 996 yards and 8 TDs.  In 2010, 86 passes for 982 yards and 5 TDs in 12 games.  Shiancoe will see a huge boost this year and will return to the fantasy starter status that he enjoyed in 2008 and 2009.  Oh, did I mention that he is going UNDRAFTED in many leagues.  Come on, he’s got more value than many other TE’s.  I mean Jared Cook is going higher than him right now. You could get your D in 14, your K in 15 and Shiancoe in 16 as your backup, that could be your starter if you didn’t go early for your TEs.

Highlight these players on your cheat sheets, form your strategy and just hope no-one else read the same article.

Image Credits:

Matthew Stafford:  http://img.allvoices.com/thumbs/event/598/486/60005574-matt-stafford.jpg&sa=X&ei=d_RDTqbyDsvSgQf0yeXSCQ&ved=0CAQQ8wc&usg=AFQjCNF0v3luSXq-hF8o7xDdIsWcn45QTg