Fantasy Football Sleepers – 2013
Beauty, cells, and sofas; all famous sleepers. While not directly related in context, that is the very theme of this article ahead, finding the next famous sleeper. Many people have different ideas of what a sleeper is so I always like to give a quick frame of reference on mine before I begin. A sleeper is a back up or at minimum a later round pick. Despite never starting, I do not consider David Wilson a sleeper because he has a 3rd round ADP or the equivalent of a terrible REM cycle. No, no we are talking the later the better. We are talking the guys that will be viewed as roster fillers to start the year, but potential game/season changers as the calendar turns. First round picks rarely win you a fantasy championship. Typically everyone has a solid first round pick. The best way to differentiate yourself and win that elusive title is to find those Prince Charming picks that will wake up the right sleeper and lead you to happily ever after. Hard to find? No worries, I got you.
Carson Palmer, QB (ARI) – Who would have thunk it at this stage in Carson Palmer’s career he would be viewed as a sleeper? Well think it! Palmer moved from Oakland to Arizona this offseason and awaiting him is new coach Bruce Arians. Arians helped Andrew Luck achieve great rookie success last year and was the orchestrator of some of Ben Roethlisberger’s best statistical seasons. He has weapons in Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and Andre Roberts outside that are certainly better than what he worked with in Oakland last year where he threw for over 4000 yards and 22 TDs. He is certainly not mobile and he goes up against some tough defenses in the NFC West, but if the o-line can pass protect, Arians will get Palmer on the page that could amount to some very nice fantasy games.
Shane Vereen, RB (NE) – The New England Patriots are going to have to figure something out this season that was not in their plan last season. Gone are Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski is a huge question mark with his multitude of injuries, and Brandon Lloyd is currently a big unknown. Danny Amendola is the only “proven” option the Patriots have and he isn’t exactly the most durable gladiator himself. The hard working, former Cowboys’ Hard Knocks star has missed 22 of a possible 64 games in his four year career. Vereen takes over the second RB/receiver back role the Patriots have loved over the years. There is no more Kevin Faulk and no more Danny Woodhead. When given an opportunity in the playoffs last season, against a tough Houston defense, Vereen totaled 124 yards and 3 TDs. The surface was scratched and opportunity will be present this next season.
Aaron Dobson, WR (NE) – I’m a strong supporter of opportunity because, frankly, without it a player has no chance to get us stats. Opportunity is exactly what Aaron Dobson will have in New England. He pretty much has no competition for an outside receiver position as the only real proven option in the New England passing game, Danny Amendola, is more of a slot guy. Typically rookie wide receivers struggle in New England (anyone remember Chad Jackson?), but Dobson is a different breed of receiver than what New England usually goes for. He is the closest thing they have had to Randy Moss since, well…Randy Moss. Dobson projects as more of a Sidney Rice clone who has soft hands and great body control to go with his 6’ 3” frame. For Brady to finish as a high quarterback in fantasy like we all think, he has to get somebody some stats. I like Aaron Dobson’s chances.
Jordan Cameron, TE (CLE) – When Norv Turner and Rob Chudzinski teamed up in Cleveland the radar went crazy for tight end value. Outside of Tony Gonzalez’s freak ability that everyone saw coming right out of college, Turner and Chudzinski were the originators of the new school model for receiver style tight ends. They found an unknown basketball player named Antonio Gates and turned him into an all-pro. In Cleveland, Cameron will be the pet project for these two this upcoming season. Playing the previous two years as a backup to Ben Watson and Evan Moore, Cameron has the starting job his to lose with Watson and Moore no longer with the team. Like Gates, Cameron is an athletic former basketball player that could find a lot of success in a Browns offense looking for weapons.