Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fantasy Football Sleepers Pt. 3: Runningbacks

First off, before writing this article, I think I should define the term sleeper. I have a few definitions that I would use.

I would define a sleeper as an undrafted player that obtains unexpected success, or a player that is drafted in the later rounds of a fantasy draft and outperforms his draft position significantly.

The key to winning your fantasy league is finding several of these sleepers late in your draft. I have constructed a list of a couple wide receiver sleepers for the upcoming fantasy football season that will help you in your search for one of those gems.

Oh, and just for the record, this list will not include rookies.

Felix Jones

I know what you're thinking, Felix isn't much of a sleeper pick. He is expected to do good. For this choice I'm kind of breaking my rules with this pick, but I do think he outperforms his ADP significantly.

Had Felix not gotten injured last year I believe he would've been among the top rookie RB's. In six games last season he carried the ball 30 times, for 266 yards, and three touchdowns. Not to mention he averaged an amazing 8.9 yards per carry, or what he did in the return game.

With the loss of T.O. the Cowboys should be more of a run oriented team. Felix Jones should get a lot more carries this year as the Cowboys save up Barber to close out games.

Jones is a great number three fantasy option and a great flex play in all formats.

Tashard Choice

Wait, what? Two Cowboys?

Yes, I expect all three of the Cowboys RB's to be featured in the offense. Choice should also be on your team if you own either MB3 or Felix. You all should know what happened after both were injured last year.

In ten games last year (really only five, the other five he had six carries or less) Choice ran the ball 90 times, for 472 yards, and two touchdowns, and 5.5 yards per carry average. He's a nice receiving threat out of the backfield too, last year he caught 21 passes, for 185 yards (8.8 yards per catch) including a 50 yard catch.

Choice is a nice handcuff and sleeper candidate for your fantasy team, especially in PPR leagues. If you own Barber or Jones and this guy is on the waiver wire, pick him up now.

Jamaal Charles

I would actually prefer having Charles on my team over have LJ on my team, but it you're an LJ owner you must have Charles. Johnson is about to turn 30, and is on the decline. I expect Todd Haley to eventually bench LJ in favor of Charles. Something like he did last year with Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower.

Last year Charles had 629 total yards and one touchdown as a backup, 357 of those yards were rushing, while the remaining 272 were from receiving yards.

If Charles stays in the same role he was in last season this season I expect slightly better numbers. However if he takes over for LJ and you have him on your team, you've struck fantasy gold, especially in PPR leagues.

Ahmad Bradshaw

Same story here for Bradshaw as I said for Felix Jones. He's not much of a sleeper, but I do expect some big things from Bradshaw this year.

Bradshaw is a must have if you're a Brandon Jacobs owner. With the pounding a runner like Jacobs goes through he's bound to get injured sometime.

Bradshaw should also be a solid fantasy option, last years backup to Jacobs, Derrick Ward still managed to get enough carries to rush for over 1,000 yards. Bradshaw as the third RB even managed to get 355 rush yards and two total touchdowns last year as a third stringer.

With the loss of Plaxico Burress, the Giants don't really have that number one receiver. Until one of their receivers can solidify themselves as a number one, I expect the Giants to be a run oriented team. Making Bradshaw a good flex play in all formats.

This is it for RB's. Next up: Kickers, kidding of course. Look out for my QB post next.

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