Fantasy football’s 2010 second-half sleepers at each position, with feedback and debate from CN writers, guests

Perhaps the most un-sleeperish word in fantasy football is the term sleeper. Everyone seems to be a sleeper.

Peyton Manning gets a hangnail on the opening drive, and people are calling him a sleeper to turn it around and produce great numbers. Anyone can tell you that Adrian Peterson or Roddy White are going to have a great second half, and you likely wouldn’t bat an eye.

But if someone were to say, perhaps, that Johnny Knox will break out moving forward and be a reliable WR2 (borderline WR1) in most fantasy formats, you’d probably think they had spent too much time playing near power lines.

But that is the true feel of a sleeper. A player you wouldn’t expect breaking out does just that. We highlighted our biggest value breakouts so far (first-half MVPs) earlier this week. Now come the second-half sleepers at each position. Mine are first, then I polled a number of our writers, visitors and fans for their second-half sleepers. Enjoy! 

First things first, let’s talk about Knox … my second-half “sleeper” at receiver. He was a sleeper by many heading into the season, but he never emerged thanks to inconsistent play, a slipshot O-line and an erratic Jay Cutler with a goal to spread the ball further than a jar of Jiffy at Ralphie May’s house.
So why Knox now? Because he’s finally become a true No. 1 target for Jay Cutler. Before the Week 8 bye, Knox turned in a 5-for-120 performance against Seattle in Week 6 and an 8-for-86 and a TD day against Washington in Week 7. He’s been finally seeing the lion’s share of targets from Cutler and the schedule moving forward is decent for fantasy receivers.

Deeper WR sleeper: Mike Thomas, Jacksonville. In PPR leagues, Thomas has been quietly effective every week and finally found paydirt last week. The Jags will be airing it out early and often coming off their Week 9 bye thanks to being deficient in so many facets, and Thomas will continue to excel. The icing on the cake? He’s available in 81 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Running back sleeper: LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay. Didn’t want to pick Blount. He felt too easy for this slot, but it is hard to argue that he has plenty of potential to climb the RB rankings moving forward. He’s running with a passion right now, running through and even hurdling defenders and will continue to get the rock plenty moving forward. The fact that he plays against Washingon, Detroit and Seattle in the final three weeks of the season is pretty nice, too.

Deeper RB sleeper: Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams, MIA. The two have been ineffective at best in terms of running the pigskin, but have you seen the schedule they’ve faced so far? Minnesota, New York Jets, Patriots, Packers and the under-rated Bengals. That’s a murderous slate of rush defenses. Things start to get easier moving forward. Much easier heading into the fantasy playoff schedule, when they have arguably the most favorable back-to-back matchup for any fantasy RB in Buffalo and Detroit.

Quarterback sleeper: Sam Bradford, STL.  Bradford has thrown a TD pass in seven of eight games he’s played in 2010 so far. Two TDs in four of those games. Even without Mark Clayton, Bradford has found ways to get the ball downfield and accrue some stats, and a schedule the includes the Niners (twice), Cardinals, Saints and other questionable pass defenses favors more of the same breakout stats from the rookie signal caller.

Deeper QB sleeper: David Garrard, JAX. Go ahead and laugh all you want. Garrard is coming off a five-TD game and has plenty of need to air things out as the Jags try to keep up with more powerful offenses. The key reason I have Garrard so high, though, is because of a great slate of matchups after this weekend’s bye. Week 10 he has the Texans, which make mediocre QBs look like Hall-of-Famers. He also has the Browns, Raiders, Colts and Redskins, among others, on tap – with both the Colt and Redskins coming in Weeks 15 and 16 during most leagues’ fantasy playoffs.

Tight end sleeper: Jacob Tamme, IND. Just like Blount, I didn’t want to take the obvious player here, but it is just too hard not to. Tamme showed in the Monday Night game that he’s able to handle a Dallas Clark-like role for the Colts and Peyton Manning is used to checking down over the middle to a big, physical tight end. Tamme should be owned in all leagues at this point, but at last check, he’s still available in nearly 50 percent of leagues.

Deeper TE sleeper: Ben Watson, CLE. Wanted to put Owen Daniels here, but just couldn’t drink that Kool Aid yet with new hamstring woes and a pitiful 1-for-8 performance against the Colts last week. Watson hasn’t been a flashy play this season, but is the most dependable receiver at the moment in Cleveland and a good safety valve for young Colt McCoy. Watson’s biggest value is in PPR formats, where he has quietly outproduced players ranked much higher than him before the season. He may not blow opponents away, but consistent production is a rare commodity these days in the NFL.

Second-half sleepers from other chinstrapninjas writers, regulars and fans

SOCKONFL: 

QB- Josh Freeman – Freeman has averaged over 240 yards passing in the last 3 weeks along with 20 some yards per game rushing.  He normally adds at least 1 TD a game and has not turned the ball over much the entire season (only 3 INT’s).
RB – LaGarrette Blount – Interestingly enough I stay with the Bucs and Blount.  He established himself as a full time runner last week.  He looks to be a nice option at running back going down the stretch of the season.
WR – James Jones – I look for Donald Driver’s injuries to continue to linger and James Jones stepping up to take his place in the offense for 2010 and beyond with the Pack.
TE- Jacob Tamme – Are we sure that wasn’t Dallas Clark in Jacob Tamme’s uniform on MNF.  Tamme certainly played much like Clark and made some key receptions in the game.  I would look for him to continue to be an integral part of the Colts offense for the rest of 2010.

CONSIGLIERE:

QB: Matthew Stafford—After his showing verse the Redskins and the rust being knocked off Stafford is looking to take control on one of the top offenses in the NFL.

RB: LeGarrette Blount—With the inspired play of Josh Freeman and the play of Mike Williams running lanes are opening up and Blount is running with force and a huge chip on his shoulder… look for him to knock out the competition.

WR: Vincent Jackson—he will hit his stride just as the fantasy playoffs roll around and well that’s fine by me, expect him to regain the top spot at WR and help Rivers reach new career highs.

TE: Jacob Tamme—He has caught the ball well in his one game and he is a converted WR so you know he has good hands.  Peyton trusted him in the first game so there is a good chance he can pick up the slack left by Dallas Clark.

KRAUSE:

QB- Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF, Fitzpatrick has done well since regaining the starting job. However, they are the Bills and will be playing from behind. That’s not always a bad thing for a fantasy QB to have to throw the ball.

RB- Legarrett Blount TBB, Seems to get more playing time every week. Hes the best runner on the team but if he can’t learn how to block it will all be for not.

WR- Kenny Britt TEN, The last two years he’s shown flashes of brilliance and definitely has the talent. Theres a few problems though, Lack of effort, off field issues, and possible suspension. When Britt finally decides to grow up, I want him on my team based on pure talent alone. (EDITOR’S NOTE: This was written before Britt’s injury status was determined)

TE- Andrew Quarless GBP, Jermicheal Finley was supposed to be the main target in the Packers offense. Did I forget to mention he’s out for the rest of the season? One mans loss is another mans gain. Welcome Andrew Quarless! Quarless is a younger, less NFL ready clone to Finley. If he can adapt to the faster paced NFL, he’ll be an excellent pick up for a late season playoff run.

BROHAMMA:

QB – Kyle Orton.  Just a shade over 2500yds passing and 12TDs vs. 5Ints make Orton my pick.  He’s a “must start” quarterback that you could’ve landed in round seven.  Need proof?  Brady: 1602yds, 12TD, 4INT.   Rodgers 2011yds, 12TD, 9INT.  Runner-up:  Sam Bradford
RB – Darren McFadden.  I know.. “but how can you NOT pick Adrian Foster?”  Foster isn’t a sleeper, that’s why.  Foster was drafted in the top four rounds in many leagues, therefore, he is not a sleeper candidate.  McFadden could’ve been had in the double-digit rounds.  His 113yds. per game average leads the league and seven rushes of over 20yds is not to shabby.  20 receptions and the fact that he is no longer going down on first contact make McFadden a nice find.  Runner-up:  Peyton Hillis
WR – Brandon Lloyd.  Undrafted in the majority of leagues.  Five 100yd. games, leads all WR’s with 878yds., 42 receptions and 4TDs.  This is a “one horse race,” so there’s not much more to add.  Runner-up:  Steve Johnson
TE – Tony Moeaki.  Another undrafted player in the majority of leagues.  It’s hard to rave about tight end numbers when Antonio Gates is setting the benchmark by such a clear margin.  Moeaki gets the nod over my runner-up for two reasons, even though his yardage is 60yds. less.  1) 72.7% catch rate vs. 67.3%  2) 18.2% deep pass rate vs. 11.5%.  That means that the potential is there for bigger plays.  Runner-up:  Brandon Pettigrew

CHRIS BURGESS:

QB: Matthew Stafford – Offense too young and full of incredible talent.

RB: Darren McFadden – He’s missed 2 games due to injury and he still is ranked the #5 overall RB (non-ppr). The offense is a ground attack in Oakland.

WR: Vincent Jackson – Off many radars, VJax returns after a 3-week suspension. Rivers loves to throw the ball often.

TE: Aaron Hernandez – Although Brady loves to throw to many different targets, Hernandez is a beast in the red zone.

MATTHEW SHERTZER:

QB:  Michael Vick – Coming into the season he was the #2 and expected to be used in situational/package plays only.  He has been outstanding as a pocket QB in his starts thus far and shown he can be more than a running QB (but those legs are still dangerous).
 
RB:  Arian Foster – He has made Steve Slaton disappear from the Texan’s backfield.  He has put up the rushing yards, touchdowns, and shown that he can catch the ball out of the backfield. 
 
WR:  Brandon Lloyd – Maybe the Broncos knew what they were doing in letting Marshall go.  Lloyd has come out of nowhere to lead the NFL in receiving and to being a FF stud WR.
 
TE:  Mercedes Lewis – He has put up Antonio Gates numbers this year and has been especially dangerous in the red zone.  He was always talented athletically and now it is showing on the stat sheet.







8 Responses to “Fantasy football’s 2010 second-half sleepers at each position, with feedback and debate from CN writers, guests”


  1. ep

    I missed the deadline with my picks, so I challenged myself to pick players that had not been selected above.
    My choices would have been Josh Freeman, LeGarrette Blount, Vincent Jackson and Aaron Hernandez.

    They’ve already been covered, so here are four more second-half sleepers:

    QB: Colt McCoy, CLE – He showed me enough in that Pittsburgh game to consider him for this spot. It’ll be interesting to see who starts this week.

    RB: Reggie Bush, NO – Anyone who knows me knows I’d never recommend him, but it’ll be interesting to see how Bush’s return (when he returns) changes the Saints’ offense and running game.

    WR: Steve Breaston, ARI – Breaston has been missing for four weeks (three to injury, and one to a bye) but returned with a vengeance last week. It never hurts to have a receiver like Larry Fitzgerald cutting up coverages on the other side of the field.

    TE: Jared Cook, TEN – Had to go deep here (EVERYONE was picked). The Titans second-year TE has scored first downs on two of his three catches this season and caught a 36-yarder last week. In limited time last season he moved the chains on five of nine catches. Obviously, he deserves more targets (six this season). Randy Moss has not been very effective, but he draws plenty of coverage whenever he’s on the field. That could open things up underneath for Titans TEs.

  2. Christian Schwarz

    Rb Danny Woodhead-Sefinetly a solid sleeper. Emerging as a good #2 to Benjarvis Green-ellis, knotting up 406yds and 3 tds so far. He has shown consistency in having solid gamesm definetly a low end receiver/runningback but is dominant in the redzone and could help out ur team.

    WR Mike Thomas-Went undrafted in most leagues. Has shown great performances with a few dud games, but overall has a knack for getting 60-100yds a game more consistently than Mike Sims Walker JAX’s number one receiver. And 450yds and a td aint too bad for a number two receiver.

  3. rofl

    how the hell is arian foster a sleeper? what a idiotic post

  4. Krause

    Sorry for the Britt pick. He wasn’t injured when I sent my picks in.

  5. Christian Schwarz

    I guess you could say Foster was a sleeper before the season, most people werent starting him, and didnt even know who he was till his week 1 domination at Indy. Nonetheless definitely not a sleeper now.

    Another good sleeper that i dont see anyone commenting on is Brandon Lloyd. He wasnt drafted by 99% of the leagues until he had a few breakout games, then ppl were naggin him on his inconsistency issues from the year before, but he has stood out as the top wideout in Denver and the leading receiver in the whole league with 880yds and 4tds. Now used by many as a solid WR2

  6. Joe

    Do I not know the definition of “sleeper”??? Thank you for the few who posted actual sleepers. Vick, Foster, Lloyd and Lewis aren’t 2nd half sleepers…that is a Pro Bowl team!

  7. Brohamma

    @Christian Schwarz – You might want to read the sleeper picks again… in particular, mine.

    Foster would not fit the profile of a “sleeper” to me per the reasons in my post.

  8. Mike

    @Brohama

    Your list is made up of guys who are already performing at high level….top 5 level in a few cases! A second half “sleeper” is a player that the masses may not know much about and/or expect much from based on the first half. Not guys who people didn’t expect much out of going into the season. It doesn’t matter one bit where players were drafted.

    My list:
    QB: Shaun Hill – he’s probably available in many leagues on the FA wire. He’s arguable run the offense better than Matthew Stafford has. He averaged almost 26 points per game in the four starts he played all four quarters, and I’m guessing not many people realize it. Read that again, 26 a game! He’s a STEAL off the wire.

    RB: Shonn Greene – One of the top bust candidates is in a prime position to be a second half sleeper. He’s averaging only 6 points per game now, but with the aging LT so far getting 2/3′s of the carries, look for Greene to get a bigger chunk and have fresher legs than LT in the second half. Don’t forget how big of a role Greene earned down the stretch last season taking more of the load from an older Thomas Jones.

    WR: James Jones: Another player with amazing talent, that knows the system well, with an older player holding him back. Donald Driver has really started to fade this season. He had offseason knee surgery, and has had a nagging thigh injury for weeks. He’s been unproductive when he has played. Jones is available on a lot of waiver wires, and he has shown he can put up great numbers in the starting role. Pick him up and stash him away for the stretch drive.

    TE: Jacob Tamme is the obvious and easy choice here. He’ll continue to put up fantastic numbers in that offense. A little deeper dig would be Kellen Winslow. There is no doubt he has elite talent, and the Bucs passing game has really developed this season…but Winslow’s numbers remain unexciting. Tampa wants to get Winslow more involved, and he could become more of a factor in the second half.