Fantasy Fantasy Football Sleepers by 2010 Average Draft Position

by NFL Fantasy Analyst Russ Bliss

Now that every player has played 9 games and bye weeks are over, it's time to look back and see where the average draft position of some players converts into being the greatest values so far in fantasy football's 2010 season. If you were aware of these fantasy football sleepers and selected them back in your fantasy drafts, you either need to be applauded for foresight that other owners in your league didn't have; or you need to be congratulated for being lucky. It doesn't matter which is true. What matters is that you selected these players, or grabbed them from the free agent wire, and have reaped the benefits of their unexpected fantasy production so far this season. 

I looked back at the average draft position and where a player was selected compared to others at his position in the last 2 weeks leading up to the start of the 2010 season. I used only real drafts and not mocks thusly ensuring that the majority of the picks were made by actual fantasy owners and not a computerized ranking system. The rankings and average draft positions are based on a 12 team league with an 18 round draft and standard starting requirements.

Greatest Fantasy Value: Quarterbacks

1) Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos:  With 2,805 passing yards and 16 touchdowns, while only tossing 5 interceptions, Orton has been the biggest surprise at QB by far. In one of my Fantasy Football Experts League's, using a standard ESPN scoring system and league manager, Orton ranks second of all QB's in fantasy points scored. Considering his ADP was round 13 as the 22nd QB selected, Orton easily tops the QB list.


2) Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles:  Vick went undrafted in most leagues, except in when an owner wanted to handcuff him to Kevin Kolb. Despite missing 3 complete games this season and only playing part of 2 others, Vick's 1,350 passing yards, 341 rushing yards, 15 total TD's, and ZERO interceptions places him as the 8th highest scoring QB in the aforementioned experts' league. Many people still don't like Vick for his past transgressions, but there's no denying the fantasy football help he is providing to owners who have him on their rosters.


Greatest Fantasy Value: Running Backs

1) Arian Foster, Houston Texans: In the last 2 weeks leading up to the season, Foster's ADP shot up to the 4th round. It had been climbing steadily in the weeks before then, but still, even as a 4th round pick, Foster has been nothing short of amazing this season. He leads the all RB's in rushing yards, touchdowns, and fantasy points. He's caught 33 passes in 9 games and continues to just be a beast. Considering he was the 20th RB taken on average those last 2 weeks before the season started, Foster has paid huge dividends for his owners.


2) Peyton Hillis, Cleveland Browns: Another player that was widely undrafted, but did check in on average in round 16 as the 66th RB off the board, Hillis has made many fantasy owners very happy. He's scored at a TD in 8 of 9 games this season and his combined 982 rushing/receiving yards has him as fantasy's 5th highest scoring RB in 2010. Hillis simply proves week in and week out that he can't be benched and is matchup proof. 

3) Darren McFadden, Oakland Raider: McFadden would probably rank higher on this list if he could just stay healthy. But that's always been his caveat. The difference this year is that when healthy, McFadden is producing fantasy points in bunches. He leads all RB's in yards per carry average with 5.4. He's missed 2 complete games this season but still ranks 6th in fantasy points scored by a RB thanks mainly in part to the fact he hasn't had a single game where he his rushing and receiving stats didn't add up to at least 114 yards. 6 total touchdowns is the only let down for a player that most owners reluctantly said on draft day "In the tenth round, I select Darren McFadden". The 39th RB off the boards in fantasy drafts has been a huge surprise, and with his fantasy matchups during weeks 14-16, he is one of the most coveted players going forward.

Greatest Fantasy Value: Wide Receivers

1) Brandon Lloyd, Denver Broncos: Lloyd's highest draft position was in round 16! I even mentioned him as a candidate for the one week wonder back after his week one performance in my fantasy football blog. Boy was I wrong! After years of failing to realize his potential Lloyd was a waiver wire addition early in 2010 for fantasy owners chasing the dream. And the dream didn't even come close to the reality. The reality is that Lloyd leads the NFL in receiving yards with 968; has a ridiculous 20.2 yards per reception average; and is tied for 11th in touchdowns between WR's and TE's with 6. Lloyd ranks 2nd in fantasy points scored by WR's and much like Peyton Hillis, is a player that simply has proven he can't be sat any given week.

2) Terrell Owens, Cincinnati Bengals: Count me as one who has been completely surprised at Owens resurgent 2010 season. Checking in as the 24th WR off the board in fantasy drafts, Owens started off the season slow, but has turned it on the last 6 games with 45 receptions, 682 yards, and 7 touchdowns since he spouted off about his poor numbers thru the first three weeks. TO is another player that many don't like, but fantasy owners who looked past their personal disdain for an egomaniac have found themselves with the 4th highest scoring fantasy WR.

On a side note, I could have included WR's Roddy White and Hakeem Nicks, but both of those were players ranked in the top 18 players at their position. Roddy White was one of my top 5 WR's heading into 2010, and Nicks was a favorite fantasy football sleeper of mine I talked about many times as being a breakout candidate.