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Topic: 2008 Rookie Fantasy Football Sleepers: Quarterbacks and Running Backs
 Russ Bliss_108
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Post Date: 06/13/08 12:50
After the NFL draft there is always enthusiasm about how the top picks at the QB and RB positions will perform their first season. There's excitement and optimism about the fantasy football projections of guys like Darren McFadden, Jonathan Stewart, Matt Ryan, etc. But what about some of those guys drafted after the first round or two? Guys you don't immediately think of as being potential fantasy football sleepers who contribute a lot more than expected? Here are 2 QB's and 4 RB's to keep an eye on for the 208 season.
 
Quarterbacks
 
1) Brian Brohm. Aaron Rodgers is entrenched as the starter for the Packers following the retirement of Brett Favre, but Rodgers has never been able to stay healthy in the pro's, even as a backup. Brohm is next in line and fell into a system perfect for him. I actually pegged the Packers as the best fit for him and had them selecting Brohm in my pre-draft positional rankings. If Rodgers can't stay healthy, and Favre stays retired (no guarantee he's really gone from football for good) Brohm could step in as the starting QB for an offense designed to help put up fantasy points.
 
2) John David Booty: Booty getting selected by the Vikings in round 5 was another great fit. Booty's style fits Brad Childress's offense nicely and since the only competition is shaky Tarvaris Jackson and aging and failing Gus Frerotte, Booty could end up starting games this season.
 
Running Backs (I'm purposely leaving out Kevin Smith from this list as even though he wasn't drafted until round 3. You'd have to be blind to think he wasn't going to start right away and therefore I don't think he really qualifies as a fantasy football sleeper for the purposes of this article).
 
1) Ryan Torain: Drafted in round 5 by the Broncos, Torain has the right combination of size and speed to be a feature RB at the pro level. Mike Shanahan has said Torain has first round talent and considering his success with many lesser known RB's in the past, you have to take notice. Denver released Travis Henry, leaving Selvin Young as the starter for now and it's almost assured that Torain will be the top backup. Michael Pittman and Andre Hall are also there, but it would be a surprise if Torain wasn't in the mix above them. Young is far from a sure thing either, so Torain could be seen sooner rather than later.
 
2) Jamaal Charles: While I expect Larry Johnson will return and bounce back in 2008 with a solid season, I could be wrong and maybe the injury bug follows him into this season. If it does, it will be Kolby Smith and Jamaal Charles who battle it out for the majority of the carries, and I give the edge to the smaller, faster, but surprisingly strong Charles. He could be a real surprise if given the chance.
 
3) Tim Hightower: Few know about Hightower because he played college ball at Richmond. But the small school standout ended up being drafted in round 5 by the Cardinals. It was thought Arizona might take Rashard Mendenhall in round 1 as the eventual replacement for aging Edgerrin James. But instead they held off and landed a guy in Hightower who has desired size and strength running between the tackles. Everyone assumes it is J.J Arrington and Marcel Shipp who are the backups to James in Arizona, but pay attention during training camp as it just may end up being Hightower. He's flying way under the radar right now.
 
4) Steve Slaton: Not that I'm a huge fan of injury prone RB's, but Slaton steps into a situation in Houston where Ahman Green is on his last leg, Chris Brown has failed to establish himself as a feature guy earlier in his career, and little competition for the 3rd RB spot. Slaton isn't likely to be able to handle a feature RB's load, but his speed and elusiveness could make him a great weapon if he starts getting 12-15 touches per game. I expect Green to not last the first month of the season (if he makes it that far), and that would open the door for Slaton to be on the field more often than expected.
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On any given Sunday any fantasy team can beat another, only to still lose Monday night.
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