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Topic: Identifying Fantasy Football Sleepers Helps You Win
 Russ Bliss_108
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Joined: September 04
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Post Date: 07/16/12 12:47
Every year fantasy enthusiasts pour over their positional rankings looking to find that sleeper player who could make an unexpected big impact on their fantasy team's success. But in this day of instant information and a plethora of analysts providing their opinions (myself included), there are very few "unknown" players anymore. This changes the way we have to identify who the sleeper players are.
Practically every player who isn't a well known name can be classified as a "fantasy sleeper". Detroit WR Titus Young could be a fantasy sleeper to those who pay only casual attention to the off-season news. Arizona RB Ryan Williams could be a fantasy sleeper depending on if he makes a successful return from a torn patellar tendon that caused him to miss all of the 2011 season. But how do you know where to take these players (if at all) in your fantasy drafts? Same way we now identify sleepers: their average draft position (commonly known as ADP).
I just finished up a series of articles on sleepers at the QB, RB, and WR positions. In each, I looked at the player's ADP, and compared it to what I thought of each player. By doing so, I identified several players who provide above average value compared to where there are being drafted.
In my 2012 fantasy sleeper QB's, I talk about how Joe Flacco is in the final year of his original rookie contract and how that is always something I look for in finding sleeper players. Few things motivate a player to have his best season than the knowledge his bank account's future rides on his performance in the upcoming season. I also point out that as usually the 21st QB selected, Flacco is a true value when compared to his past production, surrounding cast, and current motivation.
At RB, I identified 8 players who are being selected after round 5 in most fantasy drafts and how this is just an example of how the changing landscape of fantasy drafts have let some great value players slide at the position deeper than ever before. Are they sure things? No. But they are each in positions where based on where they are being drafted, you can load up at other positions earlier in your fantasy draft and then target these 2012 fantasy sleeper RB's in those middle rounds and still like what you have at the position.
I was also very surprised at the current perception at the WR position. New England's Brandon Lloyd is commonly being selected as the 21st WR taken. I recognize the Patriots have other great weapons (especially at TE), but they haven't had a legitimate WR threat like Lloyd since Randy Moss was hungry to be an elite player. Wes Welker is very good, but he's not an elite talent. Lloyd has near elite skills and has proven to be productive within Josh McDaniels offense in prior stops with McDaniels in Denver (where he finished the 2010 season as the top scoring fantasy WR in most scoring systems) and even St. Louis. Lloyd goes from Kyle Orton and the Rams trio of Sam Bradford, A.J. Feeley, and Kellen Clemens to TOM BRADY. If Lloyd could be the top fantasy WR with Orton throwing to him, is it too much to think he probably will be better than the 21st highest scoring WR with Brady throwing it instead? Lloyd is being drafted as a middle-to-low end WR2 in most leagues, but he has full blown WR1 upside and that's why he makes my list of 2012 fantasy sleeper WR's.
Correctly identifying the players you want to select after the first few rounds is just as important to having success in fantasy football as being able to make the easier decisions the first couple of rounds.
On any given Sunday any fantasy team can beat another, only to still lose Monday night.
Throwball Heroes_118522
Membership: Retired
Joined: June 10
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Post Date: 07/16/12 13:15
Couple this article with your sleeper articles and James lists and my previous comments come off in the wrong light. You are right about the wealth of information available to every owner in this digital age. No longer do we rely on out of date guide books and the fishwrap to give up the most up to date information regarding a player. There is more of a science involved in fantasy football now based on the amount of information available.

Good article, Russ. I do agree any player (unknown or otherwiese) could be a sleeper. We now toss this term around a bit more freely than we once did. Still we are rewarded at times finding some of these players in the mid to late rounds of our drafts.

"Bringing confusion and contradiction to YOUR post!"
"ISIYBITSI" -Russ Bliss
James The Mod_4852
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Joined: August 05
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Post Date: 07/16/12 15:44
Good article Russ.
I think many fantasy owners are wary of Lloyd. Will his production by consistent enough for a WR # 2? Or, will he have a big game then vanish the following week?
Another factor is just how is that mad genius Bill Belichick going to use Lloyd? Lloyd is talented but he is no Randy-Moss- in- his prime type player. Will Bill use him mainly as a decoy to free up the underneath and middle of the field for Gronk... Welker and Hernandez? Too many uncertainties here for me.
Now, If he is there on the board at my # 3 WR I just might grab him. There is little risk here at the WR # 3 slot.
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