Shhhh! Don’t wake them up!
The word “sleeper” is thrown around so much it has practically lost all meaning. People still call Felix Jones and Jimmy Graham sleepers, which is odd because they’re being drafted as starters. I call them “underrated” or “value picks,” but not “sleepers.” Semantics aside, here is one deep sleeper at every position who you can get in the 15th round of your draft, and potentially even later in deeper leagues.
Ind RB: Delone Carter (ADP: 163)
Joseph Addai hasn’t played 16 games in five years, and missed half the season last year. At age 28, it’s not yet fair too say that Addai is over the hill (which may make him slightly undervalued in drafts), but I’m willing to bet that another Indy RB is going to make waves this season, especially if Addai misses more time.
If and when Addai goes down, the fourth round rookie, Delone Carter, will shine. It’s an extremely small sample size, but in two preseason games, Carter has 10 carries for 54 yards (that’s an impressive 5.4 YPC for those who aren’t good at moving decimal points), and added 2 catches for 7 yards. He has been called a “5-9 battering ram of solid muscle who alwaysexpects to move the pile.“ It was recently reaffirmed that he has in fact beat out Donald Brown for the #2RB role in Indy, and will likely carry the whole load in the event of an Addai injury. You can read Brad Evans gush over the 5’9” 225 pound physical specimen here. The upside is well worth the last pick in your draft, and I prefer Carter to most other handcuffs (like Gerhart, Snelling, or Brandon Jackson).
Phi QB: Vince Young (ADP: undrafted)
Through three preseason games, Young is 17 for 25 with 137 yards, a pick, and no passing TDs. That’s good for a mediocre QB rating of 64.9. On the ground, however, he’s added 6 carries for 32 yards and a rushing TD. I have faith that Andy Reid can help get Young’s head on straight. Young has beat out Mike Kafka for the QB2 role, which is valuable given the significant chance that Mike Vick misses time with an injury. It may not be fair to call Young, “Mike Vick Light;” perhaps he’s “Mike Vick Light Light,” but 70% of Vick’s points should still make Young a QB1 if Vick misses time. Drafting Vick in the 1st round and Young in the 15th ensures you’ll get all the Philly QB fantasy goodness (especially with increasingly rosy reports regarding #1 target Jeremy Maclin). In a standard league, it’s probably not worth spending any pick on Young if you’ve already drafted one of the elite 7 QBs other than Vick. But in deeper leagues, or leagues where you’ve waited on QBs, Young’s potential may make him worth the pick.
Oak WR: Denarius Moore (ADP: undrafted)
Again in a small sample size of two preseason games, rookie Denarius Moore has posted 5 catches for 65 yards. He’s currently listed just behind Jacoby Ford for the WR1 job. Although perennial disappointment Darrius Heyward-Bey is listed as the starting WR2, I expect Ford and Moore to end up as the leading receivers on the Raiders, especially with the departure of Zach Miller.
The Contra Costa Times writes that “Every day, Moore notonly is the best wide receiver on the field, oftentimes he is the best player,period. It has reached the point where this isn’t some one-week wonder, flashin the pan or fluke. The man can flat out play.” It’s been said that he is “outshining every other receiver.” The fifth round rookie is a sleek 6’0” and 194 pounds. Previously popular “sleepers” Louis Murphy and Chaz Schillens continue to be sidelined with injuries, leaving less and less competition. You may not have room for Moore on a standard 10 team league roster, but in 14 teamers or deep bench leagues, I’ll happily grab Jacoby Ford in the 9th and Denarius Moore in the 15th.
Ten TE: Jared Cook (ADP: 164)
So far, Jared Cook is the leading receiver on the Titans with his 5 catches for 75 yards. The Tennessee Beat Writer predicts that Cook will lead all Titans in receptions throughout the regular season too. The athletic third year player is being used by the new Offensive Coordinator much more often as a receiver in training camp, while fellow Tight Ends Daniel Graham and Craig Stevens are sticking back to block. (Do they go by “Daniel-Craig” as a tandem??) With Kenny Britt drawing attention out deep, there should be room for Hasselbeck to hit Cook underneath. After all, when Hasselbeck’s not looking at Britt, there’s not much competition for Cook. If a great value TE doesn’t fall to me, like Finley in the 5th, or Owen Daniels in the 8th, I’m happy to wait until everyone has their starting TE, and grab either Greg Olsen or Jared Cook in the end.
Of course, you will only get one pick in that last round, so you can’t scoop up all these FFMVP favorites. At the end of your draft, just keep in mind what position you’re weak at such that you could use one of these lottery tickets. Your first picks are where you may screw up and lose your league; your last picks are your opportunity to win your league!
For more of Brett’s analysis, rankings, and sometimes funny podcast, check out www.fantasyfootballmvp.blogspot.com, and follow him at @FFMVP.