23 July 2007

Fantasy Football Preview Pt. 5: Sleepers

It's easy enough to run a fantasy football team for the first few rounds of a draft. You get your star players, the guys who are on all the top-10 lists. You (more or less) follow conventional wisdom, and, usually, you'll be fine.

But it's the late rounds of a draft that can really determine your success - when you pick up guys like Greg Jennings, like Mike Furrey, like Jeff Garcia - guys who can come on in a key moment, whether it be stepping in for an injured star or seizing a starting role and putting up 98 receptions, and take your team to the top.

With that in mind, here are 5 sleepers to keep an eye on this year - guys who maybe haven't done a lot in the past, who definitely aren't highly regarded coming into this season, but who could mean the difference between first place and fourth or fifth in your league.

1. Kevin Walter, WR, Houston Texans
He's a big guy - 6'3", 215 lb. - and he should (barring an injury) be the #2 WR for Houston. Granted, they're not an offensive juggernaut, but they should be improved this season with the additions of Matt Schaub and Gary Kubiak. ESPN Rank: 207

2. Damon Huard, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
After last season, you'd think that this guy would be pretty highly ranked - in 8 starts after Trent Green went out, he threw 11 touchdowns to only 1 interception. But the continued aging of the Chiefs' offensive line, the mediocre state of the Chiefs' receiving corps, and the drafting of Alabama QB Brodie Croyle have all combined to drive Huard down draft boards. Given a chance, Huard should make the doubters very, very sad. Give him a chance, and Huard can make your fantasy team very, very happy. ESPN Rank: 226

3. Michael Pittman, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Let's see... why wouldn't this guy be successful? 1. He's stuck behind Cadillac Williams... the decdedly uninspiring and decidedly injury-prone Cadillac Williams. 2. The Bucs' offensive line is weak... except that it's improving, with the addition of former Tiki Barber blocker Luke Petitgout and the continue development of last year's first round pick, Gavin Joseph. Definite potential here. ESPN Rank: 291

4. Sinorice Moss, WR, New York Giants
He's more like Santana than Randy, but he's smaller (not a good thing) and quite possibly faster (definitely a good thing) than either. Electrifying speed, could be the #2 WR for NY by the end of the season, and offers points from kick/punt returns also. ESPN Rank: 429

5. Cleo Lemon, QB, Miami Dolphins
Lemon is esconced between a veteran just off an injury - Trent Green - and a 25-year-old rookie - John Beck. The Dolphins seem to like him, for whatever reason, so he should get some playing time if/when Green gets hurt. ESPN Rank: 653

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