Friday, August 1, 2008

Sleepers, darkhorses and those who are just moving on up

It's fantasy football time and I have been having fun trying to see the future without a crystal ball. One thing I learned last year is that some players who everyone thinks is a sure fire must will end the season as a bust and someone who goes undrafted to start the season will finish as a must have. The manager who guesses correctly which "studs" to avoid on draft day and which sleeper to grab will probably win your league.

Last season our league champion drafted what on paper looked to be a weaker team than several other teams. He drafted QB Tom Brady, WR Randy Moss and rookie RB Adrian Peterson. He was at a disadvantage in that he was at work and offline while the rest of us was gathered together in a draftroom. His disadvantage turned to gold as he ended the season with 3 of best players at their position = QB, RB and WR.

So who to draft this year, who to avoid and who are the diamonds that everyone else mistakes for coal?

I am keeping a list of those who are moving up or down in my estimation as I read about the training camps. Among RBs, Willis McGahee is one that is moving down my draftboard. Why? Because the Ravens OL is young, inexperienced and bitten by the injury bug in training camp. That means the new OL is having trouble getting to play together and gel. The Ravens also have inexperienced and unproven QBs competing for the starting job. All of that plus a rookie RB in Ray Rice who may steal quite a few touches and TDs from McGahee is sending Willis down to a RB 2 or RB3 on my depth charts come draft day.

Moving up is Bengals' Chris Perry who looks like he may be the #2 RB for the Bengals this season. Look for him to get 10 to 15 touches a game even as Rudi is back as the workhorse back. RB Kenny Watson moves down for the same reason. But Rudi could be steal on draft day as his average draft position has fallen tremendously. He was a Top 10 pick a year ago and is now being drafted in RB3 and RB4 territory. If he stays healthy, he is still RB1/RB2 material so if you get him as a RB3 or RB4 you have a steal.

Another Bengal RB to watch is rookie James Johnson out of Kansas State. He is the talk of the Bengals' training camp and may send DeDe Dorsey to another team. QB Palmer had this to say "I can't wait to watch JJ, No. 39 on offense play," Palmer said of free agent rookie tailback James Johnson of Kansas State. "He's Warrick Dunn, great hands, explosively fast, real exciting to watch." Cincinnati Enquirer I do not suggest drafting James Johnson as a sleeper - there are better candidates out there such as Chris Johnson, Ray Rice, R. Mendenhall - but he is a player to watch and IF the injury bug strikes the Bengals RBs someone who may surprise. Mostly I see him as a player for next year's draft unless you are in a dynasty league. Then you may want to take a sleeper pick on him.

To see all of my Undervalued and sleeper picks, visit my website

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