...Continued from Part I.
5. T.J. Graham - Buffalo Bills - |STAR|ADP NL (not listed)
|STAR|average draft position referenced from FantasyPros.com composite rankings as of 9/1/12
The Bills have been looking for a no. 2 wide out for some time. I'm not sure Graham is the guy, he's slight of build at 5-foot-11, 188 pounds, but David Nelson and Donald Jones haven't staked a claim to the job over the past few years. It's certainly possible Graham becomes the player defenses have to honor opposite Steve Johnson. He has blazing speed, 4.35 40-time at the combine, and showed well this preseason (9 catches for 146 yards). Buffalo likes to sling it, so he should get plenty of opportunities to produce. The big downside here is touchdown potential. He only scored twice in his four-year college career at N.C. State (2 more on returns), and he won't be a red zone weapon. Extra bump here for leagues that give bonuses for long plays. He posted a 23.0 yards-per-reception average in college (16.2 this summer).
4. Brandon LaFell - Carolina Panthers - |STAR|ADP 52
I wasn't exactly excited to place LaFell on this list after closer examination of Cam Newton's passing yards trend as 2011 wore on, but he has virtually no competition for looks at the receiver position beyond Steve Smith. Last year, Legedu Naanee got the majority of the starts as Carolina's no. 2, but he's out of town and took his 76 targets with him. LaFell obviously has some skill, evidenced by his 17.0 yards-per-reception last year, and should just a portion of those looks fall his way, and he assume the mantle as the team's red zone target (a fair assumption), he should have little trouble compiling 700-800 yards and 4-6 scores.
3. Randall Cobb - Green Bay Packers - |STAR|ADP 54
I'm certainly not the only one tabbing Cobb as a sleeper this year, but the goal isn't to be unique, it's to be correct. Playing with Aaron Rodgers automatically garners you consideration for production, but Cobb just seems like a perfect fit for what this team needs. Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings have the outside covered, James Jones provides the team with another vertical threat, and Jermichael Finley is an athletic option at tight end. All that's missing is a shifty, fearless slot guy with reliable hands to work the underneath routes. Check. Check. And check. The potential for scores in the return game is a bonus, and those open-field running skills will translate to his YAC (yards-after-the-catch) also. He's not "this year's Nelson", but may be this year's Antonio Brown-lite.
2. Keshawn Martin - Houston Texans - |STAR|ADP NL
I tried my best to avoid rookies in my sleeper ranks, particularly wide outs as their track record is spotty at best, but like Graham's situation in Buffalo, Martin has a real opportunity to leap right into the no. 2 role for the Texans. They too have long been searching for a complement to their top dog, Andre Johnson. Martin isn't very big (6-foot, 188), but he's fast (4.45 40), and excellent after the catch. My girlfriend Mandy is a Michigan State alum, and a big-time Spartans fan, so I watched all their games last season. Every time they needed a play, especially on third downs, it was Martin who came through. He has a knack for getting open and will become a favorite option of Matt Schaub very early this season. Kevin Walter has no shot of holding off this kid.
1. Randy Moss - San Francisco 49ers - |STAR|ADP 45
If you're wondering, yes, I can hear the cascade of laughter pouring through my computer. You know what, I don't care. He may have nothing left, but he also may get his groove back. Like Stella. Even if there's only a 5|PERCENT| chance that happens (I've mentioned plenty of times I'm a risk-taker in fantasy), I'm "wasting" a 12th round pick if that's how you want to classify it to find out. He could be cut, or benched (in fantasy and reality) by Week 2, or he could be a serious difference-maker. I just don't see any downside here. I literally have him on every team I've drafted so far. If he still has "most" of his straight-line speed, I think he gets 60-900-6, with a minuscule possibility for a lot more.
5. Kellen Davis - Chicago Bears - |STAR|ADP NL
Tight end simply gets real thin, real quick once you hit the 20s. I don't know much about Davis, and truthfully, I don't think I've ever seen him play. Word out of Bears camp, particularly from his position coach, is that he'll be used a lot more with the team's transition away from Mike Martz' offensive scheme. He scored five times last season, and at 6-foot-7, 267 pounds he should be utilized in the red zone.
4. Zach Miller - Seattle Seahawks - |STAR|ADP NL
Miller had a pretty nice career going in his first four season in Oakland. He averaged 57 catches, 678 yards, and three scores over that span. Then he signed with Seattle last year and slipped into oblivion. The release of Kellen Winslow Jr. provides a ray of hope he can rekindle what he once had building. He's 6-foot-5, 255, so he has prototypical size. Though expectations have bottomed-out, he is someone to keep an eye on the first couple weeks as he'll likely go undrafted in most formats.
3. Scott Chandler - Buffalo Bills - |STAR|ADP 29
Chandler was a hot waiver wire commodity after he scored four touchdowns through the first three weeks of 2011. Unfortunately, most owners were too slow, or quick (depending on your perspective) to the punch, as he only scored two more the rest of the way. Ryan Fitzpatrick reportedly played the majority of the second half with a rib injury, and that hampered the Bills passing game, and all his respective weapons. A return to health could put Chandler back in a spot to be useful in fantasy. He's a beast of a man, standing 6-foot-7 and weighing 260 pounds, and his 12 red zone targets ranked third on the squad. Probably another waiver guy, but Buffalo loves to pass, so be ready to pull the trigger.
2. Jordan Cameron - Cleveland Browns - |STAR|ADP NL
Cameron is a personal favorite of mine. Serving as the Browns beat guy for RotoWire, I researched his background thoroughly and found some interesting tidbits. First off, he played basketball at Cal. Lots of tight ends have a hoops pedigree, but not too many at the Division-I level. Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates, and Tony Gonzalez come to mind. Um, yeah. He also ran a 4.59 40 at the combine. The Browns recently released Evan Moore, and their starter Ben Watson is treading dangerously close to Jahvid Best-territory with his concussion issues. He's had three in the last calender year. Now, Cleveland doesn't figure to have a dynamic passing attack...but in the famous words of Lloyd Christmas, "you're telling me there's a chance". Ya read me?
1. Lance Kendricks - St. Louis Rams - |STAR|ADP 32
I really had high expectations for Kendricks last season coming out of Wisconsin. He disappointed, in pretty dramatic fashion. He had problems with drops early on, and never completely regained the confidence of his teammates, or in himself. He reportedly took to hot yoga in the offseason to train his concentration and endurance. I'm not sure if that will help his play on the football field, but at least he's trying. The upside is still there, a healthy Sam Bradford should help, as should the stability of new coach Jeff Fisher. And everyone has already given up on him, despite the fact all he's done is struggle as a rookie, which isn't all that remarkable. Snatch him off waivers if he looks good early, or take a flier with a last round pick in deep formats. It could pay off.
Check out my evaluation of the big guys up front on Rotowire's Offensive Line Grid
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Please comment and list your favorite Sleepers! The show must go on...Busts coming up next.