Deep Sleepers for 2012

In the midst of doing some of my sleeper profiles, I kept coming across names that I like or find intriguing based on their teams and competition but aren’t quite worth of their own profiles. These deep sleepers are guys that should either go undrafted or in the final few rounds in your league. These are guys to keep your eye on and in some cases  might even be worth a flier as a late draft pick or post-draft pickup. Regardless, I think all of these guys could be fantasy relevant at some point this season or could be great stashes for dynasty leagues. I will go through and list the names, giving a couple notes on each name. These guys aren’t listed in any particular order as far as ranking them. With that, let’s get started!

TY Hilton, WR, Colts – This burner from Florida International has looked good in the preseason games I’ve seen, showing good rapport with Andrew Luck. He looks to run crisp routes with good separation from defenders. While teammate and fellow rookie LaVon Brazill got more hype early in camp, Hilton has come on as of late. With Austin Collie’s concussion issues, Hilton might be in for more PT than originally thought. He’s probably not draftable, but I have no problems with a speculative pickup here.

Rod Streater, WR, Raiders – Streater faces a situation in Oakland similar to Washington’s RBs in that the Raiders receivers are a mess. It seems everyone there has been either injured or inconsistent except for Streater. So far he’s had good reviews in camp and has totaled 18 receptions for 165 yards through 3 preseason games. It’s still unclear where he will fall in the WR pecking order once everyone is healthy, but he’s worth watching especially for those in PPR leagues.

Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins – Speaking of the Washington RB mess, it just got messier. Not only do owners have the headache of Tim Hightower, Evan Royster and Roy Helu, Jr. but now there seems to be a 4th head to the monster. Who is Alfred Morris?  A 6th round pick out of Florida Atlantic, he’s just the kind of out-of-nowhere RBs Mike Shannahan seems to love to give a chance. Anyone remember Mike Anderson? He was a 6th round pick of Shannahan’s. Olandis Gary? He was a 4th round pick. Just saying, Morris is another name to keep an eye on in the Redskins backfield.

Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks – I am actually a little bummed that this article didn’t get finished yesterday. I interest has been gaining in Wilson after each preseason game and the Seahawks just announced him as their starting QB. He has looked great so far in the preseason and can also make plays with his legs. If you have a solid starting QB such as Rodgers, Brees, Brady or have a large bench I would feel comfortable rostering Wilson based on his upside. I think he may even have cracked into a late-round flier.

Robert Turbin, RB, Seahawks – Turbin is more of a guy to watch or pickup if you have a deep bench. With Marshawn Lynch’s possible suspension and injury history, Turbin may get an extended stretch as the hawks’ starting back at some point this season. As far as sleeper rookie RBs go, Isaiah Pead and Chris Polk have had more hype but Turbin could be the best option of all three.

Josh Gordon, WR, Browns – The Gordon hype train was in full force when the Browns gave up a 2013 2nd round draft pick for his services. Early in training camp there was a buzz about him, and rightfully so. He has great measurables and seemed to grasp the playbook really well. Given the state of the Browns WR receiving corps, the opportunity was there. Then came the first two preseason games. Gordon looked slow, wasn’t running great routs and seemed to be dealing with some camp fatigue. However, he has been on his way back up after the 2nd game giving some great practices and capping it off with 3 receptions for 50 yards against a talented Eagles secondary. Gordon may be worth a late-round flier especially in keeper leagues.

Jordan Cameron, TE, Browns – Cameron was a developmental pick by the Browns last year. He is a former basketball player with great athleticism and measurables but short on football experience. He really only had one year at USC where he put up a 16, 126, 1 line and in 8 games for the Browns he only managed 6 catches for 33 yards. He has been decribed by head coach Pat Shurmur as the most improved player in Browns camp and seems to have displaced Evan Moore as the receiving and red zone TE in Cleveland. It might take a few games, but Cameron could be an impact player by the end of this season and is worth watching.

Randall Cobb, WR, Packers – Cobb opened some eyes in week 1 last season with two TDs in the opening game. He then went on to post a couple of usable games the rest of the season and there was talk coming into this season of expanding his role in the offense. Ahead of him on the depth chart is Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings. He seems to be on equal footing with father time Donald Driver and Sir Drops-a-lot James Jones. While he has slipped a bit over the last two preseason games, Cobb doesn’t face that stiff of competition for the 3rd WR from Jones and Driver. If any offense could make a 3rd or 4th WR valuable it’s the Packers. Cobb is worth a late draft pick or post-draft pickup.

Harry Douglas, WR, Falcons – Douglas has no competition in an offense with Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez. There are reasons to point to that fact as a concern, but that should definitely give him the opportunity to get himself open. With the prospect of the Falcons opening up the passing game, Douglas could be useful as a slot receiver in PPR leagues. He’s worth a speculative pickup if you have a deep bench.

Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jaguars – A draft day favorite last year, I was right in labeling him a bust last season. His value the season previous mainly came from TDs and last year he didn’t have that production while dealing with Blaine Gabbert’s growing pains. This year Gabbert actually looks passable as a NFL QB and the Lewis hate has gone too far. He’s not even being drafted and he is a huge target in the red zone at 6’6″. I’d be comfortable with Lewis as a late round pick as your 2nd TE.

Bernard Pierce, RB, Ravens – Pierce has been compared to Arian Foster this preseason, and the Ravens obviously believe in his abilities after using a 3rd round pick on him. He is buried behind Ray Rice who is a top 3 RB, so there’s no rush to grab him. However, should Rice suffer any sort of injury (knock on wood) Pierce is my gut as the guy you want to pounce on.

As a bonus I will give you two names of players who you should keep and eye on as they return from injuries. Vincent Brown had been touted as a sleeper WR for the Chargers before he broke his ankle. He is expected to miss at least the first 6-8 weeks of the season and is safe to be dropped if you already have him and don’t have available IR slots. He could very well return halfway through the season and produce for teams during the fantasy playoff weeks. Additionally, Rashard Mendanhall has done a great job in rehabbing his knee which he destroyed week 17 of last season. When you’re looking for RBs, it will be hard to find an in-season pickup with the track record of Mendenhall. The Steelers are expecting him back by the 5th or 6th game and it may not take long for him to re-establish himslef as the Steelers’ primary back. Keep an eye on his first game or two back unless you have a IR slot open on your bench and can stash him now.

Ok everyone, I hope that you keep these names in the back of your mind on draft day or as the season goes along. It might be fun to look back at the end of the season on these calls to see which ones panned out.

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