The 2012 NFL Draft is getting closer and closer everyday. Because of this, I feel like a college student anxiously awaiting Spring Break. It really isn’t fair that football wasn’t deemed a year long sport at its inception. I would count Arena League football, but the Austin Wranglers are long gone. It is the curse of Austin that the Texas Longhorns are the only team anyone cares about. So, having to live with that curse, I must bide my time with the Texas Stars, Round Rock Express, the Austin Aztecs (do they still exist?) and thinking about fantasy football over and over again.
Okay, I know nothing about the Texas Stars or the Express so I’ll stick to fantasy football. I know I did a fantasy football sleepers list a few weeks ago, but with so many talented writers at The Landry Hat it’s hard to get a unique story that someone hasn’t written about. So, if you play fantasy football, you might enjoy this list of Fantasy Football Sleepers 2012.
Here is the list of my previous sleepers:
Not many of these have changed, except a few have been moved from ‘Sleeper’ to ‘Must Draft’, such as Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, and Eli Manning. And one demotion from sleeper status to bust status.
-Raymond Radway, WR, Dallas Cowboys. Did anyone watch Radway during the preseason except for me and Tonni Shook? Well if you didn’t read her article, Meet the Dallas Cowboys “Jeremy Lin”, Raymond Radway!!, you should because she is spot on. Radway was undrafted out of Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas, not more than 2 ½ hours away from my beloved Texas Tech. He is a natural underdog with a natural 4.34 40 time. If you did see that preseason game you saw a freak running up and down the field. And after winning over most of the Dallas Cowboy crowd, he was sidelined with a season ending broken tibia and fibula. No worries though, Jerry Jones did the smart thing and put him on injured reserve. I think that makes Radway a great sleeper for this upcoming season as long as a guy named Jesse Holley doesn’t swoop in and snag the number 3 wide receiver spot.
-Jesse Holley, WR, Dallas Cowboys. Barely a day has passed since Holley publicly defended Tony Romo’s locker room leadership and he finds himself on this list. This second year player out of North Carolina showed great break away speeds in burst last season and even helped win our only notable victory last year: The overtime win against the San Francisco 49ers. Now, keeping in mind I added ‘burst’ at the end of break away speed, this guy is fast out of the gate and makes it tough for defensive backs to catch him…until he is three feet from the end zone. Holley’s sleeper status is directly connected to Raymond Radway and Kevin Ogletree. He will remain on this list until after we see how free agency unfolds and more importantly if the Cowboys sign him to a new deal.
-Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins. I never thought I would ever see Reggie Bush on anything but crutches during his performance last year for the Miami Dolphins. Maybe it was something in the air in New Orleans that made Bush extremely injury prone, but with his move to South Beach, it appears as though Bush may be the every down back he was drafted to be. But that is a huge maybe. If you need a high risk high reward player in the later rounds, I think Reggie Bush could be a good option.
-Kendall Hunter, RB, San Francisco 49ers. Kendall Hunter was a beast at Okie State. Sometimes it made you wonder why they were throwing the ball so much with such a good back field. But now Hunter resides westward with the 49ers. Back-up to Frank Gore of The U (Miami University), he warms the bench until his name is called. Not only can you count on Gore being a bruiser, you can count on him getting injured as well. Enter Hunter. When (not if) Gore goes down with an injury, Kendall Hunter will bust out yards like it’s going out of style. Use him as a handcuff if you also have Gore.
-Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers. As of right now, the Peyton Manning sweepstakes is still in full swing. Some people are talking Denver, some people are saying Arizona, but I think the best chance for Peyton to get to the Super Bowl now is the San Francisco 49ers. Their defense is unreal and their offense is arguably one good quarter back away from being NFL Champs. You do the math: Peyton Manning + a great offensive line + Michael Crabtree + a running game = Big Pay off. If they get Peyton, Crabtree should be one of the first receivers taken. The recent signing of former New York Giant Mario Manningham could hurt his numbers though. Oh yeah, and some dude named Randy Moss. I’ll believe it when I see it though.
-Robert Griffin III, future QB for the Indianapolis Colts or the Washington Redskins. Although I don’t condone taking rookie quarterbacks early, after what Cam Newton did last year, I’m starting to consider them sleepers until proven otherwise. Here’s the deal, he is either going to be the next big thing or the biggest bust since JaMarcus Russell and a sprinkle of Ryan Leaf for good measure. Draft at your own risk, but his sleeper status as of right now is safe.
-Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams. Sam’s sophomore campaign didn’t go exactly as planned and ended with a flurry of firings and Jeff Fisher being hired in St. Louis. Whether you agree with them trading the number 2 pick overall in the draft, it doesn’t matter because it happened and because it happened it made Sam Bradford the Rams quarterback of the future. Look past his sophomore slump, the Rams will be rebuilding their team with the Redskin’s draft picks and in return I believe they will be rewarded with at least an 8-8 season and a record year delivered by Sam Bradford.
-Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers. If Peyton Manning does not sign with the 49ers, which I think would be stupid not to do, then Alex Smith will be a great late round pick-up. He doesn’t come with drama and he has a great coach and locker room firmly supporting him. Both these factors give a quarterback a little less to worry about and I think makes Smith an easy decision for at least a back up QB spot on your roster. Recent rumors have Smith visiting the Miami Dolphins. So, he could be a sleeper pick even if he’s not in the Bay area anymore.
-Andrew Luck, future QB for the Indianapolis Colts or Washington Redskins. You may be asking yourself why is RG3 in the sleepers but Andrew Luck is in the busts? Well very simply; it makes sense. I think it’s pretty unanimously agreed upon that the Colts are taking Andrew Luck in the 2012 NFL Draft, and rightfully so, he is a great player. But look at the Colts as an organization. They are absolutely in shambles and are just plain terrible. Andrew Luck isn’t going to have a chance this year and I promise there will be a bounty on his head the minute he pulls on that blue jersey. Stay away from him during the 2012 fantasy campaign.
-Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys. After my first fantasy sleepers list, I thought very hard about why I had Felix Jones on there. I apologize, Felix, but you have done absolutely nothing for me to justify putting you on this list and actually, I’m kind of mad at you. You don’t suck, we all know that, but you just don’t look like you have ‘it’. And ‘it’ can be the difference in this league. Keep on running Felix, but I’m looking at DeMarco Murray when the season starts. Sorry man.
-Any Indianapolis Colts player. I already did the Andrew Luck one, but since he isn’t on a team yet, I’ll just make sure I cover all of the Colt bases before we move on. DO NOT DRAFT A SINGLE COLT PLAYER. It will be filled with disappointment and regret. These guys are a hopeless bunch, who I see having another top 5 pick after this upcoming season. They will not score touchdowns and you can bet that they won’t win games. This team needs more than Andrew Luck to save it. BEWARE OF ALL COLTS! Yes, that even means the recently resigned Reggie Wayne.
-Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers. Sorry Cam but you made my bust list. Everyone is going to be going crazy over Cam Newton during your fantasy draft, he may even go in the first round. Do not be fooled by his performance last year. Just like the Madden Curse proved itself yet again, the sophomore slump also reared its ugly head (I’m looking at you Sam Bradford). For this reason and this reason alone, Cam Newton is on my bust list. So let your buddies draft him in the first round and reap the benefits come play-off time.
-Peyton Manning, QB, who knows. Its been an up and down past couple of years for ole’ Peyton and while I think he returns to his glory days, I don’t think it happens this year.
I’ll keep updating my lists and next week I promise I’ll write about Cowboy’s free agency or something.
Thanks for reading. Good Luck and Go Cows.