Bill Kitts is a sports fan from Syracuse, NY. Bill graduated from Utica College of Syracuse University with a bachelor's degree in 2007. Don't forget to follow Bill Kitts on Twitter.
Every year there is the one guy that nobody sees coming that ends up beating you and ruining your fantasy football season. Examples in the 2009 season include, but are not limited to, Sidney Rice - WR Vikings, Mike Sims-Walker - WR Jaguars, Jamaal Charles - RB Chiefs, Jerome Harrison - RB Browns, Jason Snelling - RB Falcons and Steve Smith - WR Giants. These players went mostly undrafted or were selected very late in 2009 fantasy drafts. The persons that had the foresight to select one of these players or the person lucky enough to land one of these player via free agency or the waiver wire, benefitted greatly. Below are sleepers for the 2010-11 season position by position.
Alex Smith (49ers) - Last season Smith scored 183 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues. Smith threw for 248 yards on 372 attempts with 18 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions after taking over in week 6. The 2010-11 season will be the first time Smith has had the same offensive coordinator in back to back years. The 49ers are much improved on the offensive side of the ball. With the emergence of Tight End Vernon Davis, a full year for Michael Crabtree to develop, drafting two starting offensive linemen and the recent signing of Brian Westbrook, this offense has the potential to put up big numbers in a weak NFC West Division.
Arian Foster (Texans) - Foster only scored 53 fantasy points in 6 games last season, but this year he is on top of the depth chart in Houston. With the injury to rookie Ben Tate and fumbling and durability issues with Steve Slaton, Arian is going to stay there. Foster has ability between the tackles and can run away from defenders. Last season Slaton (131) and Ryan Moats (101) split most of the carries. Look for Foster to get around 225 carries with 10 touchdowns and have Slaton come in to spell him if he can hold onto the ball. Andre Johnson is a serious deep threat so teams cannot afford to stack the box. This should open up nice running lanes for Foster.
Montario Hardesty (Browns) - Montario is a rookie out of Tennessee. He is 6'0, 225 lbs. and reminds me a lot of Jamal Lewis. Hardesty is a hard runner than knows how to put his shoulder down and gain yards. He will cut into Jerome Harrison’s carries, especially at the goal line. The Browns have a quality offensive line and should be able to run the ball effectively. Cleveland coach, Eric Mangini is on the hot seat, so he needs production and wins now. If Harrison isn’t getting the job done, Mangini will not hesitate to play Hardesty more. Look for Hardesty to come in much like Willis McGahee and steal touchdowns from Jerome Harrison.
Chester Taylor (Bears) - Signing with the Bears was a great move for Chester Taylor. The Bears signing Mike Martz as their offensive coordinator was a lucky break for Chester Taylor. Taylor is an excellent receiving back and has been buried behind Adrian Peterson in Minnesota. Taylor is behind Matt Forte on the depth chart, but Forte failed to produce last year and may have a short leash for another coach on the hot seat, Lovie Smith. Chester has an excellent burst and great ability in the open field. Taylor is an excellent selection in Points Per Reception leagues and has the potential to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Taylor, while splitting carries, can gain 500 yards rushing and 600 receiving. He may end up in a Marshall Faulk roll in Martz high power offense.
Jordan Shipley (Bengals) - Every team in the National Football League wants to find the next Wes Welker and the Bengals may have done just that by drafting Jordan Shipley in the 3rd round this year. Shipley has the speed and hands to create a mismatch as a slot receiver. Antonio Bryant may not play a down in a Bengals uniform due to a knee injury, creating an opportunity for Shipley to show he can produce as a rookie. Shipley is a wise late round pick in PPR leagues and leagues that give points for individual kick return yardage.
Devin Thomas (Redskins) - Every year a receiver entering his 3rd season emerges and puts up big numbers. Devin Thomas is entering his 3rd season and has the size, 6’2", 215 lbs. and speed to become a quality fantasy wide out. Washington added Donovan McNabb this offseason so look for more deep passes and big plays. If Thomas avoids the injury bug he should produce solid numbers and has the potential to take huge strides.
Jeremy Maclin (Eagles) - Kevin Kolb is taking over at quarterback in Philadelphia and the player to benefit most from this will be Jeremy Maclin. The Eagles will go to a traditional west coast offense where the wide receivers will run short timing patterns and have an opportunity to gain yards after the catch. Maclin caught a lot of passes from Kolb on the second team offense last season, giving the two a good chemistry. Maclin is a bigger receiver than Desean Jackson and will be asked to run the more difficult routes. Maclin will break out and end up in the pro bowl, gaining over 1,000 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Ben Watson (Browns) - Eric Mangini brought in Ben Watson to give QB Jake Delhomme a solid target to get first downs. Watson is familiar with Mangini’s system due to the time they spent together in New England. Ben is a solid receiver and will be a threat in the redzone. The Browns rushing attack should free Watson up in play action and give him many opportunities to catch passes.
I have won 6 Fantasy Football Titles in the past 4 seasons by identifying sleeper players and having them come up big for me. Keep in mind sleepers are serious gambles. Drafting every player I listed and starting them weekly will land you in last place faster than the St. Louis Rams. Good Luck and may the Fantasy Football God’s bless you.