Every owner in your fantasy league has their eye on at least one guy flying under the radar, AKA the sleeper.
This week, The Hazean is going to bring you ten of these guys in no particular order.
To catch up on past rankings, check out last week’s WTT.
WTT for July 18, 2007: Sleepers
Haze owner Blaine Clancy joins The Hazean once again to compile this list of the best ten sleeper prospects for the 2007 season. Get at it:
- Devery Henderson, Saints — McNeil: Henderson plays on a prolific offense and steps into a starting role opposite possession receiver Marques Colston after the departure of Joe Horn this offseason. Henderson has terrific speed and is a big-play threat. If he can improve his catching ability, he could be in for a great year. The Saints have many weapons on offense which will allow Henderson to see a lot of single coverage.
- Vincent Jackson, Chargers — Clancy: The main theory in the development of young wide receivers is that they typically “break-out” in their third year. Jackson enters his third year with the Chargers, and this 6-foot-5 receiver looks poised to have an explosive year. Not only does he have two years under his belt, but Vincent’s young quarterback also is coming into his own and will likely increase production. Vincent has increasingly become more adapted to the NFL, as evident by his 2006 totals. The bulk of his yardage and touchdowns were produced during the last month of the season. Also, take note that his yard-per-catch (YPC) jumped from 12.5 in November to 20.4. Jackson is worth a pick in round 8 or 9, thus reducing his risk/reward factor.
- JP Losman, Bills — McNeil: Losman looked like he started to “get it” by the end of last year. His synergy with wide receiver Lee Evans is promising, but the loss of runningback Willis McGahee could hurt Losman in most drafts. Losman is a guy most owners will be able to snatch very late in the draft as a No. 2 QB, and he could end up as a No. 1 QB on certain weeks when the matchups are right.
- Jerious Norwood, Falcons — Clancy: Norwood has the potenital to be a star running back. The only problem is that he is splitting carries with the shifty Warrick Dunn. Dunn is 32 years old and is one pulled groin away from relinquishing the reigns to Norwood. This offense led the league in rushing yards and probably will do it again. With his blazing speed, Norwood led the entire NFL with 6.4 yards per carry. While he will not top that list this year, his total yards and touchdowns should increase significantly.
- Alex Smith, 49ers — McNeil: Smith has all the tools to succeed in San Francisco. Although he is learning a new offense (again), Frank Gore returns to lead the San Francisco rushing attack. Vernon Davis is a year older and should be a year better, and the 49ers added a ton of talent to both sides of the ball through free agency and the draft. Smith had San Fran on the brink of the postseason last year and looks ready to lead the Niners into January this year.
- Carnell Williams, Buccaneers — Clancy: The Cadillac burst onto the scene in 2005 with a 1178 yards and six touchdowns. This boosted him into the first round of most 2006 fantasy football drafts. Then in 2006, he burned every fantasy owner with only 798 yards and one touchdown. Disgusted, most owners have completly written off this Auburn standout. A lot of his troubles last year can be contributed to a porous offensive line and inconsitent quarterback play. Going into the 2007 season, it looks like both areas have been addressed. Tampa drafted Aaron Sears (Tennessee) to help with run-blocking and signed free agent Jeff Garcia at quarterback. Everything is in line for Williams to replicate his freshman campaign. He will be a reliable RB2 and could be a great steal in the later rounds of the draft.
- DJ Hackett, Seahawks — McNeil: Seattle lost its best pass-catcher this offseason and someone needs to step up to fill Darrell Jackson’s shoes. Enter DJ Hackett. Deion Branch is a good receiver, but he lacks the size to be a consistent red zone threat. Hackett should be able to garner looks in the red zone and quickly could become Matt Hasselbeck’s favorite target.
- Drew Bennett, Rams — Clancy: Bennett changed teams in the offseason going from the inept Tennessee Titans’ offense to a potent aerial attack in St. Louis. With an aging Isacc Bruce, Bennett will become the No. 2 receiver and complement Torry Holt quite nicely. He should fit in well with the Rams’ offense.
- DeDe Dorsey, Colts — McNeil: The Colts jettisoned Dominic Rhodes after the Super Bowl victory, leaving the runningback reigns to Joseph Addai. Although Addai performed admirably in his rookie season, it is highly doubtful he will be able to handle the full workload as a Colts’ runningback just yet. Dorsey is a fast back with a lot of potential and he could steal some time from Addai this season, or could step in as the feature back should Addai succomb to injury.
- Jamal Lewis, Browns — Clancy: Although Lewis is not your typical sleeper (i.e. young and up-and-coming talent), he is a sleeper in the sense that his draft value will be lower than his actual value. Lewis was in the top 15 in rushing yards last season, as well as top 10 in rushing touchdowns. Lewis joins a new team this season that has more weapons than the Baltimore Ravens offense. This should open up his lanes a little bit and give him an oppurtunity to run people over. He will be a consistent RB2 as he only has missed five games (four in 2004 and one in 2005) in the six seasons that he has played. He will be a middle round draftee but will play like a second rounder.