Ok so we all know the big names. Who isn’t thinking Larry Fitzgerald, or Adrian Peterson, or Maurice Jones-Drew. If you’re not, you probably should’nt be playing Fantasy Football.
Every year a few names come out of complete nowhere, and the race begins to grab them up via the waiver wire. Well this year some of them won’t so much be waiver wire guys, but names that will be taken in the later stages. I’m here to give you those names and give you a head start.
They call them “man-crushes”, men that we love, well at least on the football field. Come draft day instead of rushing to get kickers in round 9 or 10, I advise you to look at my 10 players who may be silent but deadly types this season. Some call them sleepers, these men are not sleepers, only YOU are if you miss them!
1. Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans:
Ok so some people are on this wagon already, some sure aren’t. Alot of mock drafts have seen him in the 6st, or 7th rounds. Truly an outrage! Reggie Bush is NOT an every down back, and Deuce McCallister is long gone. Last season he carried 129 times, but managed a lusty 4.8 yards per carry and 10 rushing TDs. What seperates him from a guy like Deuce is the fact he also caught 31 passes for 284 yards and 3 TDs. You can try and wait, but it may not be fruitful. Plus how can you rely on Reggie Bush, The man tossed Kim Kardashian away? Thomas is in just his third year, so he has plenty of pep in his step, and strong legs! A lot of people I talk to think this is the year of the WR, if so Thomas should be yours in round 4.
2.Correll Buckhalter, RB, Denver
What? Who? Because he was an Eagle?
Sounds like what you may here, am I right? Make no mistake people, if Correll stays healthy he can easily convince new coach Josh McDaniels that he’s ready to finally take the lead. Over the last 2 seasons behind Brian Westbrook, Buckhalter averaged 5 yards per carry, in what was seen as a pass happy Eagles offense. He has toughness, good speed, and can catch the ball, much like his former teammate. Here’s the real deal in it all: Ryan Torian has been released. Rookie Knowshon Moreno has an injury. LaMont Jordan is as hip right now as Montell Jordan. Finally J.J. Arrington is, well, Arrington. Buckhalter comes from experience, and has played on winners. McDaniels has already listed him as his goal line guy, and with a hot pre-season he should take this job over! More then available in round 9 or 10.
3. Johnnie Lee Higgins, WR, Oakland:
I understand that over the last few seasons the Raiders have not been an offensive hot bed, but Higgins is an upside in the making! Javon Walker has become old news with his rash of injuries. Derrius Heywood-Bey is a project, and the few others from last year are now gone. This opens the door for Higgins, a speedy, down field playmaker who was used primarily in the return game last year. Higgins caught 22 passes for 366 yards and 4 TDs, as Oakland went through the revolving door of QBs and once-were WRs. JaMarcus Russell can launch the ball if anything, so im betting heavily on seeing a load of Higgins. Many of your draft co-horts will snicker at Raider picks, and you will snicker when they produce. There is a chance Higgins may not even be drafted, BUT be ready!
4. Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore:
A chef may know it as “flash in the pan”. This is what you look at from Willis McGahee, and LeRon McClain. Rice suffered an early injury in his rookie season,and with McGahee down, McClain took the reigns.In limited action last year, Rice accumulated 454 yards on 107 carries, for a 4.2 ypc average, BUT it was his 33 catches that opened up some eyes. Rice is a power runner, with soft hands. His production will be determined on how often the Ravens have him on the field, and judging by whats going on at WR, it will be alot! Pencil in Ray Rice, most mock drafts have him going in 14th and 15th rounds….Easily could be this years DeAngelo Williams!
5. Josh Morgan, WR, San Francisco:
How is this possible you say? Well Michael Crabtree is playing himself right into a missed season, and Issac Bruce is up there, way up there, so in steps the sleek and speedy Morgan. In limited duty last year Morgan hauled in 20 passes for 309 yards and 3 TDs, but that was just his rookie season. Now with Mike Singletary at the helm, the Niners will be a run first team, but this should open things up in the vertical passing game, and Morgan will be the 49ers fastest target. Morgan on mock drafts was readily available.
6. Leon Washington, Rb, New York Jets:
It’s week 11, you have no running back, and the playoffs are on the line, what do you do?
Well for the last 2 seasons that answer has been Leon Washington. Over the last 2 seasons Washington, in limited duty, has picked up 83 catches, rused for 801 yards, and has scored 11 touchdowns. Add in to that the over 5 yard per carry stat, and the 5 special team TDs and Washington is the most exciting non-pick in the draft. Serving as a back-up to Thomas Jones may quickly be a thing of the past. Washington sees alot of 3rd down action, and has proven to be explosive and shows dynamic catch and run abaility. Jones is hitting the big 3-0 which is RB cancer, and if he shows even 1 little mis-step, Washington will be there to pounce! Either way this guy will see more then enough action to make him a worth while pick as you enter the 10th round on. Most mock drafts have shown interest in Washington in the 10’s rounds.
7. Miles Austin, WR, Dallas
The time has come Cowboy fans. Yes, Terrell Owens is gone. Yes Roy Williams is the number 1 (for now) and yes they also have Pat Crayton. But there is something about Miles Austin that need not be overlooked. He is the fastest of the receiving corp and showed flashes of big play ability last year ( averaging over 21 yards per catch ). Now many feel Dallas will be run, tight end, run, but if anything that’s where your vertical man comes into play. Austin may not be ready to work the whole field, but he looks more then ready to work the fly pattern. Questions still arise about who will be the ‘Boys number 2, and my advice is if it’s Austin, make sure you grab his sticker before your draft is over. Austin was not even thought of in many mock drafts. Drafting him may not be needed, but forgetting him is NOT an option.
Now for my wait and sees, guys who can sneak up one week and take over:
1. Limas Sweed, WR, Pittsburgh:
Look at the Steeler track record. Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes, and Nate Washington have all recently found themselves exactly where Sweed is. A good, young , high draft pick working in the 3 spot with 2 good veterans, a good system , and a QB that likes to bomb it. Big Ben likes to work the field with his vets, Hines Ward, Heath Miller and his RBs. And it always seems that the 3 guy, the little known star in the making, is always seeing deep action. Last year as a rookie Sweed caught just 6 passes, but now Washington is gone and there is a need for his spot to be filled. Sweed will need to work hard to fit in this offense, but don’t find yourself too shocked one Sunday if he does big things and makes you run to your computer to acquire him as the game is still going on.
2. Pat White, QB/Wildcat, Miami
The inventors of the Wildcat Offense think they may have their man. In steps former West Virginia QB Pat White. Yes Chad Pennington is the QB for sure, but White may be worked in on snaps as a slasher, passer, havoc causer for this Dolphins offense. Its not likely he will do much at the start, but as the Eagles did with Michael Vick the rest of the league may look to do, use a guy with QB arm strength and good speed as your Wildcat option. Keep an eye on Mr White down in sunny Florida!
3. Deon Butler, WR, Seattle
Ok so maybe its the Penn State fan in me, but if Seattle has been lacking something in the passing game over the years it’s pure speed. Butler was a stand-out receiver at PSU, a team not usually known for big time receivers. He brings his game to an experienced Seattle team and has alot of WRs to learn from. Matt Hasselbecks arm and back may limit his downfield bombing, but Butler has the speed to take the screen and turn it to pay dirt. You will certainly have to wait and see how he progesses, but a week may come by where he may walk into the end zone twice and you’ll kick yourself once!
More Fantasy Projects and other football news coming soon…..Stay tuned!
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