There’s a fine line between respect and rejection in the world of Fantasy Football. Sometimes those can’t miss players not only miss, they bring you down with them. Ahman Green, anyone? Sometimes a final round throw away pick makes you the talk of the league, Willie Parker style. Here’s a look into how to avoid the rest of the league laughing as you sheepishly drop your #1 overall pick onto the waiver wire in Week 5.
Sleeper – Jake Plummer – DEN – Anyone remember Jon Kitna’s 2003 and 2004 seasons? What about Drew Brees circa 2004 and 2005? What’s the similarity here? Right, they were both mediocre to lousy QBs who, when faced with their team spending a Top 5 Draft Pick on their replacement, decided to step it up a few hundred notches. Guess what happened to Jake Plummer this season? The Broncos drafted lauded rookie Jay Cutler to learn the system. Plummer is due a new contract at the end of the season with SOMEone, and he might like to prove to them that he’s worth the money. All signs point to a big season from the most underrated QB in the NFL.
Buster – Marc Bulger – STL – You know I should say Aaron Brooks, but you would’ve had to, at one point, actually been good to be considered a bust. Why Marc Bulger? Well, with injuries piling up like chicken buckets outside of John Madden’s bus, Marc Bulger has at least a 4:1 shot of not missing a game or two, but I’d play the numbers and bet that he misses more than that. Plus, with an aging receiver corps and a decimated offensive line, what exactly makes you think he’s worth a high draft pick? Don’t do it.
Sleeper – Lee Suggs – NYJ – This spot could have been held by Chester Taylor or Joseph Addai, but I think most of you know that Chester Taylor will do very well in Minnesota, and Jospeh Addai still isn’t the starter yet. So, I pick Lee Suggs because he probably wasn’t even on anyone’s radar until a couple of days ago when he was brought to New York. Lee Suggs should take over for ailing Curtis Martin when he is forced into retirement by injuries before the preseason is over. Let’s not forget that he only had 8 rushes last season, but let’s also not forget that he averaged 4.5 yards per carry the previous two seasons when he got 56 and 199 carries respectively. He’s young, he has the talent, and now he’s all but got a starting job with a decent team. I’m not saying Suggs is 1st Round material, but if he was there in the 5th Round, you’d better believe I’d take him. ***EDIT*** Ha ha! The RotoDestroyer Jinx! Only moments after posting this article, Lee Suggs failed his physical and voided the trade to New York. So, let’s not call him a sleeper anymore, but there’s still Chester Taylor and Joseph Addai to look at.
Buster – Edgerrin James – ARI – Everything is wrong for Edge this season. Now, I love Edgerrin. He’s a great player. But, let’s look at what happened. He went from the best offense in the NFL to one of the flakiest. He went from one of the best offensive lines to one of the three worst. His present offense is led by two of the best wide receivers in the league. Gonna be real hard to spread the ball around between Anquan, Fitzy, and Edge. His quarterback will either be an old man teetering on the brink of wasting away or an unproven Paris Hilton boy toy rookie. Plus, PLUS, he’s got his contract now, so there’s no reason to go overboard. My prediction for Edge this season is he starts off slow, picks up steam toward midseason, then is injured when one of his doofus linemen let a linebacker through and he doesn’t play again this season as the Cardinals once again miss the playoffs.
Sleeper – Andre Johnson – TEX – There’s several names who could go here: Michael Clayton, Javon Walker, even Chris Chambers. Michael Clayton is not as bad as he was last season. Javon Walker will be back with a vengeance under Shannahan’s rule. Chris Chambers is a sleeper in that, I think he will pull a Steve Smith and suddenly become a Top 3 receiver overnight. But, I still pick Andre Johnson because he was so good for two seasons, and when he crapped the bed last season I see now that he’s been written off down the line, ranked as low as #33. That’s crazy. The man’s a stud and with Eric Moulds coming to town for mentorship and to take the defensive pressure off of him, that adds up to sleeper material of the best kind.
Buster – Joey Galloway – TB – People still have this guy ranked as high as #11. Uh, guys, he’s 35 years old. That’s just a year younger than Brett Favre. Yeah, he was great last season, surprisingly so. But, honestly…#11? That’s just crazy. Let him go. Chris Simms is still finding his niche, and he’s surrounded by other younger talented receivers. When it comes your turn and you see Galloway staring you in the face, turn and run. There is no way he can live up to the hype.
Sleeper – Zach Hilton – NO – Now a sleeper at the tight end position is still just a tight end, so don’t get TOO excited and do something crazy. That being said, do you guys remember late last season after the Saints bye week when Zach Hilton started racking up pretty impressive games? Don’t worry, a LOT of people didn’t notice. But, I did. Do you guys remember who Brees’ last tight end was? Some guy named Gates. They had pretty good chemistry, that Gates fellas made a decent name for himself being thrown to by Brees. Hilton’s got the potential, he’s got the quarterback…but he IS still a Saint, and that means all guarantees are null and void. But, if I followed my strategy and still don’t have a TE in the 12th or 13th Round, I’d be more than happy to draft Zach Hilton. I expect big things out of him this season, although big things for a tight end is like owning the World’s Largest Weiner Dog.
Buster – Tony Gonzalez – KC – It pains me to put his name up here, but pickings are slim when you don’t expect much from the position as a whole. Why did I pick on Gonzo? Well, a few reasons. He’s been on a downward slide for the past three seasons, dropping about half a yard per reception each season. Trent Green is no spring chicken either, so there’s that. I’m not saying avoid Gonzo, I’m not saying he’s not worth having on your team. I’m just saying, you may think twice about drafting him as early as you did last season or the year before, because I just don’t see him producing like the Gonzo of old.
Sleeper – Mike Vanderjagt – DAL – Isn’t THAT a shame when the most accurate kicker in the history of the NFL is now a sleeper instead of just a sure thing. For one reason or another, he dropped a long way on a lot of people’s lists, falling as far as #7. That’s just crazy. Crazy? That’s just criminal. Look at the facts, he’s still the most accurate kicker in the league, he’s playing under a partial dome for half of his games, which means cross winds will be minimal to none. He’s playing for one of those offenses you love to see for a kicker, where they’re solid, but not quite good enough to score on every possession. They’ll drive down the field, but they’ll be putting away a lot of field goals when Julius Jones can’t break through the hole, or a lumbering Bledsoe hits the deck just shy of the yellow line.
< p>Buster – Neil Rackers – ARI – Huh? Where did this guy pop into the #1 slot from? He’s ranked #1 all over town. Let’s look at his FG Accuracy over the past three seasons: 75.0%, 75.9%, 95.2%. OH, I get it now. The old Fluke Year Syndrome. People see on unstoppable season where he nails 40 of 42 and suddenly the proven studs take a back seat to Johnny Come Lately. Hell, Billy Cundiff out kicked Rackers in 2003 and 2004. In fact he was only better than 7 kickers in 2003, and only 5 in 2004. Now, I’m not saying that we should really even be worrying about kickers this much, because they’re really all the same. But, I am saying that Neil Rackers doesn’t belong in the #1 spot, and honestly he probably doesn’t even belong in the Top 5. So, don’t waste your pick on a fluke, just laugh into your beer when some moron drafts him in the 8th Round.