You might think a sleeper article prior to the start of the fantasy season might be silly. In many cases I would be apt to agree with you. I mean really, worry about sleepers? Now? Were you sleeping during your draft? Well not so fast. With the multitude of injuries, player suspensions and other issues, players taken in the latter stages of many drafts may very well have some fantasy impact and viability as we open up the 2013 Fantasy Football season.
Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys – Largely an afterthought on fantasy draft day, I have a suspicion Romo rewards those who had the confidence to not only add them to their fantasy squad, but those daring enough to start him. Starting at home against a defensively challenged New York Giants team that allowed over 250 yards passing in 2012, Romo could be in for a nice week one performance. Look for Romo as well as all the down field weapons at to thrive this weekend.
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles – Still undervalued as the 2013 season is set to begin this weekend, Michael Vick has a lot to prove to his team, the coaching staff, the fans, and the fantasy owners who decided to take a flier on him this year. His skill set is a natural in Chip Kelly’s offensive scheme, set to be unveiled against the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football. Playing behind a healthy offensive line for the first time in a year, look for Vick to assert himself quickly, making solid decisions and finding open receivers down field. The Redskins secondary leaves a little to be desired, so look for Vick to open the season with some quality production.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers – So WR Mike Wallace is gone – so what? He took his wildly inconsistent show down to South Beach. Rookie RB Le’veon Bell is out for a few weeks – so what? The running game returns to that of 2012 for a few weeks. The constant through all of this is Big Ben, and better yet his wheels are healthy. He’ll remind folks of his relevancy this weekend, finding his receivers down field and feasting on a Tennessee Titans team that gave up almost 250 yards through the air last season.
Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns – Look for Weeden to turn some heads this season. Not in shock and disgust, but with arm strength, solid decision making, and all around quality play. It starts this weekend as the Browns face the Miami Dolphins. Sure, he is missing his top target in WR Josh Gordon, but look for him to settle in nicely with WR Greg Little and TE Jordan Cameron, benefitting from a solid rushing attack courtesy of RB Trent Richardson. Remember, Weeden is not your prototypical second year professional. He is 29 years old, with a lot of poise and should start off the season with a bang.
Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders – Yeah, yeah… I know about the trepidation of fantasy owners to have any semblance of confidence in McFadden, but despite all the Oakland Raiders challenges, there is reason for optimism in week one. As it stands now, he is 100% healthy and when he is healthy there is no denying his talent and ability. As they say, strike while the iron is.. not broken. The offensive scheme is different from a year ago, directed back at McFadden’s strength. Lastly, he is the most dynamic and versatile weapon they have. Slide him in there at the flex spot, and hope for at the very least, a productive first half until…..
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars – Sure there is risk, but without risk, why bother?? MJD has been declared healthy heading into the Jaguars week one matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, and Jacksonville will need him. Look for Jones-Drew, the focal point of the Jaguars attack, feast on the challenged rushing defense of the Chiefs. If you went out on a limb and drafted him, put your money where your mouth is and start him with confidence.
Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams – I was astonished to see how far Richardson was falling in drafts this season, and this week against the Arizona Cardinals, he’ll get a chance to reward owners who were fortunate enough to land a starting running back so late, while shaking his finger at owners who flat out stayed away. Sure, the Rams offense will be a pass-first attack, but Richardson possesses a versatility that will serve him very well.
Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh Steelers – It may be an abbreviated time for Redman in the starting lineup for the Steelers, but sometimes all a player needs is a chance. Gaining the starting gig while rookie RB Le’veon Bell recovers from injury, I would expect Redman to make the most of this opportunity. Not only is he more than familiar with the Pittsburgh offense, he is facing a Tennessee Titans defense that was pretty soft against the run in 2013.
Stay tuned for some Wide Receiver and Tight End Sleepers for Week One – Coming NEXT!
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