Every year the industry is flooded with sleeper lists. The problem is that most of these lists have many of the same people and they become so ingrained in our heads that they go from underrated to overrated very quickly. Also, every year there is a Danny Amendola or Peyton Hillis who wasn’t on anyone’s sleepers list, yet they very likely won multiple leagues for people. Here is a list of 5 names that are on very few, if any, sleeper lists. Keep in mind these are tailored for people in large (14-team+) leagues, and not people who you should necessarily go pick up right now, but you should at least check that little blue flag next to their name and watch them carefully the first few games.
1. Jordan Shipley WR (CIN)
Shipley may be the only one of these five that you’ve heard of so far. But he is still very under the radar. In Cincy most people are talking about the rookie AJ Green and last season fantasy playoff hero, Jerome Simpson. Although common sense may say to veer away from the 3rd WR on a run-heavy team with a rookie QB, Shipley shouldn’t be ignored. If Amendola is the next Wes Welker, Shipley could very well be this years Amendola. He tallied a commendable 52 catches for 600 yards last season that went largely unnoticed. He is a sharp route runner who works the middle of the field and could turn out to become another safety valve for the rookie Dalton. Throw in the large possibility that Green or Simpson falter this season he’ll be leaned on even more as the Bengals are sure to be coming from behind late in games very often. Shipley could be in line for a very nice final season line of about 70 catches/700 yds/5 TD’s, a nice waiver find as a WR3, especially in PPR leagues.
2. Da’Rel Scott RB (NYG)
Going real deep here. Obviously there are 2 studs in front of him on the Giants depth chart, but saying this guy is fast would be the understatement of the year. He had a hell of a preseason, including a ridiculous 97-yarder (highlight here), that is insane balance he showed at the beginning of the run. He carried just 13 times and tallied over 200 yds, obbviously that long run helped the avg, but he was good throughout the preseason. With the brittleness of Bradshaw and the enigma that is Brandon Jacobs (although he did look better than ever in preseason), Scott could get some worthwhile carries late in the season.
3. Eric Decker WR (DEN)
Here’s a guy that at 6’3″-218 lbs is a nice red zone target. He is currently behind Eddie Royal on what will be, at least is assumed to be, a run heavy team. However, neither Lloyd or Royal are big targets and the Broncos don’t have a TE that is a receiving threat so he could get more end zone looks that other guys floating around waivers. Also, Tebow absolutely loves to throw to him, all 3 of Mr. Decker’s TD’s (both pre- and regular season) have been from Tebow. As everyone know Tebow is behind Brady Quinn right now, but seriously, this is Tebow we’re talking about here, how many people really think that he won’t be starting again by seasons end. When that happens go snag Decker before someone else.
4. Jake Locker QB (TEN)
Let’s face it Hasselback will never again play a full season. I don’t see him playing much after their week 6 bye due to either injury or just the team seeing what they have in Locker. Since they have such an early bye week, if/when Locker is the starter he could be a useful bye week feel in for the guys that have off later in the season. When he gets in the game teams will be focusing primarily on shutting down CJ2K giving the decent receivers they have (Britt, Cook, Washington) one-on-one coverage that Locker can exploit. Also, the dude can and will run (proof here), as we all know those rushing yards from a QB can be a difference maker. Look for him during your QB’s bye in any two-QB format or large, one-QB formats and although he won’t win you that week by himself, he won’t lose it either.
5. Kevin Boss TE (OAK)
I’ll end this with a TE just to cover all the positions. Boss moved to Oak-town to replace the departed Zach Miller. Everyone knows what Miller did with this team, but most people are assuming Boss can’t handle the same workload. The fact is Campbell throws a horrible deep-ball and the only route his WR’s are any good at running are streaks. These truths are part of why Miller was always the Raiders leading receiver. Boss has good hands is a this teams best (only?) red zone target. He is currently dealing with a knee issue, however it isn’t considered serious. If that is true and Boss is on the field for 14-15 games there’s no reason he can’t put together a season somewhere in the middle of what he did with the G-men and what Miller did in Oakland, so we’re talking 60 catches/700 yds/5 TD’s.
Before you go it bears repeating that these guys are for those in canyon-deep leagues where you almost debate a backup kicker. Well, these guys are your options instead of that kicker.