Neugey's sleepers and busts
My own opinion on sleepers and busts, for what it's worth ...
Sleepers and Busts:
Sleeper QB: Andy Dalton, CIN. Dalton is an accurate and winning college QB but will need to adjust to the speed of the NFL. I think he can and will after practicing against TCU's formidable defense for 4 full years in college. He has AJ Green as a downfield threat and good posession receivers like Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Gresham to work with. If Dalton gets off to a nice start, this could be a great situation as Cincy fans and management would give anything to forget about Carson Palmer. Normally, a team will shelter a young QB and manage his pass attempts to not throw him into the fire. But Cincinatti does not make sane decisions, which is not always a bad thing in go-big-or-go-home fantasy football.
Bust QB: Joe Flacco, BAL. Baltimore has previously brought in a myriad of talented receivers come in only to disappoint - Stallworth, TJ Housh, Boldin, etc. And now two of Flacco's most trusted targets, Heap and Derrick Mason, are gone. Such turnover is indicative of a problem in any line of business, let alone pro football. I expect to see a lot of interceptions thrown as the pressure is mounting on Flacco to win and he probably won't be on the same page as any of his targets save Ray Rice.
Sleeper RB: Mike Tolbert, SD. Tolbert hails from a small-school and is a runner with low miles and has had the necessary pro experience now. I think that Tolbert, as a small punishing power runner weighing 245 lb, could be a great counterpoint to the downfield playmaking ability of Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd and Antonio Gates. Unlike last year, there could be more room to run in San Diego.
Bust RB: LeGarrette Blount, TB. Tampa has had a long series of flash-in-the-pan running backs since the Warrick Dunn days. So I can't trust the stats he put up last year and frankly I didn't see that he was much more than a powerful north-south runner to begin with.
Sleeper WR: Jernel Jernigan, NYG. I think Jernel has the potential to be rookie of the year as I suspect the Giants will be a pass-heavy team yet again. Eli Manning has made a career out of creating career years for sleeper wide receivers on his team. Some publications are saying that Jernigan is the faster player on the Giants team, which is impressive for a late third-round pick. With Steve Smith and Derek Hagan departing, the Giants seem to be clearing space for a new face in the receiving corps. I'm thinking it could be Jernigan.
Bust WR: DeSean Jackson, PHI. I can't trust his inflated stats from last year. What are the odds he will catch 88 and 91 yard TD catches again in 2011?! Microscopic. This is not a good receiver to have on your fantasy team because he seems to be too small and fragile to play the slot. He will probably only net you only 0 to 2 fantasy points during the many weeks when defenses play conservative and don't let him get loose downfield. Unless you're in a fantasy league that rewards handsomely for long-distance TD's, let some other owner deal with DeSean's statistical ups and downs.
Sleeper TE: Kellen Winslow, TB. Josh Freeman is improving each year and the promising and young wide receiving group led by Mike Williams can probably do their part too. I think Winslow is due for a career year or two as he seems to have been unlucky in his career with his season touchdown totals. He is only 28 and still has those great tight-end genes. This guy has always had the talent and might now have the maturity and humility he's lacked previously.
Bust TE: Benjamin Watson, CLE. The offensive system is changing in Cleveland, so I don't see him catching 68 passes again no matter if the passing game gets better or worse. Colt McCoy will get a little more freedom and trust to run the show and spread the ball around than he did last year. You probably didn't draft Watson last year, so don't draft him this year.
Sleeper K: Matt Prater, DEN. Denver has thin air to kick in and hopefully this year a healthy kicker for 16 games. The Broncos on paper look like a team with the ability to move the ball but not very much ability to punch it in the endzone, especially given the current state of the AFC West. I'm a firm believer in trying to find a kicker who will attempt a lot of field goals as it can win you close games in fantasy.
Bust K: Nick Folk, NYJ. New York football is full of drama and Folk only hit 77% of his field goals last year. Things could go south in a hurry if Folk loses the Jets a game or two and there are veteran guys like John Casay and Shayne Graham out there to be signed.
Sleeper DEF: New England. New England has had something like 293 draft picks to rebuild their aging team over the last few years. I think it starts to pay off this year, especially on defense.
Bust DEF: Baltimore. This team's defensive core has immense talent but they've been at the top for a long time and are starting to get old. I see opposing offenses finding a few more weak links to pick on this year.
I haven't thought of Flacco that way... but it certainly makes a lot of sense. You just planted a seed in the back of my head come draft day.
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