‘Tis the season for preparation, speculation, anticipation and some touches of trepidation as millions of participants prepare for the 2013 Fantasy Football season. Mock drafts are in full swing, player projections are scoured with fidelity and the search begins for the proverbial diamonds in the rough.
Although Fantasy Football is a game that needs an element of luck for success, there are circumstances you can exploit to increase your probability. One obvious example would be that of 2012 Fantasy Football Sleeper “Gem” Alfred Morris. The Washington Redskins running back finished in the top three in attempts and the top two in yardage and touchdowns last season, yet those who owned him either drafted him in the last couple rounds or grabbed him off preseason waivers.
Admittedly so, there was a level of luck involved in the Morris pick one year ago. However, in retrospect, there were a series of events and circumstances that made him an obvious sleeper pick. There was no clear cut starter entering the 2012 season in Washington, contrary to popular belief Mike Shanahan is actually pro solo back if he can find one that is reliable and the Redskin’s play book underwent significant change in the offseason in preparation for number one draft pick Robert Griffin III to take the offensive reigns.
There was change, an element of unknown and historical backing that made Morris a strong sleeper candidate in 2012.
Of course, we are all experts in retrospect of Fantasy Football seasons. Foresight in advance of the season is obviously far more critical. The ability to know and understand probabilities that can create an environment for sleeper picks is what separates the every day Joe Schmo of Fantasy Football from those who annually dominate leagues.
So we embark on another season. Let the search for the next Morris begin. There are a number of situations that demand attention in preparation for this season. It could be known injury prone or unproductive players, an unclear starter going in to the regular season, possibly significant changes in the program or other circumstances that may open the door for an unknown.
One example would be the backfield of the St. Louis Rams. Steven Jackson is now wearing the red and black of the Atlanta Falcons leaving the door open for an incumbent running back. Daryl Richardson seemed to have the inside track, as did Isaiah Pead however Richardson was inconsistent in spot performances last season and Pead spent the majority of the time in the Ram’s doghouse. Could that opens the door for a running back like Zac Stacy? Also thrown in to the mix is a probable offensive overhaul with the addition of weapons like Tavon Austin and Jared Cook in the offseason. One of the three mentioned backs will carry the load giving you a one in three chance of landing a sleeper from the Rams.
Darren McFadden has never panned out for the Oakland Raiders after being selected number four overall in 2008. His inconsistency coupled with annual injuries make him a volatile option at running back for the Raiders. Enter Central Florida’s Latavius Murray. Murray was drafted from a lesser-known Florida football team in the 6th round. Sound like someone else we all know, say a guy named Morris? Another name Latavius draws comparisons to is Bo Jackson and Raiders fans know Bo.
Finally a turbulent offseason has made the New England Patriots a hot bed for sleepers in 2013. Most will avoid the big names like the plague during drafts, and you are guaranteed no names will be forced to step up to fill in for the like of Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Lloyd, the probable PUP (to begin the season) Rob Gronkowski and that other tight end that causes probable gag reflexes when mentioned in most.
Do not discount luck as you put together your draft boards this season, it is a known necessity of any Fantasy Football championship. However, preparation and some anticipation can help you be in the right place at the right time draft day to land that all-too-sought-after diamond in the rough.
The next Morris and Adrian Foster are out there my friends that I guarantee, good luck in your search.