Deep Sleepers: Late-Round Fantasy Football Picks
Mike Tolbert - Get him late if you can
Fantasy football's veteran vulture back will have plenty of chances to score, and with Jonathan Stewart's injury problems likely to keep him hobbled all season, Tolbert is only a DeAngelo Williams injury away from being able to shoulder the rushing load in Carolina. Kenjon Barner may be the future, but I don't see him getting on the field this year.
Worth grabbing in the late rounds if he's still around, and if you're taking a risk on a DeAngelo Williams resurgence as your RB2, you better grab Tolbert earlier.
Nick Toon - Late Round Flyer
Nick Toon and Kenny Stills will each try to be the Devery Henderson of the 2013-2014 Saints. In a high powered passing offense that will have single coverage all over the field, Toon and Stills will each be options for bye week fills or WR4 / Flex spots as the season progresses. Toon will be more valuable in non-PPR leagues while Stills has more value in PPR leagues.
Kenny Stills - Late-Round Flyer
See Nick Toon notes.
Cordarrelle Patterson - Late Round Flyer
So far, he's only seen the ball on special teams, but the guy who only spent one year in college has the explosiveness to risk a late round pick on him and let him sit on your bench for a few weeks. Plus, tall and lanky #84 rookies on the Vikings seem to work out pretty well.
Percy Harvin - Last Round Stash Pick
Percy Harvin is one of those guys that you'll want to grab if you're in a league that has a lot of bench spots. Chances are he will be out for the season, but if you have the spot to waste on him all year, he's worth taking a shot on. Should he come back for the final month or so of the season, he'd be quite the fantasy playoff spark plug your team could use.
Julius Thomas - Huge upside TE to grab late
I'm surprised by how late Thomas has been going in most fantasy drafts. Sure, he's a guy who didn't do almost anything his first two seasons in the NFL. But remember, he was a basketball player similar to Jimmy Graham who had no prior football experience. With one full season under his belt in the Peyton Manning regime, I have to think he'll start to see the same types of looks in this year's Denver offense as Dallas Clark used to see in the Colts offense of old when they had Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Brandon Stokley.
Michael Floyd - Way Undervalued
Carson Palmer is going to be just what the doctor ordered for Larry Fitzgerald. Andre Roberts is much better suited for the slot, and the Cardinals have very little chance of one of their backs finally breakout as a true quality feature option. That means they'll be throwing the ball a lot, and Floyd is a perfect fit for the second wide out spot. He's been drafted so late in most leagues that you'll be able to get him in one of the late rounds. His ceiling is much higher than most of the other guys going around him in most drafts.
Zach Sudfeld - Tom Brady effect
Tom Brady has made a career out of making decent WRs and TEs fantasy stars. While Gronk is getting back into the swing of things, don't think for a minute that Brady won't be trying to prove to everyone that he doesn't need his two high powered TEs and that their stats were more because of him than their own skills. Grab Sudfeld in the last 1-2 rounds if you have another poor TE and want to try to get a few good starts out of him.
Kendall Hunter - SF O-Line makes him a steal
LaMichael James looked good last year once Hunter went down with injury, but remember that James didn't even sniff the field before that happened. Nothing has changed and all signs point to Hunter retaking the #2 spot. With the Niners set to make a late post-season run, they'll be only giving Gore about 15 carries a game. That means there's a good 10-15 carries per game for Hunter. Should anything happen to Gore, you'll have a solid RB2 with the best O-Line in the game on your hands to either use or trade.
Joique Bell - PPR League handcuff to Bush
Let's not kid ourselves- the Lions are not going to run the ball any more than they did in the past. LeShoure is not the type of back that catches that many passes, whereas Bell has shown to be very valuable in pass protection and catching passes out of the backfield. With the Detroit offense set to be very pass happy and use Reggie Bush's speed as a strength, look for Bell to be the guy that get some good spells whether in garbage time or in the 2 minute offense. He had 52 catches last year, and that was when Detroit was still pretending they wanted to run the ball. With Reggie Bush in town, I have to think they'll play to their strengths and air it out early and often. Bell will be available in the final rounds, and if you draft Bush, he's the guy you want as your handcuff especially since he'll come cheap to you.
Aaron Dobson - Reinvented Patriot Offense
It's hard to believe that a 2nd year guy who didn't catch a pass last year is the most tenured Patriots option to start the season. Amendola's injury history, Gronk's uncertain status, and Thompkin's inexperience make Dobson an easy choice for a flyer pick. The worst that could happen is that he does what most late round picks do and you drop him pretty quickly. Best case, he is Tom Brady's next WR to come out of nowhere to be fantasy relevant.
Christine Michael - He's the Skittles Handcuff you want
Robert Turbin is not the guy turning heads this preseason. Should anything happen to Marshawn Lynch, Michael is showing that he's the handcuff you want to have if you're spending your early 1st round pick on the Skittles king. With the way Michael has played this offseason and assuming that the Seahawks roll over most teams they play this year, he could very easily get 10-15 carries per game spelling Lynch and in garbage time.
Jonathan Dwyer - Deja Vu
Last year, the Steelers running backs were a revolving door as they took turns getting hurt. For the few games mid-season when no one else was healthy, Dwyer had 2 100 yard games in a row. Even as the season wore on, Dwyer averaged just over 10 carries per game and a 4.0 average for the season despite a banged up offensive line and Byron Leftwich at QB for a few games. I have to think Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer will be the guys who get most of the carries this year, and especially given Tomlin's knack for bringing rookies along slowly (see: Le'veon Bell). Redman will likely get the scores, but especially in PPR leagues, I expect Dwyer to be the more explosive and better scoring fantasy back in Pittsburgh.
Kenbrell Thompkins - Will be #1 WR Option for Brady
Talk about climbing the fantasy football ladder fast; you'd almost think Thompkins isn't even a sleeper anymore. And since he's the #1 WR on a Tom Brady team, I guess that's not shocking. Even though we're talking about a 25 year old rookie, the preseason chemistry he has already shown with Brady is enough to make him climb to a mid-round draft pick in most leagues. I still have to keep him on here as a sleeper, but don't even think he'll get to you in the later rounds. If you see him in the middle rounds, take him as your WR3 knowing that he could end up as one of the best values of the year.
Knowshon Moreno - Won't be Irrelevant for long
Moreno is a guy who, if you've had him before, most fantasy players hate. He's been a bust year after year. Now he's a guy who won't even be drafted in most leagues. But with Ronnie Hillman struggling to hold onto the ball and Montee Ball's inability to block -- which would be deadly when it comes to protecting Peyton Manning and the Broncos passing attack -- you have to think Moreno is going to get his shots this year. He's a guy you might have to sit on for a week or two, but he might end up being one of the sleepers of the year. Some guys are late bloomers, and if he gets the right opportunity while being pushed by Hillman and Ball, we could see the Moreno that everyone has expected for years.