2012 Fantasy Football: The All-Sleeper Team

sam bradford rams

We all know who the studs are and what they bring to the table. What we don’t know is who those players are that will be late-round draft picks and will put our fantasy football teams over the top. Sleeper picks aren’t always correct, but when you get 1 or 2 right you give yourself a serious advantage over your competition.

Quarterback – Sam Bradford – St. Louis Rams (24 ADP)

The story here is health and protection. It sounds like a health class curriculum, but the Rams need to protect Bradford and keep him healthy if they want to even sniff the playoffs. Bradford now has Steve Smith, formerly of the Eagles and Giants, as a possession weapon and Danny Amendola is looking great in preseason.

Players with higher ADP to avoid: Tim Tebow, Josh Freeman, Robert Griffin III

Running Backs – Jacquizz Rodgers – Atlanta Falcons (55 ADP)

Michael Turner is going to remain the starting running back as long as he is healthy, so don’t expect Rodgers to take over in that regard. However, look for Jacquizz to get nearly all of the third-down looks and be in on a large percent of the passing down situations. Michael Turner isn’t a weapon out of the backfield, by any stretch, and while Jason Snelling may take some PT away from Rodgers, I suspect the former Oregon St. running back will have a much better year than his ADP would lead you to believe.

Players with higher ADP to avoid: Felix Jones, Shane Vereen, Brandon Jacobs

Donald Brown – Indianapolis Colts (37 ADP)

I was looking for running backs with an ADP for their position of at least 40, but the fact that Brown is currently being drafted at 37 among running backs is a joke. In 2011 Brown recorded nine or more fantasy points five times in 12 games; I believe that number will double this year, granted he stays healthy.

Players with higher ADP to avoid: Mark Ingram, Jonathan Stewart, Ben Tate

Read more here…


Can Sam Bradford overcome troubling tendencies?

I talked about Sam Bradford as being one of the quarterbacks to watch this year, in our QB Edition of TTR’s Players to Watch.  I am hoping that he will return to the promising form he showed as a rookie, but last year he clearly regressed.  I mentioned that the beating he took was clearly taking a toll on the young signal caller.

Hopefully this is not going to be a trend moving forward for Sam, but Ron Jaworski spent some time watching 2011 film of Bradford before making an assessment.  According to Rotoworld, Jaws gave this impression.

Jaws calls Bradford a “top arm talent” with a “compact delivery and a strong arm,” but alluded to stunted development last season. “In 2011, Bradford — with very few exceptions — did not look like the same, confident pocket quarterback that I saw as a rookie,” Jaws observed. “He was tentative in the pocket, a function of both erratic offensive line play and receivers that could not win on the outside.

Read more here…

Players to watch in 2012: QB edition

Sam Bradford Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams passes against the Atlanta Falcons at the Edward Jones Dome on November 21, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Falcons beat the Rams 34-17.

As the 2012 season approaches optimism is in the air no matter what team you are pulling for, heck even the Dolphins said they should win the AFC this year!  So as we look forward to this season, I am going to share a short list of players that will be better in 2012.

Sam Bradford, St Louis Rams – After the season that Cam Newton had last year, we can quickly forget just how special Sam Bradford was as a rookie in 2010.  Last year was a different story for Bradford and the Rams though.  Spagnuola was already on the hot seat going into the season last year, so they brought in Josh McDaniels to help spark the offense and it just didn’t work.  Between the injuries to the team and the transition to the new system, the offense was out of sync all year.  To compound matters, Bradford got pounded and seemed to lose his confidence.  This year Bradford is healthy and the Rams have new direction under Jeff Fisher.  We can expect the Rams will get back to a more conventional offense, which should help their running game.  Ultimately forcing the defenses to respect the whole field.  I am still not certain that the Rams have given Sam a legitimate number one receiver yet, but with Salas, Pettis, Quick, Givens and Alexander you have a solid group of young and healthy receivers that can contribute.  If Amendola and Smith can show that their injuries are behind them, they too could be big time difference makers in that group.  Add to the mix rookie running back Isaiah Pead out of Cincinnati and you could be looking at a wide assortment of weapons.  They still need one of those receivers to emerge as a go to guy and the offensive line needs to play better, but until that happens they will struggle.  I still feel Bradford shows progress this year.  Expect around 3,500 yards and 22 touchdowns.

  1. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears – Cutler is such a polarizing figure because his personality doesn’t seem to fit the mold.  People will also look at the Bears struggles and use it as an opportunity to bash Cutler, but it isn’t warranted.  Cutler has spent three miserable years in the place where receivers go to die.  Yet all he has done is throw for 225 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game.  Not bad for a guy that has almost zero help outside of Matt Forte.  This year the Bears have added Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery to their receiving core and I believe it will pay immediate dividends.  Even if Marshall has a slow start or a down year, he will still be a massive upgrade.  Last year in Miami he had his worst season since his rookie year, and he still pulled in 81 grabs for 1,214 yards, 6 TDs and 53 first downs.  That is more than double what Chicago’s best receiver posted in 2010.  Additionally this should allow new offensive coordinator Mike Tice to use Devin Hester in a more natural role in the offense, moving him around the formations and putting him in the slot where he can become a match-up nightmare.  Cutler will play well, and put up numbers that will remind people how  stupid it was for Denver to trade him.  Look for around 4,000 yards and 25+ touchdowns this season.

Read the rest of the list here…

Heisman quarterbacks don’t always work out in the NFL

This is a journey into the deep dark abyss of college quarterbacks who dominated Saturdays but failed when it came to Sunday in the NFL.  Over the past 12 seasons, ten college quarterbacks have won the Heisman trophy, including Cam Newton, Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow,  Matt Leinart, and RGIII.

Winning is an honor that recognizes an athlete as the best of the best as related to college football.  Unfortunately this coveted collegiate prize has been somewhat of a curse for quarterbacks; a stigma that says you’re the best in college but not good enough for the NFL.  Since 2000, of the nine quarterback Heisman winners, all have gone on to have some interaction with the NFL. Unfortunately for Cam Newton, their track records aren’t in his favor, or are they?  Let’s take a look, and you decide.

#9 –  2000 Heisman Trophy winner, Chris Weinke, Florida State

Weinke Spent seven years in the NFL from 2000-2007 with the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers.  His career statistics were 15 TD, 26 interceptions, 3,904 passing yards, and a 62.2 passer rating.  For his lack of contributions in the NFL, Chris Weinke was a BUST!

#8 – 2001 Heisman Trophy winner, Eric Crouch, Nebraska 

Coming out of college at 5’11 it was thought that Crouch was too small to play NFL quarterback.  He was originally drafted by the St Louis Rams as a wide receiver where during his one season with the team he racked up a whopping zero receptions.  In 2005 Crouch attempted a comeback signing with the Kansas City Chiefs but was sent to NFL Europe where he played safety.  Eric Crouch was a BUST!

#7 – 2002 Heisman Trophy winner, Carson Palmer, USC

To date, Carson Palmer has spent eight seasons in the NFL with the Bengals and a few games with the Oakland Raiders. He has thrown for over 22,000 yards, 154 touchdowns with an 86.9 passer rating.  He is the only Bengals quarterback to pass for over 4000 yards in two seasons.  His accomplishments make Carson Palmer a BEAST!

#6 – 2003 Heisman Trophy winner, Jason White, Oklahoma 

 White is the only of our Heisman heroes to go undrafted.  He tried out with the Chiefs but the team did not sign him.  He again tried out with the Titans and this  time he was offered a contract but instead decided to leave the game of football  because of his bad knees.  Jason White is without a doubt a BUST!

#5 – 2004 Heisman Trophy winner, Matt Leinart, USC

Matt, Matt, Matt…To date, Matt Leinart has five years in the NFL with theArizona Cardinals and the Houston Texans. In those five years he has thrown for less than 4,000 yards with 14 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.  Coming out of college most thought he’d be the next great thing but this guy wasn’t fooled!  He proved he wasn’t hungry for the NFL when he opted to return to USC for a final year after back to back Rose Bowl and National Championship victories and a Heisman Trophy.  Although his career isn’t over it’s not going anywhere fast and because of that, Matt Leinart is a Big Time BUST!

 #4 –  2006 Heisman Trophy winner, Troy Smith, Ohio State 

After four years in the league Troy Smith threw eight touchdowns and five interceptions with the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers before signing with Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League. The highlight of Troy’s career was a sideline blowup with last season with then 49ers Head Coach, Mike Singletary.  Troy Smith was a BUST!

  #3 – 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Tebow, Florida 

Tebow is only entering his third season in the NFL.  Tebow led the Broncos into the playoffs and stunned the Steelers but would eventually lose to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. After John Elway stated he was going to help Tebow, something better came along and Tebow was traded to the New York Jets.  Although the jury is still out on Tebow as to whether or not he can be a successful NFL quarterback, Tebow gets the benefit of the doubt and a PUSH!

 #2 – 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, Sam Bradford, Oklahoma 

In his rookie season Bradford threw 18 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and accumulated just over 3,500 passing yards.  Despite his 76.5 passer rating, Fantastic Sam almost led the hapless St. Louis Rams to the playoffs in 2010.  Bradford definitely has tremendous upside but has not improved upon his rookie numbers in 2011.  Although his time is short, we’ve seen enough of Bradford to classify him as a BEAST!

 #1 – 2010 Heisman Trophy winner, Cam Newton, Auburn 

And then there was one!  Fasten you seatbelts this one’s gonna get a little bumpy. With virtually no off-season to prepare due to the lockout, Cam Newton entered the NFL pre-season in a quarterback competition with Jimmy Clausen.  Despite his poor statistical pre-season the Panthers decided his time was now, and the keys to the franchise were handed to the rookie. What did Cam do? He broke the rookie record for passing yards in his first game. He also broke the NFL record for rushing touchdowns as a quarterback.

Of the previous eight quarterbacks, all were Heisman winners, but only two, were the number one overall pick in their respective NFL Drafts.  They were, Sam Bradford and Carson Palmer; two of the three beasts on this list.