2010 sleepers, busts, rookie breakouts
Fantasy owners can never get enough of sleepers and busts, so we asked ESPN.com's fantasy experts to get in on the fun.
We polled Stephania Bell, Matthew Berry, Tristan H. Cockcroft, Ken Daube, Christopher Harris, Eric Karabell, Keith Lipscomb, AJ Mass, James Quintong, Nate Ravitz and Brendan Roberts for a sleeper, bust and rookie breakout pick at each position.
Here's what they had to say. We've provided the sleepers, busts and rookie breakouts in a handy chart form, plus comments from our experts on some of their picks.
|Bell||Alex Smith||Ricky Williams||Michael Crabtree||Tony Scheffler|
|Berry||Chad Henne||Felix Jones||Devin Aromashodu||Zach Miller|
|Cockcroft||Matthew Stafford||Michael Bush||Kenny Britt||Zach Miller|
|Daube||Matt Moore||Clinton Portis||Devin Hester||Dustin Keller|
|Harris||Chad Henne||Jamaal Charles||Johnny Knox||John Carlson|
|Karabell||Kevin Kolb||Justin Forsett||Mike Wallace||Owen Daniels|
|Lipscomb||Carson Palmer||Michael Bush||Jeremy Maclin||Zach Miller|
|Mass||David Garrard||Beanie Wells||Braylon Edwards||John Carlson|
|Quintong||Mark Sanchez||Felix Jones||Mike Wallace||Zach Miller|
|Ravitz||Mark Sanchez||Marion Barber||Donnie Avery||Zach Miller|
|Roberts||Matthew Stafford||LaDainian Tomlinson||Steve Breaston||Fred Davis|
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Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (Harris)
Charles isn't a traditional sleeper, but I have him as my No. 9 RB. If you can get him late in the second or the third, I think you're getting an RB1 on the cheap.
Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys (Berry)
He averaged 5.9 yards per carry last year, and early word is he's going to get more than 200 touches this year. Felix can take it to the house at any time.
LaDainian Tomlinson, New York Jets (Roberts)
Wha? LDT a sleeper? Considering how many people have written him off, yes. But the Jets haven't; they'll find a use for him.
Devin Aromashodu, Chicago Bears (Berry)
In last season's final four games, only four players in the NFL got more targets. He's a physical stud, and having Mike Martz in Chicago certainly doesn't mean fewer passes.
Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers (Bell)
Many forget he joined the team in 2009 with no training camp yet still showed flashes of brilliance.
Braylon Edwards, New York Jets (Mass)
With suspended Santonio Holmes in town, Edwards has extra motivation to showcase himself for his looming free agency.
Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles (Lipscomb)
You know the Eagles will sling it, and Maclin's big-play ability will mean more TDs added to his already consistent game (at least four catches and 58 yards in six of final seven games).
John Carlson, Seattle Seahawks (Mass)
With actual RBs and injured WRs, Carlson could well compile 1,000 yards and 10 TDs for Pete Carroll and Seattle.
Dustin Keller, New York Jets (Daube)
He was invisible in the regular season but an offensive focal point in their playoff run. That run will continue.
|Bell||Kyle Orton||Marion Barber||Dwayne Bowe||Fred Davis|
|Berry||Matt Ryan||Ronnie Brown||Reggie Wayne||Greg Olsen|
|Cockcroft||Eli Manning||Ricky Williams||Derrick Mason||Visanthe Shiancoe|
|Daube||Eli Manning||Frank Gore||DeSean Jackson||Tony Gonzalez|
|Harris||Jay Cutler||Ricky Williams||DeSean Jackson||Brent Celek|
|Karabell||Matt Leinart||Jamaal Charles||Santana Moss||Visanthe Shiancoe|
|Lipscomb||Brett Favre||Steven Jackson||DeSean Jackson||Visanthe Shiancoe|
|Mass||Kevin Kolb||Steven Jackson||Sidney Rice||Jermichael Finley|
|Quintong||Brett Favre||Jamaal Charles||DeSean Jackson||Jason Witten|
|Ravitz||Kevin Kolb||Felix Jones||Anquan Boldin||Owen Deniels|
|Roberts||Donovan McNabb||Steven Jackson||Anquan Boldin||Brent Celek|
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (Harris)
Our consensus ranks have Cutler as a top-10 QB, but he would scare me way too much to be my starter. His big problem in '09 was the O-line, which doesn't look any better.
Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings (Lipscomb)
Even if he is at his physical best, Favre will not come anywhere close to his remarkable 2009 numbers. Prepare for the return of the mistake-prone No. 4, making him a fantasy backup.
Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia Eagles (Mass)
Not nearly the talent Donovan McNabb was. The Eagles' offense will become a lot more predictable.
Matt Leinart, Arizona Cardinals (Karabell)
Leinart has had chances to shine in the past, and generally failed. Removing Anquan Boldin from his weaponry hardly helps.
Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins (Roberts)
People will finally realize just how big a part Andy Reid's offense played in McNabb's past success.
Marion Barber, Dallas Cowboys (Bell)
Injuries on their way up. Carries on their way down.
Ronnie Brown, Miami Dolphins (Berry)
Injury history plus platoon with Ricky Williams and more passing with Brandon Marshall on board. There's too much risk here for a No. 2 running back.
Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (Daube)
Ground and pound might sound positive for Gore's value, but he's so brittle it's more likely to be his undoing.
Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams (Roberts)
This pains me because I love the guy. But as a St. Louisan, I've seen the pounding S-Jax takes week after week. Carrying a team causes injuries.
Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys (Ravitz)
Too many question marks for a guy I expect will be taken in the first five rounds.
Ricky Williams, Miami Dolphins (Cockcroft)
He's now 33 and has 2,164 carries on his legs, not to mention having a fresh-from-surgery Ronnie Brown back to cut into his workload.
Anquan Boldin, Baltimore Ravens (Ravitz)
Seasons with fewer than five TDs: three. Seasons with more than seven TDs: three. Not the elite fantasy guy he's purported to be.
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs (Bell)
Expectations exceed performance again.
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles (Quintong)
Can he replicate the big plays from last year with Kevin Kolb? Remember, he had 62 catches in '08, then 63 in his "breakout" '09.
Derrick Mason, Baltimore Ravens (Cockcroft)
Besides his advancing age (36), Mason also has Anquan Boldin around to cut significantly into his number of targets.
Santana Moss, Washington Redskins (Karabell)
The presence of inaccurate Donovan McNabb won't help overcome a poor offensive line and years of inconsistent play for Moss.
Sidney Rice, Minnesota Vikings (Mass)
Favre or no Favre, Vikings will need to spread the ball around to have success in the passing game.
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts (Berry)
With Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and, of course, Dallas Clark, there's less need for Wayne to be "the guy" every week. Age and injuries are starting to creep in.
Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles (Roberts)
Sure, he came on strong in '09, but Donovan likes throwing to his tight ends. Are we sure that Kevin Kolb does?
Owen Daniels, Houston Texans (Ravitz)
Love him as a player, but it's a major injury he's coming back from. Not convinced he'll be close to 100 percent.
Fred Davis, Washington Redskins (Bell)
Chris Cooley's return and Jason Campbell's departure combine to hurt him.
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons (Daube)
Gonzalez became a pedestrian tight end, and the Falcons' run game struggled. As the running game returns, Gonzo disappears.
Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota Vikings (Cockcroft)
It's tough to imagine him scoring another 11 touchdowns on 15 red zone targets, as he did last season.
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (Quintong)
Although he can rack up the yards, the lack of TDs and red zone looks hurts his overall fantasy stock.
|Bell||Jimmy Clausen||Ryan Mathews||Dez Bryant||Jermaine Gresham|
|Berry||Jimmy Clausen||Ryan Mathews||Dez Bryant||Dennis Pitta/Ed Dickson|
|Cockcroft||Sam Bradford||Ryan Mathews||Dez Bryant||Rob Gronkowski|
|Daube||Tim Tebow||Keiland Williams||Demaryius Thomas||Aaron Hernandez|
|Harris||Sam Bradford||Jahvid Best||Dez Bryant||Aaron Hernandez|
|Karabell||Jimmy Clausen||Ryan Mathews||Demaryius Thomas||Jermaine Gresham|
|Lipscomb||Jimmy Clausen||Ryan Mathews||Dez Bryant||Rob Gronkowski|
|Mass||Jimmy Clausen||Montario Hardesty||Golden Tate||Jimmy Graham|
|Quintong||Jimmy Clausen||Ryan Mathews||Mike Williams||Aaron Hernandez|
|Ravitz||None||C.J. Spiller||Golden Tate||Aaron Hernandez|
|Roberts||Sam Bradford||C.J. Spiller||Demaryius Thomas||Jermaine Gresham|
Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams (Cockcroft)
Not that I endorse drafting rookie quarterbacks, but if you're going to take one, Bradford's the one you want.
Jimmy Clausen, Carolina Panthers (Berry)
Not a huge fan, but he has the easiest path to a starting gig, not to mention Steve Smith to throw to when he does play.
Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos (Daube)
Rookie QBs aren't worthy of roster spots, but Tebow running the Wildcat could steal some points if you are desperate.
C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills (Roberts)
Even though he has college size, he has NFL speed and quickness. The guy is just plain tough to wrap up. There's opportunity for him in Buffalo, and Spiller is just the type of "quirky" back to take this league by storm, a la Steve Slaton in 2008.
Keiland Williams, Washington Redskins (Daube)
Mike Shanahan has a knack for finding talent where nobody else bothered to look. Williams, an undrafted rookie from LSU, could very well be his next big find as the former Tiger excelled in his first taste of NFL preseason action, running for two TDs and 4.6 yards per carry against the Bills.
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (Lipscomb)
He has an elite QB and a big-time speed threat to complement him. He'll have some big games, even if he lacks consistency.
Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks (Ravitz)
Has the best combination of talent, experience and opportunity.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (Daube)
He's essentially a Brandon Marshall clone playing the same position. He'll finish as the No. 1 rookie wide receiver.
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Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals (Karabell)
This first-round pick should be recovered from an ACL tear and ready to make the tight end spot relevant again for the Bengals.
Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots (Quintong)
One of Tim Tebow's favorite targets could become a favorite of Tom Brady's if the Pats get the tight ends involved again.
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