As we come to the midway point of the Fantasy Football season, it’s time to explore potential late season sleepers that can help put you over the top in your league. In my experience, it’s never been the team that I drafted intact that has led me to the championship; it’s been smart pick-ups along the way that have stepped up late in the season and overtook some of my higher draft choices. e.g. in 2006, I took RB’s Edgerrin James and Cadillac Williams in the 1st and 2nd rounds of my draft. Both were huge busts, and from the midpoint of the season on, I was riding the coattails of rookie RB’s Joseph Addai and Laurence Maroney to the championship. Both were late round gems and sleepers.
Our fantasy sleeper pick to explode down the stretch is Tampa Bay WR Antonio Bryant, who was initially brought in as an insurance policy for injured receiver Joey Galloway. He’s an insurance policy no more. After catching 10 passes for 138 yards in Week 3, and another 6 passes for 115 yards and a long TD in Week 7, head coach Jon Gruden has publicly stated that Bryant will remain as the team’s top receiver even after Galloway returns. The reason being is Bryant is the team’s most dynamic offensive weapon; not only can he hit the home run using his deep speed, he’s also not afraid to go over the middle and make the tough catches.
Another positive sign for Bryant going forward is the Bucs have finally re-settled on Jeff Garcia being its starting QB. This bodes well for the receiver. Continuity and consistency are key. Tampa is going to be a contender in the NFC this season, so when opposing teams try and stack the line and take away Ernest Graham and the running game, look for Gruden to call his number and for Bryant to be on the receiving end of a lot of passes and touchdowns. This is why Antonio Bryant is a great sleeper play for the rest of 2008.