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It's never easy to predict a player's season. After all, games aren't played on paper, they are played on the field.
However, as a potential fantasy team owner, it's necessary for you to assess players like a stock broker assesses stocks—research your guys and consider their potential.
What is that potential based on? Well, it depends on the owner quite frankly. There are those who draft solely based on a player's resume—whether that resume be short or long in nature—they assume the numbers will be similar as long as that guy stays healthy.
Others, however, take a different approach. They look at the schedule, find the match-ups that present a hiccup, and decide how many of those hiccups could turn a potential Pro Bowl season into a busted one.
It is that owner who makes the best decision because they actually have the ability to go in with their eyes wide open as opposed to riding a wing and a prayer.
All that said, there are a few players this season who are being overlooked. Some are old standby's who are looking a little treadworn whereas others are hiding under the rug waiting to be discovered by a very astute owner with a nose for uncovering the gems—the sleepers.
Chances are, if you play fantasy football on the regular, you have a few nuggets of wisdom to drop as well. Feel free to do so below.
Otherwise, the guys below are the ones who are potential sleepers, keepers, and bandwagon leapers.
Sage Rosenfels, Minnesota Vikings
For now it seems the quarterback battle is down to two; even money is on Rosenfel's beating out the inconsistent Tarvaris Jackson for the job. Rosenfels has been known to chuck the ball up at the wrong times, but his 62.5 completion percentage in 12 starts is promising—especially when you consider the stellar offensive line he will stand behind in Minnesota.
Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos
The perceived idiocy of Josh McDaniels aside, Orton did win nine games as the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears last season. It's a safe bet that he will have better production from Eddie Royal and Brandon Marshall than he did from Devin Hester and Greg Olsen. Honestly, there are worse options for a no. 2 guy.
Clinton Portis, Washington Redskins
This seems like a no-brainer for some; Portis is a Top 10 fantasy back after all—however, his average draft position (ADP) has him going late in the second-round in many formats. Considering the Redskins will face some easy run defenses early, it seems odd to overlook a guy who has averaged 1300 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns a season over his career. Throw in his ability to catch the ball and Portis almost seems like a steal.
T.J. Duckett, Seattle Seahawks
He isn't likely to give you big yards but, if you need a guy who will get you touchdowns, T.J. is definitely your guy. He had eight touchdowns last season as the Seahawks primary red zone guy; that's as many as Matt Forte and more than Marion Barber (7). He reunites with former offensive coordinator, Greg Knapp, and is likely to be the back of choice again inside the five.
Shonn Greene, New York Jets
Thomas Jones isn't a happy camper, even if he were, the chances are good that the Jets drafted Greene for the near-future and not just show (they did trade up for him after all). He is likely to get some shots on the field this season—most of which will come at or around the goal line. It wouldn't be surprising to see him get 6-7 scores this season. He's definitely a keeper for the near-future.
James Davis, Cleveland Browns
Another keeper candidate, but, he could find some playing time this season. Jamal Lewis isn't as young as he used to be and barely managed 1k last season. Jerome Harrison will get his share as well, but Davis is the explosive runner the Browns have been waiting to sign. If Lewis falls prey to injury, Davis could find more opportunities than many think; he's worth watching.
Earl Bennett, Chicago Bears
Two words: Jay Cutler. Bennett and Cutler were the dynamic duo at Vandy and an SEC connection like that one hasn't disappeared. If Bennett proves his chemistry with Cutler is still golden, he could find himself sneaking in on a few plays this season. Will they be significant? Hard to say, but it's worth watching.
Donnie Avery, St. Louis Rams
Torry Holt has moved onto to greener pastures and, considering the empty bin that is the Rams offense, that makes Avery numero uno for Marc Bulger this year. If Bulger remembers how to throw a pass, and if Steven Jackson returns to his dominating form, and if the Rams can find someone, anyone, to be a legit no. 2, then Avery could have a nice season.
Robert Meachem, New Orleans Saints
It's the final chance for Meachem to show what he's made of; he's no longer the chosen one in New Orleans and if he wants a piece of the playing time pie, he will have to prove that he is better than he's been thus far. That said, he's got a ton of talent and upside if he can find his way onto the field. Watch to see what he does in the preseason, that will speak volumes. Deep sleeper candidate.