2011 Fantasy Football: Late-Round Sleepers

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This is a list of fantasy players I'll be targeting in Rounds 10-16 of my drafts. Most of these guys have tremendous upside; I'd rather take a boom-or-bust pick late in my draft as opposed to a safe, mediocre player unless I'm hurting for depth in a certain area.

Updated Sept. 1, 2011. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

  1. Lance Moore, WR, Saints.
    Lance Moore is also on my 2011 Fantasy Football Must-Have List. Here's what I wrote under that entry:

    Marques Colston isn't anywhere close to being 100 percent coming off microfracture knee surgery. Someone else will step up in the Saints receiving corps, and based on what has transpired in two weeks of preseason, it's looking like Lance Moore will be the guy. He could come close to matching the eight touchdowns he scored in 2010.

  2. Nate Burleson, WR, Lions.
    Like Moore, Nate Burleson is also on my 2011 Fantasy Football Must-Have List (the final time there's a duplicate, I swear). Here's what I wrote under that entry:

    Matthew Stafford has thrown to Nate Burleson more than anyone else in two preseason games. OK, Calvin Johnson was out for one contest, but Burleson is still going to be a big part of Detroit's offense. If Stafford can stay healthy - definitely a big if - Burleson could put up some pretty solid numbers.

  3. Ben Tate, RB, Texans
    Ben Tate is a MUST handcuff with Arian Foster out 3-5 weeks with a hamstring injury. Tate is a talented player and could definitely make some noise in September.

  4. Earl Bennett, WR, Bears (PPR only).
    Mike Martz promised that Earl Bennett would play a larger role in Chicago's offense this season, and it seems as though he's lived up to his word. Bennett leads all players in targets from Jay Cutler (go here to see a full list of preseason receiver targets). The Bears traded Greg Olsen this season, so the slot position is obviously going to see an uptick in production. Bennett's a great, late-round option in PPR leagues.

  5. Jason Snelling, RB, Falcons.
    I feel like I've written this 50,000 times this offseason. Michael Turner is a big injury risk because he's led the NFL in carries two of the past three years. Jason Snelling will catch passes and receive goal-line touches if Turner goes down. In the meantime, Snelling will accumulate catches on third downs.

  6. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers.
    Antonio Brown leads all Steelers in targets from Ben Roethlisberger this preseason (go here to see a full list of preseason receiver targets). Brown went nuts against the Falcons this preseason, prompting the Steelers color analyst to state: "If you don't love this kid, and if you don't think he's going to be a superstar in this league, then you don't know football."

  7. Delone Carter, RB, Colts.
    Delone Carter is the No. 2 running back behind Joseph Addai. That doesn't mean much now, but if when Addai gets hurt, Carter will be in a position to get most of the carries. The rookie out of Syracuse is a talented back who has run well this preseason. Picking him late in your draft could pay dividends in the second half of the year.

  8. Greg Little, WR, Browns.
    Greg Little is a really talented receiver. He just has to put it together. With Colt McCoy playing much better than expected, Little could post solid numbers in the second half of the season. Think Mike Williams potential - just not right away. Stash Little on your bench if you can.

  9. Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders.
    Multiple news sources covering Raiders training camp - those who survived all the gargoyle attacks and virgin sacrifices, that is - have reported that Denarius Moore has been the best player during practice on occasion. This transitioned to preseason action, where Moore caught two balls for 28 yards in the limited time Jason Campbell was on the field. He's just a rookie, but he should be starting with Jacoby Ford in the second half of the season.

  10. Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots.
    Not counting Shane Vereen because he's injured, Stevan Ridley is the most talented running back on New England's roster. It'll be BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead early on, but Ridley will eventually push for touches. If you have room, stash him on your bench because it's possible he could have a monster second half of the year.

  11. Lance Kendricks, TE, Rams.
    I was hoping to find Sam Bradford's "Brandon Lloyd" in Josh McDaniels' offense this summer. Bradford hasn't established a clear-cut favorite wideout target, but he's certainly looked Lance Kendricks' way early and often. Kendricks is just a rookie, but he figures to be a solid TE2.

  12. Kendall Hunter, RB, 49ers.
    Finishing with the talented rookie behind injury-prone running back theme, Kendall Hunter would have been the talk of the 49ers-Raiders preseason tilt if it wasn't for that senseless shooting. He had 105 yards on just nine carries, including a 53-yard touchdown in which he showed off his blazing speed. There's no way Frank Gore is making it through 16 games, so Hunter could be a big producer if given the chance. The only reason Hunter is so low on this list is because of Anthony Dixon; the two runners could split touches in Gore's absence.

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