By Adam Maciasz
I think I've been in fantasy football leagues with Adam Maciasz for close to about a decade now. I know first hand that he's had success in fantasy, so I agreed to post his 2008 fantasy football sleepers.
Adam's 2008 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Running Backs
Julius Jones, Seahawks
Before I begin with my running back sleeper picks, I must warn you that last year I predicted Cedric Benson to have a break-out season following the departure of fellow running-mate Thomas Jones. But hey, that was 2007 and this is 2008. One guy I absolutely love this year is Julius Jones. He won't have Marion Barber to steal his end-zone touches this year; and as long as Mike Holmgren doesn't use T.J. Duckett (who may be cut) in those situations this year, I foresee Jones reemerging as a solid fantasy back. Another plus is that the Seahawks seem to be one of the few NFL teams left that most likely won't be adapting the running-back-by-committee formula. Once talks of Maurice Morris being considered for a starting position end, Jones will establish himself as a solid top-15 back in 2008.
Rudi Johnson, Bengals
If you were not a fan of my Julius Jones prediction, you most likely are going hate this pick as well. It seems as if almost everyone is down on this guy, and for those who wasted a first- or second-round pick on this guy last year, I can't blame you for having a lingering bad taste in your mouth for taking Rudi Johnson. I think the only positive last year was that Rudi was one of the few Bengals who was able to stay out of jail. I could easily see him slip to the middle rounds in this year's draft following his sub-par 2007 performance, so look to get a solid back at a much cheaper price.
Selvin Young, Broncos
It's 2007, I'm in the second round of my fantasy draft, and I'm on the clock. In my mind, it's an easy choice as I picked whom I thought was the "steal of the draft." Well, let's just say I was wrong, as I chose Mike Bell of the Denver Broncos. Everyone knows that the Broncos can run the ball; the only question is who will be the one with the ball in his hands? It looks like this is the first year in a while where there is one clear starter in the Broncos' backfield. If you're in need of another solid back and Young is still on the board, I see no reason why you should pass on him in 2008.
Favorite mini-sleeper: Frank Gore, 49ers
Adam's 2008 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide Receivers
Donte' Stallworth, Browns
I called Braylon Edwards as one of my sleeper picks last year; and I must admit I just recently stopped patting myself on the back for that one. Edwards finished seventh overall in receiving yards and second overall in receiving touchdowns, trailing only New England's Randy Moss. There is, however, one problem with Edwards' amazing season in 2007 - now everyone is aware of how good Edwards is. This is where my next sleeper pick comes into play. The Browns will need a second option in their air attack, and that option will be Donte' Stallworth. Stallworth is a big-play receiver, and by mid-season don't say I didn't tell you if you're the one kicking yourself for passing on him in the later rounds of your fantasy draft.
Darrell Jackson, Broncos
With Jay Cutler finally falling into place as the main man for the Broncos, everyone seems to have fallen in love with Brandon Marshall this year. I admit he was a big part of my fantasy team last year, and with the retirement of Rod Smith, someone will need to step up and help out Cutler. I do like Marshall, but he might not even play the first four games. I feel this is a great spot for a more veteran receiver to reap the benefits. Darrell Jackson had a miserable season last year in San Francisco, but if he can get his breath in the high altitude in Denver, he is due for a turn-around season. Look for Jackson to get rid of the "sticky finger syndrome" that has plagued him in the past and have a true sleeper year.
Troy Williamson, Jaguars
Last year, David Garrard established himself as a major upgrade over Byron Leftwich. In order to help add more to the passing attack, the Jaguars acquired both Troy Williamson and Jerry Porter. Porter is likely to miss the entire preseason after undergoing surgery on his hamstring, leaving a huge opportunity for Williamson to build a close relationship with Garrard. Williamson is a speedy receiver, and I look for him to be a deep threat in the run-orientated offensive scheme in Jacksonville, as he tries to show why the Vikings took him with the seventh overall pick in 2005.
Favorite mini-sleeper: Marques Colston, Saints
Adam's 2008 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Tight Ends
Owen Daniels, Texans
One thing I must admit is that I'm a very stubborn person, and I have a hard time admitting when I'm wrong. Last year I chose Owen Daniels as one of my sleeper picks at the tight end position. He had an above average year, but he didn't fully live up to what I expected from him. With Schaub having a year under his belt in Houston, he will be more comfortable as the starting quarterback. Look for Daniels to gain some steam as teams try focus in on solely on Andre Johnson. I wouldn't be surprised if Owens worked his way up to a top-six tight end this year, and let's just say anything less, and you might see him up here again in 2009.
Tony Scheffler, Broncos
Tight end is the one position where you constantly see new names on top of the fantasy charts. At first, I wasn't so sure Cutler would pan out in the NFL, but so far he looks to be a very solid quarterback, and any successful quarterback who lacks big-name receivers needs a very solid tight end. That's why I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of balls, especially in the red zone, go Tony Scheffler's way this year. As I mentioned above, everyone knows the Broncos can run the ball. This leaves the door open for a lot of short dump passes over the middle, drastically increasing the fantasy value of Scheffler.
Leonard Pope, Cardinals
My third tight end prediction is more of a long shot, but I liked what I saw a few years ago while Leonard Pope was at Georgia. I think 2008 might be the first real chance for the Cardinals to compete for a playoff spot, and in order for them to do so, they will need solid production from their tight end position. Pope hasn't lived up to his expectations yet, so this is most likely a make-or-break season for him. He had five more touchdowns last year than he did in his rookie season (granted he had zero in 2006). The Cardinals have so many options that can score on offense; opposing teams can't possibly cover them all, leaving plenty of action for Pope.
Favorite mini-sleeper: Jeremy Shockey, Saints
2008 Fantasy Football - Home Page
2008 Fantasy Football Mock Draft
2008 Fantasy Football: Training Camp Stock
2008 Fantasy Fantasy Rankings