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Which NFL players will have breakout/sleeper seasons?

Labor Day is over, so I no longer have an excuse to keep the bar dark.

And it is a good thing, too. I have received several emails wondering why I have ignored the NFL for the past month.

The answer: Because it was preseason. And preseason means nothing. And the Orioles, if you haven’t noticed, are still playing. And my pseudo-expertise with baseball is why I get a paycheck.

But, alas, we are into September. We are post Labor Day. I won’t wear white for months (I’ll have to dust off the colored undershirts) and I won’t make baseball my only focus.

So, you ready for some football?

We are embarking on the first week of the NFL season with the first game Thursday.

We’ll get to Super Bowl prognostications and the like this week as well as Prediction Friday (copyright pending) with the Ravens.

But Wednesday night is my second fantasy draft, and since Aubrey Huff is no longer an Oriole (he was my fantasy football sounding board) I am coming to you. (Although Orioles PR guru Jay Moskowitz navigated me through my first draft.)

I want your sleepers, guys that may not be highly touted to start the season and end up as key picks. I will give you a few of mine, but I have to be careful because some of my opponents frequent the bar.

Running back: Donald Brown of Indianapolis. Wide receiver: Hakeem Nicks of the New York Giants. Quarterback: Matt Leinart of Arizona (no way Warner makes it through the season).

I have others, but I am keeping them close to the vest. But you don’t have to.

If you aren’t a fantasy football player, that’s OK. Just give me some names of players that you think are going to have breakout seasons. That’s helpful, too.

Daily Think Special: Which NFL players will have breakout/sleeper seasons?


Matt Leinart as a sleeper pick?

You obviously haven't followed the Cardinals closely in the last 3 years. Leinart sucks.

Come to think of it, don't you remember what your Ravens did to him in 2007? I don't think he ever led the Cardinal offense across the 50 yard line in that game.

The Ravens had a blowout victory going... until the Cards brought in Warner for little more than a quarter, and he torched the Ravens' blitzes and tied the game with about a minute on the clock.

Stover then won the game with a great (long) field goal.

If Kurt Warner gets injured, you're not going to want to have ANY Arizona Cardinal offensive players on your fantasy team!

Glen Coffee, SF 49ers
Percy Harvin, Minn. Vikings
Stefon Logan, Pitts. Bumblebees

Leon Washington (NYJ) is simply too good to not pick up, and I think he'll be the main feature of their offense within the first month. Kick returns, running, or receiving, he is just plain dangerous. I agree with Nicks (NYG). They'll work him in slowly, but he's gonna be a monster. Brandon Pettigrew TE (DET) has the potential to lead that young group in TD's by year's end. Jeremy Maclin WR (PHI) could be interesting if the Eagles suffer any injuries at the position. The Eagles are gonna have a well balanced offense this year, so despite his kick return troubles, he may get some looks later in the year at receiver. Our Ray Rice is probably the best "sleeper" grab, even though it's not a secret that he's the starter. He will probably score more TD's as a dump off security blanket for Flacco than as a RB.

those picks have little chance of making an impact, although Brown might be worth a roster spot. Earl Bennett, Chaz Schilens, Vinsanthe Shiancoe, and, depending on your definition of sleeper, Chad Ochocinco and Lee Evans.

I'd say Felix Jones, Eddie Royal (though he already kind of broke out), Greg Olson, Leon Washington, and most of all....Ray Rice!! I wouldn't put too much stock in rookies like you've done, and I don't think Matt Leinart has shown yet that even if Warner did get injured, he would break out.

I'm back from vacation. Had our fantasy draft sunday and it's funny to hear how many guys say they have the next "sleeper". Here are some of the names mentioned:

Ray Rice
Felix Jones
Darren MacFadden
Demetrius Williams (again)
Matt Schaub (I hope so)
Chris Henry
Anthony Gonzalez
Brian Robiskie

Coffee to go please.

If i had to give you the guys I think will be impact players say the fourth game in I would go with Beanie Wells and Shonn Greene,There are others but for that you have to do your research as I and every other guy who plays fantasy football did before draft day.

Add one more to my list:

Deon Butler, Sea. Seahawks

Fantasy football may be a bigger overall productivity killer in the American workplace than March Madness, because it goes on all season. No insight on sleeper picks from me, but I can share two rules I try to follow. They are actually variations on the same guiding principle.

1. No knuckleheads. Sometimes this is difficult because at times the league seems to be full of them, but I stay away from head cases. That means no potentially productive receivers who go by their initials and keep changing teams because they wear out their welcome no matter how talented they are, no players who change their names to match their uniform numbers, and nobody facing jail time for shooting themselves in the leg. I actually did move Randy Moss off this list after he rehabilitated himself by going to New England and buying into the team concenpt.

2. No major rivals. For Ravens fans that means the Steelers; for Skins fans it's the Cowboys. I mean, who wants to be in the position of rooting for Roethlisberger to do well in ANY game, not just the two games against the Ravens.

Both of these are examples of the guiding principle of not having to root for somebody you don't like just because he's on your fantasy team.

Todd Heap...currently, Yahoo Fantasy Football shows that only 16% of their leagues include a coach using Todd Heap. If he's healthy, he could be a TD/Reception juggernaut.

the jets will turn some heads with leon washington an sanchez.

Vernon Davis of the 49ers will have a break out season at tight end if the QB will only pass the ball to him. He's big, strong and fast.

Watch for Kyle Boller.
He's due. Minus a few bad calls, he had Brady and the Patriots. He's due.

I think you can never go wrong with a high draft-pick kicker, and keep a look out for that swell Bjorn Nittmo.

(Okay, I officially de-lurked. Miss you guys! :-)

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