Welcome to another edition of Fantasy Football Sleepers.
This week, my quarterback sleeper is more of a deep sleeper who is not a starting quarterback, but could potentially be taking over as the season progresses. This weeks tight end feature is a guy who I would have never thought I’d be writing about today. My wide-receiver sleeper will make Calvin Johnson happy and the running back sleeper is really short.
Well, without further ado, let’s get to it!
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Matt Cassel, Minnesota Vikings – We know Matt Cassel has the potential, just flash on back to 2010. In 2010 and in his second season with the Kansas City Chiefs, Matt Cassel posted a 3116-27-7 season and during that season, he had the best game of his life against the Denver Broncos. Yes, it was a loss (29-49), but he posted 469 passing yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 INTs. Its evident he can be an NFL quarterback. The past two seasons in KC was just sad to watch, whether it was giving Brady Quinn the starting job or the Chiefs fans actually APPLAUDING his concussion. I’d like to add that Brady Quinn is an embarrassment to the NFL.
So, as a result, Cassel was ultimately cut by the Kansas City Chiefs and landed with the Vikings on a one-year, $4MM deal with a second year option.
I mean no disrespect, but let’s be real here – Christian Ponder is not the best. I personally think Cassel is better.
Reports are that the Vikings may actually consider starting Cassel over Ponder, but right off the bat, I doubt it. Though I do think as the season progresses and the team and fans grow tired of Christian Ponder’s 2,935 passing yards and 18 TDs, they should look to Cassel. With Cassel at quarterback, it will definitely raise the fantasy value of almost every skill position player in Minnesota, especially wide-out Greg Jennings.
I’m going to be bold. Matt Cassel will be the starting quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings by Week 9.
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Projections: 2,295 passing yards, 16 TDs, 7 INTs
Ryan Broyles, Detroit Lions – Someday. Someday…
Someday Calvin Johnson will have a complimentary receiver. Nate Burleson is broken and most recently, Titus Young, well, you know all about him.
Now, insert Ryan Broyles. Yes, he’s recovering from ACL surgery, but this guy is very intriguing.
What makes him most intriguing in his teams offense? The Detroit Lions threw the ball 5,602 times last season…. Kidding, it was 739, but at that point, same difference, right?
Stafford can sling it, and the ball cannot go to Calvin Johnson every play. Yeah, there’s Brandon Pettigrew, but he hasn’t really ever became what everyone expected of him. They added RB Reggie Bush, who is known for his receiving skills, so yes, that will take away some looks, but he’s definitely the WR2 on this team. Last season, he was used primarily in the slot in the red-zone and should be nothing but a target machine this season.
Projections: 61 receptions, 932 yards, 6 TDs.
Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers – Now that he’s not a Patriot, I like him. Kidding! (But no, seriously, not a Pats fan whatsoever).
Woodhead is by no means a workhorse back and I’d be stunned if he got 100 carries.
The Chargers have their starting running back, Ryan Mathews, who, since his career began has been, in everyone’s eyes, a disappointment.
Last season, Woodhead, then Patriot, caught 40 passes for 446 yards and 3 TDs and also added 76 rush attempts for 301 yards (3.96 YPC) and 4 TDs. So, that’s 747 total yards and 7 TDs. Not bad. Woodhead also had guys like Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker and Stevan Ridley ahead of him in the pecking order.
Woodhead could definitely repeat this success, if not improve.
The Chargers have pretty good receiving options, actually. They have Danario Alexander, Antonio Gates and Vincent Brown (finger’s crossed).
I’m done with Ryan Mathews, I doubt he plays all 16 games.
I’m loving me some Woodhead. Definitely a flex option, and if flushed in to the starting role due to a Mathews injury, RB2.
Projections: 43 receptions, 501 yards, 5 TDs, 318 rushing yards, 3 TDs.
Jake Ballard, New England Patriots – I was in no way, shape, or form planning on writing about Jake Ballard, but in light of recent news, he’s hard to ignore. We know about Rob Gronkowski’s 81 surgeries, but when the news about Aaron Hernandez came to light about being a possible connection to a murder and now a suit being re-opened on the New England tight end that stems from a shooting incident in February, his future is up in the air.
This projection will be based on if Rob Gronkowski is unable to play until later in the year and Aaron Hernandez’s playing time is in jeopardy.
Jake Ballard isn’t a bad talent. In 2011, with the New York Giants, he caught 38 passes for 604 yards and 4 TDs. He tore his ACL in the Superbowl versus the New England Patriots and did not play last season.
As long as Tom Brady is the Patriots quarterback, everyone will produce. As it is, the whole team’s offense looks different.
Imagine that, though? The Patriots without Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez? Wow.
Top wide receiver Danny Amendola also is incredibly injury prone, so if all of these things were to happen, and yes it’s along shot, Jake Ballard could become a primary target in this offense.
With all of this said, IF Rob Gronkowski starts the season on the PUP and Aaron Hernandez faces a suspension or some other type of legal trouble, Jake Ballard could be a top-15 TE.
Projections: 42 receptions, 639 yards, 6 TDs
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