OK, we’re down to picking sleeper Kickers and Tight Ends here. Unless you’re in a dynasty league, I’m usually not a fan of stashing away players at these two positions hoping they do well later…there just isn’t enough of a point differential between them to justify eating a roster space. I’ve been in many a league where I’ve carried just a single TE and one K for the whole season, picking up a replacement only on the starter’s bye week.
Nevertheless, whether you’ve put off drafting a warm body at these positions a little too long, or are searching for a bye-week fill-in, here are some producers that will come CHEAP!!
Desmond Clark TE Chicago Bears
This former Bronco has some nice pass-catching skills and can be had late…he’s the #17 WR in the FantasySharks rankings. With possession receiver Marty Booker packing his bags for Miami and the rest of the receiving corps very unproven, Clark should get plenty of looks over the middle. Da Bears!!
Billy Miller TE Houston Texans
With the Texans offense looking much improved in preseason, Miller may surprise. This guy caught over 50 passes for 600 yards and 3 TDs in 2002…a return to these numbers makes him a steal at #19 in the rankings. And even if he sucks, every team needs a player named after a beer. You have to play fantasy baseball to snag Rod Beck or Bud Black, so your options are quite limited here. Steve Bush is also a Tight End, but I fear he’s a sleeper who will never awake.
Jerramy Stevens TE Seattle Seahawks
This guy’s a monster at 6’ 7” and 260#. A huge talent and former Hawks first-rounder, his physical prowess has never been question. However, his off-the-field stunts have been so ridiculous that his barber is constantly searching for a lobotomy scar. He’s made no headlines in the offseason, so if he decides he wants to play, he can dominate. And the SeaHawks offense is looking pretty sweet too. Will split time with Itula Mili, but there are plenty of balls to go around in Seattle. Unranked in the FantasySharks rankings.
Kris Mangum TE Carolina Panthers
Remember Wesley Walls? The Panthers used to work the TE, and perhaps they will again. And if they don’t, you have a player who’s name is oh-so-close to that of a condom designed for well-endowed men. And I should know…I’ve seen them in the drugstore. #33 in the FantasySharks rankings…#357 overall? Most powerful handgun in the world! But I digress…
Brandon Manumaleuna TE St Louis Rams
A decent tight end. And the most fun name to say since Biakabatuka!! #31 in the FantasySharks rankings. The Rams light up the scoreboard and he can catch, so why not?
Is there such a thing as a sleeper kicker? That’s a subject for debate, no doubt. On any given week, any slug on the waiver wire has a decent chance of outscoring Jeff Wilkins. Some are prone to drafting kickers early…others wait until the final round. I’ve done both and had mixed results. If you’re one of those ‘wait till late’ guys, here are some respectably good booters that may be available.
Jason Hanson K Detroit Lions
This guy has been around for a long time…he’s not a sleeper in the sense that he’s unknown, but in that he’s not ranked highly and could have a big year. With the revamped Detroit offense, he should see quite a few opportunities this year. And kicking in a dome doesn’t hurt. #22 in the Sharks rankings. In a perfect world, a top 10 season is quite possible if the young blood in MoTown is clicking. Maybe even top 5. No, I’m not using magic markers with the windows closed again!
Brett Conway K Minnesota Vikings
Recently signed by the Vikes, this journeyman kicker will get tons of extra-point opportunites and a good amount of FG shots for the powerhouse Minnesota offense. Unranked by the Sharks, but those were compiled before his signing. Assuming he doesn’t try to stop Randy Moss’ car from driving down a blocked street, look for Conway to crack the top 10.
Shayne Graham K Cincinnati Bengals
Am I the only one that thinks the Bengals offense will be pretty darn good this year? Young Carson Palmer’s inexperience in the red zone will often lead to field goals rather than touchdowns. These ARE still the Bengals after all!! Dirt cheap at #20 in the Sharks rankings.
Thus ends my series on ‘sleepers’ for 2004. May you draft well, crush your opponents, and bask in the glow that only a championship can bring!