Fantasy Football Round Table Week 17

Question for the experts:

"The regular season is almost over and dynasty leaguers are picking their keepers... everyone knows to keep Fitzgerald, AP, and the like, but what are some sleeper keepers (don't sweat my rhymes and I know you are thinking about trapper keepers now) for next year?"

Ryan Lester from Lesterslegends.com responds:

The first name that comes to mind is Miles Austin. He enters this week with 1230 receiving yards and 11 TDs. I know his numbers are bloated by the 421 yards and 4 TDs he had before and after the Cowboys' bye. He had seven games with fewer than 50 yarsd receiving. Still, he's a big, strong WR that will turn 26 this Summer. He has a good rapport with Tony Romo and should continue to develop into one of the league's best WRs. The only issue I see is his contract, but rest assured Jerry Jones won't let his prized WR walk away.

Another keeper that came out of nowhere was Jamaal Charles.  When you look at his production from Week 10 on you can't help but wonder why he wasn't given an opportunity sooner. Charles showed he could handle the full load, averaging 21.8 carries in Weeks 13-16. He also showed the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield with 39 receptions entering Week 17. Finally, he showed big play ability. He truly was Chris Johnson Lite the last half of the year, and makes an intriguing keeper option heading into 2010.

Smitty from FantasyFootballXtreme.com responds:

Sleeper keepers is a great topic right now. I have to say that Mike Sims-Walker is looking like a nice sleeper keeper heading into the early 2010 off-season. Granted, many fantasy dynasty league owners out there might just be too stacked to consider keeping players like Sims-Walker, but I have one league I'm in where we can only keep two WRs and I had Anquan Boldin, Steve Smith (CAR) and Mike Sims-Walker to decide from. Instead of tossing Sims-Walker back in the 2010 player pool, I traded both Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith for Andre Johnson, thus allowing myself the ability to set my WR keepers as Andre Johnson and Mike Sims-Walker vs Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith. Sims-Walker easily has low-end fantasy WR1 upside entering 2010 and I advise dynasty league owners to think of creative ways to secure the receiver's services heading into next year.

Other sleeper keeper candidates include Matt Forte, Knowshon Moreno and Matt Ryan. Clearly Forte disappointed this season, but he is EXTREMELY undervalued right now and that should be taken advantage of given the risk is minimal. I still firmly believe in Forte... I believe that he just needs room to run and I believe that he will find that room to run in 2010. I could be wrong, but I just don't see Forte pulling an Anthony "A-Train" Thomas. He is the real deal in my book and he will once again prove his worth.

As for Moreno, his mediocre finish to the 2009 fantasy football season is sure to lower his 2010 fantasy value. Take advantage! Moreno could be a top 10-12RB next season and he is being tossed around in dynasty trade talks as if he is just a flex-like option entering 2010.

As for Matt Ryan, he didn't explode in 2009 like so many thought he would, but he is a big-time talent and should thrive in 2010. He can be had right now in dynasty leagues at the cost of a top 8-12 fantasy QB, so the risk is extremely low and the upside is huge.

Kurt Turner from Top-Fantasy-Football.com responds:

I'm battling for third place this week in my 18 team league and Devin Aromashodu could help me out big time. Devin Aromashodu will be on many list going into 2010 however I just cant trust a guy that has bounced from Miami, to Houston, to Indy, to Washington only to make the active list this December in Chicago; and to think Aromashodu was drafted in 2006! Lack of depth and talent at WR will force the bears to adjust and add one or two WR in the offseason pushing Aromashodu down or out of the line up. Sleeper WR are extremely hard to nail down but rule of thumb is WR's in their third year tend to excel if they are starters in the previous year. If you like to take gambles Ray Tannock has identified five sleeper keeper QB's for 2010 you may want to consider: Matt Moore, Brady Quinn, Matthew Stafford, Bruce Gradkowski and Josh Freeman.

Bryce McRae from KFFL.com responds:

A couple of sleeper keepers for 2010? Here are two: the Tennessee Titans' LenDale White and the Dallas Cowboys' Tashard Choice.

We know White can be a solid fantasy starter when he's given the ball. Problem is in Tennessee they have Chris Johnson. White needs to see the ball 15-20 times to be effective. He won't get that for the Titans, barring a severe injury to Johnson. Well, White is a free agent after this season. Tennessee hasn't made much, if any, use of him this season. It's tough to see them bringing him back. It's hard to peg him as a sleeper without knowing where he'll be running. However, for those in keeper leagues, it's worth gambling on White. If he ends up in the right situation, he can be a solid fantasy back.

At one point this year, it seemed like Choice was ready for an expanded role in the Cowboys offense. That increase never came, though. Well, Marion Barber III continues to grind out most of the carries. Problem is he hasn't been very effective with his touches. Over the last four weeks, he hasn't averaged more than 3.7 yards per carry in a game and has a long run of 12 yards. This despite at least 14 carries in each of those games. We have yet to really see Barber excel when given a full workload. Choice has made good use of his limited touches this year (5.5 yards per carry). He could be just as strong a runner as Barber, if given similar workloads.

Jacob Sloan from FantasyFootballFools.com responds:

If you're looking for some sleeper talent to hang onto this offseason for your keeper league, two lesser known talents that I'd consider are Matt Moore and Jamaal Charles.

Matt Moore has been far more effective in Carolina's offense thank Jake Delhomme since the veteran's injury. While Moore struggled in his first few games and a little last season when asked to replace Delhomme, Moore has really come into his own now. He spent time behind Tony Romo in Dallas before moving to Carolina, and many coaches have commented that they believe he has a chance to start at the NFL level.

Next year, he'll probably get his shot. Moore should at least get to compete with Delhomme for the starting job, and with coaching jobs on the line, John Fox and the rest of the staff won't want to try to ride out another season under Delhomme only to be loyal to the veteran.

Considering that many of you might have picked up Moore off the waiver wire this season, keeping him could come at a very low price. Throwing to the original Steve Smith should provide him with several big performances next season, and he's in a division where he'll have to keep pace with Drew Brees and Matt Ryan. You could have a promising backup quaterback or one piece of a quarterback by committee if you can hang onto Moore this offseason.

Jamaal Charles earned the name "Chris Johnson Light" down the stretch as he seemed practically matchup-proof in the running and receiving game. Even though there is talk of bringing in another more physical runner to compliment Charles' speed, I think Charles has the opportunity to earn the majority of the work in the explosive passing offense that Todd Haley is trying to put in place.

At the price you'll pay to keep Charles, likely off the waiver wire as well this season, he could be a bargain RB2 for next season. He can only get better if/when the Kansas City offense starts to come together.

RC from Junkyardjake.com responds:

Jamaal Charles - At 5-11, 200 lbs, Charles doesn't seem to have the build to excel as an everydown back, but you can't argue with his production down the stretch this year.  Since week 10, Charles has accumulated 709 rush yards while running for 5.2 yards per carry.  If Charles could somehow perform at the same rate over a full season in 2010, his 2009 numbers translate into an approximate 1,620 yard season.  It remains to be seen if the Chiefs end up with an RB platoon next season, but in the meantime, Charles seems to be an underrated keeper.
 
Laurence Maroney
-  Sammy Morris turns 33 next year and was about half as effective as he was last season. Fred Taylor missed 10 games this year, and turns 34 before the start of 2010. Kevin Faulk will also turn 34, and becomes a free agent after the close of this season. Clearly, unless the Patriots choose to add another RB through the draft or free agency, it could turn out that the 25 year-old Maroney will be undisputed starter for the Patriots and he makes an interesting keeper.

Hakeem Nicks- The Giants have assembled a good group of young receivers, with Steve smith breaking out this year, Mario Manningham showing good potential, and Hakeem Nicks far exceeding expecations for a rookie receiver.  Despite not seeing the field much until week 5, Nicks has managed to compile 795 yards and 6 TDs thru week 16, and makes a solid value keeper.

Devin Thomas - Devin Thomas has been a huge disappointment since being drafted in the 2nd round by the Redskins last April. After another slow start, Thomas has at least shown a glimpse of his potential with a 7 catch, 100 yard, 2 TD performance against the Saints in December this year.  With the Redskins likely to make a coaching change in 2010, Devin Thomas could be elevated to fulltime starter, and makes a interesting speculative keeper.

Hatty from HattyWaiverWireGuru.com responds:

23 years old, 6'4", 202 pounds, lighting fast, great work ethic, and extreme agility are what God thinks about when he crafts an NFL caliber WR.  He created Sidney Rice for your dynasty league for years to come.  Sidney was someone you could have had off waiver wires as he went undrafted in most every league this year.  A bit of research would have shown that he trained all off-season with Larry Fitzgerald and no matter who is throwing to Sindey (hopefully Favre will be back next year) he will get you Pro Bowl stats.  Sidney Rice is a blessing to your dynasty team if you own him and I would highly recommend aggressively acquiring him in a trade in the off-season if you don't have him.  1,200 yards and 6 TD's this year are a small sign of what's to come for future years.

Jermichael Finley is going to be a top 5 NFL caliber TE next year and the years to come.  He plays for the high flying Green Bay Packers who toss the ball with their young stud QB Aaron Rodgers.  I project Rodgers to be the top QB next year and the major beneficiary will be Finley.  22 years old, 6'5", 247 beast of a TE with 12 games, 647 yards, and 4 TD's is nothing compared to what he is set to do next year.  

Last but not least is a french-man by the name of Pierre Garcon; he turned up the heat this year and will be the WR2 next year over Anthony Gonzalez next year who will play in the slot.  Garcon's speed, hands, and intelligence in a team that loves to air the ball out make him an excellent keeper for next years season.

Happy New Year!