SleepersOctober 4, 2010

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Sleeper Watch - 4 comments

By Josh Shepardson

Featured in this week’s column: a large rookie wide receiver coming off a bye week, who is in store for an expanded role in his team’s offense.  Also featured: a backup quarterback on a struggling 0-4 NFC West squad who may receive the opportunity to provide a spark in the hopes of turning around his team’s season.

Arrelious Benn | WR | Tampa Bay | 5 percent Yahoo! ownership

The bye week came at a good time for the Bucs, as it has allowed them to further work rookie Arrelious Benn in with the first unit.  At 6′2 and 220 pounds, he is a huge target for Josh Freeman to target.  He’s not a plodder for a big wideout either, having run a solid 4.53 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Draft Combine and an incendiary (thank you Kenny Mayne) 4.36 second 40-yard dash at his Illinois Pro Day. 

His college stats don’t jump off the page upon inspection, but don’t let them fool you.  His primary quarterback while playing at Illinois was Juice Williams, a quarterback with just a 53.4 percent completion rate and a 56:44 TD:INT rate.  Though he ony has three receptions for 33 yards on the season, now is the time to speculate on the talented second round selection’s talent and upside in the hope he takes well to the starting role opposite Mike Williams. 

David Carr | QB | San Francisco | 0 percent Yahoo! ownership

Current 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith has crapped the bed thus far, averaging just 6.1 yards per pass attempt and throwing for more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (three).  After three weeks of poor offensive showings, the 49ers cut ties with Jimmy Raye as their offensive coordinator.  The next logical step for injecting a spark into a lackluster offense is changing the trigger man and inserting David Carr into the driver seat as starting quarterback.

Carr hasn’t been the top quarterback on his employer’s depth chart since starting for the Houston Texans in 2006-07.  He has spent the past three seasons holding clipboards, the last two seasons with the New York Giants and the season before that with the Carolina Panthers.  His last NFL start came November 25, 2007 for the Panthers.  It remains to be seen what Carr can do as a starter once again in the NFL, but it’s possible his three years spent as a reserve could have been the best thing for him, as he was abused behind weak offensive lines in Houston for five seasons.   With intriguing weapons surrounding him at the skill positions of running back, wide receiver and tight end in the form of Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, respectively, Carr might have a chance at proving quite useful to forward thinking owners in deep leagues.

Josh Shepardson is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Josh in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of B-Chad.
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4 Responses to “Week 5 Sleepers”

  1. mv8855a says:


    I have been following your articles and I’m curious as to your opinion. My two starting RBs are Ronnie Brown and MJD. Then my back ups, 1) Mike Tolbert, 2) Snelling, and 3) Blount.

    Tolbert’s value is diminishing as Mathew Staford comes back to life. Snelling has value only if Mike Turner gets injured. Blount is a sleeper-hopeful.

    First, Should I pick up Stark and Sit on him instead of Snelling or Tolbert?

    Second, I may be able to pick up a running back: Forte, Hillis, Jonathan Stewart, or Thomas Jones. I think Forte is the best option, what do you think?



  2. B-Chad says:

    I was surprised to see Tolbert shoulder so much of yesterday’s workload with a healthy Ryan Mathews (I assume you meant Ryan Mathews not Matthew Stafford hurting Tolbert’s value, simple enough goof). I’d probably not cut ties with him for Starks, as I want to see how the team distributes touches in the next week or two, though I’d be shocked if the load didn’t slide to Mathews, perhaps a 75/25 split, which would cripple Tolbert’s value.

    I’m not a big Turner fan. I don’t like the fact he’s a non-option in the passing game, and he missed numerous games last year. I really think his monster first year with the Falcons took a toll on him. Snelling has been very good, and is useful in the passing game, if your league is PPR, give Snelling a further boost.

    I’d sit tight on Blount in favor of Starks as well. Blount is healthy and not on the PUP list at the moment, which to me is the biggest difference. Everything I’ve read is that the Bucs used the bye week to further integrate Blount and Benn into the offense. Blount has already been declared the goalline specialist, but it’s easy to see his playing time extend further than that with Caddy being so ineffective thus far.

    If Tolbert’s touches begin to be reduced this week, as I’d expect, I’d probably dump him for James Starks. I’d just assume go boom or bust with a bench spot with the options you have in front of him. If you were thin in terms of flex options, I’d probably go safe with Tolbert, but you aren’t. By trying to hit a homerun and end up with a feature back in Starks, you give yourself a better shot at getting a more useful trade chip IMO.

    When you say pick up a running back, I assume you mean through trade correct? I’d be curious to know what the other owner is looking for in return for Hillis and perhaps even Forte (namely in a PPR format). If the league is PPR, now isn’t a bad time to angle for a buy low of sorts on Forte, though the Bears O-line and the chance of Chester Taylor snaking some touches would be a concern, I’d probably take the gamble on him for the right price. I actually prefer Hillis to the bunch at this point though. He’s clearly ahead of Harrison in the pecking order in Cleveland now. He’s going to get a ton of touches both via carry and reception with the miserable excuse of a passing game the Browns have. If you are able to get him from an owner that feels he’s selling high on a fluke, you may be able to get him at a reasonable price. Thanks for reading the article.

  3. mv8855a says:

    Thanks for the advice. (The Mathews, PPR, and Trade assumption were all correct)

    Regarding the possible trade. I have Brees and Orton. We can only play one QB, so. He has Vick and Cutler. They are both injured (possibly) and he needs a healthy QB. He has a strong running line up – Gore, Forte, Hillis, j.Stewart, and Thomas Jones. He is willing to deal for Orton. So the proposed trade is Orton for one of his RBs and Jay Cutler. Obviously I would like Gore, but I don’t think he would be willing to part with him. I am a gambling man. With Cutler probably out the Bears will need to rely on their run game, which will give Forte more touches. This is my thinking at least. However, based on your advice, I may go the Hillis route. I guess you could argue the passing game compliments the running game as well, and Forte may struggle with out the passing game working (if Cutler is out for more than a game). That is the fun thing about Fantasy, you can rationalize anything!

    Regarding my Flex: it isn’t an issue really b/c I have Gates in my TE, and Keller on my bench. Keller played my Flex option in Week 4. It was between Keller and Tolbert – I was concerned about Tolbert’s touches and the Jets-Buffalo match-up was too hard to ignore. Next week I have Percy Harvin coming in off a bye week so… that opens up the flex option further.

    Again it is my RB, where my team is sort. I have (MDJ- 1, and Ronnie Brown 2), so if this trade occurs I have a third to switch through the Bye weeks. Otherwise I’ll be forced to play Mike Tolbert or Snelling (probably the former), this weekend as Miami is on Bye.

    I’ll soon be faced with the question of whether to play Harvin or Colston. Harvin and Farve has been having problems, but then again Harvin was out for the training camp with Migraines. He has been looking better each week, and I expect to see a lot from him after the bye. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks again for you help, and your articles have been good.

  4. phate83 says:


    Before you toss Orton out to try to get Cutler and an RB, I would think about doing a one for one trade Orton for Gore if possible, he wouldn’t do it for Gore and the QB, but maybe just a one-for one. I would take a look at your available QB’s in the league first of course so you have a decent fall-back. Flacco, Bradford, Sanchez. If so go for broke do a one-one trade and pick up another QB. If you could do Orton-Gore that would be awesome for you, then you wouldn’t have a TE in your flex either.


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