Duce Staley, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Fantasy football owners everywhere are sure to dislike this selection after Staley unexpectedly lost goalline carries last year to Jerome Bettis. Staley then battled knee and hamstring injuries the rest of the year. Staley, who had been an excellent receiver when he played for Philadelphia, didn’t catch the ball much at all for Pittsburgh last year either. So why make him a sleeper you ask? Simple. We think Staley has nowhere to go but up. Bettis has asked for less of a role, which means more work for Staley. We also think Staley will get more goalline carries this year, and have more of an opportunity to be a receiver. When you have a second year quarterback in a conservative offense, it only makes sense to throw more balls to your running backs, and Staley has the skills. Staley is surely going to come a lot cheaper in your fantasy draft this year and may even be available in the 5th or 6th round. He make would make an excellent 3rd or 4th running back on your fantasy roster.
Mewelde Moore, RB, Minnesota Vikings
With Onterrio Smith getting a full year’s suspension for doing his best Ricky Williams impression, an opening emerges in the Minnesota backfield for a featured runner. Michael Bennett seems to get that role by default, but Bennett is more of a sprinter than a running back, and he has also displayed NO ability to stay healthy for any length of time. However, his presence will keep Moore’s draft value in check this summer, allowing Moore to fall to you at a reduced price. At last check, Moore was going as the the 40th Rb taken in the 9th or 10th round. For someone who could very well win the starting tailback job for one of the most explosive offenses in the league, that would be an incredible value. When Moore was given a chance to play last year, he came through in a big way, far exceeding all expectations for his performance. He also has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, which, with Moss gone, could provide a new dimension to the Vikes’ passing attack. The rookie back, Ciatrick Fason could also be an impact, but one would have to think that Mewelde would have the first crack at the starting job after Bennett.