By on July 17, 2010

Matt’s 2010 Fantasy Football Sleepers

Eli Manning— Last year Lil’ Manning eclipsed the 4,000 yard mark for the first time in his career.  He has also steadily improved his completion percentage, yards/att., and QB rating in every season save one.  With a potentially very dangerous corps of young ,capable receivers, I believe Eli is just now maturing into the smart, heady QB he was drafted to become.  He also is entering his seventh NFL season.  Remember what his brother did in his seventh season?  Four thousand four hundred yards and,at the time, a record 49 TDs.  I’m just saying.

Pierre Thomas— If you happened to catch the Saints’ last game of the ’07 season you got a chance to see Frenchy showcase his innumerable talents, both as a runner and receiver.  He finished the game with 105 yards on 20 rushing attempts and 121 yards on 12 receptions.   He then followed up 2007 with a solid campaign in ’08, averaging 4.8 YPC and scoring 12 times.  Those are the kind of numbers I like to see out of an emerging RB, especially in a PPR league.  So come draft day, I happily said his name in the fourth round.  Without Deuce McAllister there to vulture carries and goal-line opportunities, and Reggie Bush looking like he was going to be less involved in the running game, Mr. Thomas was a shoe-in for a superstar-type year.  Enter Mike Bell.  He carried the lions-share of goal-line chances and got handed the ball a total of 172 times last year, compared to Thomas’ 147.  Granted, Thomas was recovering from a knee injury early in the season, but Sean Payton continued to call Bell’s number despite Thomas’ outperforming Bell.  There were only three weeks in which both running backs played that Thomas had more carries.  As familiar as this statement feels, without Bell in New Orleans I see Thomas as a Top 10 RB.  Fool me once Mr. Payton, shame on you.  Fool me twice…

Ahmad Bradshaw—After Derrick Ward’s departure for more money and a lesser role in Tampa Bay, it appeared Bradshaw was next in line to be Coughlin’s change-of-pace guy.  Through the first six games, it seemed he was a fluid transition into that role (6.2 YPC on 68 attempts, 3 TDs); however, after suffering stress fractures in both feet, he wore down and the “lightning” disappeared.   But that was so 2009.  It’s a new season and he’s feeling refreshed and ready to step up—and if Brandon Jacobs continues to run as though he has his feet cuffed, Bradshaw will be sure to take advantage.

Mike Wallace–Obviously there’s a lot of excitement in the fantasy world about Rashard Mendenhall when he flashed signs of brilliance after upending Parker on the depth chart.  Other than that, it’s hard to find anything to be excited about in Pittsburgh offensively with Ben Roethlisberger suspended for at least four games to start the season.    With a depleted WR corps (Holmes’ departure and Ward’s inevitable decline), I see Mr. 60 Minutes stepping up and, not only building on his fine rookie season, but also eclipsing Ward as Pittsburgh’s true number-one receiver.

Devin Aromashodu— Ahhhhhh, the Aroma.  OK, bad nicknames aside, the man was Cutler’s go-to guy over the last four weeks of last season.  He was injured early in the year and grabbed hold of the reigns when given an opportunity over the last four weeks (22-282-4), and with Martz calling the plays I can only see him getting more balls in his direction.

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