We’re in the heart of free agency and all NFL teams should be reporting to camp by tomorrow. Take a look at our way too early list of fantasy football sleepers for the 2011 season! Also if you need help selecting a team name for your fantasy squad, take a look at our list of funny team names.
Kevin Kolb – Arizona Cardinals – Quarterback
Now that Kevin Kolb has landed in Arizona, he’s poised to be a breakout QB in fantasy this season. Kolb will have the benefit of throwing to one of the best WR’s in the league in Larry Fitzgerald. Kolb could have made an impact in Philadelphia last season but lost the starting job to Mike Vick after getting a concussion. Expect Kolb to put up quality numbers.
Devin Aromashodu – Minnesota Vikings – Wide Receiver
Aromashodu was our #1 fantasy football sleeper last season and that didn’t pan out too well. However, this season after signing with Minnesota he has some serious stock. The Vikings traded for Donovan McNabb and didn’t re-sign Sidney Rice. This means Aromashodu could step in and find himself a role in the offense. After bumping heads with Mike Martz and being put into the doghouse, Aromashodu has the potential to breakout in Minnesota
Earl Bennett – Chicago Bears – Wide Receiver
Last season Aromashodu was picked to be the Bears breakout WR, this season that honor goes to Earl Bennett. Bennett finds himself in the 2nd year in the Martz system and he started to develop a solid chemistry with Bears QB Jay Cutler. Earl Bennett looks to be the most reliable option Cutler has dropping back now that Greg Olsen has been traded to the Panthers.
Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons – Wide Receiver
Julio Jones will have the benefit of playing opposite Roddy White. Atlanta has needed another WR to accompany Roddy White to take away the double teams he frequently receives. Expect White’s production to increase and expect Jones to break out. With veteran QB Matt Ryan there to break Jones into the NFL, he’ll put up a season like Dez Bryant did in Dallas last season.
James Starks – Green Bay Packers – Runnning Back
Without James Starks’ emergence late in the season, the Packers might not have went on that historic super bowl run. Starks filled in for injured RB’s in December and did it quite well. His post-season production should carry over into the 11-12” season. With a healthy Ryan Grant to supply a 1-2 punch combo, Starks should see good fantasy numbers in Green Bay’s backfield.
Montario Hardesty – Cleveland Browns – Running Back
Had it not been for Montario Hardesty tearing his ACL in the pre-season last year, Peyton Hillis might not have emerged as the next Madden 12 Cover Boy. The Browns planned to have Hardesty be the feature back in the offense until his untimely season ending injury. Now the combination of Hillis & Hardesty could spell trouble for the AFC North opponents. Hillis will receive the majority of the carries but, Hardesty will get his fair share to keep Hillis fresh.
Jacoby Ford – Oakland Raiders – Wide Receiver/Returner
Putting a Raider on our list of sleepers is very, very risky. However we like to live dangerously. Jacoby Ford emerged as one of the only exciting things about the Raiders last season. He put up decent numbers receiving in limited action with a struggling Jason Campbell as a rookie. Ford’s upside lies within his return skills. He brought 3 returns back for TD’s last season. Now going into his sophomore season, a bigger role on offense could make Ford a reliable asset in fantasy.
Ryan Torain – Washington Redskins – Running Back
It’s only a matter of time before Mike Shanahan’s RB magic starts to work on Torain. Torain took over for a struggling Clinton Portis last season and performed quite well. Going into his 3rd season, his 2nd as a Redskin, Torain looks to be the feature back for the Skins. He could be a RB that slips under the radar of many fantasy owners. Keep a watch on him to see where he’s still available in the draft. He could wind up being a draft day steal.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Buffalo Bills – Quarterback
This pick is Chris Berman approved! Fitzpatrick should in no way be your #1 option at QB but if you can snag him late in the draft, it could be a huge pay off. Fitzpatrick had a decent season for the Bills last year, if he can limit the interceptions he will be a valuable commodity. Steve Johnson emerged as his go-to WR. With the Bills adding former Jets WR Brad Smith to give Fitzpatrick some more ammunition on offense, it could be a great pick up. Fitzpatrick has a bright upside.
Danny Amendola – St. Louis Rams – Wide Receiver
Sam Bradford had an impressive rookie season and looks to only improve from here on out. The NFC West is a very weak division and as Bradford improves, look for his numbers to skyrocket. Amendola looks to be his favorite target, as he was targeted the same number of times as Wes Welker. Amendola is definitely in good company on that one. Add new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels into the equation, Amendola is going to put up some serious numbers! He won’t be on many people’s radars so you should be able to snatch him up quite easily.
Jimmy Graham – New Orleans Saints – Tight End
As somebody who has had Drew Brees as their keeper QB, I’ve always tried to snatch one of his targets up to double up on points. With the way Brees distributes the ball, it always winds up hurting me. With Jeremy Shockey leaving town, and Jimmy Graham having an impressive end fo the 2010 season hauling in several TD’s in the last 2-3 weeks, he put his name on the map for 11-12”. Jimmy Graham is a reliable TE who should fall to the later rounds after TE’s start getting picked. Give him a shot! It could wind up winning you some money.
While we have your attention, please take a minute and swing by our Message Boards to discuss Chicago Sports with many other fans. http://chicitysports.com/forum