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Yeah, it’s a bit late in the season to be telling you about sleepers, I know.  I’m also a bit late to the party to maybe put you in the know before everyone else.  It’s also too late to tell you not to have eaten 5 chili cheese dogs.  Now your wife has parked you on the couch for the night and you reek of onions…among other things.  With all that said, it’s time we take a look at a deep call and see why Kendall Hunter will bring the thunder this season.  Off-Rhymes!  Hrm, something seems missing…I know what it is!  I haven’t interrupted myself to tell you about other cool Razzball things.  The first reminder is that we have at least one more league open as of this typing for the 2012 Razzball Football Commenter Leagues and you can win some pretty sweet swag as the grand champion.  My second reminder is that Razzball went BIG and got to be a part of an interview of Maurice Jones-Drew and Brent Celek.  Our resident lady’s man and all around cool guy Tehol Beddict – aka LT aka a young, pre-crazy Tom Cruise – got to be a part of the action and represented Razzball like a boss.  Check him out here before you dive into the sleeping Hunter.  And with that, away we go to what may be the final sleeper post of 2012.  Unless of course I feel like throwing one at you on Wednesday after everyone has drafted.  I’m kinda ruthless like that, don’t put it past me.  Now on with the show!

I’m gonna go meta on you to start – if meta means what I think it means and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t – Kendall Hunter is a sleeper because Frank Gore and Brandon Jacobs are not.  Gore isn’t because he’s going as the 21st back off the board in yahoo drafts and Jacobs isn’t because he’s…well, he’s Brandon Jacobs.  But overall, Gore – on the surface – looks like he had a reliable 2011 season, having played 16 games, i.e. a full season while rushing for over 1200 yards.  Surface stats can be so misleading, just ask any Frank owner from last year.  Gore wouldn’t play a quarter here, a half there due to bumps and bruises.  Man, the NFL should really implement a quarters played rather than games played.  But in any case, Gore’s production dropped dramatically last year in the one area that people in PPR hate to see: receptions.  He had been a lock for 45 to 50 receptions in any given season until last year when – though fairly healthy – he only hauled in 17 passes.  That’s Michael Turner territory and it doesn’t bode well for his prospects of turning in a strong season this year with all the help San Francisco has enlisted.  Speaking of help, let’s get back to Jacobs and throw in LaMichael James while we’re at it.  Let me just say that Brandon’s stellar two season run from 2007 to 2008 were a long time ago.  Not in human years, mind you, but in Running Back years.  The man is 30 and coming into the season with some preseason bumps and yet many people are still drafting him.  And in LaMichael, you have an – though gifted – incredibly small back who isn’t physically built to take on the rigors of 20 to 25 touches in a game.  With that, the news out of 49ers camp is Hunter has been declared the backup to Gore and as I mentioned earlier this preseason, I’m interested.  And if you need a reason to find out why I’m interested, I suggest you check the last two games of his game log from 2011.  He didn’t set the world on fire but in 28 carries, he amassed 149 yards on the ground to go with over 20 yards of receiving.  Like I said, not groundbreaking but do you wanna know what IS breaking?  Frank Gore and fast.  San Fran is going to maximize it’s Running Back depth this year to keep Gore healthy for the playoffs and I’m pretty sure Kendall will be a huge part of that.  So with that said, if you have a draft upcoming, happy Hunterings!

  1. Benny says:
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    What o you think of Dwyer? Would you drop Alfred Morris for him?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Both RB situations are pretty murky. Would hold for now.

  2. Vacation says:
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    You should update your rankings. I drafted MJD last night because you had him 5th overall. Is he even going to play this year. /annoyed

  3. Public Enemy#1 says:
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    Finished my 15 team 1/2 PPR draft. Grade/thoughts?

    Rodgers
    Richardson
    Sproles
    Hillis
    Nelson
    Maclin
    Tamme
    MBryant
    Seattle/Buffalo D

    JRodgers
    KHunter
    Tolbert
    LaFell
    RWilson

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      15 team? Was that a 14/16 team typo? In any case, looks like a solid team. Good to see you held out on your backup QB seeing as you have Rodgers. Jacquizz is a nice RB to have for a PPR league this year and obviously I like Hunter. Nice job.

  4. Salty Balty says:
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    Just rounding out my roster. I have Helu and F. Jones as backup RBs. Royster is available. Should I drop Jones for Royster and hope (against hope) that Shanahan settles on either Helu or Royster as a feature back?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I’m not holding onto more than 1 Shannahan back, personally. One is enough of a headache.

  5. Willie says:
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    Because RB is so thin this year my strategy in almost every league is to fill my bench with handcuffs from teams with good running games and Kendall Hunter is on almost every one of them.

    When (not if) Gore goes down, Hunter will be a hot commodity. I can also see him filling a similar role to Tate this year with double digit touches and the added benefit, unlike Tate, of being better in the passing game than the starter in front of him.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      True story.

  6. johnbutte says:
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    Long live Tehol Beddict, King of Lether! Hail to his royal blanket!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Ha!

  7. Zeke says:
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    Just drafted last night and took Hunter in the 12th, so your post is making me feel pretty good about it. Might have been a bit of a reach, but I think there is a good chance he’s starting by mid-season. Anyway, I wanted to see what you thought of the roster. 12 team standard (non-ppr.)

    P Manning
    McCoy
    F Jack
    Hillis
    Harvin
    Maclin
    Bolden
    Gronk
    Hartley (or whoever, if he doesn’t get the job)
    N Bowman -D
    C Lofton -D
    D Butler-D

    Donarius Moore, N Washington, Gerhart, K Hunter, JQ Rodgers, A Morris, Freeman, Dumerville

    Any holes or areas that need improvement? No backup tight end yet…Thanks!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Good team if you’re a P. Manning believer, which I’m not but that’s a preference thing I’m not going to fault you for. I like your team, you should be competitive. I don’t believe in taking a backup TE in a 10 or 12 team league. Fill-ins for one week usually don’t make my roster via draft.

      • Zeke says:
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        @Sky, My feelings exactly about the TE spot. If I had a marginal starter, then maybe, but as long as Gronk is healthy he will be in my lineup. I’m with you about Manning. He is definitely going to make or break this team. I got him as the 10th QB overall, so there wasn’t much to choose from. Matt Ryan went 1 pick before I got Manning. I was salivating, only to have my heart ripped out.

  8. Trevor says:
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    “Gore isn’t because he’s going as the 21st back off the board in yahoo drafts ”

    Actually that is exactly why gore is a sleeper. He is in my top 25 overall.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Bold. I wish you luck with that, sir.

  9. Mike says:
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    Just saw Hightower was cut…would u trade R Jennings for Helu as a spec that he plays a ton this year?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      It’s a gamble but I do like Helu. I’d probably do it.

  10. scott says:
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    Based on that interview you posted from the blog, Behind the Steel Curtain, I picked up J Dwyer as one of my last picks as a sleeper….and then his last preseason game he was a beast (I know only preseason, but still)…I’m hoping he sees more carries if he can continue to shine, and I don’t trust Redman anyway…so here’s to hoping…

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @scott, Yeah, I don’t mind him. Not sure if this is based on previous conversations but it’s hard to keep track if you’re having a rolling conversation with me unless you’re commenting on the post you were originally on. Sorry, short term memory over here.

  11. Jon says:
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    14 team non PPR – who would you trade to upgrade at QB?

    QB – Locker
    WR – Andre Johnson
    WR – Dez Bryant
    RB – Darren McFadden
    RB – Jamaal Charles
    Flex – Ahmad Bradshaw
    TE – Greg Olson

    Bench – Peyton Hillis, Titus Young, Kenny Britt, Rashad Jennings, J Gresham

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Tough. You’re not going to get full market value for what you spent but I’d shop Andre, but you could try Dez and see what you get first. Aim for Eli/Ryan.

  12. 10 team league, head2head, 4 points per throwing td.

    Here’s my team:

    Vick, QB
    Rice, RB
    R. Mathews, RB
    Jennings, WR
    Colston, WR
    R. Bush, WR/RB
    Witten, TE
    Bills, D
    Henery, K
    ———-
    Bench:
    D. Williams, RB
    Helu, RB
    Redman, RB
    Austin, WR
    T. Smith, WR
    T. Young, WR
    Freeman, QB

    I didn’t realize when I drafted that Jennings is out for a bit, and I neglected to get a good backup for Vick, should he get hurt. What do you think? Based purely on your tiers page, no other inputs.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Yeah, Mathews is an enigma at this point due to health. Helu/Williams should be solid Flex plays, though. Reggie Bush as an RB2 I don’t mind. Hopefully Mathews comes back and your starting lineup is the way you have it. Would probably prefer more RB depth but I like your bench WRs. Maybe try and trade a guy like T Smith or T Young + a guy like Helu for an RB upgrade to a team in need of WR depth. All and all I don’t dislike your team, just needs more RB depth.

      Vick/Freeman could make you a goat or a mad genius this year. What QBs of note are on waivers, if any?

      • @Sky, Not much, Sanchez, Fitzpatrick, Hasselbeck, Palmer. I took your comment about not believing in QB backups (I think you did say such a thing) too literally and didn’t adjust for Vick’s fragility. I could have had Ryan or Rivers or someone if I’d thought about it earlier. Oh well. What calibre of RB are you thinking of in terms of what I’d get for Smith/Helu, ballpark?

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Nah, I said no TE or DEF backups in a 10 or 12 team league. Never about QBs unless someone moved the T and the E to where my Q and B are on the keyboard.

          You’d aim for a guy at the lower end of the top 20 RBs. You got one undervalued RB in Bush, Ahmad has been treated the same. S-Jax is being mistreated via the draft as well.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Forgot to mention: Fitz/Palmer/Freeman all in the same boat. Meh about Sanchez/Hasselbeck.

  13. Not Jennings, Mathews, sorry. Mathews is out for a bit.

  14. DDT says:
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    8th pick in an 8 team 2QB league.
    2QB, 2RB, 2WR, 1 TE, 1RB/WR FLEX, 1WR/TE FLEX, K, & DEF.

    I am looking at picking any two of Stafford, Megatron, CJ?K, and McFadden.

    Which two would you select and why?

    Thanks~

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Stafford/DMC. 8 teams, 16 QBs, I’d want a top 5 guy as long as I can get a good RB in the first two rounds. DMC is a top 3 or top 5 back when healthy. If you can have those two, you’re set up pretty nicely. Leaves you the ability to take a bit more risk at your QB2 and you can shore up your RB2, receivers and one of your flext over the next 3 rounds without sweating it.

      • DDT says:
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        @Sky, would you go Brees/Stafford (i.e., QB-QB) if the opportunity presented itself? Or is that too much of a risk?

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          If you’re spending your first round pick on a QB, I wouldn’t spend my second round on it too and vice versa. Leaves you too exposed at RB for an 8 team league.

  15. happyface unicorns says:
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    Hey! I have Ray Rice and MJD and Ryan Mathews! I need another RB for week 1! Do you think Mike Williams (TB) for Cedric Benson is a good trade? I have Miles Austin and Percy Harvin and Titus Young!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Yeah, reasonable trade since he’s starting for them. I’d do it.

  16. GB says:
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    Anyone care to grade this team? Pretty excited! Pick 7 redraft 12 team league, no PPR.

    Romo 8
    Dalton 14

    Forte 2
    Mathews 4
    Hillis 6
    J Stewart 9
    J Rodgers 11

    C Johnson 1
    B Marshall 3
    V Jackson 7
    M Floyd 10
    M Williams TB 12
    B Edwards 13

    Finley 5

    NYJ D 15
    Bryant 16

    Thanks!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Solid looking team. If Mathews comes back and is productive you are championship worthy, IMHO. Well drafted

  17. Mathews or RICHARDSON – keeper league

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I’d lean Richardson there.

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