Here’s a yawner: everyone in your league has a sleeper or five. No, there wasn’t a pull-out couch liquidation sale you missed (had to smash that homonym); on the other hand, it’s the essence of the game: to unleash a rhetorical “I told ya so” pimp smack. Whether it’s in the form of the Punch Out!! box score haymaker on your boss or merely to prove that Excel cheat-sheet creation isn’t a colossal waste of time to your significant other, finding an undervalued piece to your web-hosted gridiron puzzle is paramount. In the brave new (social media-driven) world of fingertip sports data we all have the same sleepers. Admit it. Well alright, maybe not Mary Kate and Ashley identical, but pretty damn close. I mean Tomlin and Omar Epps close. That’s why I like to employ the “six degrees of sleepers” theorem in the fantasy athletics stratosphere.
Now, this isn’t a Kevin Bacon movie we all grimace through, but rather a notion that fantasy heads gather similar sleepers. With that in mind, we should acknowledge the popularity of sleeper picks and apply a “sleep-ability” index. Meaning, I’ll lay out the “six degrees of sleepers” index (6 different tiers) to label some potentially undervalued defensive playmakers by AWAKENESS (CAPS for emphasis). The list goes from the popular sleeper crowd to the enchanted forest smoke-in-your-eyes Rip Van Winkle guys. The opportunity for instant success decreases as the numbers decrease. Think “Let It Be” compared to “Happiness is a Warm Gun” on a Beatles obscurity meter. Shall we…
He stands alone as the perpetually alert bad-ass with lofty draft assets to protect and a kingpin pedigree.
- 10. Mario Williams (HOU – DL/LB) – The emperor of prospects is back with new clothes. The new gear he sports is classified as playing outside linebacker with lineman eligibility. Remember what Elvis Dumervil did with this wardrobe? To paraphrase Jason Phillips: “…eff’d the game up for real, like in the World Series, kid that parachuted down on the field..”. Williams’ is the anti-sleeper (the insomniac).
“Bartender, 5 Hour Energy. Make it a double.”
Many sets of eyes are on this power lifting upside-heavy, motor-boating, space cowboy talent pool. Below are a couple of players who are wildly excited to get a whack at the household name piñata.
- 9. Earl Thomas (SEA – DB) – Earl’s wheels make him seem like two players playing simultaneously, thus validating the 12th man mantra in the great Pacific Northwest’s defense. Additionally, I’ll venture a guess that the 12th man defensive cavalry will be working a few extra shifts this season (**whispers** it’s a QB league).
- 8. Rolando McClain (OAK – LB) – Nine; that’s the highest tackle total McClain garnered in ’10. If you haven’t read the farmer’s almanac in awhile it’s actually 2011. If I was a wagering fellow I’d throw a few chips on McClain to almost live up to the shiny, opening-game-helmet-glisten he sported coming out of ‘Bama.
Coffee and Cigarettes
The old and tired methods that keep us bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Strange thought, as these substances are known to stain. If the two combatants below stay healthy you have yourself a starting ‘backer! Pour yourself a 100% Columbian cup, borrow a Merit Ultra from your Grandma, and call it a night.
- 7. D’Qwell Jackson (CLE – LB) – Remember when I said in installment 1 the Browns lacked an elite linebacker? Yea, that could go down the drain like K-Fed’s rap career if Jackson laces them up consistently. Risky, he is Yoda, but tackles he will make when on the field (154 total tackles when healthy in 2009).
- 6. Stewart Bradley (ARI – LB) – Paris Lenon is challenging this guy for the starting Middle Linebacker spot, so you have that hook to hang your over-sized cowboy hat on. Bradley is risky. Although, in the middle of a birds’ defense that yielded essentially 150 ground yards a game last year he isn’t exactly a 90-day Alaskan back-packing excursion risk either.
Delayed Red-Eye Flights
In this tier you smell like an airport bar/fryolator and it’s about time to jump on an 8 hour flight. No name value here yet, although the hype will start to swarm this three-piece outfit. When Football Outsiders speaks, people listen.
- 5. Jamar Chaney (PHI – LB) – Should start at the inside linebacker spot on the “Dream Team”. Funny, never really heard much of this guy before and I’m pretty certain I heard about guys like Michael Jordan and John Stockton when they played on a “Dream Team”. I apologize for that tongue-in-cheek passive aggressiveness. This Philly Chaney is worth a pick, while this Philly Chaney is worth a watch.
- 4. Lardarius Webb (BAL – DB) – QBs will probably test Webb. That’s a good thing in the bass-ackwards world of IDP. Oh, Webb is pretty fast and is also the punt returner. Pin playmaking potential on this pick.
- 3. Morgan Burnett (GB – DB) – 4; the total number of NFL games Burnett has played. 20th; the round I’m looking to snag him in. $1; the price you can get him for in an auction drafting format. Only one of those numbers will be true by September 10th.
Cosmo Kramer’s Mental Alarm Clock
That free-falling feeling is starting to kick in, which abruptly concludes your game of two-hand touch football with the female cast members from Entourage on a remote beach. That was fun, but the show goes on Lupe. Kramer never fully trusted an alarm-clock, which speaks to the uneven trust we can have in my man from this 5th of 6 sleeper tiers. He needs an injury to get consistent snaps, but proved he can push the pocket.
- 2. Evander “Ziggy” Hood (PIT – DL) – To use the ideology of two famous rapper personalities, Hood “balls” so hard people want to fine him. That’s expletive crazy. Ziggy recorded 2 big sacks while filing in Aaron Smith in the ’11 playoffs displaying good burst and a high motor against 300-plus pound opposition with beards.
Back to that beach touch football dream, wait, you just feel asleep in your own dream. This level gets heavy. People know about it but are afraid to go there. Playing time concerns are evident, however JPP is a raw unpolished version of the anti-sleeper occupying spot 10.
- 1. Jason Pierre-Paul (NYG – DL) –One thing we know, this dude can flip the script. If he sneaks into the lineup due to injury don’t hesitate to snatch him up like that pull through parking spot at Home Depot.
Peace out installment 2. Cheat-sheet release could be in store for the next rodeo. Keep on trucking.