When it comes to making a hit movie or television show, there are plenty of factors that generate success and some that turn out to be quite surprising. With the advent of Twitter and other social avenues, something that has an immediate appeal rises quickly (think Pacific Rim), while something that has a built in audience can be sunk by the early responses shared everywhere (think The Lone Ranger). It’s not enough to have a couple of action stars like Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg in the film (Broken City…) Everything needs to break right, and early, for the show to make it or the movie to draw at the box office.
Every year, the fantasy football-playing champion wins the season or championship with a number of factors. Some of those are within the champ’s control, like managing bye weeks and drafting well, and some are not, injuries and getting hot at the right time. But every winning manager hits an appropriate blend of stable, established players and some under-the-radar breakout players that he or she values more than the other managers.
Here are a few of my breakout players for the 2013 series. Given that some of you are actually in leagues I play in, I’ll keep a few of them close to my vest if you don’t mind! Otherwise, I’d be singing those verses about “folding ’em” with Kenny Rogers soon then I’d like! For this post, I’ll consider a sleeper to be someone out of the top-75 players, not someone you’d expect to automatically be one of your starters due to ADP (average draft position).
My deep sleeper quarterback is Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers. He’s got a new offense, a new head coach, and it’s time for him to either make it or break it. Another possible candidate to be better-than-you-expect is Jay Cutler, given the development of his second-year wideout Alshon Jeffrey and the high volume throws to the sure-handed Brandon Marshall.
A pair of running backs in the late 70s, early 80s, Shane Vereen and Andre Brown, are listed as the backups on their teams’ depth charts but could move up given the starters’ (Steve Ridley and David Wilson) proficiency at putting the ball on the ground. Maybe they never start, but on a bye week, aren’t they the kind of upside running backs you’re looking for in the eighth or ninth rounds? (See also: Joseph Randle)
Cleveland’s Josh Gordon is suspended for the first two games of 2013, and he has a second-year quarterback chucking him the ball down the field. But he’s got the speed, and surprised enough to be taken in the supplemental draft. Could he be your WR3 with the ninetieth pick? Chris Givens of the St. Louis Rams has even better speed, a better quarterback, and may benefit from better protection for Sam Bradford AND playing on turf. Either one could be an absolute bust or a complete reward. (See also: Vincent Brown)
If I’m waiting late to draft a tight end, Martellus Bennett is the one I’m going for, as Marc Trestman wants Jay Cutler to chuck it all over the field. Seriously, Brandon Marshall can’t catch it every time Cutler throws it… can he? (See also: Jared Cook)
Finally, my sleeping DST could be the perfect instrument to give Givens plenty of times to play catch with Bradford. The St. Louis Rams defense has strengthened itself, and it wasn’t half-bad last year. The division is tough defensively, but on any given Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers offenses can self-destruct, helping the defense’s cause. (See also: Cincinnati Bengals)
Next week, my “do not draft” list…