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Fantasy Football Sleeper Strategy

Fantasy Football Sleeper Strategy
by Staff

Fantasy football sleepers are the key to winning any weekly NFL fantasy league. At a site like Draftstreet, you have a $100,000 salary cap to use to fill up a 10 player roster consisting of the following positions: QB, QB, RB, RB, FLEX, FLEX, WR, WR, TE, DST.

Once you do the math, it's very easy to see that you have an average of $10,000 to spend on each spot.

Many newbies to weekly fantasy football instantly insert the top 5 "big names" and quickly realize that they've run out of money with 4 roster spots left to fill!

Then they delete a big name or two, scour the cheapest salaried players on the list and fill their roster. After looking over their roster a few times, they quickly realize that this isn't going to work either. Hence the need for some sleepers!

Now let's look at the correct way to build a winning weekly fantasy football team.

The proper way to start building a team is to forget about the big names with the fat salaries and start looking at modestly priced players who have high upside. How is a guy supposed to identify a good sleeper? It's going to take a bit of homework but it's really not that difficult. Let's take a look at a few variables that will help you identify a potential sleeper:

1. A player on a bad team who is playing a team with a really bad defense. Often times, offensive players on low scoring teams get absolutely no respect and are overlooked. This "lack of demand" creates pricing value. It's not at all uncommon to see a running back on a bad team be priced at around 7k. If that RB is playing a team who can't stop the run, you've got a LIVE sleeper on your hands! In 2011, Beanie Wells was a perfect example of such a player. While Wells nor the Cardinals were great, he went up against some swiss cheese defenses and had an absolute field day. Most GPP and salary cap winners that week all had Chris Wells on their team.

Being able to insert an effective 7K running back into your lineup for the week is a huge advantage because RB's are generally one of the most expensive positions in fantasy football (along with QB's).

2. Second and third option players on teams with great offenses. Teams with high flying dynamic offenses are going to score a lot of points. These touchdowns don't all go to the star players. In fact, many go to 2nd and 3rd options because defenses will put double coverage on a good WR or assign an extra LB on a RB threat. If I asked you to tell me the first names that come to mind when I said "2011 New England Patriots" you'd instantly tell me Tom Brady, Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski. But did you know that Aaron Hernandez had 7 touchdowns? He was priced nicely all season long and astute weekly fantasy players cleaned up with him.

Better yet, if I asked you about the 2011 Dallas Cowboys, you'd probably say DeMarco Murray, Jason Witten, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. Ironically, little known Laurent Robinson beat them all with 11 touchdowns! He was priced SUPER cheap and it took weeks before people caught on. Again, most winning salary cap/GPP teams had Robinson and laughed all the way to the bank in doing so.

3. A starter is out with an injury so you pick his backup. Let me tell you a little secret. The difference between an NFL starter and his backup is VERY small. Most NFL running backs are beneficiaries of their team's system/gameplan. Let's use 2012 as an example: Let's say Falcons RB Michael Turner, a guy that's probably going to be priced at around 13,000 on any given week, goes down with an injury. This opens up an opportunity for speedy backup Jacquizz Rodgers, who will likely be priced at 7-9K. This is a huge sleeper opportunity, especially since Rodgers is a guy with huge upside who is just chomping at the bit to get his opportunity to show what he can do if given the chance to carry the rock 20x. Another example would be in 2011 when Bears RB Matt Forte went down. Kahlil Bell came in as a 3 or 4K player and did really well. Jump on these opportunities when you see them! Just make sure that the backup isn't going to be in a platoon situation or giving up goalline carries to a vulture back.

These are just a few tips and strategies that you can employ when hunting for fantasy NFL sleepers. Got some ideas of your own that you'd like to share? Please share them in our Fantasy Sports Forums! Good luck with your salary cap leagues and guaranteed prize pool tournaments!

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