This is NOT A TOP TEN List. I've seen some of those "Top Ten Lists" and I'm not all that impressed. Do you really need 10 sleepers? I'd sure hope not. Do a Google search for "Fantasy Football Top Ten Sleepers" for any position/ year and you'll find lists that are full of players you ever even heard of. You will find a few guys who correctly picked out guys like Arian Foster in 2010 and Chris Johnson in 2008 (me), but getting one or two guys right on a ten player list hardly seems accurate.
To give you a little history about me, back in 2008, I had a lousy FFL draft. I went with a QB the first round Tom Brady, but I failed to pick up a solid stock of running backs, so I started looking at some of starters who were coming off injuries from the previous year, as well as guys who weren't known to take care of themselves during the off season. Before the first week of the season, I was able to pick up Chris Johnson, Ray Rice and Steve Slaton. Johnson ran for over 1,200 yards and Slaton almost 1,300, with both of them running in 9 TDs. Rice ended up having less than 500 yards rushing in 2008, but he's turned out to be one of the games elite backs anyway.
In 2009, I was again looking for another solid RB about 4 weeks into the season. Like the rest of the football world, I was watching the Miami Dolphins work their "Wildcat Offense." This was the big craze back then. While Ronnie Brown was making all the highlight films throwing the ball, I noticed that Ricky Williams was having a solid year as well. 1,100 yards and 10 TDs later, it was the best season Ricky had since 2003.
In 2010, I was my sleeper was Bucs RB, LeGarrette Blount. I didn't pick him up until week seven of the 2010 NFL season, when Blount ran for 72 yards on 11 carries, but the first time I saw this 250 lbs human being literally hurdle another professional football player, I knew that this guy was determined to make it in the NFL, so I immediately picked him up. 1,000 yards and 5 TDs later, I'd say it paid off.
**Important note about sleepers: It does not matter what time of the year you pick them up, the ONLY THING THAT MATTERS is that you pick them up before anyone else in you league does.**
In no particular order, here are the players I'm watching in 2011:
James Starks - Green Bay Packers RB - He didn't do much at all during the 2010 regular season, but he was the Pack's main guy during the 2010 NFL playoffs and Super Bowl XLV.
Kellen Winslow - Tampa Bay Bucs TE - He's been around a while and has a tremendous amount of ability. Every year, it seems like people are looking for his production to drop off, but he always puts up decent numbers. What makes him a sleeper is the emergence of Josh Freeman who could put up MVP-like numbers this year, which means Winslow could have a big year as well.
Plaxico Burress - New York Jets WR - After two years out of pro-football, Plax is back in New York on a Super Bowl contending team. I know he's 34, but he's also had two years to let his body heal from the beatings he took every sunday. He won't lead the NFL in receiving, but he's a veteran guy who Sanchez will be looking for, especially towards the end of the season. If he stays healthy, I expect Burress to pull in 800 yards with 5 TDs. Watch out for him early though. If he is a FA in your league and he has a 100 yard game in either of the first two weeks, he won't be an FA very long.
Kevin Kolb - Arizona Cardinals QB - He's the starting QB for a team that features one of the games best WR, Larry Fitzgerald. What else do you need?
Chris "Beanie" Wells - Arizona Cardinals RB - In 2009, he had solid rookie season, while sharing duties with Tim Hightower, but his production slumped a bit in 2010. He's been getting plenty of touches this pre-season. It looks like he's the guy the Cardinals will be leaning on to get them back to the top of their division.