Every year at this time Rotoworld constructs a deep list of “sleepers” and “busts” for the Rotoworld Fantasy Football Draft Guide magazine. Below is a sample of the 50+ picks for undervalued, sleepers, overvalued, and busts that can already be found in the 2012 online Draft Guide, which will be live on July 5.
Michael Vick, Eagles, QB - Vick was in the discussion for the No. 1 overall fantasy pick at this time a year ago. Nothing has changed this year except the offensive line has solidified and both starting receivers are poised for bounce-back seasons. As evidenced by the trophies he almost single-handedly put on the mantle two years ago, Vick still has the highest ceiling in fantasy.
Current ADP: 4.04, 41st overall, QB6
Carson Palmer, Raiders, QB - Yards per attempt is arguably the most important statistic for a quarterback. Only Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Matt Schaub bested Palmer’s 8.4 figure with the Raiders last year. Palmer’s 275 yards per in 10 games last season project to 4,400 over a full schedule.
Current ADP: 11.04, 128th overall, QB16
Trent Richardson, Browns, RB - The local media and the Browns’ GM expect Richardson to be a workhorse right out of the gates. Widely viewed as the best back to enter the NFL since Adrian Peterson, Richardson is a candidate to lead the NFL in carries as a rookie. Forget about the lack of surrounding talent; Peyton Hillis finished as fantasy No. 2 back in a weaker offense two years ago.
Current ADP: 2.02, 14th overall, RB10
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers, RB - The Panthers boast three superstar offensive talents, but this one continues to fly under the radar. Only LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson, and Maurice Jones-Drew earned a higher running grade from Pro Football Focus, and Stewart forced more missed tackles in the passing game than any other NFL back. Stewart led the backfield in snaps and was more productive than DeAngelo Williams, but he’s still being drafted as Williams’ backup. Should Williams miss time, Stewart is a must-start RB1 option.
Current ADP: 8.04, 89th overall, RB36
Percy Harvin, Vikings, WR - From late November on, Harvin was utilized as a double-threat on the ground and through the air, turning back the clock to his Gator days as the most explosive player on the field. Harvin averaged 103.3 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on 11.3 touches per game from Weeks 10-17 while easily establishing career-highs in receptions (87), receiving yards (967), and rushing yards (345) in a 7th-place fantasy finish. With that workload, he’s essentially slump-proof in fantasy terms.
Current ADP: 5.02, 50th overall, WR20
Brandon Lloyd, Patriots, WR - Lloyd finished 25th in fantasy points, getting open at will, despite catching passes from A.J. Feeley and Kellen Clemens for half the season. The star of offseason practices, Lloyd has made a seamless transition in his former coordinator’s offense, establishing a rapport with Tom Brady. Lloyd should be a lock for double-digit scores as the outside threat Brady has craved since losing Randy Moss.
Current ADP: 5.05, 54th overall, WR21
Jake Locker, Titans, QB - Locker followed up an impressive preseason with a 99.4 passer rating, 8.2 YPA, 4:0 TD-to-INT ratio and dazzling rushing ability in three second-half relief appearances. If his obvious talent edge wins out over Matt Hasselbeck, the Titans have the young offensive playmakers to scorch opposing defenses this season.
Current ADP: Undrafted out of 24 QBs
Bernard Scott, Bengals, RB - Scott never seriously challenged Cedric Benson for carries, but he’s expected to be utilized in a committee attack with newly signed BenJarvus Green-Ellis. It won’t take long for the coaching staff to realize Scott offers far more explosiveness as a runner as well as a receiver. By mid-season, Scott should have the reins as the lead back.
Current ADP: Undrafted out of 58 RBs.
Kevin Smith, Lions, RB - An intriguing fantasy wildcard with two question marks in front of him in the Detroit backfield, Smith played as well as he ever has after signing in Week 10 last season. Versatile enough to play all three downs as long as his body holds up, Smith is an ideal roster stash as a RB3/4.
Current ADP: 12.10, 149th overall, RB53
Eric Decker, Broncos, WR - Decker ran more routes and caught more passes from Peyton Manning than any Denver receiver this offseason, quickly earning the veteran’s trust. Decker is a good route runner and an underrated athlete with size and special ball skills. Anointed by Kyle Orton as the “ideal” slot receiver last year, Decker is more talented than Manning’s former slot machines, Austin Collie and Brandon Stokley.
Current ADP: 6.06, 69th overall, WR28
Brian Hartline, Dolphins, WR - By default, Hartline is set to take over as the No. 1 receiver in Miami following the Brandon Marshall trade. A complementary receiver to date, Hartline is more athletic than commonly believed -- similar to Jordy Nelson, who broke out with Joe Philbin’s Packers in 2011.
Current ADP: Undrafted out of 63 WRs.