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Fantasy Fix: Awaken The Sleepers

I feel like I've done pretty well in the past with fantasy football sleeper picks, choosing guys like Darren Sproles, Johnny Knox and Rashard Mendenhall before they blew up on the general radar. This year, I'm having some trouble finding those diamonds in the rough.

Maybe it's because there's so much fantasy football intelligence out there that few stones remain unturned.

Everyone, for example, seems to know that Houston running back Arian Foster is the next unheralded player soon to be the next big thing. While having lunch at Small Bar on Division Street recently, a guy at the next table saw me and a friend studying our fantasy player rankings, leaned over and said, "Two words, guys: Arian Foster."

But Foster went in the second round in a recent draft I participated in; that's no sleeper pick.

Here, then, are my bona fide sleeper picks at key positions:

QB: Derek Anderson, Arizona.

I think he'll beat out Matt Leinart to become the starter, and despite the departure of Anquan Boldin, he still has Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston and Early Doucet to work with. He went from great to terrible in Cleveland, but I feel like he's somewhere in between.

RB: Jahvid Best, Detroit.

The rookie is not getting the notice of Ryan Mathews or C.J. Spiller, but he should be an important weapon in the budding Lions offense, both running and catching the ball. Beanie Wells of the Cardinals was a close runner up.

WR: Devin Aromashodu, Chicago.

He may not seem like a sleeper, but outside of Chicago, I don't think many people are aware of what he can do. While the Bears' offense has looked terrible in pre-season, I think he'll be Jay Cutler's emergency receiver - and Cutler may end up in a lot of emergencies.

TE: Dustin Keller, NY Jets.

Might have made a lot of sleeper lists last year. He probably won't be picked in many drafts, but 522 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns last season, plus increasing attention from QB mark Sanchez this pre-season suggest his stock is rising.

Expert Wire
* First Down has everything you need to know about Arian Foster - if you somehow haven't heard it all by now.

* Bleacher Report has its own list of sleepers, starting with Matt Moore, the new starting QB for Carolina.

* FanHouse looks at wannabe sleeper Kareem Huggins, who may benefit from RB Derrick Ward being cut in Tampa.

* SB Nation makes the case for Detroit's Calvin Johnson finishing as the top fantasy WR this year.

Manny Ball
It looks like the Sept. 1 waiver trade deadline will pass without much fantasy relevance. There have been a number of deals the last few days, but mostly involving insignificant names - oh, except for the Manny Ramirez deal.

Despite a fairly lame, injury-shortened season (though he still is hitting above .300), Ramirez, like practically any hitter, stands to gain from hitting American League pitching and playing home games at U.S. Cellular Field.

My prediction for his performance the final month of the season: .325 batting average, 6 HRs, 20 RBIs.


Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. He welcomes your comments. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at SwingsBothWays, which isn't about what it sounds like It's about.

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