Are there such things as sleepers any more in fantasy football? There’s more access today to information on NFL teams’ rosters than there’s probably ever been. And it’s not just coming from teams on their respective websites.

Are there such things as sleepers any more in fantasy football?

There’s more access today to information on NFL teams’ rosters than there’s probably ever been. And it’s not just coming from teams on their respective websites.

Newspaper, TV and radio reporters from small to large publications are all over the Net, especially on social networks Facebook and Twitter.

There’s a reason why I have my Twitter handle in the tagline. One, it helps generate more page views on my newspaper, The Journal-Standard, and several GateHouse publications when I tweet a link to the fantasy column. Two, and this is important, I follow as many fantasy football experts, observers, writers, bloggers and just fans of the fake sport as possible because you can never have too much knowledge at your disposal.

So everyone’s favorite sleeper, in essence, has already been talked about in likely 140 characters or less by potentially thousands of writers on in hyperlinks to someone’s website describing a list of “sleepers.”

Some of us fantasy nerds talk about players without a link at all. We just like tweeting stuff about players because, hey, it’s kind of a hobby.

These players technically aren’t sleepers unless you choose to ignore the info in front of you. But it’s a buzz word that works.

I bet any clicks this column receives has something with the term “sleeper” because all fantasy players are looking for that edge.

Trust me, I’m far from knocking anyone’s hustle, but if you’re astutely following the NFL by watching games, reading the news about players and player movement, you should know about many players under the radar.

Now if you simply don’t have the time for all that, then yes, the sleeper tag serves its purpose — to bring attention to a certain player that could have a big year and bringing page views and reader/viewer interest to the story no matter the format.

Personally, some of my “sleepers” week-to-week depend on matchups, what’s been read or seen. There’s no exact science and occasionally I go off the reservation for a deep sleeper.

But are there sleepers any more in fantasy football? Like the success rate of said players, it depends on a ton of variables.

Unofficial depth charts

Teams can make figuring out potential sleepers either a pain to target or direct you to a plain view of who’s next in line to, at the very least, start.

For example, former Arizona Cardinals pass-catching standout — and a Beanie Wells owner headache — Tim Hightower is currently listed as the No. 1 running back for the Washington Redskins.

Hightower was formidable in PPR leagues in 2009 and at times looked like a starting running back last year. He was just maddeningly inconsistent.

Truth is, I have no idea if Hightower is a starting back in this league, but he’d be a potential sleeper for the season because in that crowded backfield (Ryan Torain, Keiland Williams, Roy Helu all could still end up being the starter by the opener) he’s apparently ahead of the pack.

Just be careful. There’s a reason why the unofficial depth charts are just that. They fluctuate as preseason progresses.

More drafting tips

It’s best you know all the rules to your league. ESPN’s standard league, for example, is different from Yahoo’s and it can completely alter how you draft in mock drafts and in your eventual league draft.

ESPN has two slots for running backs, two for wide receivers and what’s called a “flex” option for either a running back or wideout.

Yahoo has two backs and three receiver spots with no flex. Receivers, as you can probably imagine, will be taken a lot sooner as a result and running backs’ value isn’t quite as high, though still a needed commodity.

About now, you’ve probably received at least one invite to a league. Don’t skim over the scoring format. If quarterbacks are credited for six points on TD passes instead of the standard four points, that could mean you should draft a top-tier QB much, much sooner than in the top five rounds.

But if QBs are also penalized more or less than two points for INTs, sacks taken, or fumbles, that should also be taken into consideration before your draft day.

And those scoring formats aren’t just limited to QBs. Running backs, receivers, even kickers all have different bonuses and penalties that fantasy GMs can tweak.

Don’t let those changes slip past you on draft day.

The Purple Drank list — Top six busts of 2011

Truth be told, this isn’t so much a Purple Drank list, as it’s about certain players that I’d avoid on draft day. Why? Either their draft pick status is too high or I think they’re overrated according to projections.

This week, I’m going with the same format I use regularly during the NFL season for the Pick Six Weekly column. I’ll pick six players total I think will be busts in 2011.

Feel free to disagree, comment or laugh at my picks if you may.

QB: Kyle Orton (DEN)
RB: Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC), Peyton Hillis (CLE) (it begins again), Ryan Mathews (SD)
WR: Brandon Lloyd (DEN), Mike Williams (TB) (Blame Michael Clayton for this one)

Joey Baskerville writes his fantasy football column every Wednesday. He can be reached at or @jmark79 on Twitter.