The average draft position (ADP) value of each player is taken from the Fantasy Football Calculator website: http://fantasyfootballcalculator.com/adp_ppr.php?year=2012&teams=12
Players selected are based on a points per reception (PPR) format. Players are listed in no particular order or ranking.
The quarterback position is the deepest position in fantasy football (assuming you are only required to start one in your league). I eliminated the top 12 picks on the board. This means you could realistically take any of these players after every owner in your league has already drafted his starter (12 team league).
1) Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh (ADP 105)
The steelers have the same group of receivers returning in M Wallace, A Brown, and E Sanders. They invested in their offensive line by drafting a guard in the first and a tackle in the second. They re-signed OT Starks to compete for a starting spot and/or depth. Additionally, their running game could be a disaster this year. Mendenhall went out last season with a torn ACL and reports suggest he might not return until week 6-8. How he looks upon returning is anyone's guess. Their backup, Redman, put up solid numbers as a fill in, but the slow prodding RB is already dinged up in camp.
2) Josh Freeman Tampa Bay (ADP 129)
Last season, Freeman's numbers plummeted from his 2010 campaign. I'm sure many owners regret selecting him and were burned as a result. This year is different. Tampa Bay brought in potentially the best guard in the league in Nicks to anchor the line. They added a true number one wideout in V Jackson. They spent their first round pick on the pass catching D Martin at running back. Freeman will also get yards on the ground as a rusher.
3) Carson Palmer Oakland (ADP 124)
Palmer was somewhat thrown to the wolves last season. After a midseason trade, his first start came in week 7. He started off terribly throwing six INTs in his first two starts. However, he finished very well averaging 317 yards/game over his final four games. With a full training camp and preseason, he will not face the same uphill battle this year. Add to that his young but talented WR corps, and you've got a QB that's going to surprise.
This year's group of running backs is the leanest it's been in a decade. I eliminated the top 24 RBs off the board, so you're looking at what amounts to a RB3 in this list.
1) Ryan Williams Arizona (ADP 88)
B Wells is still technically the starter in AZ, but he has shown a penchant for injury. He did go over 1000 yards and had 11 total TDs last year. But, he's already banged up and we're not yet to preseason. Williams was selected in the 2nd round last year but was lost for the season w/o playing in a single game. Reports are glowing about him in training camp so far. If nothing else it's a situation to watch.
Ahmad Bradshaw begins the year as the starter. However, AB has only played 16 games once in his career. Additionally, he has seen his YPC drop every year for five years in a row. Wilson was selected in the first round this year for a reason. He will start a few games this season and will be fantasy gold when he does.
3) Donald Brown Indianapolis (ADP 67)
Brown has never lived up to his hype as a former first round selection. He's also had some injury concerns. However, with a rookie QB this year and little behind him on the depth chart, he will see plenty of action both as a rusher and a receiver.
The wideout position this year is one of the deepest in recent memory. As such, I have scratched the top 36 receivers off the board.
1) Darrious Heyward-Bey Oakland (ADP 118)
The former first rounder had a very poor first two seasons in the league. He has never had a 1000 yard season and has a total of six TDs over three years. But, lookout! After Palmer settled in, DHB caught on fire. Over the final four games of the 2011 season he averaged 6.5 catches and 108 yds/game. His counterpart, D Moore, is being drafted 26 picks earlier and has more attention. But, mark my words...DHB is the biggest sleeper in the league this year. Look for him to capitalize on his natural abilities. I see him as a WR1 this year that can be had for a wooden nickel.
2) Nate Washington Tennessee (ADP 125)
Nate very quietly put up 74/1023/7 last season. With Britt again facing all kinds of issues, he will be their go to WR for most if not all of the year. Wright was a nice addition for the team but won't have a significant impact fantasy wise this season. Again, NW could end up as a WR1 for your fantasy team. At worst, project him as a solid WR2.
3) Danny Amendola St Louis (ADP 166)
Talk about being overlooked! This guy is going in the 13th round (12 teams). Two years ago he caught 85 balls. He caught five balls in less than one full game before going out with injury. Fortunately, his elbow injury should have zero impact on him this year. He'll never be a TD machine, but look for him to flirt w/ a 90 catch season. Project him as a strong WR3.
TE is deep this year. If you don't end up with Graham or Gronk, I'd wait and take your starter later in the draft. I eliminated the top 12 TEs on the board.
Keller has improved both his receptions and yardage for three seasons in a row. He also hasn't missed a game in his career. With Holmes being the only real WR threat in NY, it wouldn't surpise me to see Keller become Sanchez's number one target this season.
2) Martellus Bennett NY Giants (ADP 188)
Bennett has played second fiddle to Witten his whole career. The Giants signed him in the offseason to be their number one TE. For those scoring at home, Eli threw for almost 5000 yards last year. Martellus will be the recipient of a number of balls and should be able to start for your fantasy squad.
3) Jared Cook Tennessee (ADP 137)
Cook has improved every year over his first three seasons in the league. Over his last four games played he caught 24 balls for 373 yards. As mentioned previously, Britt might not be around much this year. I expect Cook to finish the season with no less than 800 yards receiving.
In addition to commenting on these picks, be sure to add your own to the list. Tell me who is your favorite sleeper this year and why.