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Sleepers who gave us a nasty wake-up call

WE ALL chase sleepers in the summertime. We all want to stun everyone at the draft inside by pulling out an oyster with a pearl. Sometimes the pearl is shiny. Sometimes it's slimy.

WE ALL chase sleepers in the summertime. We all want to stun everyone at the draft inside by pulling out an oyster with a pearl. Sometimes the pearl is shiny. Sometimes it's slimy.

In our preview section in August, the Daily News fantasy staff pegged a sleeper for each of the 32 teams. In the name of accountability and transparency, here's a look back:

Arizona, Ryan Williams, RB: The thought was that he would come back strong after missing 2011 with a knee injury. He came back all right. Played five games and then went down with a shoulder injury. Grade: F

Atlanta, Jacquizz Rodgers, RB: A better NFL weapon than fantasy. Grade: D

Baltimore, Torrey Smith, WR: Had one huge game (127 yards, two TDs), but has been too inconsistent. Grade: C

Buffalo, Stevie Johnson, WR: Has come on lately as a WR3. Grade: C

Carolina, Greg Olsen, TE: Having his best season in 4 years. Grade: B

Chicago, Brandon Marshall, WR: Was traded from Miami in the offseason after yet another off-field incident. Leads the league in receptions and is third in touchdowns. Grade: A

Cincinnati, Jermaine Gresham, TE: Mediocrity, thy name is Jermaine. Grade: D

Cleveland, Josh Gordon, WR: The rookie is the Browns' leading receiver. Grade: B+

Dallas, Tony Romo, QB: Has been mostly good over the last month. Grade: C+

Denver, Eric Decker, WR: Has scored nine touchdowns, which is excellent for a WR3. Grade: B

Detroit, Titus Young, WR: Swing and a miss. Grade: F

Green Bay, Cedric Benson, RB: Showed some flashes, but got hurt in Week 5 and was done for the season. Grade: D-

Houston, Garrett Graham, TE: As long as Owen Daniels is there, Graham is not fantasy material. Grade: F

Indianapolis, Austin Collie, WR: One game. One catch. One ruptured patella. Grade: F-

Jacksonville, Rashad Jennings, RB: The thought was that an extended holdout would make Maurice Jones-Drew susceptible to injury. It did, but Jennings was still a mutt. Grade: F

Kansas City, Peyton Hillis, RB: Thought he was going to be a goal-line vulture. Instead, he was a draft-pick vulture. Grade: F

Miami, Davone Bess, WR: Brian Hartline was only marginally better. Grade C

Minnesota, Percy Harvin, WR: Was a midlevel WR1 until he got hurt in Week 9. Grade: B

New England, Aaron Hernandez, TE: Stevan Ridley would have been a better choice. Grade: C+

New Orleans, Lance Moore, WR: Had a few strong games, but wasn't real reliable. Grade: C

N.Y. Giants, Martellus Bennett, TE: Started with touchdowns in first three games and then . . . splat. Grade: D

N.Y. Jets, Dustin Keller, TE: At least we didn't recommend Tim Tebow. Grade: F.

Oakland, Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR: The ghost of Al Davis still haunts fantasy owners. Grade: F

Eagles, Nick Foles, QB: Kickers weren't eligible, so no Alex Henery. Grade: C

Pittsburgh, Jonathan Dwyer, RB: At least we advised against Rashard Mendenhall. Grade: C-

San Diego, Robert Meachem, WR: Slob. Danario Alexander has done more in eight games than Meachem has all season. Grade: D

Seattle, Robert Turbin, RB: He was recommended only as a handcuff to Marshawn Lynch. Still is. Grade: C

St. Louis, Danny Amendola, WR: Shame he's missed five games and most of two others. Grade: B

Tampa Bay, Mike Williams, WR: Five TDs, but Vincent Jackson would have been a better choice. Grade: C+

Tennessee, Kenny Britt, WR: Finally had a strong game in Week 14 (eight catches, 143 yards). Too late. Grade: D

Washington, Alfred Morris, RB: Best rookie running back in football. Grade: A


Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano said Doug Martin will continue to be the team's primary back even though he's struggled in three of the last four games. Martin is a flex/low-end RB2 this week against the Rams . . . Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (finger) is practicing this week and should be in fantasy lineups this week against a Saints defense that gives up 287 passing yards per game. Only Tampa Bay (310.6) is worse . . . Teammate Jason Witten needs six catches to break Tony Gonzalez' tight end record of 102 set in 2004. Gonzo had seven touchdowns that season. Witten has just two.

Looking ahead

Ten sleepers on the radar for 2013: Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs; Vincent Brown, WR, Chargers; Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers; Daryl Richardson, RB, Rams; Cecil Shorts, WR, Jaguars; Rod Streater, WR, Raiders; Daniel Thomas, RB, Dolphins; David Wilson, RB, Giants; Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks; Kendall Wright, WR, Titans

Chasing 2,105

A look at Adrian Peterson's pursuit of Eric Dickerson's NFL single-season record of 2,105 rushing yards set in 1984:

Through 14 games

Peterson: 289 attempts, 1,812 yards, 6.3 yards per attempt, 129.4 yards per game, 11 touchdowns

Dickerson: 326 attempts, 1,792 yards, 5.5 yards per attempt, 128.0 yards per game, 11 touchdowns

Through 16 games

Peterson (projected): 330 attempts, 2,071 ards, 6.3 yards per attempt, 129.4 yards per game, 13 touchdowns.

Dickerson: 379 attempts, 2,105 yards, 5.6 yards per attempt, 131.6 yards per game, 14 touchdowns

Peterson's final two games

Week 15: at Houston, ranked 5th vs. run, allows 93.2 yard per game; most yards allowed to a running back: Chris Johnson, Ten., Week 4, 141 yards

Week 16: vs. Green Bay, ranked 14th vs. run, allows 114.3 yards pergame; Adrian Peterson, Min., Week 13, 210 yards

From the chat

Q: Pick two - BJGE, Ballard, Beanie or P. Thomas? Also, if Jordy plays, pick three - L. Moore, Jordy, Wayne, Garcon?

A: Lawfirm is the best of the RB options. I'd go with Ballard second. Wayne slightly ahead of Garcon, though I think you're playing both. Jordy scares me.

Q: Andy Dalton vs. Pittsburgh or Sam Bradford vs. Tampa Bay? Dalton was a nice surprise, but has tailed off recently. Bradford has come on huge the past couple weeks and is facing an awful D.

A: I'm with you and would play Bradford. Dalton's trip to Pittsburgh feels like a 14-10 game.


Look for the fantasy chat with Ed Barkowitz and producer Matt Mullin each Thursday at noon. For a full transcript of this week's chat, visit Ed Barkowitz, who has never seen a one-horse open sleigh, much less ridden in one, has been writing about fantasy football since 2001. Contact him at or visit