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Fantasy Football Sleepers: Ryan Torain, Santana Moss Could Be Productive This Year

Getting ready for your fantasy football draft? So are we. Here’s a look at what Redskins players could emerge as fantasy sleepers this season.

Teams like the Washington Redskins aren't usually very popular among fantasy football owners.

They have a controversy at the quarterback position between two career journeymen. Once settled, the winner of the quarterback competition will be a player who is expected to "manage the game" rather than a fantasy star.

They also have a crowded backfield of running backs that includes one proven stud who can't remain healthy, and one noted touchdown vulture who may or may not be getting a lot of playing time.

But none of that means that there aren't any fantasy football sleepers lurking on the Redskins' roster.

I participated in three fantasy football mock drafts this weekend, and discovered that several Redskins players have been dropping further than they should in fantasy drafts. Let's go through each position to see if there are any fantasy sleepers on the Redskins' roster.


Rex Grossman wasn't picked in any of the three 10-team mock drafts, and for good reason. Although going 19-for-26 for 207 yards and an eight-yard touchdown pass in the Redskins' first preseason game was a promising start, Grossman will have to first solidify himself as the starter ahead of John Beck, and then prove himself on Sundays before he's considered a decent fantasy option, even as a backup. But keep your eye on Grossman later in the year. He could turn into a good bye week replacement depending on Washington's matchup. But if the totally unproven Beck beats out Grossman for the job, all bets are off.

Other fantasy football sleeper quarterbacks: Matthew Stafford, Matt Cassel, Kyle Orton

Running Back

Ryan Torain averaged over 12 fantasy points per game in 2010 using Yahoo! public league statistics, and will be the unquestioned No. 1 running back for the Redskins this fall, and yet he's the 38th ranked running back on Yahoo!, and was chosen in only one out of the three mock drafts. Questions about his health will persist and will keep him away from the top of your draft board, but Torain is underrated and will put up big numbers for the Redskins when healthy. That's the very definition of a sleeper. You should be taking him ahead of players who aren't the top choice for their teams, such as Michael Bush and Jonathan Stewart.

While fellow Redskins running back Tim Hightower could turn into a decent fantasy option, he isn't worthy of a draft choice unless Torain suffers further injuries.

Other fantasy football sleeper running backs: Marshawn Lynch, Ryan Grant, C.J. Spiller

Wide Receiver

Santana Moss is the only Redskins player who was selected in all three of the mock drafts. He’s ranked as the 77th overall player on Yahoo!, and was taken 81st on average in the three mock drafts. Moss put up bigger numbers last year than several players ranked ahead of him, therefore leading us to believe that he may be a bit underrated, but not necessarily to the point where anyone would consider him a sleeper. Why is Moss underrated? I can only assume that the so-called experts are unsure that Moss can continue his productivity with the Redskins’ unsettled quarterback competition. But as D.C. sports fans, we have a slight leg up on the experts because we know something that they might not yet have realized – that Donovan McNabb kind of sucked last year. Whether Grossman or Beck is the starter in Washington, the quarterback position has not been downgraded significantly, and Moss will still be the team’s top target. I would therefore recommend taking Moss ahead of some other secondary receivers who are less consistent for their respective teams, like Mario Manningham and Austin Collie.

Fellow Redskins receivers Anthony Armstrong and Jabar Gaffney are rated much lower on draft boards, and probably aren’t worth taking even in the late rounds. Although one errant fool did take Armstrong in one of the mock drafts (an overly optimistic Redskins fan, no doubt), neither are likely to emerge as sleepers this season.

Other sleeper wide receivers: Mike Thomas, Jacoby Ford, Steve Breaston, Derrick Mason

Tight End

Chris Cooley is rated 13th among tight ends, which seems a bit low considering he had the seventh highest fantasy point total among tight ends in 2010. We’ll be keeping our eyes on Cooley throughout the remainder of the preseason to see if he can gain back his fitness as he continues to recover from a knee injury. If Cooley is 100%, he’s a starting quality fantasy tight end, and might be a good choice as a sleeper.

Other sleeper tight ends: Rob Gronkowski, Marcedes Lewis