Deep Sleepers are players that are not drafted or rarely drafted. At least an average draft position (ADP) of 150 or greater qualifies for the deep sleeper list, with a couple exceptions as you will find below.
Andrew Luck is being drafted 45 spots after Robert Griffin III with an ADP of 125 and 20th quarterback off the board. In most 10 or 12 teams league only one quarterback starts, so he qualifies as a deep sleeper.
Sure the Colts stunk last year but they still have Austin Collie, Reggie Wayne, Donald Brown and Delone Carter. They also drafted Luck's college tight end teammate Coby Fleener. Meanwhile, Washington has very little to work with at the skill positions, especially wide receiver. RGIII gets drafted higher because he can run, but Luck will finish with more fantasy points and will be an every week starter by seasons end.
Whoever starts in Tennesse has some talent to work with. If Chirs Johnson plays like he gives a damn this season Matt Hasselback or Jake Locker will be worth owning for bye weeks at the very least and can be picked up off waivers/free agency.
This list is full of back-ups starting with Mikel Leshoure. There is a real possibility Jahvid Best won't make it through the season or worse be forced to retire because of repeated concussions. That opens the door for LeShoure.
Rashad Jennings has an ADP of 150 as of right now. That may steadily creep upwards the longer Maurice Jones-Drew holds out. Running back holdouts have notoriously played poorly or been injured, so Jennings is worth owning if you have the roster spot.
David Wilson is expected to back-up Ahmad Bradshaw who has foot issues. With Brandon Jacobs gone, he may get the opportunity to bust out in 2012.
Monatario Hardesty is probably facing a make or break season in Cleveland. Backing up Trent Richardson will make it difficult to get the playing time, but Richardson is an injury risk, like all the starters in front of this list of deep sleeper running backs.
Isiah Pead will assuredly get some starts in 2012 because Steven Jackson is certain to miss at least a game or two. The rookie is quick and runs downhill.
Robert Turbin has showed his talent this pre-season. With Marshawn Lynch always on the cusp of being suspended it seems, Turbin is a sneaky back-up to hold in 2012. I also don't expect Lynch to have the kind of career year he had in 2011.
Alshon Jeffrey has all the talent. If he stays out of trouble, then he is a prime deep sleeper candidate among wide receivers in round 15 or later.
Louis Murphy can, and should, win the number three job in Carolina. The former Oakland Raider burner fits in well at Carolina and will have every chance to make big plays. It isn't beyond the realm of possibility he winds up as the number two receiver for the Panthers in 2012.
Austin Collie's ceiling is directly related to the play of Andrew Luck and the Colts offense. Well that and avoiding concussions. The Colt offense is better than they showed last season and Collie will be the biggest beneficiary. If he isn't forced to retire because of concussion Collie has all the potential to be fantasy relevant.
The longer Mike Wallace holds out the more opportunity Emmanuel Sanders has. I expect Pittsburgh to throw a lot with Mendenhall out. Sanders is in prime position to capitalize, even after Wallace finally shows up.
Chris Givens is the burner St. Louis has been lacking in recent years. If Givens finds rhythm with Sam Bradford, and the offensive line can give him time, Givens can make a splash in 2012.
Jermaine Gresham has an ADP of 142 but that is close enough to make the list. I was just wondering what a beast he would be in New Orleans or New England. But alas he plays in Cincinnati. He has the talent, if the play calling starts to use that talent in a more effective way Gresham will rank among the best tight ends in the league.
Martellus Bennett is a physical freak, he has the size and athletic ability to be among the best. If the desire and maturity catch up, he has deep sleeper potential, plus the wide receiving corp in New York is very thin.
With Mike Martz out as Chicago offensive coordinator perhaps Kellen Davis can actually get some targets. Even so he probably won't be better then a fourth option, but the deep sleeper potential is there.
Greg Olsen no longer has Jeremy Shockey in Carolina to steal playing time away from him. Second year quarterbacks also tend to use the tight end more wisely then in their rookie years. So expect Cam Newton to look the tight ends way more often in 2012. In addition the receiving depth in Carolina is suspect.
Tony Moeaki missed all of 2011 with injury but was a Matt Cassel favorite in 2010. Besides the fact I like saying Moeaki, I like the deep sleeper potential. His value really boils down to how he is used in 2012. With Kansas City having Dwayne Bowe, Jon Baldwin. Peyton Hillis, Dexter McCluster, and Jamaal Charles is there enough room for Moeaki? The Chiefs Would be foolish to ignore the enormous talent that is Moeaki.
To see my current column on running backs go here: http://www.footballnation.com/content/2012-fantasy-football-running-back-sleepers-and-busts/15931/
Quarterbacks are here: http://www.footballnation.com/content/2012-fantasy-football-quarterbacks-sleepers-and-busts/15614/
Wide receivers can be found here: http://www.footballnation.com/content/2012-fantasy-football-sleepers-and-busts-wide-receivers/15671/