Top Five Sleeper Picks 2008

For a moment, forget about the drama surrounding real life NFL teams. With Anquan Boldin threatening to leave Arizona, times have become increasingly troublesome. Fortunately, there is a beacon on the horizon. Fantasy Football is just around the corner and no matter how unhappy players are; they can never force a trade on a fantasy team. Here are the top five sleeper picks for 2008.

Building a solid fantasy squad is much easier said than done. As is often the case, hindsight bias rules. Does selecting Lawrence Maroney over Adrian Peterson in last year's draft sound familiar? If so, here are a few sleeper picks that should help increase production without wasting a valuable high draft pick.

1. Matt Forte-RB Chicago Bears

With Cedric Benson out of the way and questions at quarterback Forte has the chance to carry the load of the offense. While the battle of who is less inept rages on between Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton, expect Lovie Smith to hang his head and call run plays all season. This rookie could end up being a quality number two back by season's end.

2.Santonio Holmes-WR Pittsburgh Steelers

Holmes is poised for another solid season entering his third year in the league. After coming up just shy of 1,000 yards in 2007, Holmes should easily surpass that mark in 2008. Hines Ward is on the downside of his career and Holmes is the future in Pittsburg. Last season he led all NFL receivers in yards per catch with 18.1.

3.Michael Turner-RB Atlanta Falcons

"The Burner" Turner has tantalized fantasy owners as a potential behemoth if Ladainian Tomlinson ever went down. With a gaudy career rushing average of 5.5, Turner finally gets the keys to Dad's car in Atlanta. While the anemic offensive he inherits could potentially derail his production, Turner is too good for defenses to shut him down consistently. Expect a little over 1,000 yards rushing and a healthy dose of touchdowns.

4. Kevin Smith-RB Detroit Lions

Detroit is blessed with quality receivers in Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams. Jon Kitna is a capable quarterback and Tatum Bell does not exactly strike fear in opposing defenders. All of this points to a quality fantasy season from the Lions' rookie. As the offense spreads the field that should create running lanes for Smith all season. Although Smith is not worthy of consideration until deep into the draft, his current situation could make him a quality third or fourth running back.

5. Matt Leinart-QB Arizona Cardinals

Last year Leinart was a trendy sleeper pick before the season started. Two touchdowns later, he had reached his maximum output and owners who had counted on him were left scrambling the waiver wire for the likes of Jason Campbell and Cleo Lemon. This season it is bound to be different. Leinart is armed with an arsenal of weapons and a newfound commitment to preparation. If Leinart can remain healthy, the potential for a 20-25 touchdown season is within reach.

Quality picks late in the draft are the cornerstone to a fantasy team being able to weather injuries and disappointing seasons from players. It does not take a genius to select LaDainian Tomlinson, Randy Moss, or Tom Brady. What does take intelligence is the ability to build a unit of valuable talent from top to bottom.

As fantasy drafts around the country commence, all participants will be searching for that undervalued superstar in the making. When the later rounds start rolling, don't hesitate to take a flyer on one of these five players. Sleepers are one of the most important aspects of fantasy football and this season is ripe with hidden talent.

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