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Summer Sleeper: Andre Roberts

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. You’ll be combing through sites all Summer long in search of unearthing that little known gem who eventually blows up into a bona fide star like Willie Parker or Marques Colston.  Every site out there is going to have a sleeper list this year with players they believe could be on the path of  a breakout.

For loyal readers of ours, they’re mostly garbage.

We know the people who use our site are professionals.  You don’t need us to give you names like Josh Freeman, Mike Thomas or Jimmy Graham.  You know those players already and they’re nicely stashed away in your league.  Most sites play it safe with their sleeper list in fear they could be wrong and lose credibility.

We don’t care about that.

Our job at DLF is to truly help with the creation of dynasty greatness and provide unique value, so the players we focus on are deep sleepers – players who aren’t in the mainstream as much and are viewed as much more obscure.  There’s no reason for us to have a copycat list that matches every other site out there in America.  Is that a strategy that’s much more risky?  Yes.

Again, we don’t care.

Over the years, we’ve built up a reputation as a site willing to put our necks out there and take chances.  We’ve been right and we’ve been wrong.  Both will happen again.  We stand by the fact we’ve been right much more often.

Our sleeper list continues with Andre Roberts of the Arizona Cardinals, as he joins Marcus Easley on our watch list this Summer.  Roberts is listed as a player with “rising value” in our Dynasty Essentials Guide, but based on what we’re seeing all over the country, the amazing lack of press he’s getting is likely pushing him back into the sleeper category.

Roberts was drafted by the Cardinals in the third round of last year’s draft after an up and down collegiate career at The Citadel.  Roberts posted 77 catches, 792 yards and seven scores as a Senior.  Those numbers aren’t awful, but paled in comparison to the 95 catches, 1,334 yards and 14 touchdowns he scored as a Junior.  The Cardinals drafted Roberts with the intent he could become a nice slot receiver since he showed such polish and refinement on his routes in College.

Turns out he could be much more.

After suffering through a miserable training camp that featured him being confused with the offense and dropping multiple easy passes, the Cardinals showed some faith in his ability and kept him on the team in 2010.  Unfortunately, a shoulder injury kept him from moving up the depth chart to pass players like Stephen Williams, Max Komar and Early Doucet early on.  He spent most of the year struggling to adapt to the NFL and making poor decisions returning punts.

The up and down season continued with some spotty performances until Christmas night. Roberts arrived with a five catch, 110 yard performance that included a 74 yard touchdown pass from John Skelton.  While one night certainly doesn’t make a career, all reports show Roberts has been building on that effort ever since.

Going into 2011, he is vying to become the Cardinals number two receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald.  Free agency is going to be huge for him since Steve Breaston’s exit could be the last domino to fall to give him an even greater opportunity.  Early Doucet and Stephen Williams are both squarely in the mix, but Doucet seems to get hurt more often than not and Williams blew a major opportunity with his playing time last season.

The Cardinals quarterback corps is also likely going to look much different in a month’s time.  With a trade for a veteran like Kevin Kolb or a free agent signing like Matt Hasselbeck or Donovan McNabb seemingly on the horizon, the Cardinals are destined to be much better throwing the ball next season.  After all, they couldn’t be much worse.

Roberts is a player you could likely land on the cheap as a free agent pickup or via trade from an owner who isn’t sold on his ability or situation.  While he may never ascend to be a star player, you just never know.

He has talent.  He has an opportunity.  He should have a quarterback.  That means you have a sleeper.

Ken Kelly
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Misift74
11 years ago

While Roberts does intrigue in part because of his situation that’s bound to improve at QB and one Larry Fitzgerald taking coverages away with him, I haven’t seen anything tangible to indicate Roberts will even make it in the NFL as a starting player – let alone a fantasy producer. History says many (if not most) 3rd-round receivers simply don’t make it happen. Roberts almost has to be an exception to the rule and a lot will have to fall in place for it to happen.

Depending on Breaston’s situation, playing-time could be even more of a factor (though I think Breason moves on). I think Roberts will be out-played by Early Doucet if he can stay on the field. And, depending on the QB (who will not be Kurt Warner lol), I’m not so sure Arizona’s goal of being run-heavy (see: drafting of Wells, Williams) doesn’t limit the fantasy production of all the non-elite Arizona wideouts (and TEs).

Scott
11 years ago

Roberts has much more upside than Doucet because of his athleticism. If you’ve seen this guy run with the ball in his hands, he’s got a nice combination of long speed and quickness.

I see him developing into a very solid #2 NFL receiver. I am not sold that it happens in 2011, but if I had roster space to lock him up, I would.

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