Locker Room NFL Sleepers Bracket Round One: Mike Tolbert vs. Justin Hunter
This post appears as part of our 2014 Ultimate NFL Sleepers Bracket. View the other entries below, or check progress at the overall bracket.
Salvatore Stefanile fat guy dances for Mike Tolbert:
Mike Tolbert is not a kicker. Don’t let his ADP fool you, as he’s routinely found in the kicker portion of fantasy football drafts.
When taking a look at all the late, late, late, late round running backs available, the one thing Tolbert has going for him is his defined role in Carolina’s offense as the team’s goal line RB. When Cam Newton is too busy for the job, that is. In his two years as a (Sex) Panther, Tolbert has scored 14 combined touchdowns (12 rushing/2 receiving).
When you look at where Tolbert is being drafted this fantasy season it’s in the Siberian part of the fantasy football underworld among the BenJarvus Green-Ellis‘sssssssss of the fantasy community. It’s kind of easy to forget he exists, like Patrick Swayze in Ghost.
For a player that has finished no worse than RB39 in standard scoring leagues the past four seasons (including back-to-back RB19 and RB22 campaigns in 2010/2011) you’re getting a potential bargain in Tolbert if he were to see an uptick in his playing time. With DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart ahead of him on the depth chart that’s always a strong possibility.
Plus, with Tolbert on your team you get the double bonus of rooting for the Fat Guy TD Dance.
Rich Hribar counters with Justin Hunter:
I’m representing Justin Hunter as the best late round option in 2014. The Titans’ front office has always had affection for his skill set as evidenced by the team trading up to the 34th selection in last year’s draft to select him. As a rookie, Hunter struggled with drops and irregular playing time, but still managed to grab 18 passes for 354 yards and four scores as a 22-year-old rookie. Hunter is big play option who had 39 percent of his targets on passes over 20 yards downfield and turned three of those targets into scores. He also posted the tenth best touchdown per snap ratio out of all receivers in the entire NFL last season, scoring once per 85 plays on the field.
For 2014, the Titans have brought in Ken Whisenhunt who has had no issue going vertical with the football in nearly all of the stops he’s made in the NFL. He’s also been around some pretty good young receivers such as Santonio Holmes, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and just recently, Keenan Allen and has been effective at getting them the ball. He still has growing to do and pesky Nate Washington is still hanging around, as well as overcoming Jake Locker’s accuracy issues, so I understand the pause. But Hunter is coming off the board after receivers like Steve Smith and Danny Amendola, who at their ceilings aren’t winning you titles. For a receiver you can select after the 12th round, Hunter possesses WR2 upside and is an arbitrage play on Terrance Williams, Riley Cooper and Aaron Dobson.