One of the more exciting aspects about fantasy football is identifying sleepers before they breakout. It's even more thrilling when those sleepers turn out to be on your favorite team. The 49ers worked hard this offseason toward making their offense more explosive, and the added weapons will make a difference. They will open things up for other players while being able to find a relative level of success for themselves.
The following players are potential late round or free agent steals in the upcoming 2012 fantasy league year.
LaMichael James, RB:
Rookie LaMichael James could quickly become a coveted player in fantasy football leagues in 2012. This is a guy that the 49ers drafted early and would like to get him plenty of touches as a rookie. Frank Gore is someone that's been susceptible to injury, and if the 49ers don't hold on to Anthony Dixon, Brandon Jacobs or both, James should be looking to get some carries.
In PPR leagues and leagues that count return yardage, James might be able to salvage points from all over. And when James does touch the football, he is a threat to score - always. I expect to see him making plays this year for the 49ers.
Randy Moss, WR:
Moss was on my "players to avoid" list but he's really on my "players to avoid until further notice" list. Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reported that Moss was on track to start opposite Michael Crabtree, and if he does indeed play 16 games at that spot, he could be a great pickup. Not only is Moss a fantasy sleeper on the 49ers, but he could be the biggest sleeper in all of fantasy in 2012.
If Moss is used to correct San Francisco's red zone woes, he could be nearing double-digit touchdowns again - he might even get a fly-sweep or two. This is a future first ballot Hall of Famer who makes it look so easy; if Moss is "all there" in 2012, he is a steal.
Alex Smith, QB:
I have Alex Smith as the top fantasy sleeper at the quarterback position in 2012. This is a player that everyone is going to pass on in the draft, but because he doesn't turn the ball over, Smith is definitely worth a pick. He is proficient with the football, has more weapons, is leading a team that is ascending and will have a lot of opportunities because of the defense supporting him.
Smith can break 4,000 yards and 25+ touchdowns passing, with limited turnovers and rushing yards and touchdowns to go with. Smith is a big-time sleeper in all fantasy leagues this coming season.