When you pick someone who you’re taking a reach on is considered a sleeper pick. Someone with whom is down further on the chart but you know something that nobody else does and you pick them out of character for their draft round.
The best example of a sleeper pick was Kurt Warner in 1999, he only started because the starting QB got hurt and was out for the season. If they picked him as a backup towards the end of the round it wasn’t to start him but still, someone picked him up and it paid off.
The idea of a sleeper pick is to pick someone who you think will have a break out year due to new circumstances and then you draft them a few rounds earlier then normal.
If you took Sidney Rice in 2009 because Brett Favre joined the team, that would’ve been a sleeper pick that turned out for you. I bet most folks got Sidney in round 6 or 7 which is a steal for what he did but if you came up higher for him then it was a move worth making.
Sleepers are drafted in the middle to late rounds of a draft, this is where you look at tendencies of teams and players and you choose accordingly. Again, I’ll go back to Brett Favre and we all know he loves Tight Ends so Visanthe Shiancoe was an obvious pick last year and it paid off.
Take a look at my sleeper picks for the 2010 season and make sure you grab a sleeper for yourself in the middle rounds because it’s not the top guys that you pick that win championships, it’s the middle to late round guys that keep giving you those 10+ points a week that do it for you.