Sample sleepers (2013)

Fantasy Football Sleepers

August 23, 2013

~~Quarterbacks~~

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears – Marc Trestman, a passing guru, has reworked the offense and the line to play right into Cutler’s skills. They think they can harness his untapped talent by this method and we think it’s possible. "I think he's doing an excellent job," Trestman said. "I think he's practicing very efficiently. He's throwing the ball away and there's nothing wrong with that with the defense that we have, finishing his progressions." Could make for a decent QB2 in deeper leagues.

Ryan Tannehill, Miami DolphinsTannehill was overlooked by many last season during his rookie campaign. He is athletic, possesses a strong arm and can throw on the run. Tannehill will benefit from the addition of Mike Wallace at WR but needs to improve his accuracy and get rid of the ball more quickly.

~~Running Backs~~

Montee Ball, Denver Broncos – Ball has the best skill set (power, vision, quickness) to start in this Ball-Hillman-Moreno committee but he needs more work on pass protection that will limit his touches initially. He has shown better pass-catching hands than the scouting reports showed though. This will be Ball’s first year playing in a zone-blocking scheme, but Hillman’s cutting ability is perfect for this offense. If Hillman proves he can be an every down back (iffy), he will be a sleeper.

Giovanni Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals – Bernard will open the season splitting time with BenJarvus Green-Ellis but don’t be surprised if he gets more touches as the season progresses. "He's got great feet," OC Jay Gruden said. "He'll bounce around; make a lot of people miss. If he gets in the open field, he's dangerous." Bernard has also been pass-blocking well. "He's picked up the system pretty well. He's picked up the protections very well." A true sleeper.

Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers – Lacy should have no problem surpassing possible third down back DuJuan Harris for the most touches in this backfield. He runs with power, toughness and surprising quickness. He also has done well in the all-important pass protection. That will guarantee he stays on the field. "He looked a lot like he did at Alabama," GM Ted Thompson said. "Very decisive runner. He's strong, he's powerful, he's big. He puts a lot of pressure on a defense because if he gets on the edge he's pretty difficult to handle." Another true sleeper.

Shane Vereen, New England Patriots – Injuries have limited Vereen’s production in the pros as he missed almost his entire rookie season and the first three games of the 2012 campaign. He opened some eyes late last season when he scored three touchdowns in the playoffs. He has good hands and great speed. He could easily rush for about 500-600 yards this year and catch another 50 to 60 balls out of the backfield.

~~Wide Receivers~~

Danny Amendola, New England Patriots – Amendola will be a target magnet in the We Welker role if he can stay healthy. He has missed 19 games the last two years because of injuries and is currently nursing an upper foot problem. The Patriots are the toughest team in which to extract information from so he will have to remain a high risk high upside pick.

Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers – Brown should be the #1 target for Big Ben. "The sky is the limit," Roethlisberger said. "He can be as good as he wants to be. I have seen growth in him and improvements, and that is what we want to see. He has come along as a number-one guy." Sanders looks a lot faster this year because his knees and foot are healthy. He had two foot surgeries and tore a meniscus in his short career so far. He is working in Mike Wallace’s old flanker position.

Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals – Bruce Arians loves to throw down field and here’s the guy he likes – big and fast. "Route running, his understanding of concepts, hot (reads), the whole package," Arians said. "He's bought in. He's playing two to three different positions. I'm really pleased with where he's at right now." Carson Palmer should have no trouble finding him either with a lot of attention on Larry Fitzgerald.  

Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins – Garcon has had problems with injuries and drops in the past but is healthy now and having a great camp as RGIII’s favorite target. "I'm gonna lean on him and he's gonna lean on me and we're gonna make things happen," Robert Griffin said. Both players need to stay healthy to make that happen though.

Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns – Gordon has size, speed and natural athletic ability to make him a big time play maker in the NFL. Plus he should benefit from the vertical passing game in Cleveland under Turner. He will miss the first two games of the season for using a product with codeine. Gordon needs to stay focused and avoid off field distractions.

Rueben Randle, New York Giants – Randle has a lot of talent with great size and could have value in the Giants injury-prone receiver corps. After Victor Cruz, you have Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham who have trouble staying on the field. "His spring was better and then he came back lighter and he looks good," Tom Coughlin said. "He seems to be more serious, more intent. He had a lot to learn in that first year and it looks like some of the messages are getting through."

Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks – Tate has the size, athleticism and the talent to succeed and has had a great camp while showing improvement on his routes. He has also developed well after learning the system better. He should step up big with Percy Harvin out for most of the season.

~~Tight Ends~~

Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns – Rob Chudzinski is a former tight end loves throwing to the tight ends and Cameron is big and fast and athletic enough to make it happen. He is another in the line of former hoops players making a splash at TE. He ran a 4.59 at the combine in 2011 and is a tough matchup for defenses. He needs to stay healthy and show more consistency.

Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams – Cook is a converted wide receiver and is not much of a blocker.  But for fantasy purposes, he looks good if he maintains consistency. One negative – the Rams have a lot of targets and intend on spreading the ball around quite a bit.