2013 Fantasy Football Sleepers

Every year before and after the NFL Draft, we, as Fantasy Football enthusiasts start to examine and analyze the potential for each skill position player. What really boils down to a successful NFL Rookie campaign are a few factors;

1. Opportunity. If a QB, RB, WR, TE or any of those positions are launched in to a starting role, they are given a great opportunity to succeed.

2. Situation. This is different for each position. For QBs, it could be many factors. These factors include offensive line, WR corps, and the type of offense the team runs. For a WR it boils down to who their QB is. Most rookie wide-outs would rather have an Aaron Rodgers than a Kevin Kolb. For a RB, offensive line plays a role, QB in that if the QB is successful, less eyes will be said RB. For example, Steven Jackson in St. Louis. Also, time shares as well. And two rookie RBs are in this situation right now. RB Eddie Lacy and RB Johnathan Franklin of the Green Bay Packers.

With that said, we’ll see some rookies who’ll have fantastic seasons and others that will total 200 yards and fall flat on their faces.

 Quarterbacks

 EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills – Drafted in the first round at number 16 overall. To be honest, this left me scratching my head. We all know his potential. He’s a mobile QB, but he’s not the most natural of passers, has some decision making problems, doesn’t like to sit in the pocket long enough to find an open receiver and take off running pre-maturely. With all that said, I’m not entirely sure he’ll be the starter all season or Week 1 for that matter. The Bills said there was a franchise QB in this draft. They may have been right, but it was NOT this guy. In my opinion, his draft stock was so high due to the overall weak QB class this year.

Projections: 2394 yards, 13 TDs, 9 INTs, 364 rushing yards, 2 TDs.

Geno Smith, New York Jets – This poor guy. Went from No. 1 overall, to top-3, to top-10, to who knows when? But ultimately, Geno Smith was drafted in the 2nd round, 39th overall by the New York Jets. There’s not much in between. Either you love Geno Smith, or you hate Geno Smith. I’m not thoroughly convinced he’s as good as advertised, but he’s miles better than the other QB options in New York. I love QBs with mobility, and Geno Smith does have superb accuracy, but how will he do against tough defenses? Remember, Texas Tech swallowed him up. But, Geno Smith does have a pretty good opportunity here. There is a “QB competition” in New York, but I really see it as Geno winning the job, ultimately. Seriously? The Jets would consider Greg McElroy or Matt Simms as their starter? Mark Sanchez has the best shot, but I think it’s time for a change. I don’t think Geno will have an RG3-like impact, but he will definitely improve them as a football team. Big question: Will he win the job? I think he should win the job, but Sanchez is likely to win it. I hope, for the love of God, if Sanchez wins it and struggles like we all know he will, they give Geno the nod.

Projections: 2424 yards, 14 TDs, 9 INTs, 411 rushing yards, 3 TDs.

I feel as though these are the only two QBs who will get a good amount of playing time this year that could impact a fantasy season. With that said, leaving out Mike Glennon, Matt Barkley and Tyler Wilson, etc.

 Running Backs

Giovanni Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals – Love this kid. I consider him and BenJarvus Green-Ellis as a “thunder and lightning” tandem. BJGE being this thunder in that he’s a down-hill, north to south runner. Not much versatility as far as pass catching goes. Gio Bernard is the lightning. He can catch out of the backfield and is an effective runner. He’s considered a little under-sized, but so isn’t Darren Sproles. I like the Bengals offense this year. They’re quietly building an explosive offense. At WR they have AJ Green and Andrew Hawkins, have Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham at TE and BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Gio Bernard now at RB. Great opportunity, great situation.

Projections: 813 rushing yards, 6 TDs, 50 receptions, 589 yards, 5 TDs.

Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers – Love his situation. I don’t really think Jonathan Dwyer or Isaac Redman will be much of a competition. The only thing that worries me about this guy is the “tread on his tires”. He was the nations leader in carries last season. One thing that I love about him is his pass catching ability. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger are known for throwing to the RB out of the back-field.

Projections: 1070 yards, 7 TDs, 41 receptions, 512 yards, 4 TDs.

Montee Ball, Denver Broncos – I think Montee will have he best season of any rookie this season. In the best situation, has the best opportunity and a pretty good QB. Scored 55 rushing TDs the last two seasons at Wisconsin. Holy smokes. Will have a few receptions, but mostly will excel in the run game. His NFL comparison is BJGE, according to Walter Football. The Denver Broncos will score a lot of TDs and Montee Ball at the goal-line will be a sight to behold.

Projections: 1241 yards, 11 TDs, 11 receptions, 98 yards, 1 TD.

Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers – Since Ryan Grant, the Green Bay Packers running game has been abysmal. Some guys have show flashes like Dujuan Harris and Alex Green, but they haven’t had that go-to guy week in, week out. Eddie Lacy is that. At 221 pounds, Lacy is a tough, physical runner. He does, however, lack skills in pass protection and in the receiving game. Not a PPR option, that would belong to the OTHER Green Bay Packers running back.

Projections: 873 yards, 5 TDs.

Johnathan Franklin, Green Bay Packers – Unlike his counterpart, Johnathan Franklin is a beast out of the backfield. He’s a very shifty runner, has decent speed, but is slightly undersized. In his senior season at UCLA he had 33 receptions, for 323 yards and 2 touchdowns. Now, when he comes out of the backfield for a catch, he has this guy Aaron Rodgers throwing to him who is pretty good (so I hear).

Projections: 493 rushing yards, 3 TDs, 37 receptions, 512 yards, 4 TDs.

Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams – Unsure of who will be the starter week 1 in St. Louis out of Isaiah Pead, Daryl Richardson and Zac Stacy, Stacy deserves the nod, but may not. How the Rams got this guy in the 5th round is crazy to me. Yes, he was hampered in college with injuries, but he’s still an intriguing prospect. He’s still working on some pass protection issues, but overall, he has great vision, not extremely fast (4.55 40-yard time), but is a tough, tough runner. This guy is highly intriguing in Dynasty leagues, but in re-draft, I think he’s still worth a look. He can catch out of the backfield (20 catches in his junior season), which helps his value a great deal, too. I think Pead is the guy, but if he struggles or is injured, Stacy should be flushed in to his role.

Projections: 419 yards, 2 TDs, 5 receptions, 68 yards.

Don’t let his projections scare you, still give him a look.

Wide Receivers

Tavon Austin, St. Louis – Salivating as I’m thinking about him. You know the comparisons and you know him. He’s explosive, he’s dynamic, he’s a monster. If Sam Bradford doesn’t progress as an NFL QB with him and West Virginia teammate Stedman Bailey, I’ve lost all hope. There are reports confirming he will come out of the back-field and that makes me want him even more.

Projections: 71 receptions, 1092 yards, 6 TDs, 312 rushing yards, 2 TDs.

DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans – Hmm.. This will be interesting. Finally a compliment to Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins is in a position to create a Roddy White and Julio Jones-like tandem in Houston. He’ll be given many chances in Houston. A Reggie Wayne comparison is in order.

Projections: 64 receptions, 1001 yards, 5 TDs.

Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings – Not the great route runner, but has big play ability. Only one season at Division 1, SEC football so experience is an issue. I think, opposite of Greg Jennings, that’s a good tandem, but his QB situation isn’t the greatest. I don’t think Christian Ponder is a good QB in a fantasy aspect, and will affect his WR’s stock, too.

Projections: 51 receptions, 874 yards, 4 TDs.

Tight Ends

Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals – Was talking above about the Cincy offense, and it is kind of intriguing. I don’t think Gresham and Eifert will turn in to a Gronkowski/Hernandez combo, but I think it will be effective. Over time, Eifert should emerge as the go-to tight end option.

Projections: 52 receptions, 800 yards, 4 TDs.

Honorable Mentions: Keenan Allen (WR – SD), Aaron Dobson (WR – NE), Robert Woods (WR – BUF), Tyler Wilson (QB – OAK), Stedman Bailey (WR – STL), Andre Ellington (RB – AZ), Zach Ertz (TE – PHI), Travis Kelce (TE -KC), Joseph Randle (RB – DAL).

 

P.S. Our FakePigskin 2013 Draft Guide will be released on August 1st in PDF form for FREE! Simply go to our home page and sign up to receive it and our newsletter in the upper right corner right under our banner.

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