As the offseason winds down and camps being to start for NFL teams, it’s first for the first edition of rookie sleepers. This will be the skin and bones version of my sleepers, as eventually when news and other related information is reported on out of training camps, these are going to change a lot, and be a lot more in depth.
These are simply guesses based on current situations and perceived talent. So I hope you’re not drafting tomorrow. Then again, if you’re drafting tomorrow, you’re playing the wrong fantasy sport right now. Let’s take a look into some of the blind shots that we’re going to call “sleepers”, for now.
Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins – As of now, my guess is Griffin will return after the Week 5 bye. He’ll miss the first four weeks and, hopefully, Kirk Cousins can come in and win two of those four games against a mediocre schedule. However, the Redskins have stated that they won’t let him return until he gets to 100%, but Griffin’s knee is progressing better than expected. He’s going in the early teens as far as ADP. If you can get him there and draft another guy like maybe Eli Manning, who also is going later than usual this season, then you are set.
Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams – This is risky, but if you get a solid top five quarterback, Bradford is a good QB2 option. He has all of the weapons now, including rookie WR Tavon Austin, newly acquired TE Jared Cook. and two pass-catching backs that will be on the field a majority of the time. There’s no reason Bradford can’t match or surpass his rookie season numbers with the weapons the Rams have given him. Put up or shut up season.
Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets – If he can stay on the field, I wouldn’t doubt him leading the AFC in rushing yards. I went that far. His running style is a spitting image of Marshawn Lynch’s. Right when you think he’s going down, he’ll gain three more yards. He fights for every single yard, and will find a way to get them. He’ll be running behind a solid running offensive line. As long as he’s on the field, he’s a top ten fantasy back. Be sure to keep in check his ADP. While I think he is a top 20 RB, I wouldn’t take him unless I think I’m getting a good deal because of some risk involved. Just be aware of where you’re drafting him. Don’t get too hyped up, as there are still risks involved.
Insert Rookie RB Name Here – There’s so many that we just don’t know about yet. Zac Stacy could be a steal and could even start for the Rams. Giovani Bernard could become the favorite to start over BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Le’Veon Bell, if not being drafted too early, should be starting in Pittsburgh and receive the majority of carries. He’s not flashy but he’ll get the job done. A Packers running back, either Eddie Lacy or Johnathan Franklin, will be favored to start out of camp. Montee Ball’s only true competition to start is Willis McGahee, whose age is catching up to him. Ronnie Hillman is expected to bulk up before the season, but he shouldn’t be considered as a legit threat.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts – 50 receptions and seven touchdowns in his rookie season, Donnie Avery off to Kansas City, and a quarterback that’s only going to improve, Hilton has a tremendous ceiling. He’s a guy you’ll draft as a back-up, and you’ll be happy that you did. By the end of the year, he will be a every-week starter for fantasy owners.
Oakland Raiders Wide Receiver – Matt Flynn has to throw to someone. Brandon Myers is gone. Darrius Heyward-Bey is gone. So who will it be? I’m think Denarius Moore, Rod Streater, or Juron Criner, but I’m going to wait until camps to make my official pick. As of now, I’m drafting Moore higher than the other two, bur Streater is the more complete wide receiver, and Criner made some big plays last season. It’ll be an interesting camp battle and I do think someone is going to come out noticeably on top.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington – Can you count on Garcon as a sleeper? I’m not sure. He could be drafted late, or his ADP could rise. I do know that his skill-set is incredible and he showed some flashes as a No. 1 receiver in 2013. However, a foot injury bothered him all season. If he can stay on the field and gets to play with Robert Griffin III, he could finish the season as a top 10 wide receiver.
Jordan Cameron, TE, Browns – Cameron is coming into camp as the No. 1 tight end, according to ESPN Cleveland. The Browns didn’t draft a tight end, and Benjamin Watson is gone. That leaves the door open for the athletic, 6’5”, 254 lbs. Cameron. New head coach Rob Chuzinski loves using his tight ends, and Cameron will be an integral part of the new offense that Chudzinski introduces. He only has 26 catches in 22 career games, so there’s risk involved, but you can take Cameron even in free agency at this point. That value will continue to gradually rise as we start to get more analysis of Cameron. A true sleeper. If you do your research, you’ll know that Cameron will be a great pick for your team.
Robert Housler, TE, Cardinals - Before you read this snip-it on Housler, watch some of his game-film from 2012. It’s quite impressive, and that’s with Kevin Kolb and a brew of others at quarterback. Now he has an improvement under-center in Carson Palmer. He’s going to cause huge mismatches for defenses at 6’5”, just as Cameron will. He’ll also be the TE1 heading into camp for the Cardinals.
Thanks for checking out these brief sleepers. I’ll probably return to this group about once a month, and it will gradually become longer, possibly with even more players than the time before. Saturday I’ll be back with my new and updated rankings, with rookies included, as rosters are essentially finalized at this point. Be sure to follow me on Twitter, @CHardySports, if you want your NFL fix. I’ll also take your blog suggestions over there.
Lastly, I’m looking for replacement owners in a 16-man, IDP dynasty league. It’s run very similar to the actual NFL, with deep rosters, contracts, and salary. There’s also a rookie draft and free agent auction. It’s good fun. If you’re interested and a dedicated owner, the entry fee is only $20, and you can send me an email at [email protected] for all of the details.
See you all soon!