NFL fantasy football: 10 sleepers to target

Draft kit | Deep sleepers | Busts | Breakouts | Bargains | Strategies

 

 

Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos: A second-round selection (No. 58 overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft, Ball is going to be in a great place to find success. Willis McGahee was released, and Knowshon Moreno is coming off an injured knee and is no lock to be a prominent backfield option. Ball, a talented workhorse who carried the football 924 times during his time with Wisconsin, could develop into the top option for coach John Fox and a No. 2 runner from a fantasy standpoint.

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Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: If Bernard went to a team that was in need of a featured running back, he would be the top rookie to target in fantasy football. Even still, he's a talented player with loads of upside who will push BenJarvus Green-Ellis for touches all season long. In fact, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Bernard finish the 2013 campaign with more fantasy points than the Law Firm. He should be drafted as a fourth runner with the tools to be a flex option.

Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins: Miller carried the football a mere 51 times as a rookie, but he showed some flashes of potential with a solid 4.9-yards-per-carry average. With Reggie Bush now in Detroit, the Miami (FL) product is in a great spot to take over the No. 1 role in the backfield for coach Joe Philbin. He also has the best schedule among running backs based on fantasy points for 2013. In a best-case scenario, Miller could turn into a legitimate No. 2 fantasy runner.

Daryl Richardson, RB, St. Louis Rams: Richardson showed some flashes of potential last season, but his workload was limited behind veteran starter Steven Jackson. With the top spot on the depth chart now vacant, Richardson is the favorite to open the regular season as the No. 1 runner with Isaiah Pead suspended for Week 1. While a committee situation is likely, the explosive Richardson will have a nose up on this competition and should be a viable sleeper option across the board.

Shane Vereen, RB, New England Patriots: The loss of Danny Woodhead will move Vereen into a more prominent role in New England's offense this season, so his stock is clearly now on the rise. In fact, he could wind up as a viable No. 4 runner in fantasy land even with Stevan Ridley ahead of him on the depth chart. Remember, Woodhead ranked in the top 25 in fantasy points among backs in standard and PPR leagues. There's definitely upside with Vereen, so target him in drafts.

David Wilson, RB, New York Giants: Wilson became an instant sleeper this offseason when the Giants decided to part ways with veteran starter Ahmad Bradshaw. The move left Wilson, a second-year runner out of Virginia Tech, as the top runner on the depth chart for coach Tom Coughlin. Andre Brown suffered a fractured leg in New York's preseason finale, which will only help Wilson's fantasy value. Willson will now unquestionably lead the team in backfield touches. The explosive runner has 1,000-yard potential and is a potential No. 2 fantasy running back.

Chris Givens, WR, St. Louis Rams: The Rams did draft a playmaking wide receiver out of West Virginia in Tavon Austin, but fantasy owners should still keep tabs on Givens. The Wake Forest product has the speed and skills to take the top of opposing defenses and could push to become one of the top options in the offensive attack for Sam Bradford. A second-year wideout, Givens is a player to target at some point in the middle to late rounds as a No. 4 option at the position.

Lamar Miller is the favorite to land a featured backfield role for the Miami Dolphins this season.
Lamar Miller is the favorite to land a featured backfield role for the Miami Dolphins this season. (Ric Tapia/NFL.com)

Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns: Gordon showed flashes of potential as a rookie with 805 yards and five touchdowns. That includes four games with 80-plus yards, including a 116-yard, one-touchdown performance against the Oakland Raiders. With one season of NFL experience under his belt and coordinator Norv Turner taking over the offensive attack, Gordon will have real potential. Keep in mind, though, that he's going to miss the first two games due to suspension.

Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans: Wright, a second-year wide receiver out of Baylor, has a boatload of upside this season. With Kenny Britt's questionable durability and no clear-cut No. 1 wideout on the roster, Wright could develop into the top option in the pass attack for quarterback Jake Locker. While he's not a lock to produce No. 2 wideout totals on a week-to-week basis, you could do much worse than drafting him your fourth receiver. There's real potential here.

Jared Cook, TE, St. Louis Rams: If it seems like Cook is always listed as a sleeper, well, it's because he's been a popular one over the last two years. Unfortunately, he has failed to meet expectations both on the field and in fantasy land. Luckily for Cook, a move to St. Louis makes him an attractive option once again. If he can earn the slot role left behind by Danny Amendola, he'll be in a good position to see a lot of targets from Sam Bradford. Cook has top-10 upside among tight ends.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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