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Rank's 11 Sleepers: Alex Smith is big risk-reward option

Hey everybody, let me ask you a quick question; do you want a long intro to this piece or would you like me to cut the (expletive) and get to the sleepers?

That's what I figured. The majority of questions that come at me on Twitter are about sleepers. The rest are about the Bella Twins. And to be honest, I'm honored that you're even reading this sentence instead of jumping down to the sleepers already.

Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs


You are going to draft a great fantasy quarterback unless you completely fall asleep at the wheel. Guys like Matthew Stafford will end up as a backup in 10-team leagues, which is just crazy to think about. I mean, not literally insane, but you get the gist.

So go for the 50-yard bomb with your backup. The best thing about Smith? He doesn't turn the ball over. He had 17 touchdowns and just five picks in his last 14 starts. He's had an interception or less in 29 of his last 30 starts. And as our Matt "Money" Smith pointed out on NFL Fantasy Live, dude is as athletic as they come and we should see some of that with Andy Reid. And he's got a fantastic schedule which makes him a great match up-based starter.

Player(s) Bye  BUF opp. 2012 QBs FPA
Rodgers/Newton 4 Ravens 26
RG3 5 Browns 14
Ryan 6 Bengals 28
Brees 7 Dolphins 16
Luck 8 Saints 1
Manning/Kaepernick 9 Chiefs 6
Brady 10 Steelers 30

EJ Manuel, QB, Buffalo Bills


Yes, this is based on just one preseason game. But again, you're going to get a stud at quarterback regardless. Why not go for somebody who could follow in the footsteps of Andrew Luck, RG3 and Russell Wilson? The Bills have some good matchups this year, so he could be a bye-week replacement. In fact, I put together this handy list of bye weeks for QB1s for you in my weekly rankings and I'll resurface here.

Shane Vereen, RB, New England Patriots


Here's a fun tidbit; Danny Woodhead was a top-25 running back last year. Vereen will have a bigger role in the offense this season. Vereen averaged 5.7 yards per touch in 2012 and he will line up as a receiver because you might have heard, New England is kind of hurting at the position. The Patriots will run the ball a lot more this year. Vereen could be a nice flex option and his average draft position is in the 11th round.

Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints


You can win your fantasy leagues with running backs who you draft super late (or not at all). Just look at what Freddy Morris did last year. Thomas will be on a lot of championship rosters this year. Thomas will lead the team in rushing. He's averaged 4.8 yards per rush since 2011. But he's a good receiver out of the backfield, even with Darren Sproles in the mix. Thomas ranked 12th among running backs last year with 354 receiving yards.

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears


Don't underestimate what new coach Marc Trestman will bring to the Bears. Jeffery will take a big step up in this offense. He's a big-play receiver as he had three receptions of at least 25 yards in his last four games last year. He will stretch the field for the Bears this year and be a boon for those of you who draft him in the 15th round.

Chris Givens, WR, St. Louis FC


Everybody wants to rave about Tavon Austin. Let them. You can instead draft the best receiver in St. Louis in the 15th round. Yes, I was excited about his three receptions for 82 yads against the Browns in Week 1 of the preseason. But realize he was targeted 36 times in the last five games. Sam Bradford will look for this guy a ton and he will be a steal.

Kenbrell Thompkins, WR, New England Patriots


Who is going to catch passes from Tom Brady this year? Well the early buzz has been on Thompkins. He was first brought to my attention by our super-scout, Daniel Jeremiah (follow him on Twitter here). Thompkins looked like the man to beat in Week 1 of the preseason. But if the hype continues to build, he might move out of the sleeper category.

Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns


Here's the way the tight end position looks. It goes Jimmy Graham, huge fall off to Rob Gronkowski, who will go way too early. If you're lucky, you can land Vernon Davis (my guy!) or Jason Witten in the sixth round. If the run on tight ends reaches a fever pitch too early for you, don't panic. Just take a pass and go for Cameron who is perfect for Norv Turner's offense in Cleveland. The Browns are going to make a huge step this year and Cameron will benefit.

Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals


There is a lot of hype around Eifert. Or maybe I hang out with Matt "Money" Smith too much who said Eifert is a much better prospect than Coby Fleener was last year. Actually, he said something much more derogatory, but I'll keep that between the two of us. Seriously, the tight end position is a perfect chance to take a risk on a guy.

Arizona Cardinals D/ST

I love the Birds D this year. Patrick Peterson is always a threat to score. But Tyrann Mathieu (please use your old nickname, it was so cool) is going to be a breakout defensive player. I'm going to grab him in IDP leagues. The Cardinals will be in the playoffs this year. It will be partly because of the defense.

Cameo list of guys who will be sleepers for you: QB Ryan Tannehill; RB Danny Woodhead (PPR); RB Joseph Randle; RB Daryl Richardson; WR Ryan Broyles; TE Zach Sudfeld.

Did you know that Adam Rank won last year's Expert's League title? Oh that's right, it's like the only thing he ever talks about. Well congratulations, Rank. You finally did something. What have you done for us lately? Let's worry about 2013 and stop living in the past. Typical Lakers fan, am I right? Oh, if you found this useful (as if) check him out on the latest "Dave Dameshek Football Program". And follow him on Twitter, please. He's taking us to lunch if he gets 17 more Twitter followers today. And we only got 15 the last time, so step up fantasy enthusiasts!

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