Rank's 11 Sleepers: Austin ascending in St. Louis

Well I just spent a week at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, which is easily my favorite weekend of the NFL season. Just think; none of our fantasy teams have been eliminated yet!

At one point during the induction ceremony, I looked down at the NFL Network set and I saw Kurt Warner signing autographs and hob-nobbing with the football fans who flooded the birthplace of professional football. And then my mind started to race because I thought about the prospects of Warner being selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And shoot, how could it be possible Warner has been retired long enough to even be eligible for the Hall of Fame? Didn't he just have the Cardinals in the Super Bowl?

If you want to feel really old, I remember Warner's first season in fantasy football. I had selected Trent Green as my starting quarterback in 1999. And I felt pretty good about it, too. He was going to own that season. I thought I had picked a winner!

Well, until Rodney Harrison happened. (And this also started my practice of not doing fantasy drafts until after all of the preseason games have been done. Although, this really tested my mettle as a fantasy enthusiast.)

I was kind of morose about the whole thing, because like I said, I really felt I had found the steal with Green. I was upset, but figured I would pick up Brad Johnson off the waiver wire or whoever the St. Louis FC picked up to start. But as luck would have it, former Los Angeles Rams front-office guru Jack Faulkner was walking around the NFL Publishing offices where I interned one afternoon. I asked him if the club was going to pick up a quarterback or not (I believe Joe Germaine was rumored at the time), and he said, "Nah, they really like this Kurt Warner kid. Vermeil told me he's the real deal."

And then I made a Curt Warner joke but figured, what the hell, I might as well take a chance on him. So I grabbed him and Johnson (who wasn't too bad either that season), and eventually took down the league with Warner running roughshod over the league. Those were the days!

But that shows you, never say never when it comes to fantasy football. There are plenty of players to be unearthed this season who will take you to fantasy gold. So here are 11 guys you should keep an eye on this preseason. Some might be duplicates, so stick with me.

C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos: Don't be swayed by the depth charts or coach speak before a preseason game is even played. Ronnie Hillman is running with the ones in the wake of Montee Ball's appendectomy, but we've been down this road previously. And seriously, Montee Ball appendectomy? This is why I just can't trust the guy this season. I'm so sorry.

James White, RB, New England Patriots: If you want me to find a former Wisconsin running back I can endorse, let's go with White, who looks like he is going to start the season as the No. 2 guy behind Shane Vereen in New England.

Terrance West, RB, Cleveland Browns: I know those of you who have stuck with me all summer will roll their eyes and be like, "There's Rank again, talking about Terrance West while he rips my guy Trent Richardson." But seriously, West is going to be a stud this season. I see 1,046 yards and nine touchdowns from him this season.

Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants: If the Hall of Fame game didn't get your motor running for Jennings, well then, you're simply not human. Or you didn't watch. Oh, and if you're looking for a No. 2 back to fall back on from New York, check out Andre Williams.

Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons: I've already issued a challenge. Freeman gets 200 touches or else I'm going to rock some John Cena shoes. Steven Jackson, even if healthy, won't be able to tote the entire workload. Not if they want him to last for 16 games. (And even then.)

Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee Titans: You'll see Kendall Wright higher in the rankings, but Hunter has all of the tools. If he can just hang on to the ball more, which I guess is kind of important for receivers. But this is why he's on the sleeper list and not the automatic stud list.

Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Football Club: Yes, I've seen the hype from Kenny Britt. That's the problem, I've seen the hype for Kenny Britt for years. Listen, Mike Mayock said he was the most exciting guy he's seen, like ever. And I don't want to live in a world where Mayock isn't right.

Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Wheaton lost most of his rookie season to a pinkie injury, but he's all healed up and ready to go this year. He opens with the ones opposite Antonio Brown. He should benefit from the attention teams have to pay to AB.

Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cleveland Browns: Now that we know the fate of Josh Gordon, this is less risky. Hawkins is poised to lead the team in receptions. He's been the only Browns receiver to distinguish himself according to our own Aditi Kinkhabwala. And he gets comparisons to Wes Welker, too. Which always makes me roll my eyes this early in camp, but damn, somebody has to catch the ball in Cleveland since Gordon is gone, right?

Garrett Graham, TE, Houston Texans: Make your Ryan Fitzpatrick jokes if you must, but he's not as bad as you think. He's not great, but you all think he's much worse than he is. But I have confidence in Bill O'Brien to get something out of Fitzpatrick. Not enough for me to get him on my fantasy team, mind you. But enough to look for a guy like DeAndre Hopkins (we'll talk about him next week) and Graham at tight end. Fitzy loves his tight ends, so if you miss out on one of the top TEs, circle back for Graham.

So do you guys want to finish off with a defense? No? I didn't think so, either. How about another tight end.

Dwayne Allen, TE, Indianapolis Colts: I decided to jump on the Allen bandwagon along with my guys Marcas Grant and Alex Gelhar. The Colts use two-tight ends a lot (which is why it's going to be hard for Hakeem Nicks to make an impact as a third-receiver), so he's going to get his chances. And to be honest, I'm just kind of sick of the Coby Fleener hype. Yeah, #analysis.

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter @adamrank. Now, he loves to answer your questions, but understand he's not probably going to get back to you during @angels games, @lakings games, or during the @midnight hashtag wars.