Never Say Never: Sleepers  

 

Rank's 11 Sleepers: Under-the-radar players to stash

At some point this summer, I feel like I've unearthed just about every possible sleeper available. I could probably just stop now and say everybody taken after the sixth round is a sleeper. But what's amazing here is there are a few guys I have yet to talk about. So with that in mind, I'm going to make a departure from my typical nonsense and just jump in to take a look at some real under-the-radar types who could move mountains for you this offseason.

Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals:
Our esteemed Gil Brandt has pegged Palmer for 5,000 yards this season. He's not the only one who has said that in the interwebs, either. Why is there such great regard for Palmer this season? For starters, Palmer really took a shine to Bruce Arians' offense last year. And hell, he passed for more than 4,000 yards already. He has two top-flight receivers with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. So you can kind of see why. Palmer has that mold of a guy who quietly sneaks into the top 10 of fantasy scorers, or maybe even higher. The big thing is the interceptions. He kills his fantasy value with that (expletive). But if he can keep it together, Palmer could be a guy to have at some point this season. Palmer could at least be a spot-starter.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Miami Dolphins
Look who is back and relevant in fantasy again? Moreno was written off last year in Denver because Montee Ball was the new hotness* but Moreno ended up being one of the most productive backs in fantasy. Moreno was written off as recently as this summer, too, because he was coming off knee surgery. But really, when you look at the Dolphins backfield, who do you trust to come through for you at the end of the year? Moreno, who was on a ton of fantasy championship teams? Or do you want to go with Miller who has been a disappointment in his brief NFL career? I'd rather take a chance on Moreno. He was so good in the past.

Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
You all know rookie receivers don't typically make an impact in fantasy. And those are dudes drafted in the first couple rounds! But you do need to keep an eye on Hurns down there in Duval. Cecil Shorts has been slow to return from injury and does carry a lot of risk. So there might be a point this season when rookie Marqise Lee is lined up opposite Hurns. And one of them would have to come through. So again, you're not going to draft this guy but you should at least keep an eye on him.

Cody Latimer, WR, Denver Broncos
Here is another rookie to keep tabs on. Consider this a bonus rookie receiver. He's been running behind Andre Caldwell, but he would be a much better fit for this team if Wes Welker has to miss any significant amount of time. I would even say if Wes can't make it work this season, you should grab Latimer immediately. Actually, I would even do this. Pick up Latimer right now. Drop your defense, you don't need it at the moment. Hold on to Latimer until next week. If Welker is cleared, you can drop Latimer and pick up a defense again. If Welker can't go, then find a spot on your team for Latimer. He won't pay off immediately, but he will at some point.

Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
I've talked about him previously, but I'm going to talk about him again. He's listed as a TE2 for the Chiefs on the depth chart. But dude, take a look at some of the receivers on the Chiefs' squad. They are like the NFL version of enhancement talent. (Or jobbers to your wrestling aficionados.) It's not like the Chiefs can just throw the ball to Jamaal Charles 100 times and call it a day. Or maybe they will try. But Kelce has again drawn rave reviews from Brandt who sees him as a big-time prospect. Remember, Julius Thomas was kind of a surprise to us last year, too. He could end up being the find of the season at the tight end positon, mostly because there aren't a lot of great tight end prospects.

Timothy Wright, TE, New England Patriots
This acquisition doesn't really hurt Gronk too bad. If anything, it just gives Tom Brady another target to throw to. The Patriots have used a lot of two-tight ends sets in the past, so this just works back into their system. He is going to play the "move" tight end position which is perfect for him. Wright is pretty athletic, and was a former receiver in college so he could easily fit into the role previously filled by Aaron Hernandez. Wright had 54 receptions as a rookie with a team manned by Mike Glennon. There is a lot of potential goodness going on here with Wright.

If you just thought to yourself, "What's going on here? This is supposed to be Rank's 11 and he shorted us for the second time this preseason," we would like to ask you to check yourself. Seriously, what's your damage? Just kidding. Follow him on Twitter, though @adamrank. He surprisingly answers a lot of questions.

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