How important are they? Well, let’s put it this way. Sleepers can give fantasy owners that “edge” that could make the difference between them having a winning season or a mediocre one. If you can pick up several potentially successful sleepers during your draft, that’s just less talent for your opponents to snatch off of waivers once the season is under way. We have listed, in no particular order, some of our favorite sleepers that we are targeting for the upcoming season. Plus we’ll tell you why they made our list and what you might expect from them.
RB CAMERON ARTIS-PAYNE-Carolina Panthers
We have two reasons why we have selected Artis-Payne as one of our sleepers this season. First, starter Jonathan Stewart just doesn’t stay on the grid iron long enough; he’s played only 28 games in the past three seasons. And second, there isn’t any real competition for the backup role in Carolina. Still not convinced? Artis-Payne carried the rock 303 times for Auburn last season.
The Furnace says that Cameron Artis-Payne is more than capable of carrying a heavy load if Jonathan Stewart should end up riding the pine Photo: USA Today
RB DAVID COBB-Tennessee Titans
Starter Bishop Sankey was underwhelming at best in his rookie season last year so it is possible that David Cobb could split time with Sankey and, should Sankey’s woes continue, actually take over the starting job completely. The Titans have a rookie quarterback so they will rely heavily on the running game. Cobb was a three-down back with Minnesota and averaged 22.5 touches in his last two seasons there. Cobb’s biggest asset is that he gains over half of all his yards (54%) after contact.
WR DE’ANTHONY THOMAS-Kansas City Chiefs
A converted running back, Thomas has blazing speed out of the backfield and can break one at any time. With his speed, he can create mismatches and can line up anywhere on the field, however he will be the most dangerous lining up in the slot. QB Alex Smith will now have two good options for short passes in TE Travis Kelce -led the team in receptions (67) & receiving yds. (862) and Thomas.
RB turned WR in his second year in the NFL, De’Anthony Thomas brings the threat of blowing past DB’s & could be a serviceable draft & stash candidate. Photo: KansasCity.com
WR-JOHN BROWN-Arizona Cardinals
As a rookie, Brown had just under 700 receiving yards and was second on the team in receptions (48). He has bulked up in the off-season to insure he doesn’t fade in the latter part of the year. Brown’s got incredible speed, good hands, and runs routes well. Veteran QB Carson Palmer said he expects great things from Brown and we agree. You will be able to grab him late in your drafts as he has a high ADP, at least for now. We do not think he’ll disappoint.
TE-VIRGIL GREEN-Denver Broncos
Green is in the perfect spot for a sleeper role, as starter Owen Daniels isn’t getting any younger (33) and has had multiple knee injuries over the past few seasons which has impacted his speed greatly. At 6′ 5″, 255 pounds, Green has the height and athleticism to become one of Peyton’s favorite targets and as everyone knows, Manning loves to throw to his TEs. Now with Julius Thomas and Jacob Tamme gone, this becomes Green’s golden opportunity to prove his worth. We would even consider drafting him over Daniels, that’s how high we are on him.
#85 TE Virgil Green scores his first touchdown in the NFL. The Furnace is very high on this up and coming talented TE who should be a constant target of Peyton Manning this season. Photo: Getty Images