Cue the oversized draft boards, the beverages and all the chips and dip you can possibly afford. For many, fantasy draft night approaches, and it is time to show your friends and colleagues that you are the person to beat this year.
In order to do so, you’re going to need to put together a complete draft, with the added knowledge of which players flying under the radar could provide the biggest boost to your roster.
Let’s take a look at the biggest fantasy sleepers at each skill position.
Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
Teddy Bridgewater made an impressive claim to become a talented starting quarterback for the foreseeable future in the NFL.
In just 13 games in his rookie season after relieving Matt Cassel, Bridgewater led the Vikings to a 6-6 record, racking up 2,919 yards and 14 touchdowns in a thinly worn talent pool of targets that was led by the 752 receiving yards of veteran Greg Jennings.
This season, Bridgewater is going to have some new weapons with the return of running back Adrian Peterson and new, explosive wide receiver Mike Wallace. Early on, Bridgewater loves his new situation, according to VikingUpdate.com:
With a now legitimate run game that will at least take some attention off Bridgewater, expect him to put up some big numbers for your fantasy team.
According to ESPN Fantasy Projections, Bridgewater is ranked 18th among quarterbacks and is predicted to record 242.2 points this season, which includes 3,680 yards passing and 23 total touchdowns. But if he continues to show the poise he had as a rookie with some new talent, Bridgewater could sneak his way into your QB1 spot come midseason.
Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens
Give Justin Forsett a full season of play and look what happens. Playing for his fifth team in seven seasons in 2014, Forsett took full advantage of the Ray Rice debacle in Baltimore, rushing for 1,266 yards despite giving up some carries to Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro.
But all signs have Forsett getting all of the rushing workload in 2015, as Pierce went to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Baltimore’s new No. 1 man has a good chance of hanging around for a little bit in your draft, too.
“All told, Forsett—who has an ADP of 32.88—has the backfield to himself entering 2015 and if he can get anywhere near [Matt] Forte-esque numbers, he will be an unquestionable value in upcoming drafts,” according to Zachary Edwards of Scout.com.
Forsett is projected to put up 966 yards and seven total touchdowns for 175.4 points. And if he is able to establish a rapport with an offensive line that is returning all of its starters for the first time in franchise history, according to Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com, Forsett will be able to exceed those 966 yards and electrify the league once more.
Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles
There’s three things that are certain in life: death, taxes and an offensive-laden Chip Kelly-coached team.
But with DeSean Jackson’s release a couple of years ago and Jeremy Maclin moving to the Kansas City Chiefs, Kelly’s aerial attack didn’t look too imposing with Jordan Matthews and Riley Cooper as the team’s top receivers.
Thanks to the draft, though, they have a new top man, and his name is Nelson Agholor.
The 20th overall pick in the 2015 draft, Agholor recorded 1,313 yards in his junior season at USC and has immediately impressed Newsday’s Bob Glauber:
Watch Agholor in practice, and you see his talent flash immediately. He has the “it” factor, that indefinable quality that often separates good players from great ones. The burst off the line of scrimmage. The immaculate route-running. The gifted hands.
And those gifted hands are going to see a lot from new quarterback Sam Bradford, as he is projected to put up a solid rookie season of 837 yards and five touchdowns. With new running back DeMarco Murray surely to take a lot of eyes off of Bradford, watch Agholor put up some monster games in 2015.
That being said, don’t expect Odell Beckham Jr. numbers in this rookie season, but there is the possibility that you will be drafting the game’s next marquee receiver.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As soon as one of your colleagues takes a tight end, wave goodbye to all of them, as one of the thinnest positions in fantasy will be a mad scramble to address during your draft.
One name that could slip through the cracks and could be a viable option for the position is Tampa Bay’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
He struggled in his rookie season last year with just 21 receptions for 221 yards, but there’s a good chance he could be seeing a lot more of the ball in 2015.
Projected to score 81.5 points this season with 587 yards and four touchdowns, preseason signs are pointing for those numbers to be even better.
With a rookie quarterback in Jameis Winston who is going to be searching to create that perfect chemistry with his receivers, Seferian-Jenkins could develop into Winston’s safe option. A big target who can catch the ball in traffic, he’ll be invaluable going over the middle for Winston.
The Tampa Bay Times’ Greg Auman shows what you could expect this season:
Add the fact that big wide receivers like Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson are going to garner a lot of attention, a reliable third or fourth option like Seferian-Jenkins in Tampa Bay can be a fruitful addition to your fantasy team.
Let’s get something straight: These picks might not make you a champion, but these low-risk, high-reward players who can be chosen in a reasonable round will certainly help. So happy drafting, and make sure you don’t lose out to that one player who autodrafts.
Projections and stats courtesy of ESPN.com
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