Fantasy football preseason sleepers

Trevor Smith,

Sports Blogger,

@bigtsmith01

In fantasy football, not everyone can get the best players at every position for his or her team. That is where sleepers come into play. They are the players that no one expects to produce, and they end up being the key to fantasy football glory. These are the top five sleepers you should look to pick up in your league.

Don't sleep on Lions running back Theo Riddick this season. (Bruce Adler, Flickr)

Don’t sleep on Lions running back Theo Riddick this season.
(Bruce Adler, Flickr)

Running back Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions

Riddick is one of my favorite sleepers in fantasy football this year. He burst onto the scene during his third season in the league with a string of acrobatic catches that caught the coach’s eye last season. Even though he is a running back, Riddick has the hands of a receiver, and he uses to his advantage. Coming off a year that he caught 80 passes, Riddick is looking to up that total, and with a steady offensive coordinator in Jim Bob Cooter, the sky is the limit for this young player. For the people wondering when to draft Riddick, I would suggest that you pick him up late in the ninth round or early in the 10th.

Tight end Vance McDonald, San Francisco 49ers

McDonald is the dark horse in this group of players. A tight end entering his fourth season out of Rice, McDonald is coming off a good year for the 49ers, where he had 30 receptions for 326 yards and three touchdowns. His stock can only go up as he looks to be the No. 1 guy for his new coach Chip Kelley. Be looking for Vance to be drafted in the later rounds as a backup tight end who could end up being the key to fantasy glory.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III, Cleveland Browns

For Robert Griffin III, last year was the low point in his career. After being benched last season in favor of Kirk Cousins, RG3 is looking to show people he can be a starting quarterback in this league again. Now with the Browns and a good young receiving core, look for him to have a good year. If you intend to pick up RG3 look for him in the eighth or ninth round as a backup quarterback. Don’t sleep on him; the risk is worth the reward.

Receiver Tajae Sharpe, Tennessee Titans

Tajae Sharpe is the only rookie on this list and is looking to come into the league with a bang. The Tennessee Titans drafted Sharpe in the fourth round of the NFL Draft after a dominating senior season at the University of Massachusetts where he caught 111 passes and scored five touchdowns. Sharpe has already caught the attention of Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota in preseason games. With the Titans already having a young receiving core, Sharpe is looking poised to etch his name into the starting rotation before the end of the preseason. Fantasy players can wait as late as the last pick to draft Sharpe because most people don’t know his name, but by the end of the season, Sharpe could be a household name in fantasy football.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

The final sleeper is the most likely to make the biggest impact for your team. That man is Detroit Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford. Before you start complaining, hear me out. Stafford is coming off a season that he threw for 4,262 yards and 32 touchdowns; even after the Lions went to a new offensive coordinator halfway through the year. However, this is Stafford’s first year in the league without Calvin Johnson lining up on either side of him, and that is sure to bring down his stock. For Stafford, yes he is coming off a solid season for the Lions, but this year Stafford can end the argument that he was only good because he had to throw the ball up to Johnson. That’s why Stafford is a sleeper, because his stock dropped and he is vying to make a statement this year. If you decide to draft Stafford, then you should look to draft him in the fifth or sixth round.

ozone@ocolly.com

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