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These Sleepers are Wide Awake


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The Internet is a beautiful thing for fantasy football owners. You have more news and analysis available to you than you could ever use. There is one drawback to this wonderful flow of information. The problem is that information flows to everybody, not just you.

Back in the days of newspaper box scores and outdated fantasy football magazines, there were honest-to-goodness sleepers. These days, there is an almost instant reaction by fantasy owners to any change in information. That can mean new analysis or actual news.

We never stop talking about fantasy football anymore. It’s pretty awesome. It also means that players can build a lot of hype and they can build it early in the year. Here are a few players whom you might call “sleepers” or “breakouts” but based on their ADP (average draft position), they’re being drafted like they are the “Real Deal Holyfields.”

*ADP Data courtesy of MyFantasyLeague.com and is accurate as of July 11.

Lamar Miller , RB, Miami (ADP of 39.5): There’s a lot to like about Miller. He was a good prospect entering the NFL and should be a starting running back in year two. That’s great, but he’s a late-third- or early-fourth round pick right now. That’s a rather high selection for a player with no track record. He could absolutely be worth it, but in no way is he a “sleeper.”

David Wilson, RB, New York Giants (ADP of 31.15): Wilson is very similar to Lamar Miller and probably even more talented. He should see plenty of touches for the New York Giants. But Wilson will be in some sort of running back by committee with Andre Brown. Wilson will really have to produce to return value on his third-round price tag.

Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati (ADP of 62.87): Bernard offered some potential as a rookie running back who wouldn’t go as early as Montee Ball or Le’Veon Bell. Strong hype and good points-per-reception potential have pushed Bernard up to an early sixth-round pick. Not a bad value in PPR leagues, but certainly not a “sleeper.”

Shane Vereen, RB, New England (ADP of 73.81): The Aaron Hernandez situation has sent Vereen’s stock soaring. He has been touted as the player most likely to pick up the workload previously designated for Hernandez. This is after Vereen was already due for an uptick in work due to the departure of Danny Woodhead. His stock will continue to climb, especially in PPR leagues. Vereen was a sleeper in May. Not anymore.

Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore (ADP of 78.34): Pitta is currently seeing his draft stock grow steadily. The departure of Aaron Hernandez and injury status of Rob Gronkowski have made the tight end position much less top-heavy. Pitta is now behind only Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez in many fantasy rankings. After coming out of nowhere last season, can Pitta show continued growth in 2013 to warrant a high draft position in a year where the tight end position has excellent depth?

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis (ADP of 81.06): I really thought that with all of the excitement around Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne, Hilton would get lost a bit. His draft stock has risen to the point that he’s being drafted ahead of other proven options at the wide receiver position with similar upside. I could see Hilton being highly valued in leagues that award points for return yardage. Other than that, I’m probably not willing to spend an eighth-round pick on him in redraft leagues.

This is not the year to wait on drafting running backs. They are being drafted often and early. There will still be “sleepers” just don’t expect to get immediate production out of them. Having running back depth is always important, this just seems to be a year where you will have to reach a bit to get your starters.

Young players are seeing more playing time than ever in the NFL. Fantasy owners not only love that, they love that the young players are the great unknown. We’ve seen nothing or very little from them, so the sky is the limit. That means that some of your best “sleepers” are going to be older, veteran players who fall in drafts. Much like Reggie Wayne in 2012. Remember, don’t sleep on the old guys.

Good luck to everybody this season, may you be smart, healthy and lucky.