Fantasy Football owners love them some rookies! They also love them some sleepers! You put those two together, and it’s like the day someone figured out buffalo wings and bleu cheese are awesome together! So I took it upon myself to write up an article featuring some sleeper rookies for the 2014 Fantasy Football season.
As you might know, my definition of “sleeper” is that an undrafted player might make such a good impression on us this year, that he ends up being a middle-round pick next season!
Think back to a year ago, when rookie sleepers like Zac Stacy, Andre Ellington, Keenan Allen, Terrance Williams and Tim Wright went undrafted in Fantasy play, only to become huge waiver-wire pickups.
Now, if they could come up with some way to get peanut butter inside a piece of chocolate, like, in a small wheel of chocolate or something similar.
7 Sleeper Rookies for 2014
All of these rookie sleepers have current ADPs outside of the first 16 rounds of most drafts. Obviously, they would rank much higher in keeper and dynasty leagues, but this is for redrafts.
Tom Savage, QB, Houston
Everyone knew the Texans were heading into the NFL Draft in search of a quarterback. They didn’t land Teddy Bridgewater, which many expected, because the Vikings traded up to grab him. So they ended up waiting until the fourth round to pick Tom Savage out of Pittsburgh. The only things between Tom Savage (great football name) and stud WRs and a great pass-catching running back are Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates – three career backups.
Charles Sims, RB, Tampa Bay
The Bucs have a new offensive coordinator and a new head coach, which means anyone coming in has a great chance to impress and get playing time. They drafted a wide receiver (Mike Evans), a tight end (Austin Seferian-Jenkins) and a running back (Sims) with their first three picks, so they’re definitely not happy with last year’s offense. Sims should settle in as Doug Martin’s backup, and he’ll likely see plenty of third-down action, as well. PPR owners in deeper leagues should take note.
Storm Johnson, RB, Jacksonville
The Jaguars lost their main man from the past several years to free agency, as Maurice Jones-Drew left for Oakland. Toby Gerhart arrives from Minnesota, and he’s backed up by a couple return men in Jordan Todman and Denard Robinson. Again, three career backups, for the most part, are keeping Johnson from getting a chance to eventually start alongside his college teammate at UCF, QB Blake Bortles. He has good size, and he can catch the ball out of the backfield.
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland
Felony weapons charges got Crowell booted from the University of Georgia, but he played well at Alabama State, and the Browns have picked him up as an undrafted free agent. This guy was a five-star recruit coming out of high school, and he was the 2011 SEC Freshman of the Year as the Bulldogs’ starting tailback. The Browns have oft-injured Ben Tate at the head of the line, with fellow rookie Terrance West behind him.
Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh
With Emmanuel Sanders now playing in Denver, the Steelers expect 2013 rookie Markus Wheaton to move into the open starting spot. Lance Moore will likely play out of the slot, and Bryant is the biggest of the bunch at 6-foot-4. That size advantage gives him something that Wheaton doesn’t have, and they’ll both battle in training camp to work on the opposite side of Antonio Brown.
Cody Latimer, WR, Denver
With Peyton Manning behind the wheel, the Broncos pass offense will supply Fantasy stats for plenty of players. Whether those points will trickle all the way down to Latimer, a 6-foot-2 rookie receiver out of Indiana, remains to be seen. But considering Wes Welker is coming off a concussion and Sanders is learning a new offense, Latimer could have a few bright spots this season. Manning has turned a few rookie wide receivers into viable Fantasy players in his career, including Austin Collie and Anthony Gonzalez.
Jace Amaro, TE, N.Y. Jets
The rookie out of Texas Tech will work alongside TE Jeff Cumberland, but he’ll eventually be one of the team’s top pass-catching threats – especially down the seam. He’s taller than fellow rookie TE Eric Ebron, and he graded out higher than Seferian-Jenkins. True, rookie tight ends usually struggle, and there are just 12 starting in most leagues, which makes it tough for rookies to climb past other Fantasy backups. But the Jets are in need of playmakers, and Amaro might be just that.
If you’re in a deep draft, or you’re in a limited keeper league, consider tossing out a few of these sleeper rookies as your draft winds down.
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.