Fantasy football is one of the most widely played games in the world. Fantasy sports is a billion dollar a year industry, with fantasy football being arguably the biggest one.
With the amount of money and time people invest into this game, everyone is looking for an edge when it comes to winning their league. While big names are always important, there is another type of pick that matters just as much, but is harder to get right; the sleeper pick.
Within this slideshow, I have five players who will look to have breakout years and be sleepers for the later rounds of your drafts. There is nothing better than pulling big points in your league with a relative unknown or unproven commodity; the beauty of the sleeper.
Hightower has had bright spots when he was in Arizona, but he is hurt with a knee injury and has never been solid. Helu had a few solid games last season but Mike Shanahan has always been fickle about which running backs to start and he's got a bit of an injury history.
That leaves Royster, who put up solid numbers through the games he got a chance to play in. Last season he had a 5.9 YPC average and showed the ability to be elusive.
It's been said that Royster has a higher ceiling and potential than the other backs as well. Couple this with the fact that he gets the start in Washington's first preseason game and things look bright for the young back.
Mike Shanahan is a bit of a double-edged sword for backs though, as he can get the most out of a back, but like I said with Helu, he is fickle with backs at times. Still, the upside is there for a late-round selection.
Last year the head running back in New England was BenJarvis Green Ellis. BGE put up double-digit touchdowns the last couple of years in a pass-happy offense, but that was then, and now he is no longer on the team. That leaves a vacant starting spot open and prime for second-year back Steven Ridley to take advantage of.
Ridley showed flashes last season when he got touches and has showed good speed and decisiveness in camp. He is younger, faster and more balanced than BGE and should be able to excel in an offense that requires the defense to be very honest with not crowding the box. I expect Ridley to have a great year and be a great pickup in the middle rounds.
Torrey Smith is best known for his huge game in Week 3 versus St. Louis, where he had over 150 yards receiving and scored three touchdowns. A performance like that turns heads and tends to make people pay attention to you.
Unfortunately, Smith couldn't come close to those numbers the rest of the season, as he only scored four other times that year and had one other 100 yard receiving game. Chalk it up to growing pains, defenses keying on Smith or just a fluke, but Smith was a non-factor in most games.
However, Smith should be poised to have a big year entering his sophomore season, as he is the youngest and most skilled wideout on the team.
With Anquan Boldin's age beginning to show, Smith is poised to become the team's No. 1 receiver and should put up numbers accordingly. He worked with quarterback Joe Flacco during the offseason to get their timing down right and it should pay dividends. Look to pick up Smith in the middle rounds of your draft.
If the Green Bay Packers have anything, it's a surplus of talent at receiver. With Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson already big threats to score at anytime, veteran Donald Driver returning and tight end Jermichael Finley healthy, there may not be enough balls to go around. Don't let that discourage you from taking a shot with second-year receiver, Randall Cobb, though.
Cobb showed great flashes during parts of last season, usually being the team's fourth receiver behind Driver. With Driver's age catching up to him, and Cobb's great speed, Cobb looks to become the No. 3 receiver on the team and run the slot.
Cobb has showed great promise in camp and frequently makes big plays according to reports out of Packer camp (via Leader Telegram). With the defense being spread thin in order to cover Jennings and Nelson, expect Cobb to get favorable matchups and take advantage. Oh, and Aaron Rodgers is still throwing him the ball, so that's always good. A middle to late-rounder, Cobb is a solid pickup.
Calvin Johnson is a beast. He is the best receiver in the NFL and arguably the best player on the whole Detroit Lions team. That said, can you name the other receivers on the Lion's roster? Probably not.
To save you the time, the No. 2 receiver on the team is Nate Burleson. Enough said. Burleson was listed as the No. 2 receiver last year, but that won't be the case this year. This year, another second-year star will be born.
Titus Young showed last year that he is the downfield threat that should be playing opposite of Megatron. With a little over 600 yards receiving and six touchdowns in his rookie year, Young is poised to be the No. 2 receiver on a team that will always have the No. 1 receiver being watched like a hawk.
Young should have a breakout year and I wouldn't be surprised to see him with over 100 yards receiving and double-digit scores, especially since Matthew Stafford has shown he can sling the rock all over the yard. I like Young as a middle- to late-rounder.