Fantasy Football 2013 Rankings: Breaking Down the Deepest Sleepers
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In the post-2013 NFL draft world, the next order of business is fantasy football rankings.
Ahead, deep sleepers are listed along with top 10 player rankings for each position.
Now, there are plenty of aspects that go into determining a sleeper, as well as how the athletes are ranked. What has unfolded since the start of free agency plays a major role, because the market and the draft have significantly impacted this season.
Ultimately, a team's entire personnel skill set on each side factors into the list and rankings. Just because Player A dominated 2012 doesn't guarantee anything in 2013 and vice versa.
But with plenty of time remaining until Week 1 kicks off, checking out fantasy football now helps better prepare us for the upcoming season.
Quarterback: Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
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After a frustrating 2011 season, Sam Bradford had plenty of work ahead of him for 2012.
Well, the guy made some important strides and finished with 21 touchdowns to only 13 picks, and had 3,702 yards passing.
The St. Louis Rams have also surrounded him with incredible playmaking talent for this season by taking West Virginia receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey in the draft, each of whom will accumulate massive yards after the catch.
In turn, Bradford won't have to survey the defense for long as numerous quick slants, drags, screens and outs will occur. And to set up the pass, rookie ball-carrier Zac Stacy from Vanderbilt is available.
He's a bruiser between the tackles and Bradford's offensive line, one that features Jake Long (signed via Pro Football Talk) and Barrett Jones, simply enhances the balance.
|1.||Peyton Manning||Denver Broncos|
|2.||Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay Packers|
|3.||Matt Ryan||Atlanta Falcons|
|4.||Drew Brees||New Orleans Saints|
|5.||Tom Brady||New England Patriots|
|6.||Russell Wilson||Seattle Seahawks|
|*7.||Robert Griffin III||Washington Redskins|
|8.||Joe Flacco||Baltimore Ravens|
|9.||Andy Dalton||Cincinnati Bengals|
|10.||Matthew Stafford||Detroit Lions|
*According to Rich Campbell of the Washington Times, RG3 gave an update on his knee:
RG3 updated us on his knee rehab: "I'm doing great. Knee feels fine. It's about taking it slow. Each day is a better day." #Redskins— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) May 8, 2013
Although the season remains a while away, this is certainly good to hear.
Runningback: Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts
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With so much attention revolving around Andrew Luck during 2012, running back Vick Ballard went drastically unnoticed.
Entering as a fifth-round pick last year, Ballard took the backfield reins and finished with 966 total yards and three scores.
The Indianapolis Colts were clearly a pass-first offense, but Ballard's contributions made him a gem pick from the draft. As for 2013, Ballard has seen some offensive line talent brought in from the previous draft.
Illinois' Hugh Thorton and USC's Khaled Holmes get plugged into the equation for greater balance. The end result will be more production from Ballard, not to mention less pressure on Luck to perform.
|1.||Adrian Peterson||Minnesota Vikings|
|2.||Arian Foster||Houston Texans|
|3.||Marshawn Lynch||Seattle Seahawks|
|4.||Jamaal Charles||Kansas City Chiefs|
|5.||Ray Rice||Baltimore Ravens|
|6.||Doug Martin||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|7.||Alfred Morris||Washington Redskins|
|8.||C.J. Spiller||Buffalo Bills|
|9.||Chris Johnson||Tennessee Titans|
|10.||Stevan Ridley||New England Patriots|
Wide Receiver: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
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Expect greater numbers from Antonio Brown in 2013.
Over the past two seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brown has gained 1,895 receiving yards on 135 receptions and scored seven times.
This season, though, Brown must emerge as Ben Roethlisberger's No. 1 target. Possessing the short-area quickness to win against man coverage, Brown and his ability to move the chains is a competitive advantage.
Now, the Steelers will also need to rely on their ground game quite often. Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell is a beast to dominate the trenches and that will set up play action. Mix in Big Ben's pocket awareness and mobility, Brown won't get isolated in coverage.
|1.||Calvin Johnson||Detroit Lions|
|2.||A.J. Green||Cincinnati Bengals|
|3.||Wes Welker||Denver Broncos|
|4.||Roddy White||Atlanta Falcons|
|5.||Brandon Marshall||Chicago Bears|
|6.||Julio Jones||Atlanta Falcons|
|7.||Andre Johnson||Houston Texans|
|8.||Victor Cruz||New York Giants|
|9.||Demaryius Thomas||Denver Broncos|
|10.||Larry Fitzgerald||Arizona Cardinals|
Tight End: Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports
Last season, Martellus Bennett had a career year.
He set personal bests in yards (626), receptions (55) and touchdowns (five), which played a key role in the New York Giants offense.
Now that Bennett is part of the Chicago Bears, Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com wrote of his potential impact in March:
"We need a tight end that can threaten the defense. We need a tight end that can create stress in the middle of the field or wherever we place him because we're going to line him up next to the tackle," Bears tight ends coach Andy Bischoff said back when the team introduced the new staff. "We're going to line him up outside the numbers. We're going to line up in the backfield, and we're going to expect the defense to figure it out.
Measuring at 6'6" and 265 pounds, Bennett is obviously an advantage on third down and inside the red zone. Include the presence of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, and Jay Cutler will be able to easily target Bennett over the middle.
Factor in Chicago's ground attack with Matt Forte and Michael Bush, and few defenses will possess the personnel to shield in man coverage while stopping the run consistently.
|1.||Jimmy Graham||New Orleans Saints|
|2.||Tony Gonzalez||Atlanta Falcons|
|3.||Jason Witten||Dallas Cowboys|
|4.||Dennis Pitta||Baltimore Ravens|
|5.||Heath Miller||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|6.||Jermaine Gresham||Cincinnati Bengals|
|7.||Greg Olsen||Carolina Panthers|
|8.||Owen Daniels||Houston Texans|
|9.||Vernon Davis||San Francisco 49ers|
|10.||Jermichael Finley||Green Bay Packers|
Note: Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are not listed due to injuries. Gronkowski, according to Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe, may have surgery. Hernandez, as written by Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, may miss some time this offseason.
Kicker: Rian Lindell, Buffalo Bills
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
The Buffalo Bills will field a much more efficient offense in 2013.
For one, the bulldozing attack of C.J. Spiller remains a priority to any defense as he averaged six yards a pop last fall.
Second, Buffalo spruced up its passing game by drafting quarterback EJ Manuel out of Florida State and receiver Robert Woods out of USC. These decisions will add balance to move effectively, and allow the offense to get in consistent scoring position.
And when the Bills need points, kicker Rian Lindell is quite reliable.
A year ago, Lindell connected from 87.5 percent of all field goals. However, he was 16-of-18 between 30 and 49 yards. Still possessing the leg to hit from 50-plus, Lindell will be given additional opportunities, courtesy of Buffalo's enhanced offense.
|1.||Phil Dawson||San Francisco 49ers|
|2.||Blair Walsh||Minnesota Vikings|
|3.||Sebastian Janikowski||Oakland Raiders|
|4.||Justin Tucker||Baltimore Ravens|
|5.||Greg Zuerlein||St. Louis Rams|
|6.||Connor Barth||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|7.||Shaun Suisham||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|8.||Ryan Succop||Kansas City Chiefs|
|9.||Matt Bryant||Atlanta Falcons|
|10.||Matt Prater||Denver Broncos|
Defense: Kansas City Chiefs
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
If there's one team capable of making a full worst-to-first turnaround, it's the Kansas City Chiefs.
Coach Andy Reid and the Cheifs have enjoyed one of the best offseasons, whether in free agency or the draft.
From the market on the defensive side, Kansas City brings in cornerbacks Sean Smith (per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports) and Dunta Robinson (reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). In addition, defensive lineman Mike DeVito comes aboard (via Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star), along with draft picks Nico Johnson (Alabama) and Sanders Commings (Georgia).
Despite finishing 2-14, K.C. still ranked No. 12 in pass defense and sent four defenders to the Pro Bowl. Jump ahead to this campaign and the Chiefs will asphyxiate the line of scrimmage more consistently.
Back that up with even better coverage, and Kansas City generates more turnovers to win the field position and possession battle.
|3.||St. Louis Rams|
|5.||San Francisco 49ers|
|10.||Green Bay Packers|