Surprise fantasy football stars break out every year, catching millions of owners off guard and setting up a mad scramble for the waiver wire.
Here's your chance to get a head start on the action.
These young men didn't do much—if anything—as rookies for their respective teams, but they are in prime position to make a huge impact in their second year this upcoming season.
Highlighting one receiver, one running back and one defender, these guys are worth considering in the mid-to-late rounds of your fantasy football draft this fall.
A.J. Jenkins, Wide Receivers, San Francisco 49ers
Crabtree isn't expected to be gone for the entire season, per the 49ers' official Twitter account, but it likely won't be until the end of the regular season until he's ready to play:
San Francisco 49ers @49ers
Jim Harbaugh tells media @KingCrab15 has torn Achilles tendon but has had successful surgery. Crabtree not expected to miss full season.5/22/2013, 9:31:40 PM
This opens the door for three players to emerge in Crabtree's stead, according to head coach Jim Harbaugh in an interview with 95.7 The Game in San Francisco: Jenkins, rookie Quinton Patton and Ricardo Lockette.
Jenkins has been working with Kaepernick throughout the offseason. He, along with others, went to Atlanta not too long after the team's painful Super Bowl loss to sharpen up their offensive attack. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reported that Kaepernick says Jenkins is "getting better":
Matt Barrows @mattbarrows
Kaepernick on offseason workout buddy AJ Jenkins: He's been working the same way everybody has. He's progressing along. He's getting better.4/17/2013, 8:36:28 PM
Furthermore, he's been humbled by his rookie season, according to the 49ers official website, and has added some muscle to his frame.
Many people wondered if Jenkins—last year's first-round selection for the 49ers—would be a bust after he failed to catch a single pass as a rookie. It won't take long until Jenkins emerges as a go-to receiver for Colin Kaepernick in 2013, however, and he'll be one of fantasy football's biggest rising stars.
David Wilson, Running Back, New York Giants
The Giants drafted Wilson with the final pick of the first round in 2012, but a couple of fumbles in the early going last year put the rookie in Tom Coughlin's dog house.
He came on strong later in the year, however, as an explosive kickoff return man and as a pure runner. By the end of the season, Wilson had rushed for 358 yards and four touchdowns with a 5-yards-per-carry average and had also returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
New York is pushing for a youth movement at the running back position. The team recently told Brandon Jacobs it wanted to give Wilson and Andre Brown "a chance to shine," according to Jenny Vrentas of Sports Illustrated:
Jenny Vrentas @JennyVrentas
As for a Bradshaw return, Ingram said it's the young guys' time to shine, i.e. David Wilson and Andre Brown. #nyg4/25/2013, 1:47:06 AM
Furthermore, judging from a recent poll question by the team's official Twitter account, it seems clear the Giants expect big things from Wilson this year:
New York Giants @Giants
Who will have more touchdowns in 2013, WR Rueben Randle or RB David Wilson? Let us know what you think! 201.939.4513 or #GiantsChat4/11/2013, 2:01:25 PM
With Ahmad Bradshaw out of the picture in New York, it's Wilson's time to shine. Granted, he'll likely split some carries with Brown as a kind of thunder/lightning combination, but with Wilson's added appeal as a special teams ace, he'll put up some serious fantasy numbers in 2013.
Chandler Jones, Defensive End, New England Patriots
He unfortunately suffered a couple of nagging ankle injuries that hampered his production for the second half of the season and ended the year with just six sacks.
Undeniably talented, Jones is doing everything in his power to become a dominant force for the Patriots. According to the team's official website, Jones added 10 pounds of muscle this offseason, and he says fans should expect "19 sacks" in 2013.
If Jones were the only big-time playmaker up front, it might be laughable to think he could generate that much consistent pressure, but he's not. The Patriots have Vince Wilfork—one of the best interior linemen in the NFL—and Tommy Kelly inside.
These guys are adept at clogging up the middle and demanding double-teams of their own, which will lead to plenty of one-on-one opportunities for Chandler on the edge.
In addition to the sacks Chandler will rack up, he's a powerful run defender who logged five or more tackles four times last year. He's set up for a big jump in his second year, and he'll be a solid defensive end for your fantasy football team.
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