With only a few days left in July, it’s time to get serious about fantasy football.
There is still ample time to create your big board and craft a list of sleepers, but waiting any longer to begin will put you at a competitive disadvantage.
It is imperative that you have a rock-solid sheet of sleepers at your disposal come draft day, as championships are forged in the latter rounds.
Any scrub could have nabbed Drew Brees early on, but it took a guru with real intestinal fortitude and smarts to select an eventual stud like Stevan Ridley last season in the middle rounds.
Let’s take a look at a few players this year who are being widely overlooked and poised for a monster campaign in 2013.
Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns
Despite a suspension that will sideline him for the Browns’ first two games, Josh Gordon is going to put up big numbers and reward owners who are willing to be patient with him.
The former Baylor star burst onto the scene last year with an excellent rookie outing, hauling in 50 receptions—on 96 targets—for 805 yards and five touchdowns.
How will Josh Gordon fare in 2013?
Considering he was taken in the second round of the 2012 supplemental draft, it could easily be said that the 6’3”, 225-pound speedster exceeded early expectations.
Add in the fact that Brandon Weeden—who was never shy to loft a long pass up for Gordon—will be back under center, as well as the facts that the Browns upgraded their head coach spot significantly by hiring Rob Chudzinski and brought in Norv Turner to run the offense, and you are looking at recipe for success.
Consider taking Gordon anytime after the seventh round in most formats.
Andre Brown, RB, New York Giants
It is likely that David Wilson will go into the 2013 season as the G-Men’s starting running back, but Andre Brown is almost certainly going to get the majority of goal-line work and could work his way up the depth chart in no time.
Wilson was as inconsistent as they come during his 2012 rookie campaign, while Brown proved to be a reliable workhorse who could be used as a battering ram near the end zone.
Unfortunately, Brown suffered a devastating injury—the running back has had problems with getting hurt since his days at NC State—when he broke his leg in November.
Should the 26-year-old be able to stay on the field, he will certainly improve upon his impressive showing last year.
Remember, Brown went off for 385 yards and a whopping eight touchdowns in 10 games.
Take a late-round flier on this bruiser if he’s still available.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers' passing game has largely been written off ever since Mike Wallace, the team’s No. 1 receiver for the past few seasons, landed a big contract from the Miami Dolphins.
Emmanuel Sanders—whom the New England Patriots wisely tried to poach in the offseason—is a prime candidate to step up and have a huge year statistically.
The 26-year-old had the best year of his three-year career in 2012, catching 44 passes for 626 yards and a touchdown as the No. 3 receiver.
Now he’s moving up to the No. 2—across from Antonio Brown—in a new-look passing offense for the Steelers. Expect the Black and Yellow squad to throw early and often in games, which should help Sanders become a fantasy stud in 2013.
Grab Sanders anytime after the eighth round.