Fantasy gurus are forged during the draft, as these brilliant minds often have the foresight to identify the late-round talents that wind up becoming productive contributors in the NFL.
If you want to become a fantasy master and avoid drafting players that will quickly wind up in the scrap heap, you have come to the right place.
I have identified three sleepers that you can grab late in your draft and install in your lineup, all of which will help you win your league if used correctly. Keep reading to find out which under-the-radar stars you must take a gamble on.
Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Despite being saddled with a miserable group of receivers and linemen with the Oakland Raiders last season, Palmer still emerged as a respectable backup option for owners.
He completed 345 of 565 passes for 4,018 yards, 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He also fumbled five times.
Now that he has a true No. 1 receiver in Larry Fitzgerald and an offensive system that will make use of his big arm, Palmer projects to be one of the better quarterbacks from a fantasy perspective.
While you may want to avoid taking him too early and instead try to nab another elite quarterback at a position of value, Palmer should prove his value relatively quickly.
If you don’t possess Drew Brees or another top-tier QB1 on the roster, make sure to have a Palmer—a potential stud—ready to come off the bench at a minute's notice.
Daryl Richardson, RB, St. Louis Rams
Richardson isn’t garnering much fanfare this offseason, which is a surprise since he took over Steven Jackson’s role as the No. 1 running back in the Rams offense.
While there is going to be some semblance of a timeshare in that backfield, Richardson will have a fair shake to become the lead rusher in Week 1, as second-year man Isaiah Pead will be suspended for the contest.
How will Richardson fare in 2013?
In PPR leagues, Richardson has shown potential as an above-average pass-catcher, hauling in 24 receptions in limited action last year.
Add in his average of 4.8 yards per carry and uncanny ability to bust a big gain and you are looking at a potential fantasy star just waiting to emerge.
Make sure you take a chance on Richardson in the later rounds and hope that he can have a breakout game against the Cardinals on Sept. 8.
Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego Chargers
When healthy, Vincent Brown is an absolutely devastating receiver capable of becoming Philip Rivers’ top target.
Unfortunately, the speedy wideout didn’t see the field once in 2012 due to an ankle injury and wasn’t able to build on his 19-catch, 329-yard, two-touchdown performance in 2011.
Prior to going down with the injury, Brown was emerging as an elite receiver capable of breaking a game open with his speed, route-running and pass-catching abilities.
It is going to be tough for the brittle 5’11”, 190-pound receiver to avoid injury, but he should be an absolute point-producing machine if that happens.
Take a late-round flier on this San Diego State product and hope he can avoid an injury while he’s starring for your fantasy team.