Fantasy Football Sleepers 2013: Hidden Gems That Will Surprise

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIAugust 16, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 08:  Giovani Bernard #25 of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on August 8, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Winning your fantasy football league will almost always come down to your strength at running back. The position is like lives in a video gameyou can never have too many.

If you have the first or second pick in your league, of course you are going to grab either the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson or the Houston Texans' Arian Foster. If you're in the second round, the Chicago Bears' Matt Forte or even the Washington Redskins' Alfred Morris would be a smart pick.

But what about adding depth at the all-important position even later in the draft?

As I said, you can never have enough running back talent on your squad. So here are three low-profile backs who will have solid seasons—provided they stay healthy—and could be the sleeper picks that help put your squad over the top.


Cincinnati Bengals - Giovanni Bernard

The Bengals still have BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but he simply doesn't provide the big-play ability that Giovanni Bernard does. Cincinnati selected Bernard with the 37th overall pick this past April for a reason.

The team is hoping that Bernard will develop into the feature back. The rookie got 10 carries in the preseason opener and scored a touchdown. He's a capable receiver and a shifty, durable runner with good speed. His upside is considerable, as the Bengals will look to establish the run game to open up play action.

Look for him to ease his way into the starting lineup as he becomes more comfortable with pass-blocking assignments. 


New Orleans Saints - Mark Ingram

Before you call Mark Ingram a bust, watch what he does this season with the Saints.

In two seasons, Ingram has averaged just 10.6 carries per game, but this may be the year he sees more opportunities. With Chris Ivory now with the New York Jets, Ingram could be the team's short-yardage back. The former Heisman trophy winner could take some carries from Pierre Thomas as well.

Thomas is also 28 years old and missed four games in 2012. As he moves closer to the end of the line, Ingram—who is still just 23—will become a bigger part of the team's offense.

Remember, we are just two years removed from Ingram receiving comparisons to Emmitt Smith. This will be the year he starts to find the end zone with some regularity.


St. Louis Rams - Daryl Richardson

Rams' great Stephen Jackson is in Atlanta, so Daryl Richardson has an excellent chance to emerge as the team's feature back. He'll battle Isaiah Pead for the starting job, but Richardson has a leg up based upon his performance in 2012, a season in which he rushed for 475 yards.

Quickness is his primary quality, and it looks as if he could break almost every opportunity if he's allowed to turn the corner. 

With more carries, Richardson will have his share of long gainers and scores. He is a definite sleeper at the running back position.


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