Don’t be afraid to take chances on fantasy football sleepers before they break out during the start of the 2013 NFL season.
If you’ve already drafted a solid lineup, the later rounds are the perfect time to take some chances. Every year, many trophies are won by working the waiver wire. Instead of waiting, though, take a plunge early on.
Don’t leave it up to your position on the wire or hope that your opponents won't snatch your target before you can. Make a risky move now that can benefit you all the way to a championship. And if you’re planning on living dangerously, it’s best you do your homework.
We’ve got you covered.
WR Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams
Player Ranking: 40th WR, 105 overall
While the secret is slowly coming out on St. Louis Rams receiver Chris Givens, the talented young wideout is still being severely under-drafted.
The question I have: Why? Givens has already solidified himself as a legitimate big-play threat. Last year, he averaged 16.6 yards per catch and was targeted 81 times.
Shane Gray of ESPN 101 in St. Louis said Givens revealed a pretty shocking bit of information about himself:
It should be no surprise that Chris Givens has emerged as one of game's best deep threats. Last year he told me he's been clocked in 4.2s.— Shane Gray STL Rams (@ShaneGmoSTLRams) August 20, 2013
That speed was on display while he burned the Green Bay Packers secondary for a 52-yard reception during their preseason matchup. The Rams posted a shot of Givens, who was stopped at the 2-yard line, on Instagram after the play:
Givens also doesn’t have much proven competition for looks this season. Austin Pettis and Brian Quick are promising, but neither provides the type of fantasy potential he brings to the table. The Rams seem to agree with that assessment, as Givens is listed as both the No. 1 and No. 2 receiver on their current depth chart on STLouisRams.com:
While that’s obviously a typo and Tavon Austin will command his fair share of looks, the Rams are going to be spreading the field this season and allowing Sam Bradford to sling it, per ESPN’s Mike Sando. Givens should flourish as a result and put up big numbers in his second season.
RB Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
Player Ranking: 60th RB, 224 overall
Knowshon Moreno is the forgotten man in the Denver Broncos backfield. The team expended a second-round pick on Wisconsin rusher Montee Ball to presumably step into a starting role. There’s also the shifty second-year man Ronnie Hillman to factor into the equation.
So where does Moreno fit?
Despite seemingly sliding down the depth chart, Moreno still has a lot of qualities the Broncos value. The most prominent of those is pass blocking, something Hillman struggled with last season. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, his performance in that regard was one of the factors keeping him from taking carries away from Moreno.
Ball hasn’t exactly lived up to the bill as protector for Peyton Manning yet either, as Yahoo! Sports’ Shutdown Corner blogger Frank Schwab pointed out:
Seeing Montee Ball let Wagner drill Peyton Manning makes me think that we may not have seen the last of reliable Knowshon Moreno— Shutdown Corner (@YShutdownCorner) August 18, 2013
Aside from being a reliable pass-blocker, Moreno also looked to come into his own towards the end of the 2012 season. He averaged over 100 yards and 0.6 touchdowns per game over the last five games of the year. Injuries and inconsistency are certainly factors, though. Moreno has yet to reach his potential and has missed some action, including a torn ACL in 2011.
Still, there are plenty of good things about Moreno playing in an offense led by Manning. If he continues to prove his worth and the others fall short, there’s a good chance he will be the one racking up fantasy points in the Broncos backfield this season.
WR Andre Roberts, Arizona Cardinals
Player Ranking: 71st WR, 203 overall
A young and hungry wide receiver coming into a contract season, Andre Roberts could become the biggest benefactor of the Arizona Cardinals’ acquisition of veteran quarterback Carson Palmer. Roberts snagged 64 receptions last year, scored five touchdowns and compiled 759 yards.
And that production came within the worst-rated passing offense in the NFL. Arizona will not be that inefficient this year with Palmer behind center and Bruce Arians at the helm on the sidelines.
While Roberts will not be the No. 1 target, there is going to be plenty of opportunities for Cardinals receivers this year. He’ll actually benefit because of his role. Larry Fitzgerald will command double-teams and the focus of opposing coverages every week, allowing Roberts to get open and rack up fantasy points.
To this point, he’s already making an impact in the preseason. He caught a 36-yard touchdown from Palmer during the first quarter of the team’s preseason win over Green Bay. That seems like just a sample of the big things to come for Roberts this season.
Player rankings provided by FantasyPros.com. Rankings are for standard scoring leagues, not PPR.