Fantasy Football Sleepers 2013: Best Under-the-Radar Gems to Target
Acquiring talent in the latter rounds of a fantasy football draft is what separates the gurus and champions from the fools and chumps.
Things are going to be no different in 2013, as there are currently so many high-potential players just poised for a breakout season.
While it’s certainly not easy identifying sleepers that are going to perform at an elite level, it’s something that all great owners must learn to do. Don’t worry if you aren’t exactly sure which under-the-radar studs to monitor, as I’ve put together a helpful guide.
Keep reading to see a handful of players to keep an eye on late in the draft or on the waiver wire.
Kenbrell Thompkins, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots
If any starting quarterback other than Tom Brady were without his top-five receiving options from a season ago, most would think having anything near a normal statistical season would be a downright impossibility.
Thanks to Brady’s skill as a signal-caller, coach Bill Belichick’s genius and the emergence of Kenbrell Thompkins, things are looking up in New England.
Is Thompkins the real deal?
The rookie went undrafted out of Cincinnati, but looked solid as ever since joining the Pats shortly after the draft—quickly surpassing second-round draft pick Aaron Dobson.
The 6’1”, 193-pound receiver has been Brady’s favorite target during the preseason (13 receptions and 142 yards in three games) and should be poised to continue his magnificent production when the action starts for real in early September.
Don’t be afraid to gamble on Thompkins, as he’s proved himself and there simply aren’t any viable replacements for the Pats at the position.
Daryl Richardson, Running Back, St. Louis Rams
He was recently named the starter for Week 1’s contest against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 8 and could hold that spot for the season if he performs well.
Second-year rusher Isaiah Pead is serving a one-game suspension during that time and head coach Jeff Fisher will likely lean heavily on Richardson in both the rushing and passing game.
The former Abilene Christian star is hoping to capitalize on his 98-rush, 475-yard campaign as a rookie and should be an absolute star in PPR leagues. In limited action during the 2012 season, he caught 24 passes on 36 targets and turned them into another 163 yards
Don’t be surprised if Richardson repeats that performance and once again relegates Pead to backup duties this season due to a breakout performance against a respectable Cardinals defense.
Cecil Shorts III, Wide Receiver, Jacksonville Jaguars
Whenever a receiver can come up with 55 receptions and 979 yards with Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne as his primary two quarterbacks during a 2-14 season, he’s likely a special player.
Cecil Shorts III deserves some distinction for his efforts, as the former Mount Union star managed to compile those eye-popping stats in a situation most would describe as terrible.
With Justin Blackmon suspended for four games, Shorts will once again have to shoulder the load in the receiving game and serve as the primary target for Gabbert, the signal-caller who must make significant strides in his third season or risk having his NFL career flame out.
It wouldn’t be at all shocking if Shorts surpasses the 1,000-yard mark and catches at least 70 passes during the 2013 campaign, so draft him with confidence.
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