Fantasy football leagues are won in the later rounds of the draft.
Sure, getting a linebacker-flattening robot like Adrian Peterson with the No. 1 pick certainly make things a little easier, but most times, it's the steals you land when everyone else is at the I-don't-care-just-give-me-another-beer-and-a-kicker stage that takes you from "good" to "elite."
However, as we get closer to the start of the season, landing those sleepers becomes a little more difficult.
At this point, everyone knows about Kenbrell Thompkins, Jordan Cameron and other popular youngsters, and as a result, their average draft positions (ADP) are climbing.
So, with FantasyFootballCalculator.com as our reference for ADP, let's take a look at some other young studs who are still slipping too far in drafts.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins, ADP: No. 186 Overall, 25th Among QBs
Ry-Ry, as I'm sure his friends probably call him, threw for 3,294 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions as a rookie last year.
Not exactly earth-shattering numbers—especially when you consider how high the other three set the bar—but all he was really missing was the touchdowns.
With an improved arsenal that includes dynamic rookie Lamar Miller at running back (he was there last year, obviously, but now he's expected to start) and home run threat Mike Wallace on the outside, the Dolphins offense should be sniffing the red zone much more in 2013.
That, along with the leap in performance that is expected between rookie and sophomore campaigns, and Tannehill will make for a high-end fantasy backup—as opposed to the QB3 he's currently being drafted as.
Joique Bell, Detroit Lions, ADP: No. 158 Overall, 56th Among RBs
The 27-year-old Bell may not be "young" in the traditional NFL sense, but with just one year of real production in the league, I'm including him.
With perhaps the least exciting sports name ever, Joique is being overlooked.
In fact, he's being so overlooked, that his backup (and maybe even his backup's backup if you count Montell Owens), Mikel Leshoure, is being drafted before him.
That needs to stop.
Bell averaged 5.0 yards per carry last season while tallying an impressive 52 catches—and he has only continued to look impressive this preseason, garnering praise from Lions writer Tim Twentyman and Pro Football Focus:
Worst-case scenario, Bell is a handcuff for Reggie Bush, who is certainly no stranger to the doctor's office.
Best-case scenario, he's a flex option in a deep PPR league, even if Bush stays healthy like he has the past two seasons.
Either way, he's a steal in the 13th round of 12-team leagues.
Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals, ADP: No. 119 Overall, 46th Among WRs
Floyd has been a pretty popular sleeper this preseason, but his ADP still doesn't really reflect that.
Remember, this is a guy with a gun-slinging quarterback in Carson Palmer (whose game isn't always pretty, but it's certainly effective for fantasy purposes), an elite wide receiver in Larry Fitzgerald attracting double-teams and a skill set of a true No. 1.
Look at this way: Last year, with John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer doing their best monkey-throwing-poop impressions, Andre Roberts—a far less-talented receiver than Floyd—still managed to tally 64 catches, 759 yards and five touchdowns as Arizona's No. 2 guy.
Floyd, who ended last year with a looksie into the future with an eight-catch, 166-yard performance and has looked good this preseason, will easily surpass those numbers.
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