Fantasy Football 2014: 5 Rookie Sleepers for Dynasty Leagues
There are hardcore fantasy football fans, and then there are hardcore dynasty fantasy football fans. The latter put in the extra effort to project value for not only the current season, but also the next and the next and the next one after that.
The additional required research can make drafts more daunting, as it separates the prepared from the unprepared.
Similarly to real NFL franchises, dynasty teams can quickly fall apart if their managers don't build depth through the draft each season.
The following rookies will add depth to your roster early on and have the potential to develop into great starters in the future. Best of all, they will only require the use of your late-round picks, as they are likely to overlooked in your dynasty league draft.
Read on to find out which rookie sleepers you should take a chance on in your league, as you could be handsomely rewarded with the next Arian Foster!
Kelvin Benjamin, Wide Receiver, Carolina Panthers
Benjamin has all of the pieces you want in a young receiver for your dynasty league. He has the prototypical red-zone frame (6'5", 243 lbs), a great young quarterback in Cam Newton and he will in all likelihood be the Panthers' top target for the foreseeable future.
The Panthers invested a first-round pick in the Florida State product and expect him to form a lasting partnership with Newton.
If the early reviews—shared by NFL.com—are any indicator of how much of an impact he'll make with the team, you'd be crazy to not take a chance on him in the late rounds of your draft.
Beyond Benjamin, the Panthers don't have many receivers with futures to get excited about. Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant are over 30 and Tiquan Underwood has so far failed to prove himself capable of holding on to a starting job in the NFL.
Down the road, Benjamin can develop into a 10-touchdown-per-year producer.
Since those types of receivers are at a premium right now, buy low before another team holds on to him until he's past his prime.
Blake Bortles, Quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars
According to USA Today's Jim Corbett, it's becoming increasingly clear that Bortles will not play in his rookie season. But don't that let dissuade you from making an early investment on him.
By the time Bortles returns to the field, Justin Blackmon could be back on the field for the team, and that would be huge for Bortles' development. If not, the team still has a solid young group that includes Cecil Shorts as well as rookies Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson.
Bortles isn't a polished product at this point, but he has tons of talent and seems to have the right mindset to avoid flaming out like so many top picks at the position have in the past.
I also doubt that billionaire owner Shahid Khan will shy from opening his pocket to surround Bortles with the necessary weapons and protection to succeed.
Jarvis Landry, Wide Receiver, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins may be paying Mike Wallace like an elite No. 1 receiver, but he certainly didn't perform like it last season, picking up just 930 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
This disappointing performance raises the possibility that the team will look to dump his contract off on a team with a healthier salary-cap situation if he underperforms again in 2014.
If that were to happen, Jarvis Landry would instantly receive a huge bump in value. With youngster Ryan Tannehill appearing to be the team's quarterback of the future, there would be no shock to his production if such a transition period were to arise.
Landry is as sure-handed as rookie receivers come, and this contributes to his low-risk profile.
He also has no character flags or injury concerns, so there's little downside to taking a chance on him—especially considering the potential upside that lies in the uncertain future of Wallace.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tight End, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Josh McCown is now the starter for the Bucs, and as anyone who watched the Bears play last season likely noticed, he likes big targets to throw to almost as much as his fantasy owners like watching him throw to those targets.
At 6'5", Seferian-Jenkins is definitely tall, so he checks out in that aspect. There's more, though!
The rookie tight end truly specializes as a receiver and fits the mold of basketball players starring at the position (Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, Jimmy Graham).
Seferian-Jenkins isn't an out-of-his-mind athlete, but he possesses great football skills and intelligence, and with Vincent Jackson on the wrong side of his prime, he could become a touchdown machine within a few seasons.
Lache Seastrunk, Running Back, Washington Redskins
No, Lache Seastrunk is not going to unseat Alfred Morris as the Redskins' starting running back any time soon, but complementary backs are becoming increasingly commonplace on fantasy football rosters.
At this point, Seastrunk is just an incredible athlete and not very refined as a football player, but if he can improve as a receiver and pass protector, he could develop into a scatback in a role similar to Darren Sproles, who has been an incredibly consistent fantasy producer throughout his career.
If Mike Shanahan were still coaching in Washington, I would have bet on Seastrunk becoming the starter by 2016.
With the current coaching staff, however, it's likely that Morris will sign an extension before his contract expires after the 2015 season, meaning Seastrunk has a considerably lower ceiling.
However, don't put it past him to prove that the Redskins don't need to spend big on Morris to continue their effectiveness in the running game. Seastrunk is an elite athlete among elite athletes, so he has the potential to become a starter if he can become a smarter and more patient runner.
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