Fantasy Football 2014: Predicting Top Sleepers and Busts for Each Position

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2014

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown during a voluntary minicamp NFL football practice Wednesday, April 23, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The 2014 NFL preseason is approaching fast, and fantasy football owners are gearing up for the most important time of the year: draft season.

With every fantasy owner trying to find the edge that will help him claim a championship over his friends and coworkers, it’s time to predict the top sleepers and busts at every position.

Finding the sleepers and avoiding the busts will be the key to fantasy glory.


Top Sleepers and Busts for Each Position
QuarterbackJosh McCown, Tampa Bay BuccaneersRussell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Running BackLamar Miller, Miami DolphinsArian Foster, Houston Texans
Wide ReceiverTerrance Williams, Dallas CowboysVictor Cruz, New York Giants
Tight EndTyler Eifert, Cincinnati BengalsVernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
DefenseTampa Bay BuccaneersDenver Broncos
KickerMatt Bryant, Atlanta FalconsSteven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks
Source: Donald Wood's Rankings


Biggest Sleeper: Josh McCown, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Many fans expected Mike Glennon to step back into the starting role for 2014, but the addition of new head coach Lovie Smith proved to a blessing for former Chicago Bears backup quarterback Josh McCown.

According to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, McCown is the starting QB for the team.

McCown is a strong-armed quarterback who has been around the league for a long time. While he has never been able to hold down a starting job, he showcased his skill last season when Jay Cutler went down with an injury.

When asked about his expectations for the upcoming season, McCown spoke to Fred Goodall of The Associated Press, via, and talked about his team executing the playbook to the best of its ability:

No bold predictions. We're just going to go out and play good football and see where that leads us. But I believe if we do the things we're asked to do, what the coaches have laid out, I think we'll look up at the end of the year and find ourselves in a favorable position. That's all we can do right now.

With an array of offensive weapons at his disposal and the keys to the offense in 2013, McCown played in eight games and racked up an impressive 1,829 yards, 13 touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating of 109.

Smith knows McCown from his days in Chicago. That familiarity will help the transition for the new coach, but McCown also has some legitimate threats in the passing attack.

With tall receivers like Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans on the outside, tight ends Brandon Myers and Austin Seferian-Jenkins patrolling the middle and Doug Martin out of the backfield, the journeyman quarterback will finally have a chance to shine.

Predicted Season Stats: 3,800 yards, 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.


Biggest Bust: Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans 

One of last year’s biggest busts is also considered one of this year’s biggest busts because fantasy owners don’t learn. Houston Texans running back Arian Foster is a great player, but the injuries that plagued him last year should have owners scared.

According to Mark Berman of, Foster has already missed several days dealing with an injury but recently returned to practice:

Foster only managed to play in eight games last season. With nagging back issues and hamstring trouble, owners should be considering other options in the first several rounds. It is imperative to avoid busts in Rounds 1-3, and that’s where Foster is being targeted.

The fantasy insiders at agree with my notion:

On the other hand, Brad Evans of Yahoo Sports is a bit more bullish:

The main issue for owners was that even when he was on the field last season, he was not productive. Foster only managed to amass 542 yards and one rushing touchdown last season and proved to be a fantasy albatross.

Houston fans and the Texans franchise are hoping Foster can bounce back this season, and he will have ample opportunities with Ben Tate leaving via free agency. Andre Brown is a solid backup, but Foster will have the chance to be the unquestioned No. 1 running back again.

The injury concerns elevate his bust potential drastically, though.

Predicted Season Stats: 200 carries for 1,000 yards and five rushing touchdowns and 28 catches for 200 yards and one touchdown receiving.


*Stats via