10 NFL Sophomores Who Could Have A Huge Fantasy Impact in 2014
10 NFL Sophomores Who Could Have a Huge Fantasy Impact in 2014
There were plenty of rookies who surprised fantasy football owners with their play in 2013. Obviously, players such as running backs Eddie Lacy and Giovani Bernard were expected to give worthy performances. However, wide receiver Keenan Allen and running back Zac Stacy were definitely a pleasant surprise for owners who decided to take a chance on them.
It is one thing to talk about what the top-notch rookies did last season, but it is another to predict which 10 rookies that will become sophomores in 2014 will have an impact for fantasy owners who are trying to get an edge. Getting the difficult prediction right could be the difference between playing in the championship game or the third-place decider.
Even though it is still early to begin thinking about which youngsters will give you an advantage against opponents that have their mind set on the big-named players, it certainly can’t hurt to at least begin a brainstorm. For owners who play in cash leagues, getting the ball rolling now could save you a lot of hard work in the ensuing months. That goes for owners who simply play for pride as well.
Make sure to click through the slideshow to see 10 NFL sophomores who could have a huge fantasy impact in 2014. Also, don’t forget to comment below on which sophomores you are hoping will take off. Along with that, which players on the list do you plan on keeping an eye on when next season’s draft rolls around?
10. DeAndre Hopkins
2013 Fantasy Points: 90.20
Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins didn’t exactly live up to the hype. Then again, neither did the Houston Texans. Houston selected Hopkins in the first round because they believed all the team needed was one more offensive piece in order to reach the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, 2013 revealed that there are way more bigger problems.
If Hopkins can get consistent work in the offseason with a consistent quarterback then he could very well have a huge impact for fantasy owners going forward. It will all depend on whom Houston puts under center.
9. Tavon Austin
2013 Fantasy Points: 84.90
Tavon Austin had a very productive season as a wide receiver and a punt returner. Fantasy owners are hoping that he can improve on his 418 receiving yards and four touchdown receptions this year. The good news is things are looking up for him as long as Sam Bradford and him spend some quality time together in the offseason.
8. Marlon Brown
2013 Fantasy Points: 96.20
Marlon Brown was quite the surprise for fantasy owners. The Baltimore Ravens wide receiver went undrafted during the NFL Draft as well as a majority of fantasy drafts. However, owners picked up on him quickly, which certainly gave them an edge when he was utilized correctly. Baltimore’s offense appears more focused on the pass game going forward. That means Brown could become a big part of their offense in 2014. Remember, he ranked second among all rookies with seven touchdown passes in 2013.
7. Zac Stacy
2013 Fantasy Points: 157.40
Stacy was a big-time surprise for fantasy owners that needed depth at the running back position. The fifth-round draft pick nearly broke 1,000 yards rushing and found the end zone a combined eight times this past season. The St. Louis Rams would like to focus on the running game more and more, which means Stacy is someone to keep an eye on.
6. Giovani Bernard
2013 Fantasy Points: 166.90
Many had high expectations for Bernard considering he was the first running back selected in the draft. Bernard definitely displayed his talents on the field, but there’s no question the Cincinnati Bengals would have liked to see a little more production. Regardless, fantasy owners had to be pleased with his performance as he provided excellent balance in the running and receiving game. I have to imagine the Bengals will look to enhance the run game, which means Bernard very well could surpass his fantasy points in 2014.
5. Mike Glennon
2013 Fantasy Points: 158.02
Quarterbacks are always tricky in fantasy drafts, unless you go right after Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. I’m not saying Mike Glennon should be picked to be a starter, but he definitely should be someone who takes up a spot on the bench. Glennon showed enough promise in 2013 (19 touchdowns to just nine interceptions) that owners would be foolish not to take a chance on him.
4. Keenan Allen
2013 Fantasy Points: 148.60
Allen’s first season in the NFL was most definitely a success, especially since he was selected in the third round. He will surpass his fantasy numbers in 2014 because the San Diego Chargers got a taste of how successful they are when they get the ball in his hands. More importantly, the team wants the feeling of being in the playoffs again. Doing better than 1,046 receiving yards and eight touchdown receptions won’t be easy, but I bet Allen will find a way to get the job done.
3. Le’Veon Bell
2013 Fantasy Points: 171.90
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin stated that he would rather have Le’Veon Bell than Lacy on his football team. Clearly, that is up for a debate, but nonetheless Bell proved that he could be a huge asset for fantasy owners. Not only is he very productive on the ground, but he makes big-time plays in the open field. The Steelers enjoy controlling the line of scrimmage by running the football, which means Bell will be a huge part of the offense in 2014.
2. Geno Smith
2013 Fantasy Points: 193.74
Geno Smith had an up-down season in his first year in the league. He managed to pass for more than 3,000 yards and accounted for 18 total touchdowns. Unfortunately, he also tossed 21 interceptions. With that being said, he performed well considering he played in the world’s largest media market. If he can build off his performance and limit interceptions, don’t be surprised to see several owners give him a few starts next season.
1. Eddie Lacy
2013 Fantasy Points: 207.50
Lacy single-handedly saved the Green Bay Packers playoff hopes in 2013. Nobody ever would have guessed Green Bay could survive without Rodgers under center for half of the season. However, the running success of Lacy allowed them to do just that. The second-round draft pick set a Packers franchise record with 1,178 rushing yards. He also led all rookies with 11 rushing touchdowns. Lacy is expected to be a huge part of Green Bay’s offense going forward, which means he is a must start for any fantasy owner that will be lucky enough to draft him.
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