By Aaron Charles @aaroncharleskc on June 2, 2014
Once the NFL Draft is completed, it's a good time to start pondering which players to target in the next fantasy football draft. Even with ongoing position battles yet to be set, it's still fun to forecast who will be a big fantasy producer in the upcoming season. Here are 15 players who I believe will outperform their early draft rankings.
Tate will finally get his chance to prove he is more than a handcuff with the Cleveland Browns. This is his first real opportunity as a featured back, and he is going to make the most of it.
Rookies can be a great source of sleepers if you target the right ones. Sankey was the first running back selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. With Chris Johnson leaving town, he will likely see a good amount of touches with the Tennessee Titans.
Johnson's new job with the New York Jets may not look like an ideal situation, but it shouldn't scare anyone away from drafting him. The 28-year-old still has some good years left, and he's never totaled less than 1,400 yards from scrimmage in a season. He may not be CJ2K again, but he's going to put up some solid numbers.
With a draft-day trade, the New Orleans Saints used their No. 27 and No. 91 overall picks to snag Cooks. It safe to say that the Saints have plans for him in the offense. With an aging receiving corps and Darren Sproles gone, you have to believe Cooks will get his share of targets.
Spiller has the talent to be a stud, but injuries and Fred Jackson have been eating into his playing time. Jackson is now 33 years old, and should steal fewer of his carries this season. If Spiller can stay healthy, he could be the one of the biggest steals of the draft.
With Dave Toub as coordinator, the Kansas City Chiefs should manage a few scores on special teams. The ultra-aggressive defense gave up some points in 2013, but they also got their share of sacks, turnovers and touchdowns. They will probably be available at the end of most drafts, and they're definitely worth a roster spot.
The only knock on Ebron is that the Detroit Lions have too many receiving options for him to produce well in his rookie season. Hogwash. Ebron is a special talent on a team that loves to throw the ball more than anybody. He will get his targets and make the most of them.
Nicks' early rankings have him as a late-round pick, and his upside is definitely worth that. The 26-year-old has the talent of a 1,000-yard receiver if he can just stay healthy for an entire season. His new quarterback, Andrew Luck is certainly no fantasy downgrade from Eli Manning.
The Houston Texans' quarterback situation isn't ideal, but Hopkins could end up as the their No. 1 receiver if Andre Johnson doesn't come back. Even if he shows up, Johnson isn't getting any younger. Hopkins has the talent to steal some targets and break out in his sophomore campaign.
Maclin is definitely an injury risk, but he's also the best receiving option on a very productive offense. He is a gamble worth taking.
Cameron's early rankings have him as about the seventh-best tight end, but I would put him fourth. There is no reason to believe he will slow down from his breakout campaign in 2013, and he has as much upside as anyone at the position.
Miller proved himself as the Miami Dolphins' best running back last season, and he should get more work this year. With a much-improved offensive line up front, he has breakout candidate written all over him.
Others' fears concerning Watkins' inexperienced quarterback, or the fact that he's a rookie, are going to keep him on the board longer than he should be. He will be the only rookie No. 1 receiver in the league, and not just because the Bills have a lack of receiving options. He is that good, so snag him.
Yes, the future Hall of Famer will be a sleeper this year. His numbers from last season are going make him slide. It seems a lot of people are forgetting the pathetic receiving options he had for most of 2013. Without murder charges and a ridiculous amount of injuries depleting his pass catchers, Brady's usual numbers will be back.
Manziel's upside definitely makes him worth a roster spot. He is the only rookie quarterback who could put up numbers similar to RGIII's or Cam Newton's rookie seasons. It tough for some to admit, but you can't teach his instincts for the game. If Manziel goes as late as he's projected now, all you would really be risking for him is a spot on the bench.
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