By Tyler Ruby on July 25, 2014
It's that time of the year again. Fantasy football drafts will be taking place over the next month, and it's not always the superstars who bring an owner his championship. Oftentimes, it's the sleepers, the surprise performers who make a good team great. Who are the top 10 sleepers to watch out for this year?
Talent-wise, Fitzpatrick may not be in the top-half of NFL quarterbacks, but he should put up solid numbers this year for the Houston Texans. With Andre Johnson returning to the team, and DeAndre Hopkins in his second year, he has the weapons to succeed, especially with the quarterback guru, Bill O'Brien, at the helm.
Brandin Cooks could potentially become a star in the Saints' high-octane offense. With Drew Brees' quick trigger and accuracy, Cooks can turn the underneath and crossing routes into long touchdowns. He can be the Saints' version of Wes Welker, but here's the kicker, Cooks runs a 4.33. He could get 70 to 80 catches this year.
In his rookie season, E.J. Manuel showed a ton of promise, but it was derailed by injuries. Doug Marrone's fast-paced offense could pay serious dividends for Manuel this year as he has offensive weapons surrounding him. He has a legitimate No. 1 option in Sammy Watkins, plus a stable of good running backs.
Montee Ball should finally get his time in the spotlight. With Knowshon Moreno now in Miami, Ball should get the majority of the carries, just as long as he can hold onto the ball. Every running back benefits from playing with Peyton Manning, and Ball should be no different.
The Detroit Lions have been looking for a receiver to line up opposite of Calvin Johnson for the past few years now. They thought they had that in Titus Young, and we all know the tragic ending to that story. In the offseason, they went out and signed Golden Tate. In Detroit's pass-happy offense, he should get plenty of one-on-one coverage and plenty of opportunities to catch the ball.
Kelvin Benjamin is on this list because he is the only recognizable receiver on the Carolina Panthers roster. He's a big target with massive hands. The Newton-to-Benjamin connection should be a term Panthers fans should get used to hearing.
Andre Ellington is a huge talent. I would expect the Arizona Cardinals to use him much like the Cincinnati Bengals used Giovani Bernard. Ellington won't be a three-down back, but the Cardinals will get him space with sweeps and screens. He's a game-breaker, and the Cardinals don't have any better options right now. Expect Ellington to be a top-12 running back this season.
Zach Ertz should be headed for a breakout year as the Eagles have finally found their quarterback in Nick Foles. Ertz's role increased with every game last season, and he could be a matchup nightmare in Chip Kelly's offense. He has the potential to be a top-five tight end when the season's over.
The Green Bay Packers replenished their receiving corps in the draft after letting James Jones walk, but you shouldn't forget about Jarrett Boykin. He stepped in for the injured Randall Cobb last year admirably, and he got better every game. He has unlimited potential, especially with Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball.
Let's face it. Antonio Gates is getting up there in age, and he isn't nearly as effective as he was five years ago. That's fine because the Chargers have his heir apparent in Ladarius Green. Green stretches the field, and although he only has 21 catches in his two-year NFL career, he's averaging 20 yards per catch. He's just another one of these matchup nightmares that defensive coordinators will have to plan against.
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