Fantasy football sleepers: 6 players to keep an eye on in 2015

2 Point Lead: Socially Conscious Fantasy Draft

Turn your fantasy football knowledge into cash! We're hosting a one-week $1 million league on FanDuel in Week 1. It's only $5 to enter and first place walks away with $100,000. Enter now and change your lineup anytime until 9/13 at 1:00pm (ET).


What is a sleeper?

It's a player no one has heard of that has great potential to outperform his draft slot or FanDuel value. However, it's a concept that is completely antithetical to today's fantasy football landscape. There are only so many players at each position, and countless hours of research are done on those players by the various fantasy outlets (including by us here at FanDuel).

There are very few players that are lightly considered or otherwise passed over.

So, we've reached a time where everyone has their own sleepers, but if you combine just about everyone's sleepers, that hypothetical venn diagram would probably cover the entire middle of your particular season-long fantasy draft or the $5,000-$7,000 pricing range here at FanDuel. Who to believe? What to do?

The sleepers discussed here have three important qualifications. First, they have the potential to put up bigger fantasy numbers than their draft slot suggests, either having done so before or being a young player with the physical potential to do so. Second, they exist within a bigger context that could allow them to put up big numbers. Finally, they are players that should be available in the middle-to-late rounds of your draft. If you over-draft them, they no longer become sleepers. If they perform well for a few weeks and their price rises, they are not sleepers.

SEE ALSO: Countdown to Kickoff - Previews and predictions

The beauty of the sleeper is no longer in the "hidden" knowledge one might have about them, but (and this might be even better) being right about your guy within the vast menagerie of "sleepers." It's no longer finding a needle in a haystack. It's finding your perfect needle in a gigantic stack of needles.

These players are the ones I'm picking to break out and prove a bunch of people wrong.

Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals (Current ADP QB No. 22, Current FanDuel Price $7,700)

I can't believe Palmer is being drafted so low.

According to Palmer's FanDuel price point, he's about the 16th-best quarterback. That means, anywhere from 17-20, you're getting a heckuva value. At 22, you're basically committing a felony. Honestly, I think anyone who understands where there Cardinals are at should be itching to grab him long before pick No. 16 rolls around, and should be building most of their FanDuel lineups around him (depending on matchup, New Orleans in Week 1 will do) as long as his price stays around $7,700.

I am, literally, one of Palmer's biggest critics. I think he is a weak link on an otherwise Super Bowl-caliber team. The success this team has will not be because Palmer is leading them there, but because he is along for the ride. However, we saw what this team could do with lesser luminaries under center last season, and they are tailor made for a run if Palmer stays healthy. When he was healthy last season, the talent on this team allowed him to be the No. 10 QB on FanDuel.

At 22? My goodness, make that pick...

Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (Current ADP QB No. 23, Current FanDuel Price $6,600)

For $1,000 cheaper and one average draft slot lower, you can have Alex Smith!

OK, maybe you're not as excited as I am, and Smith's 15.1 ppg last season isn't quite as gaudy as Palmer's 17.8, but those numbers aren't exactly that far apart, either. In fact, Smith's point totals from last season look awfully close to higher-priced quarterbacks like Teddy Bridgewater and Andy Dalton. In fact, Smith wasn't far off from Matthew Stafford, who costs upwards of $7,800 but only scored a point-per-game more than Smith.

The rub here is we're expecting Smith to do a little better. He brings back tight end Travis Kelce and has added wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. No, this isn't going to be a high-octane offense, but with a couple of extra touchdown throws to his receiving corps (remember, last year was zero, and that's not a sustainable trend) he could easily be in the 17 ppg range which would be an awesome QB2/OP for many leagues out there using that roster formation. If he's your bye-week backup in standard leagues? Even better.

Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders (Current ADP RB No. 18, Current FanDuel Price $7,400)

There is a glut of talented backs in the RB No. 15-25 range (and even beyond), but Murray is the diamond in the rough. Rather than waste your time with maybes like Carlos Hyde or Melvin Gordon, Murray is a (somewhat) known commodity who is rising to a clear No. 1 back position for his team and has a darn-good run-blocking line ahead of him.

Even more delightful for Murray owners, the addition of wide receiver Amari Cooper bolsters the passing game. Yes, that might be a lost touchdown here or there, but overall, it means teams will not be able to stack the box, and Murray will be running against a lot of seven-man fronts.

Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons (Current ADP RB No. 31, Current FanDuel Price $6,700)

If you're looking for a running back lower than that RB No. 15-25 range I listed above, you're looking for one thing—touches. You're hoping to grab the guy who ascends to the top of the running back by committee (RBBC), or handcuffing a player you grabbed earlier that you might be concerned about. Maybe a Detroit Lions-inspired Joique Bell-Ameer Abdullah pairing could be nice while on a turn or have spent FanDuel cap money elsewhere, but even better yet would be grabbing the Falcons' eventual starter at the running back position.

Coleman is the Falcons' starting running back. Right now, he's dealing with a lingering injury and may get light work until he's 100 percent healthy, but he is the lead dog. Once more people start figuring that out (and see the massive potential he has in that offense) his stock and his price point are going way up.

Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders (Current ADP WR No. 21, Current FanDuel Price $7,100)

I've referenced the second Raider on this list already, but let me gush over his abilities a little.

Cooper might be, right now, one of the Top 10-15 receivers in the NFL. He's one of the best route runners, certainly one of the best blockers and might also be one of the best overall (and most explosive) athletes out of his breaks. I know he's not 6'5″, and I know he doesn't run a 4.25, but that doesn't matter. He's fantastic, was too lightly regarded in the draft process by the media and lands in a perfect spot in Oakland.

They will force feed him targets.

Maybe you don't think Derek Carr is a great starting quarterback, and that's fine...I don't either. Carr, however, dealt with a lot of adversity last season and has an incredible arm. The addition of Cooper doesn't transform him into Aaron Rodgers or anything, but it gives him someone to go get the football when he heaves it wildly down the field.

I submit to you, that Cooper (along with the healthy does of Murray mentioned above) will be helping out immensely in that regard.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings (Current ADP TE No. 15, Current FanDuel Price $5,300)

Different coaches and their offenses teach route progressions in different ways, but Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner runs an Air Coryell-inspired system that demands (generally speaking) players to spread the field vertically and to read from the outside to the inside. With running back Adrian Peterson back, they'll be adding more play action to that, as defenses commit more and more defenders to the run.

Combine all of that with the Vikings middling talent on the outside, and you get what we've seen from Bridgewater so far in his career—if he's got enough time to go through his progressions (the Vikings line and his inexperience didn't help with that last season) he can be very successful passing to his second, third or fourth target.

Now healthy (for now, I should say), Rudolph is being drafted like a TE2, but has clear TE1 upside. Draft him as your backup, and you'll get starters points out of him against certain matchups. He may even supplant your starter if he can stay on the field, because he'll be given plenty of red zone chances.

Turn your fantasy football knowledge into cash! We're hosting a one-week $1 million league on FanDuel in Week 1. It's only $5 to enter and first place walks away with $100,000. Enter now and change your lineup anytime until 9/13 at 1:00pm (ET).


NFL Stadiums
See Gallery
Fantasy football sleepers: 6 players to keep an eye on in 2015

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.