Fantasy football sleepers in 2013 will be what makes or breaks your fantasy football team. Though you need your top picks to stay healthy and be productive, the sleepers will make the difference. Below is a list of my top two sleepers at each of the major fantasy positions;
Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks are 7/1 favorites to win the Super Bowl in 2013, a large reason being the pressure Russell Wilson puts on opposing defenses. Wilson is a very smart quarterback that reads defenses extremely well. Through his first eight games of the 2012 season, Wilson averaged 16 rush yards per game (4-4 record). In his final eight games he averaged 45 rush yards per game (7-1 record). While this is great for fantasy owners, it also shows how he’s adapted to NFL defenses. The addition of speedster Percy Harvin should make Wilson an easy lock as a top-10 quarterback this season, possibly even top-5 if Harvin can stay on the field.
Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins
As every head coach in the NFL will say that one of their players ‘looks great’, you can only take their word with a grain of salt. Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman has stated that he thinks Ryan Tannehill will be the “most improved quarterback from year one to year two.” Take it for what it’s worth, but with the addition of wide receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson along with tight end Dustin Keller, Tannehill could be a bargain as he’s currently ranked as the 25th fantasy quarterback according to Yahoo! Sports.
David Wilson – New York Giants
With Ahmad Bradshaw out of New York, David Wilson will finally get his chance to be the man for the Giants. Wilson is known to have fumbling issues, but showed toward the end of last season that he can handle the workload when given the opportunity. Wilson scored four touchdowns in his final four games (3 rush, 1 rec) for the Giants last season, while averaging 5.75 yards per carry over that time. Wilson is an electrifying game changer and could be poised for a huge 2013 season. Keep your expectations in check though because if Wilson does encounter fumbling issues early on, Andre Brown will be there to rack up the carries.
Chris Ivory – New York Jets
Shonn Greene just didn’t work out for the Jets. In fact, nothing really worked out for the Jets last season. Chris Ivory will get every opportunity to succeed this season. While the Jets also acquired Mike Goodson, his future is looking gray at best after facing a drug and weapons charge along with a paternity suit. Goodson clearly will not threaten Ivory’s touches early on in the season. Ivory is just 25 years of age and hasn’t been a workhorse back while on the New Orleans Saints over the past three seasons. 2013 will be his chance to prove himself to Jets fans and fantasy football owners. He is a true fantasy football sleeper.
T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts
Donnie Avery had 34 more targets last season than T.Y. Hilton, while Hilton still racked up 861 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Now with Avery gone, Hilton should be second on the depth chart right behind the aging Reggie Wayne. He has above average speed and great moves after the catch. Recently signed free agent Darrius Heyward-Bey should not threaten Hilton’s depth chart status. If Hilton can become a more consistent pass catcher, he should be a breakout sleeper-type fantasy wide receiver in 2013.
Alshon Jeffery – Chicago Bears
Injuries and conditioning issues limited Alshon Jeffery to just ten games in his rookie campaign last season. This offseason, Jeffery is doing something about it. He completed a six week training program in mid-February, and he is about to start another training program at the same facility. The new addition of tight end Martellus Bennett should help free Jeffery up. New Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman is said to have great success bringing the best out of quarterbacks. This could be great news for Jay Cutler and also the second-year Bears receiver. The addition of Bennett, having a quarterback-driven head coach, and Jeffery’s physical drive this offseason should make him fantasy-relevant this fantasy football season. He’s a player you shouldn’t pass up on in the later rounds of your draft.
Brandon Myers – New York Giants
Everyone can agree that Eli Manning is a big upgrade over Carson Palmer. Brandon Myers recently revealed that he played all of last season with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder. With this in mind, Myers was still a viable option at tight end, reeling in 79 receptions for 806 yards and four touchdowns. Martellus Bennett was a huge weapon last season for the Giants, and if Myers can stay healthy, he should be an even bigger one. An easy choice to be a top-10 tight end for the upcoming fantasy football season.
Coby Fleener – Indianapolis Colts
Entering his second NFL season, Coby Fleener should be a name to get accustom with when discussing tight ends. Though he doesn’t have the big time tight end names of Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski, Fleener is just as skilled. With the departure of the then tenured head coach Bruce Arians, Fleener should block less and catch more. Entering his second season as the Colts tight end, Fleener will be more involved offensively and targeted more with an aging Reggie Wayne, the departure of Donnie Avery and Colts head coach Chuck Pagano wanting more targets for him. A ‘sophomore slump’ doesn’t seem to be in Fleener’s future.