The one thing all of us fantasy football junkies look for every summer leading up to the draft is the sleeper pick for the upcoming season. The “BUST OUT” player that suppose to make a big step forward. Evey owner in your league has their own secret list of sleepers and I have news for you….THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME! That’s why whenever a “sleeper” is taken in round 7 of your draft, everyone lets out a collective moan and that they were going to pick them with their next pick. Yeah. Right. Well, the research doesn’t have to be done in July or August. You honestly can start researching it now. There is enough data out there to suggest who will be the next great player. It’s happening in Dynasty Leagues everywhere and I’ve even done you a favor and generated a list of players. These are some interesting off-season WR targets that Dynasty Owners will hunt for throughout the Spring and Summer. Even you re-draft owners can take a gander at this list and make note.
Ty Hilton-Indianapolis Colts
2012 Stats: 58 catches- 927 yards- 7 TDs
At 5’9″, Ty Hilton has to rely on his speed for that explosive play. He is a total playmaker and with the play off Andrew Luck, Ty Hilton will only keep increasing his numbers. Reggie Wayne is a great possession WR on the short and intermediate throws, but Hilton is the playmaker down the field and will only continue to grow after catching 58 passes for 927 yards and 7 TDs. That comes out to a 16 ypc and anything over 15 yards per catch is really telling you something. Ty will never be a 90 catch type of WR due to his size, but he can develop into a DeSean Jackson type player, ESPECIALLY when Indy is playing at home on that turf. With a full off-season to work out and train, I see a big 2013 season for Hilton. 70-1,150-9 stat line is very possible in his season.
Emmanuel Sanders-Pittsburg Steelers
2012 Stats: 44 catches- 626 yards- 1 TD
Emmanuel Sanders doesn’t have as a clear of a lane to a breakout season next year, but there is opportunity. A couple of chips need to fall into place for Sanders. First, Mike Wallace needs to leave via free agency. Unless the Steelers are willing to pay Wallace at least what Antonio Brown got (42.5 million over 5 years) then Wallace is gone. There is no way the Steelers can afford to franchise tag Wallace which would be a 10 million dollar hit to the cap. With salary cap issues I just don’t see the Steelers re-signing Mike Wallace with Emmanuel Sanders on the roster at a cheap price. Sanders is a RFA and has shown to be reliable when Antonio Brown was injured this season. If the Steeler’s do not draft a WR in the first 2 rounds in April then that tells me that they are comfortable with their WRs and Emmanuel Sanders dynasty value sky rockets. To replace Wallace’s production, I can see Sander’s production increasing by about 55-60% and if that is accurate then he is in line for a 70-1,000-3 type of season which is a great #3 WR in dynasty leagues.
Cecil Shorts- Jacksonville Jaguars
2012 Stats: 55 catches- 979 yards- 7 TDs
Cecil Shorts could quite possibly be considered a bust out WR for this past season, but since he wasn’t able to crack 1,00o yards in 14 games I thought he fell into this category. There were two main issues why he didn’t get to the 1,000 yards plateau: Blaine Gabbert and concussions. Both of which are scary on their own but it looks like Gabbert is no longer an issue. The concussions are scary as he had 2 in one month and is on a similar trend as Austin Collie. If Shorts can overcome this he can be a dangerous WR, but the varying injury history dating back through college is alarming. Don’t pay too much or overdraft him because if he misses time at the end of the season like he did in ’12 it will cost you dearly since that is play-off time! I think a stat line of 81-1305-9 is possible and places him into a #2 WR tier.
Chris Givens-St. Louis
2012 Stats: 42 catches- 698 yards- 3 TDs
The 4th round pick out of Wake Forest really did an amazing job this season when you consider he is only a rookie, started the season as the 5th WR option and that the Rams suck. He’s fast and runs hard which indicates that he knows where he is going on each play. I am a big believer in what St. Louis is doing under Jeff Fischer and if they can get Bradford some protection with one of their 2 first round picks, Sam will be able to flourish and get the balls to the WRs. Givens will be a main benefactor as he has shown that he can be relied upon. St. Louis is a team who could really start putting it together and I think Givens could get 65 catches for 1080 yards and probably 5 TDs. If you are looking for a bye week replacement player who can turn into a mid tier #3 WR Givens fits that role.
Josh Gordon-Cleveland Browns
2012 Stats: 50 catches- 805 yards-5 TDs
The Cleveland Browns haven’t really been able to get things right in the past 10 years but they really got things going in the right direction this season despite the 5-11 record. Rookie QB, rookie RB and a rookie WR is usually going to spell a poor season, but the production is there. Gordon had a great rookie season and had 12 plays of 20+ yards or more which led all rookie WRs. When we consider the fact that Gordon didn’t play a down of football for over 1.5 years, I’d say he acclimated very well to the NFL game. With Norv Turner running the offense in Cleveland, I expect a vertical passing game that Gordon will thrive in with his 6’3″ 225 lb frame. He is Dez Bryant in the making. Make no mistake about it, Gordon will at a minimum get 70 catches for 1,130 yards and be a target machine inside the red zone in which he might top 10 TDs.