AFC Underrated and sleepers:
EJ Manuel. The Bills do not have a lot of weapons outside of CJ Spiller, but Manuel showed he could be valuable in fantasy-land when healthy. The Bills o-line was a shambles last season, but due to EJ's mobility he was able to make plays. The Bills have made strides to improve through the draft and free agency to help buy EJ some more time. He's worth a grab in the later rounds as a backup or spot-start QB. Also, his best games came against division opponents (Jets twice, Pats once) in which he averaged over 20 fantasy points a game, and he had 6/10 games in which he scored at least 15.
Lamar Miller. Yes, Moreno is there but he's not looking good. Thomas is still there but in 3 seasons he has failed to eclipse more than 3.7 ypc on average. Last year's hype around Miller came a year too early.
Mike Wallace. Could become a very reliable Flex option or WR2. Reports from MIA state Wallace will be used for more than just a deep threat this year, and the team lacks a reliable #2 receiver (outside of TE Clay). Worth a look as your 3rd or 4th WR.
Shane Vereen. Could be a great value, especially in PPR. In only 8 games last year he tallied 47 receptions at 9.1 yards per reception. If he can stay healthy he could be a high end RB2 in PPR as he remains Brady's security blanket on a Patriots squad that's short on WR talent. Interesting Note*: His worst production of the season (wks 15-17) happened to be the same three week span that Gronk sat out at the end of the season. Conclusion: Vereens numbers rely on Gronk's presence.
Jace Amaro. Another team with little to nothing to offer. The Jets lack viable receiving threats (yes, even Decker) which make this rookie TE worth a late-round look. Guaranteed to start, Amaro's sure hands, good size, and route running skills make him Geno Smith's/Michael Vick's best security blanket.
Bernard Pierce. With the anemic Ray Rice facing anywhere from a 4-6 game suspension, Pierce is in line to be the lead back during that span, and if he can show the Pierce we all came to know during their Super Bowl run, it will be Rice that will play second fiddle. Definitely worth a grab in the later rounds with Flex starter potential.
Dennis Pitta A talented TE that has a lot of upside. He missed most of last season to an injury but he clearly has a terrific rapport with Flacco. Ravens staff has expressed a desire to use Pitta in a "swiss army knife" role, to give Flacco plenty of opportunities to get rid of the football fast behind a suspect o-line.
Tyler Eifert. He was a little over-hyped last year as a rookie TE but as the Bengals offense looks to take a safer, possession controlling approach, Eifert could definitely help the Red Rifle if he improves his route running. There is little chance that Eifert regresses and he should ascend the fantasy TE ranks to be a top 10 player at the position.
Andrew Hawkins. It's difficult to know who will step up during Gordon's suspension, but the Browns don't have a lot of options outside of TE Jordan Cameron. Yes they have .Net favorite Nate Burleson, who is entering his 13th season. They signed one year wonder Miles Aus...oh crap, he just injured his hammy. By default this leaves former Bengal Andrew Hawkins, whose small size and terrific speed make him a threat in the open field. If Hoyer is as good as people in Cleveland think he is, and can play like he did last season before the injury, any one of the Browns receivers could put up WR3/Flex numbers, but for now it's Hawkins.
Some of you might be looking for Johnny Football on this list. Wrong! He's on my "Over-drafted and Overrated" list.
Martavis Bryant. Yes, he's a rookie. Yes, he's only a 4th round pick. Yes, he's on a Steelers squad lacking proven WRs...wait, that's a good thing for Bryant. Probably a deep sleeper and therefore a better pick for dynasty league formats, Bryant has impressed this offseason as he continues to learn the offense. But at 6'4" and 215 lbs, Bryant could well be the red zone threat Big Ben needs. His competition for playing time includes, Markus Wheaton, and 30 year old former Saint, Lance Moore. Bryant has a good chance to see around 50-70 passes thrown in his direction, with a good chunk of those coming in the red zone. Did I mention he ran a 4.42 40 at the combine?
Dri Archer. 3rd rounder Dri Archer is fast, really fast. 4.26 40 at the combine fast. Steelers are looking to employ his speed at several different positions. Despite being listed as a HB, he will see a lot of time split out wide and even returning kicks and punts. His role will resemble that of Gio Bernard and Dexter McCluster, which means he'll have more value in PPR leagues. Bell owners should not fret, as Archer's size will limit how much he cuts into Bell's workload.
Emmanuel Sanders. It's very difficult to find any player on this offense that would be considered a sleeper or underrated. So I'll go with Emmanuel Sanders, who will fill the void left by Eric Decker. Currently going in rounds 8-10 in 10-team mocks, Sanders is a candidate for ~1000 yards and 8-10 TDs as long as Peyton is at the helm. He could easily become a WR2.
Montee Ball. Mark the calendar, it's July 17. Ball is currently being drafted in the late 2nd round-early 3rd round. By late August (when you should be drafting for reals) you'll see him sneak into the late 1st-early 2nd round. The hype around Ball is growing, and if your league drafts early you should take advantage of his current ADP because if you wait you may end up paying too much for an unproven RB that struggles to block the pass rush and benefits from having greatness in front of him.
Danny Woodhead. PPR only. Woodhead was second among RBs in receptions last season with 76. Unfortunately, his fantasy value is restricted to PPR as he does not see the lions share of carries, which are sure to dwindle with the arrival of Donald Brown. His value remains in PPR though as a potential Flex starter.
Ladarius Green. Trapped in the shadow of one of the greatest TEs of his generation, Green has the size, speed, and skills to be an elite fantasy TE. His production is limited, however, by an aging Antonio Gates. Green should see an uptick in balls thrown his way as Rivers learns to trust the young TE and is worth a late round pick with top 10 TE potential.
Travis Kelce I'm continuing my fantasy sleeper crush on Kelce for another year. Hampered by injuries all last season, Kelce is healthy and ready to shine. The Chiefs receiving corps is one of the weakest in the league and the Chiefs look to combat that shortcoming by employing 2-tight end sets constantly. Kelce also benefits from QB Alex Smith, whose love of throwing to TEs is well documented. Kelce is a high end #2TE with low #1 TE potential in fantasy.
DeAnthony Thomas He will likely be listed as an RB in Fantasy, but the Chiefs will look to use him in multiple roles, just as they did with Dexter McCluster. Add in the lack of depth at WR and Thomas has some value in PPR leagues, and added value for leagues that reward points for returns.
Rod Streater. It's hard to find dependable talent on this Raiders squad, and looking at their '14 schedule it'll be a rough go of it again. Streater, one of the few bright spots on the offense last season, is primed to be the #1 receiver on a team that figures to play catch up often. If Schaub can regain some of his former self, Streater could be in line for solid WR2 fantasy numbers.
Trent Richardson. I've flip-flopped on Richardson this off season more than I care to admit. There weren't many players I was lower on last year than T-Rich, so why am I targeting him this year (for now)? Low-risk, high reward. Richardson is set to be the feature back with little competition for carries. Not only that, but his ADP is low enough to come off the board as your 3rd, or maybe even 4th RB. That's tremendous value if he can put up similar numbers to his rookie campaign. But if you draft him as your RB2, you've done something wrong.
Cecil Shorts. Shorts had his struggles with injuries, inconsistent performance, and poor QB play. It's likely that the Jag's QB situation will continue to dampen his fantasy value, but considering where he is going in drafts it's hard not to like his upside as your WR3/4 that can put up high end WR2 numbers. If the Jags find some sort of consistency at QB then Shorts can easily be a weekly starter, and when you look at the secondaries he'll be facing, life could get even sweeter for his fantasy owners.
DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins had a strong showing in his rookie campaign considering how abysmal the offense was last season. He only caught 2 TD passes, which shouldn't be hard to improve on, but like fellow AFC South counterpart Cecil Shorts III, his production will surely be limited by QB play. He's a value pick as your WR3/4.
Garrett Graham. The Texans top TE will benefit from the arrival of new head coach Bill O'Brien, the man behind the Gronk/Hernandez duo. Only time will tell how often the Texans will use a 2-tight end formation (early reports indicate a prominent role in the offense). If you want to wait on a TE or grab a backup, Graham is one to target near the end of your draft.
Bishop Sankey. I'm on the bandwagon. After watching plenty of Sankey play at UW it's hard to avoid the talented RB in drafts. Slated to be the team's leading ball carrier, Sankey has added value as a pass catcher and is therefore a little more valuable in PPR formats. I expect his ADP to rise as the season nears, and will likely have to be taken as your RB2 come late August, but if you can draft him as your RB3, then congratulations, you've got yourself one helluva deal.
Finishing up NFC soon