2014 Sleepers

Running Backs:

Bernard Pierce – Recently cleared for a full go, Pierce looks to rebound off a rough 2013 season. With Ray Rice suspended the first two games, Pierce is the heavy favorite to start those games. In Week 1 Baltimore hosts the Bengals who only gave up a 3rd best 11.8 points to Fantasy Running Backs last season. In Week 2 the Ravens host the Steelers on a Thursday Night Game (short rest) who gave up the 20th most points to RBs last year at 17.1 Fantasy Points Per Game. Under new OC, Gary Kubiak, Pierce is aiming for a comeback/career season. Kubiak has a long list of RBs he’s molded into studs and at 24 years old the talented Pierce fits that mold. We’re taking a shot on the now fully healthy RB in his bounce-back campaign.

 

Carlos Hyde – Hand-Cuff must to an aging Frank Gore. His value should continue to trend up as the season approaches. View Hyde as an asset that will see a solid amount of carries in 2014 with a potential starting gig in 2015.

 

Andre Brown/Jonathan Grimes – A must own handcuff to the injury plagued Arian Foster who contemplated retirement last season due to a back injury. Foster is still nursing a hamstring injury which he has had recurring issues with. In 2011, Foster tore his hamstring and pulled another in Week 7 last season. Foster has only practiced one time since July 27th, which is allowing whoever is Houston Number 2 back stock to rise.

 

Andre Williams – ESPN Giants reporter Dan Graziano says the Giants usage of Williams is an indicator that he “is a big part of the initial plan.” Graziano claims the Giants “already love (Williams) as a runner — and not just at the goal line.” The Giants were really able to get things going while these two split time in their first preseason game. Williams was slated to be the goal line only back, but if he continues to pass protect well, we’re looking at a way larger role for the Rookie that rushed for 2,177 yards at Boston College last year.

 

Terrance West – West v. Tate is one of the biggest battles this summer. If you haven’t heard, West is a physical freak than weighs in at 225 and runs a 4.54 forty time. He’s often reminded Shanahan of a runner similar to Alfred Morris, a player who succeeded immensely under Shany’s Offense in Washington. Like we said on Tate, he’s got a colorful injury history, but with the Browns implementing a heavy run attack they’ll both get their share of carries. Keep an eye on this situation and continue to check back when Fantasy Drafts approach. The Browns play 8 teams that ranked in the bottom half against Fantasy Running Backs in 2013.

 

Wide Receivers:

Michael Floyd – Sound the Fantasy Alarms on Michael Floyd! The Arizona Republic said the former Notre Dame WR “understood where he was supposed to be and when to be there,” and “is catching everything thrown his way.” The 3rd year WR is coming off a 1000+ yard season where he caught 66 balls. Expect Michael Floyd to have low end WR1/ high end WR2 type numbers this season.

 

Jeremy Maclin – Maclin is set to become the Eagles WR1 with the departure of DeSean Jackson. Maclin enters the final year of his contract with the Eagles as he returns from his ACL injury last season. Maclin’s best year came in 2010 where he caught 70 balls for 964 yards and 10 TDs. Here’s what Maclin had to say on his return to the Eagles offense: “As far as numbers and everything, I’ve never really got into numbers. But if they plan on me being a big part of this offense like I think they are, I think the numbers will come. I’m not going to get wrapped up in all that. That’s how I’m going to approach the season.” We’re expecting a 1000+ yard season out of Maclin in 2014.

 

Cordarrelle Patterson – Since 2000, there have only been five 1,000 Yard Receivers in their Rookie Season. However, 27 Receivers have eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark in their sophomore campaign since 2000. Cordarrelle Patterson has an explosive shot at a great 2014 season with an offense led by Norv Turner. We love Patterson this season and recommend that you get on the bandwagon as well!

 

Mike Wallace – Wallace surprisingly finished 27th among Fantasy WRs last season despite the disconnect with QB Ryan Tannehill. Enter new OC Bill Lazor. Lazor’s main goal is to get Wallace the ball, even if that means moving him everywhere around the field. Last season Dolphins OC Sherman kept Wallace strictly on the right side of the field where he ran mostly go-routes, which created room for other Dolphins receivers, singling Wallace out. “I think I’ll get to run everything,” includes Wallace. “I’ll be a more complete wide receiver rather than a one-dimensional guy.” The 6 foot 220 receiver has reportedly been “the last one off the field” and wants to succeed in the new Dolphins lineup. Lazor was with the Philadelphia Eagles Chip Kelly last season where we all saw a career out of WR DeSean Jackson. Mike Wallace is ideally a bigger version of DeSean Jackson’s 5’10, 175 pound frame. Jackson caught 82 balls for 1332 yards and 9 TD’s last season under Lazor’s offense.Wallace gets a bad Minnesota Pass Defense in the Fantasy Championship Week – we’re viewing Mike Wallace as a Comeback/Breakout Candidate in 2014.

 

Terrance Williams – Consider Williams a breakout candidate in 2014 as he is locked in as the WR2 Option in Dallas. Williams will be the Number 3 Option this season behind Dez Bryant and Jason Witten in the pass-heavy offense led by New Offensive Coordinator – Scott Linehan. Williams should be viewed as a strong WR3 for Fantasy Owners and we fully expect him to exceed 1000 Receiving Yards this season in a Dallas Offense that will find themselves in many shootouts.

 

Rueben Randle – Randle is one of our favorite sleeper candidates for the 2014 Fantasy Football season. At 6’3/208, Randle will be the main Red Zone Target for the Giants in 2014. Lining up opposite of Victor Cruz the Giants are expected to rely heavily on Randle with Nicks now out of the picture. Randle said he’s “very confident” he’ll score “double-digits in touchdowns,” and so are we; with no Tight End, Randle is by far the biggest receiver on the field.

 

Kelvin Benjamin – Carolina has one of the worst Offensive Lines in the NFL. This means they’re going to pass a lot this year, especially to their most talented WR. Cam and Benjamin are already developing chemistry as Benjamin is catching “everything thrown his way,” and their’s been a lot thrown his way. It’s unlikely the rookie eclipse’s 1000 yards in his 1st campaign, but the 6’5/240 Wide-Out has the potential to catch 10 TDs with a very high ceiling. At his current ADP, I’m definitely taking a gamble on KB based on upside.

 

Brandin Cooks – Get used to seeing a lot of these in 2014 as Brandin Cooks takes over the Darren Sproles role in NOLA. 80-90 total touches is definitely not out of the picture! The rookie is continuing to shine this Pre-Season and may find himself moving up the WR Ranks quickly before the season begins, especially in PPR Formats.

 

Markus Wheaton – Although he only caught 6 passes in 2013 and was limited with injuries, Markus Wheaton is set to lineup opposite from Antonio Brown as the WR2 in Pittsburgh. The Steeler’s lost both Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery this season, which means someone needs to replace their 1,342 yards and 16 TD’s. The Touchdowns will likely be light, but Wheaton should see over 100 Targets and around 60-70 receptions as WR2 in Pitt. The Sophomore wide-out possesses Playmaker potential in OC Haley’s Hurry-Up-Offense, which supports our label of Wheaton as a 2014 Legion Report Fantasy Football Sleeper.

 

Justin Hunter – The Titans have one of the best Offensive Lines in the league which suggests they’ll likely be a run heavy team under Ken Whisenhunt in order to hide Jake Locker‘s questionable QB play. Still, the Titans are not going to be winning games, so they’ll often find themselves in passing situations. What Ken Whisenhunt did with rookie WR Keenan Allen last season was impressive, however Jake Locker is not the QB Rivers is. Justin Hunter possesses the physical ability, deep speed and size to have a breakout season, but we don’t forsee his breakout season just yet. With Jake Locker throwing him the ball in a Run Heavy Offensive Scheme alongside Kendall Hunter and Nate Washington, it’s hard to suggest consistent play out of Hunter, at least not until 2015. Hunter will see big games as he is a main Red Zone Target. He is worth a flier with Low-Risk/High-Reward type value.

 

Andre Holmes – This guys is worth a look at the back end of the draft as the X receiver will line up opposite from Rod Streater in two Wide Receiver sets. Holmes possesses breakout appeal in an Oakland team that will most likely abandon the run game in the 2nd half of games this season. The 6’4 speedy WR averaged over 4 catches for 73 yards with over 8 targets the last 5 games of the 2013 season.

 

Tight Ends:

Jordan Reed – Reed missed the final 6 games in his rookie campaign last season due to a season ending concussion, but says “I don’t think it’s something I’ll be dealing with my whole career,” he continues “[they were a] fluke thing.” “I don’t think it’ll happen again,” claims Reed, who also suffered 2 concussions while playing as a Florida Gator. Playing as a rookie in the Shanahan’s Run Scheme, Reed was on pace for 80 catches for 888 yards and 6 TD’s before ending his season short. The soft handed 6’3 Tight End possesses huge potential in Jay Gruden’s new Pass Happy Scheme in Washington by dominating the middle of the field while playing a role similar to Ex-Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez. Reed will remain a Top Red Zone Target with Garcon 6’0, Jackson 5’10 and Roberts 5’11. Reed possesses huge upside, but the injuries are a major concern when drafting this Tight End.

 

Dennis Pitta – Returning from a dislocated hip injury, Pitta is now 100% healthy in Gary Kubiak’s TE Friendly Offense. The past 5 season under Gary Kubiak, Tight Ends for the Houston Texans combined to average 86 catches, 1020 receiving yards and 7 TD’s per season. With this, they were also fighting for Targets with the commanding Andre Johnson as well as RB’s Steve Slaton and Arian Foster (RB’s who catch a lot of balls, similarly to Ray Rice.) Pitta is better than the Tight Ends Kubiak worked with in Houston and Torrey Smith is nowhere near as commanding for Targets as Andre Johnson is. Kubiak envisions Pitta to have a versatile role that will move Pitta all around the field in their new offense. “I have done a lot of different things in this offense already,” Pitta told the Baltimore Sun. Pitta will be highly utilized in this Ravens Offense and has the potential to lead this team in receptions in 2014. Pitta possesses TE1 value, especially in PPR Leagues.

 

Kyle Rudolph – Everything you read on Kyle Rudolph right now is flooded with why Norv Turner will be the reason for his 2014 breakout season. It elaborates on how Turner relies heavily on Tight Ends by explaining his production with Tight Ends throughout his coaching career. In 1992, Dallas Cowboys TE, Jay Novacek caught 68 balls for 630 yards and 6 TD’s. Since that time, no other Tight End under Norv Turner’s Head Coaching/Offensive Coordinating career has a Tight End caught for more than 600 yards, until 2007′s Antonio Gates! Turner entered San Diego in Gates’ 4th season in the NFL, where he was coming off 3 consecutive seasons for 900+ yards. Norv Turner didn’t exactly mold Gates into one of the best Tight Ends in Fantasy Football History, rather he rode his hot streak. The same goes with Jordan Cameron. The Browns Tight End was poised for a breakout season being the number 2 receiving option on a team that threw the ball a league leading 681 times! We like Kyle Rudolph as a breakout candidate because of the situation he’s in. The acquisition of Norv Turner does absolutely nothing for us. Rudolph will be the Safety Valve for Rookie QB – Teddy Bridgewater. He’s an exceptional pass catcher and compliment to the raw Cordarrelle Patterson. Standing at 6’6/260, he’s a way sexier Red Zone Threat compared to the 5’11 aging 30 year old, Greg Jennings. Because of all of this, Rudolph has a great chance to lead this 2014 Vikings team in Receptions.

 

Zach Ertz – Eagles beat writer Sheil Kapadia says Ertz is “going to be the most utilized pass-catching weapon the Eagles have in the red zone,” for the 2014 season. Kapadia goes on to note that he ”attacks the ball in the air, can box defenders out and is a precise route-runner.” At 6’5/250 the Tight End will be a nightmare for defenses to guard this season, creating weekly mismatches. Ertz ended the season with decent production catching 25 balls for 290 yards and 5 TDs in the final 9 games, including playoffs. The 2nd year TE will be heavily involved in this years Eagles Offense and is considered a low end TE1/high end TE2.

 

Ladarius Green – Recruited out of high school for both Football and Basketball, the 6’6′ 24 year old has blazing speed, clocking a 4.53 time at the 2012 NFL Combine. The soft-handed Tight End was limited to playing time last season with Antonio Gates in the way, which resulted in only 17 Receptions on 29 Targets. If Green is able to establish himself as Rivers’ number 2 passing option to Keenan Allen, he possesses the potential to become a Top 5 Fantasy Football TE. When drafting Green, draft him as your TE2 as Gates is still in his way in a Run Heavy Offense.

 

Be sure to follow @LegionReport for breaking Fantasy Football news and up-to-date information/articles.

 

To catch up on some of our previous Fantasy Football Articles, check out:

2014 QB Rankings

2014 RB Rankings Part 1

2014 RB Rankings Part 2

2014 WR Rankings Part 1

2014 WR Rankings Part 2

2014 WR Rankings Part 3

2014 TE Rankings

Breakout Players

Emerging Fantasy Football Stars

Offensive Line Rankings and Stats