Fantasy Sleepers (08/06/14)

By John Ewing
2014 fantasy football sleepers, busts and breakout players.

Fantasy season is upon us and owners are always looking for an edge in their drafts. With that in mind, over the next few days we will provide our picks for 2014 sleepers, busts and breakout players based on's 2014 Fantasy Football Rankings.

Here is how we define each:

Sleeper: A player not being drafted as a fantasy starter, but should be.

Bust: A player drafted as a fantasy starter, but will disappoint.

Breakout Player: A player we project to finish in the top five at his position, but is not currently being drafted like a superstar.

Note: Average draft position (ADP) is a composite of rankings from ESPN and Yahoo. Be sure to use the new Fantasy Football Draft Machine for an additional edge in all your drafts.

First up, 2014 sleepers…

Philip Rivers
2014 projections: 3,957.8 passing yards, 29.2 TDs, 13.4 INTs
2014 ADP: 14th quarterback, 107th overall
2014 rankings: 13th quarterback, 66th overall

We project Rivers to finish with more fantasy points than Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick, two quarterbacks going five rounds earlier than the Chargers signal caller. Rivers first season in Mike McCoy's offense proved fruitful (4,478 passing yards and 32 touchdowns) and with the emergency of Keenan Allen, Rivers is set to produce another top ten fantasy season.

Matt Ryan
2014 projections: 4,150.7 passing yards, 28.6 TDs, 15.8 INTs
2014 ADP: 12th quarterback, 89th overall
2014 rankings: 7th quarterback, 56th overall

Did you know Atlanta's quarterback finished fourth in the NFL in passing yards (4,478) last season? Think what he could do with full seasons from Julio Jones and Roddy White! Ryan should also benefit from a healthy and updated line (allowed 44 sacks last season).

Joique Bell
2014 projections: 837.7 rushing yards, 295.0 receiving yards, 8.6 total TDs
2014 ADP: 28th running back, 76th overall
2014 rankings: 15th running back, 35th overall

Everyone is drafting the wrong Lions running back. Bush is going four rounds earlier than Bell even though the Detroit duo is expected to split touches this season. Bell is the more productive runner and it would not surprise us if he supplanted Bush as the starter.

Chris Johnson
2014 projections: 920.5 rushing yards, 343.6 receiving yards, 8.0 total TDs
2014 ADP: 22nd running back, 57th overall
2014 rankings: 17th running back, 34th overall

Johnson is a few years removed from being CJ2K but we aren't asking him to be a first round pick. Johnson was taken as the 24th back in last year's draft but finished in the top ten producing great value for owners. Expect more of the same from the former Titans star.

Lamar Miller
2014 projections: 844.4 rushing yards, 159.7.0 receiving yards, 8.5 total TDs
2014 ADP: 43rd running back, 123rd overall
2014 rankings: 25th running back, 47th overall

The addition of Knowshon Moreno has deflated Miller's value entering the season. That is great news! Moreno is an injury risk that had a career year in 2013 playing with Peyton Manning (read: not a threat). Miller is the starter and is currently going in the 12th round, seven rounds later than where we project him to finish among running backs.

Rueben Randle
2014 projections: 1,098.4 receiving yards, 7.9 TDs
2014 ADP: 53rd receiver, 141st overall
2014 rankings: 16th receiver, 50th overall

Rueben Randle is this year's Alshon Jeffery. The Giants' receiver is going in the 14th round or later in drafts, yet we have him finishing in the top 15 among receivers. With Hakeem Nicks gone, Randle is going to be the starter on a much improved Giant team, top ten in our preseason rankings.

Mike Wallace
2014 projections: 977.0 receiving yards, 6.2 TDs
2014 ADP: 34th receiver, 90th overall
2014 rankings: 27th receiver, 87th overall

Wallace is another player that disappointed owners last season and as such, his draft position has suffered. That's perfect, we are targeting players that the public overlooks. Wallace is currently being drafted in the 9th round, but with an improving Ryan Tannehill (2012: 3,330, 12 TDs, 2013: 3,900 yards, 24 TDs) we project the Dolphins' receiver to bring great fantasy value in 2014.

Golden Tate
2014 projections: 1,040.3 receiving yards, 6.1 TDs
2014 ADP: 33rd receiver, 88th overall
2014 rankings: 19th receiver, 69th overall

We are anticipating a career year for Tate after escaping Seattle's run heavy offense and getting to play across from Calvin Johnson. We project Tate to have career highs in receptions and yards. Tate is being drafted in the 8th round or later, but should be drafted like Wes Welker, Keenan Allen and Roddy White.

Ladarius Green
2014 projections: 752.4 receiving yards, 4.5 TDs
2014 ADP: 19th tight end, 145th overall
2014 rankings: 12th tight end, 119th overall

Standing at 6'6" and with 4.53 40 speed, Green is an all upside play. If Antonio Gates misses any time look for the Chargers backup tight end to become a fantasy stud.