Fantasy Sleepers (08/10/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
2015 Fantasy Football - sleepers, busts and breakout players.

Fantasy football is back!

With that in mind, over the next few days we will provide our picks for 2015 sleepers, busts and breakout players based's 2015 Fantasy Football Rankings.

Here is how we define each:

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

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

Breakout Player: A player we project to finish in the top five at their position but are 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 Fantasy Football Draft Machine for an additional edge in all your drafts.

Looking for a daily fantasy edge? Check out our optimal lineups and projections.

First up, 2015 sleepers…

Eli Manning

2015 projections: 4,605.5 passing yards, 34.5 TDs, 15.5 INTs
2015 ADP: 12th quarterback, 79th overall
2015 rankings: 8th quarterback, 60th overall

You want a Manning on your team and this year it is Eli, not Peyton. The emergence of Odell Beckham made Eli fantasy relevant last year and everyone is waiting with bated breath to see what OBJ can do in a full season. The Giants' signal caller won't have to rely on just Beckham, Victor Cruz is expected to return healthy from a serious knee injury and the team gave Eli another receiving option in running back Shane Vereen. Eli is going four rounds later than Peyton but will finish with more fantasy points than his big brother.

Ryan Tannehill

2015 projections: 3,984.6 passing yards, 30.1 TDs, 14.7 INTs
2015 ADP: 13th quarterback, 92th overall
2015 rankings: 9th quarterback, 66th overall

Last season, Tannehill set career highs in passing yards, touchdowns, completion percentage and rushing yards. The young gunslinger is expected to take another step forward in his second year in Bill Lazor's offense. The Dolphins are going to make the playoffs and Tannehill is going to lead them there.

Lamar Miller

2015 projections: 1,255.3 rushing yards, 324.0 receiving yards, 10.4 total TDs
2015 ADP: 20th running back, 61st overall
2015 rankings: 10th running back, 20th overall

There were seven games last season where Miller finished with 12 or fewer carries. He averaged just 13.5 attempts per game but finished as a top-10 fantasy back. For some reason the Dolphins starter is going in the 7th round in Yahoo drafts as the 20th back off the board.

Maybe fantasy owners are concerned about Miller's touches. Don't be. Miami's Head Coach Joe Philbin has said that Miller can handle a bigger workload. Let's hope fantasy owners don't wise up and we can get a RB1 in the middle of the draft.

C.J. Spiller

2015 projections: 810.4 rushing yards, 343.1 receiving yards, 8.0 total TDs
2015 ADP: 26th running back, 84th overall
2015 rankings: 15th running back, 20th overall

It is running back by committee in the Big Easy but that doesn't worry us. Spiller is going to be heavily involved in the offense. Jimmy Graham, Kenny Stills and Pierre Thomas are all gone – they combined for 193 receptions last year – targets that have to go somewhere. When Spiller isn't catching balls out of the backfield, he will be benefitting from one of the most improved offensive lines in the league. The addition of center Max Unger has given the Saints a top-10 line that should open up holes for the speedy back.

John Brown

2015 projections: 1,115.2 receiving yards, 8.2 TDs
2015 ADP: 46th receiver, 120th overall
2015 rankings: 18th receiver, 59th overall

Brown had a nice rookie season hauling in 48 passes for 696 yards and five touchdowns despite Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley under center for most of the season. A healthy Carson Palmer, plus the recent injury to Michael Floyd (hand) has set the table for a breakout season for the quick receiver.

Kendall Wright

2015 projections: 1,062.1 receiving yards, 8.9 TDs
2015 ADP: 50th receiver, 127th overall
2015 rankings: 21st receiver, 63rd overall

No one is talking about Wright. The Titans' receiver disappointed fantasy owners in 2014 catching 57 balls for 715 yards. Tennessee is a team in transition with a rookie quarterback under center, but Mariota is a huge upgrade for the team and for Wright. We don't expect the Titans to be very good but Mariota has a chance to be fantasy relevant and so does Wright.

Charles Johnson

2015 projections: 1,078.7 receiving yards, 7.2 TDs
2015 ADP: 41st receiver, 109th overall
2015 rankings: 30th receiver, 80th overall

Over the final seven games of the season Johnson caught 25 balls for 415 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers didn't set the world on fire but they were solid for a player in his debut season with a rookie quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater should continue to progress making Johnson more valuable and dependable to fantasy owners. Johnson is a solid WR3 or flex option in most leagues.

Delanie Walker

2015 projections: 924.5 receiving yards, 5.6 TDs
2015 ADP: 12th tight end, 121st overall
2015 rankings: 7th tight end, 67th overall

Like Kendall Wright, Walker's value gets a big boost from playing with a quarterback (Marcus Mariota) we project to finish 15th among fantasy starters – ahead of one time fantasy stars Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler and Carson Palmer. Walker had the best season for a tight end in Titans' franchise history (890 yards, four touchdowns) a year ago and this season should be even better.

Ladarius Green

2015 projections: 796.0 receiving yards, 7.7 TDs
2015 ADP: 24th tight end, 138th overall
2015 rankings: 9th tight end, 70th overall

Green is a freak athlete who has four weeks (Antonio Gates is suspended for PEDs) to prove he can play. Rolling the dice on Green is risky but after Gronk there isn't a lot of love about the tight end position.