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Emmanuel Sanders is one of our 2014 Fantasy Football Sleepers
"Here's another one to my boy Sanders."
(Trask Smith/Zumapress/Icon SMI)

Fantasy Football Sleepers

Key fantasy football sleepers in your 2014 draft

Fantasy football sleepers that develop into primetime players can give your team a huge advantage over your opponents. Needless to say, selecting players later in your draft that yield early pick production can make for a long season for your league mates.

Some of the Docs' past fantasy football sleepers include:

2013: WR Alshon Jeffery & RB Zac Stacy
2012: RB C.J. Spiller & RB Stevan Ridley
2011: WR Jordy Nelson
2010: WR Hakeem Nicks & WR Mike Wallace
2009: WR Miles Austin
2008: RB Steve Slaton & WR Calvin Johnson
2007: WR Braylon Edwards
2006: RB Frank Gore
2005: RB LaMont Jordan

These are not your run-of-the-mill fantasy football sleepers on everyone's radar for their respective draft year. These fantasy football sleepers proved to be major superstars that could be had very late in fantasy drafts of their respective draft year and brought home fantasy championships for many folks. Drafting sleepers of this high caliber later in your draft makes a huge, substantial impact on the odds of you winning your league championship. Consequently, it is no secret that many championship teams can point to some "surprise" fantasy football sleepers during their draft that were real difference makers for their team. With that in mind, the Docs have crunched the numbers and uncovered numerical trends that increase the odds of picking successful 2014 fantasy football sleepers during your draft. A list of those players along with detailed commentary providing insight regarding why these players are considered fantasy football sleepers is provided below. Enough with the talk, let's get to our 2014 fantasy football sleepers:

Click the link below to check out the Docs' 2014 busts:
Fantasy Football Busts

For more information on what is meant by a "fantasy football sleepers" or "Average Draft Position", click here (or read the information located at the bottom of this article).

  Player Type: SLEEPER Team Position
  Emmanuel Sanders DEN WR

Sanders is in a prime position to pop a big year in 2014. After 4 years in Pittsburgh and close to breaking through, the circumstances have now aligned to his favor. He joins the best offense in the NFL with the best QB arguably to ever play the game throwing him the rock. WR Eric Decker is gone to the New York Jets, leaving a big void of about 1,300 yards and 10+ TDs ready for the taking. Sanders is a really nice fit for Denver. He is not a particularly big WR at just 5'11", but he has speed to burn and is very shifty. In college at SMU, Sanders finished as the school's career leader in TD catches and number of 100 yard games in a season. In Pittsburgh, he was very active in the passing game and had 7 games last season with 5 or more receptions in a game. If Sanders is sounding a bit like a Wes Welker drop-in, it's because he is. As noted in our bust write-up, the deck is stacked against Welker this year, and Sanders has the perfect skill set to step right in and fill that role for Denver. This is a role that Welker has never really been able to truly fill in just yet in Denver due to injuries. Ironically, the Patriots were thinking the same thing. They had no problems with Welker leaving prior to last season, and guess who was one of their first targets to replace him? That's right, Emmanuel Sanders. In April of 2013, the Patriots made an offer to have Sanders join them, but the Steelers matched the offer and Sanders stayed in Pittsburgh. Folks can say what they want about New England, but when it comes to evaluating talent, they've got a pretty strong track record. So now Sanders finds himself playing in Denver, alongside the player he was supposed to replace in New England, Wes Welker. Undoubtedly, QB Peyton Manning will put Sanders to good use quickly and has a strong track record of making stars out of previously unknown players. Look no further than to TE Dallas Clark's numbers with and after Peyton Manning. Sanders' Average Draft Position is in the 7th round of a 10 team league. Wes Welker is going two rounds earlier, but the smart money is to sit back and get Sanders at a much lower price.

  Player Type: SLEEPER Team Position
  Philip Rivers SDG QB

Sticking with the oldie but goodie script, Philip Rivers made our list, except think of him as a rebranded Philip Rivers v. 2.0. Rivers has undoubtedly benefited in a major way from the arrival of HC Mike McCoy last season. McCoy had previously served as offensive coordinator in Denver, and he wasted no time installing the same offense run in Denver in his first year in San Diego last season. The end result was impressive. Comparing 2012 to their 2013 seasons, San Diego went ranked from 31st to 5th in offensive yards and 20th to 12th in offensive scoring in the NFL. Rivers had arguably his best season as a professional in 2013, setting a career high in completion percentage (70). He absolutely thrived in the new system and finished as the 5th rated fantasy QB. A fact many folks have forgotten in the blitz of the record-setting year of Peyton Manning. As a result, Rivers is an absolute bargain in your 2014 fantasy draft. His Average Draft Position (ADP) has him going well into the 11th round of a 10 team league, and his ADP has him currently ranked as the 15th best QB. At those numbers, Rivers is a great grab late in your draft with the very real upside of finishing as a top 5 fantasy QB again. He has plenty of offensive talent surrounding him ready to get the ball to help pile on fantasy points. Furthermore, Rivers is only 32 years old, which is considered "young" for his position compared to Peyton Manning (38) and Tom Brady (37). While Rivers' mouth and antics makes him feel like he has been in the NFL forever, he has plenty of tread life left on his career and in his prime. San Diego did lose offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt in the off-season, as Whisenhunt accepted the job as the new Head Coach of the Tennessee Titans. However, HC Mike McCoy remains in place and firmly cemented in the style of offense he wants to run. He promoted quarterbacks coach Frank Reich to serve as the new offensive coordinator in 2014 to keep everything in place. With this offense getting the benefit of entering its second year using the new system, San Diego could very well outpace their 2013 numbers, particularly playing in the offense heavy AFC West.

WR Emmanuel Sanders and QB Philip Rivers are just 2 of 16 key fantasy football sleepers and busts picks for your 2014 fantasy football draft. The complete list, along with our Draft Advisor Software, Overall Rankings (450+), In-depth Projections, Player Profiles (300+), Draft Magazine, and more are included in our 2014 Total Draft Package, which and can be purchased for just $11.95. Everything is updated each and every week to account for injuries, trades, and depth-chart adjustments that occur during the NFL Preseason. Just click on the button below to get access today!

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What are fantasy football sleepers?
Fantasy football sleepers are players that significantly outperform their average draft position. In short, if you are fortunate enough to select a good "sleeper" pick, you were able to grab a player that yielded much higher production than otherwise anticipated prior to the NFL season. Consequently, you want to select your fantasy football sleepers a round earlier than you anticipate them being taken by your league mates. However, you do not want to select your fantasy football sleepers too early as this gives you the opportunity to use those earlier picks on more reliable players while they are still available.

What is "Average Draft Position"?
Average Draft Position is an indicator of when a player could be selected based on the average of hundreds of drafts completed by various fantasy football leagues and mock drafts. This is very helpful information when evaluating potential fantasy football sleepers. For those that are interested, checkout our article,
Fantasy Football Mock Drafts, for direct access to free resources containing mock draft and ADP information for the 2014 fantasy football season.

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