I hope everyone enjoyed the Labor Day weekend! Fantasy drafts should be officially wrapped up now, and the season opener is only two days away. Once your drafts are done, the waiver wire may become your new best friend. Almost every year, there is a player who goes largely undrafted and then breaks out. In 2010, it was Michael Vick. In 2011, it was Victor Cruz. Last year, it was Alfred Morris. If you were lucky enough to grab any of them, there’s a good probability that you did quite well that season. This year is no different. There are a few players that aren’t owned by many people who I think may end up being difference makers by midseason. Below are a few of my deepest sleepers, who are one injury away from a starting role or could perform so well out of the gate that they will continue to be starters.
Quinton Patton, SF WR- Right now, he is listed as third on the depth chart behind Boldin and Marlon Moore. However, he has looked quite good in the preseason and it wouldn’t surprise me if he takes over the #2 spot from Moore within the first few weeks. He also has been returning some kickoffs, so if your league gives out return TDs, there is additional value there. His game against the Chargers was outstanding and he has displayed good chemistry with Kaepernick already.
Keenan Allen, SD WR- One of Surgex’s own, he was once predicted as a possible first round pick but his draft stock fell slightly due to injury concerns. He was picked up by the Chargers and has looked good in the preseason. He may start the year as the third or fourth WR in San Diego once Malcolm Floyd and Eddie Royal come back, but I expect him to beat out Royal easily. He has also looked good returning punts, almost breaking one for a touchdown against the Cardinals. The Chargers also don’t figure to be very good, so they will probably be playing from behind often, which is good for receivers in fantasy since there will be more passes to catch. Keep an eye on Keenan as the season progresses, especially since Floyd, Royal and Vincent Brown have had serious injury issues in the past.
Terrelle Pryor, Oak QB- It looks like he will be starting for the Raiders, at least for the season opener. He reminds many of a right-handed Tebow because of his poor accuracy, but his athletic talents can’t be denied. As ugly as it was when Tebow had that run with Denver, he did put up a lot of fantasy points. The Raiders will also be terrible and will probably be getting crushed most weeks. Carson Palmer was the king of garbage-time stats last year, and Pryor may be that this year. He will definitely have some games where he doesn’t look like a starting caliber QB, but the Raiders have nothing to lose this year and may just let him ride it out. He also may get a bunch of rushing TDs since McFadden is constantly hurt.
Michael Cox, NYG RB- David Wilson is now the unquestioned starter in the backfield with Andrew Brown out with yet another broken leg. However, he is still below average in pass protection and has had problems with fumbles. If he plays poorly and/or gets on the wrong side of the coaching staff, Cox could see a bunch of carries. He had flashes in the preseason where he looked quite good and he could be a factor in the passing game as well. There is a chance he is the primary kick returner, and that only enhances his value. Wilson may also handle some returns, but it would be foolish for the Giants to expose him to that type of punishment consistently if he is going to be their bell cow back.