Every year unexpected players have breakout performances that can take your fantasy team to new heights. Finding the right sleeper for your team can make up for a bad pick in your draft or at least improve the overall quality of your team. In some cases, you may be lucky enough to find a player who comes out of nowhere to finish in the top 5 or 10 at their position.
Here are my top 10 sleepers for the 2013 NFL season:
#10. Nick Foles – QB Philadelphia Eagles
New Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is a fan of Nick Foles and is familiar with his abilities, having faced Foles when OregonUniversity faced off against the University of Arizona in Pac-10 play. Michael Vick did not have a good season for the Eagles, but he hasn’t been given a pink slip yet. Foles finished last season with a 79.1 QB rating, which was higher than Michael Vick, Andrew Luck, Jake Locker, Mark Sanchez and several others. There were five games in which Foles had a QB rating over 85, but he only lead the Eagles to one victory. Due to the changes on the team, I expect them to go with the younger Foles at quarterback. He might not have what it takes to become a fantasy starter quite yet, but he is worth monitoring early in the season if your team is in need of fantasy help.
#9. Joe Morgan – WR New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints were first in the NFL in passing, meaning that for wide receivers, there are plenty of passes to go around for everyone. They will be losing one of their more reliable threats to free agency in Devery Henderson. A leading candidate to receive an increased role on the offense is third-year receiver Joe Morgan. Morgan had only 10 catches, but averaged 37.9 yards a catch, ending the year with 379 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. I don’t expect Morgan to outplay Marques Colston quite yet, but you should be well aware of who he is. Add Morgan to your fantasy roster off of the waiver wire in the first or second week of the season if he is receiving a respectable number of targets and receptions.
#8. Jonathan Dwyer – RB Pittsburgh Steelers
Jonathan Dwyer will have a shot to become the Pittsburgh Steelers’ featured running back this season. Rashard Mendenhall is a free agent and will likely test the market instead of coming back to Pittsburgh. Dwyer averaged 4 yards a carry with 156 carries and 623 yards. He only had two touchdowns, but was sharing time with several running backs. He will still split carries with Isaac Redman, but he should average more carries. He is a solid bet to have a good fantasy season.
#7. Logan Paulsen – TE Washington Redskins (RFA)
Not many tight ends make fantasy sleeper lists, but Logan Paulsen is an exception. With Washington Redskins’ tight ends Fred Davis and Chris Cooley being free agents this offseason, Paulsen has a great opportunity on a competitive team with a spectacular young quarterback in Robert Griffin. Paulsen had just one catch over the first six games, but finished the season with receptions in each of the last ten games while sharing time with the other tight ends on the roster. He is headed into his fourth year in the NFL, and has a great chance to emerge as a weapon for the Redskins.
#6. DuJuan Harris – RB Green Bay Packers
Although he hinted that he would go back to selling cars in the offseason, I have a feeling that DuJuan Harris will not be on any car lot at the beginning of the 2013 NFL season. The Green Bay Packers were thin at running back to start with, and got much weaker after several backs went down with injuries. They picked up recently released running back DuJuan Harris and the rest is history. He may have had just 157 yards rushing through four regular season games, but averaged a very respectable 4.6 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns. Harris also had a good showing In the playoffs with 100 yards rushing, 7 receptions, 64 yards receiving, and 2 touchdowns in two playoff games. The Packers are still a passing team, but Harris should be able to contribute enough to earn a spot on your fantasy roster.
#5. Alshon Jeffery – WR Chicago Bears
When you are selecting your fantasy football team through your draft, considering a player’s tendency to suffer injuries is important, and a consideration when looking at Chicago Bears’ wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery showed a lot of promise in his rookie year with the Chicago Bears even though he was often injured. Jeffery appeared in 10 games and had 24 receptions, 367 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns. Brandon Marshall will tie up opposing team’s defensive backs, which should leave Jeffery open on many occasions. Take him in your draft if he is still available in the last few rounds.