We witnessed an entertaining NFL draft, and with rookie minicamps commencing this past weekend, it’s a perfect time to evaluate what some of this year’s freshman class will have in store for fantasy football owners.
There were quite a few big name players selected at Radio City Music Hall, but the purpose of this article is to highlight some of the sleepers that could make an impact on your fantasy teams this year and beyond.
You won’t see me hyping QBs like Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater. Those players, and others like them, could and should be taken somewhat earlier in redraft leagues. This column will feature guys who are either rosterable in dynasty leagues, or ones that are worth gambling on in the later rounds of redraft leagues.
(Players aren’t listed in any specific order; college attended in parentheses)
Zach Mettenberger, Titans (LSU): Since being selected eighth overall in the 2011 draft, the Titans have struggled to find consistency in QB Jake Locker. The team recently declined Locker’s fifth-year option, meaning Tennessee will be able to use this season as sort of a tryout for Locker to see if they want to pursue a new contract or franchise/transition tag him. In the meantime, they will want to see what they have in Mettenberger, a sixth-round pick out of LSU. Mettenberger suffered a torn ACL last season (to which he admitted isn’t 100 percent healthy yet), and that is likely why his draft stock plummeted, but don’t be afraid to take him in 2-QB formats and in dynasty leagues — he has the talent to succeed.
Derek Carr, Raiders (Fresno St.): Other than some so-so play from Carson Palmer in 2012, the Raiders have lacked a solid QB since the Rich Gannon days — which go as far back as 2004. Oakland will forever be known for the JaMarcus Russell debacle, but Derek Carr could help sway critics in a different direction. Carr broke a number of records while at Fresno State and will be in prime position to take over the starting job in Oakland should recent acquisition Matt Schaub falter. Remember, Schaub was practically exiled from Houston after finishing 2013 with a 10/14 TD/INT ratio, which included an NFL record four consecutive games with a pick-six. Schaub is in his age-33 season and with a solid camp from Carr, he could be pushing for playing time right out of the gate.
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