Welcome to my fourth, and last installment of my fantasy football rookie sleepers.

So far, I’ve covered the first-year quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers who could sneak up on owners this year and are worth drafting in fantasy leagues.  These are “sleeper picks”, so you won’t see the Lions’ Eric Ebron on this list.

Not all players suggested stand to have an immediate impact, but they will be relevant in dynasty leagues for years to come.

Today I will be focusing on the young tight ends (roll porno credits here) in the NFL.  Traditionally, rookie tight ends don’t shift the fantasy football landscape, but there are a few recent draftees that have fallen into favorable situations and warrant your attention.

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Tuesday afternoon, shortly after Cleveland Browns OTA’s, Johnny Manziel was spotted in a McDonald’s drive thru on the west side of Cleveland. Ordinarily, this would not be news, but it seems that the former Heisman trophy winner was ordering off the dollar menu. The dollar menu is not nearly complex enough to test the ordering skills of an NFL quarterback. I mean, really! Everything is the same price, so it’s super simple to add the total up in your head. Plus, all the dollar items are located in a small box on the bottom of the menu board. He didn’t even have to scan the entire menu in order to see what he wanted to drink! He just ordered a value sized Diet Coke. NO dessert. Unbelievable…

Browns fans are starting to lose patience with the highly touted gunslinger from Texas A&M. Forget about trips to Vegas and parties in New York City, Manziel better start getting it together in his own backyard. He needs to challenge himself constantly. No more trips through the ‘ten items or less’ lane. He HAS to use the self check out line. Everything done with a purpose… bringing a championship to the great city of Cleveland.

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Now that the draft dust has settled and mini-camps have started, we can start to get serious about rookie wide receiver and tight end contributions in fantasy football this year.  The wide receiver class is full of studs; those who could potentially unseat the incumbents and make some serious noise.  The tight end class is much weaker, as there are only a couple of  names that could potentially see a significant amount of playing time.

Before we get too excited about some of these guys, I always consider the quarterback throwing them the ball first.  We have all made mistakes in the past drafting high profile, high potential receivers (ahem, Larry Fitzgerald) with the hopes that they can miraculously make their quarterback’s smarter, or mechanics better.  Be realistic here, and still stick with drafting wide receivers and tight ends who have proven passers.

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What makes a fantasy football team come out on top?  Well, having the best roster helps.  Sure, there is some luck that goes into that — as well as good timing — but only one owner in your league would have been fortunate enough to have added a Riley Cooper or a Marvin Jones before their breakout years last season.  Those types of players don’t just fall from the waiver wire tree.  The best way to map out a favorable outcome for your team by season’s end is to do your scouting now.  This way, when draft day comes, you’re not caught off guard.

This year’s NFL Draft featured a plethora of talent from the wide receiver position.  While guys like Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, and Brandin Cooks should be snatched up pretty quickly in redraft leagues, there are other guys worth targeting in later rounds and in dynasty formats.

I’ve already covered the top sleepers at the quarterback and running back positions, and today I’ll highlight a few of the rookie receivers I feel are ready to make an impact in the fantasy football world.  Who knows, you may have the next Cooper or Jones on your hands.

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With the NFL season shortly approaching, now is the time for fantasy football owners to start preparing for their drafts.

We’re not even into the month of June, but getting a leg up on the season will go a long way.  Understanding where rookies stand is a key component of dynasty and redraft leagues.

Earlier, I discussed the top rookie sleepers to watch for at the quarterback position, and today I’ll be delving into the first-year running backs.

(Players aren’t listed in any specific order; college attended in parentheses)

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Every fantasy owner wants to show their draft prowess in front of all their buddies. What’s the best way to show your stuff? Drafting rookies that wind up killing it their first year of the NFL. The best example over the last few years is probably Cam Newton.  Not very often does a Cam Newton come out of college and and put up the kind of numbers that he did his rookie year. Will Teddy Bridgewater or Derek Carr be this year’s Cam Newton? Let’s take a look.

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We witnessed an entertaining NFL draft last weekend, and with rookie minicamps starting, 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, or even WRs like Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins.  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.

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The NFL Draft… I’m about drafted out. In the Cleveland area, local talk radio has been so Browns focused that I’m not even sure if we have a professional baseball team. Check that, we do… we just don’t have a closer, but I digress. Holding the draft three weeks later than last year just added to the amount of BS we had to sift through trying to figure out who was going where. As much as I would love to give you yet another recap of what happened, and it actually turned out to be a fairly exciting night, I’m moving forward.

Watching the NFL Draft is kind of like watching a R-rated movie when you were a teenager. Remember waiting with baited breath for some girl to rip her top off for no reason? That’s the draft. You watch a few lineman taken, a defensive back, where’s the QB??? This year we got our money shot early with Blake Bortles being drafted third. What we really want to know is: How will he and some other guy from Texas A&M do this year? I’m going to tell you about these two QBs this week, and a couple more next week.

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I’ve seen several articles talk about winners and losers based on last weekend’s Draft. The winners typically include Matthew Stafford, EJ Manuel, and the NFL for getting higher ratings than the NBA playoffs for an event that is months removed from the next game-day. I’m going the other way on this one. The winner of the Draft in my mind was clearly Elton John. I’m not sure what type of rights deal he negotiated with Aloe Blacc, but I’m sure Sir Elton benefited from this weekend’s festivities as much as Emperor Goodell did.

From an IDP perspective, despite the first overall pick being on the defensive side of the ball, and a record number of DBs going on Thursday night, the people most impacted by the draft are the existing veterans in the league. More so even than on offense, defensive rookies’ fantasy value is heavily tied to the team that picks them. Other than a few elite players, and sometimes even including them, situation matters more than talent. Before apparently lighting up a fat one, Josh Gordon lit up the league the last two years while playing on a terrible team without a legitimate professional QB. On the flip side, Dont’a Hightower (taken 25th overall the same year Gordon was picked in the Supplemental Draft), has toiled away in a crowded New England LB corps.  Hightower will get his chance this year, but his owners have had to show tremendous patience, with very little to show for it thus far.

So as I run through the big names taken in this year’s draft, keep in mind that they will likely take multiple years to make an IDP impact, and their most immediate effect will likely be on the veterans that they are either complementing or trying to replace.

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The following post has some of my thoughts for the first three rounds of the draft. You can catch Jay’s thoughts on Round one here. I will be covering the players (either drafted or the players affected by the new draftees) that weren’t covered in-depth by Jay, and what this does to their value for the upcoming season in redraft leagues. All of my views will be for that of a standard (Non-PPR) scoring.

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