Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Roto Arcade

First Down: Snap to it! Marvin Jones, others could flourish this fall

Brad Evans
Roto Arcade
Marvin Jones

View photo

Don't let Marvelous Marvin slip through your fingers. 


There is no word more divisive, misunderstood and misused in the entire fantasy vernacular.

The majority defines it as a generic-named player with considerable upside going anywhere in the mid-to-late rounds of drafts. These 'under-the-radar' commodities are, supposedly, relative unknowns which, if selected, will lead owners to a land of $100 bills, champagne showers, Steven Segal-themed trophies (Yes, they do exist) and, most importantly, bragging rights.

If that’s really what it means, beer is an unheralded adult beverage.

[Get in the game with Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football]

To be fair, a sleeper is a dark-horse player with massive profit potential. However, its proper classification should stem from exactly where that player is picked in average drafts. From my perspective, anyone taken as a non-starter – outside the QB top-12, RB top-24, WR top-36, TE top-12 – and after pick No. 100 overall in 12-team leagues is one.  Then again, with information accessible to everyone, everywhere, unearthing diamonds in the rough is an almost impossible process.

Despite what some people/sites may tell you, Colin Kaepernick, Rashad Jennings, Toby Gerhart, Cordarrelle Patterson, Terrance Williams and Jordan Reed are not certifiable Rip Van Winkles. They are simply well-known, yet undervalued early mid-round picks with measurable profitability.

Got it?

Now that we’re all on the same page, uncovering the next Joique Bell, Alshon Jeffery or Julius Thomas is a simpler task than you think. By analyzing and projecting a player’s snap count is the key to striking it rich. Just look at Eric Decker’s ascension in 2012 or Josh Gordon’s last year. Both receivers saw a substantial increase in workload compared to the year before. Fantasy is a game of opportunity after all.

Flip on that helmet light, grab a shovel and start digging, here are 10 legit sleepers you should pinpoint deep in drafts.

Marvin Jones, Cin, WR (Yahoo ADP: 118.0, WR44)

Snaps Seen in '13: 618/1182 (52.3%)

It's a bit mind-blowing a rather untapped wideout, coming off a 10-TD season, has generated minimal buzz in the fantasy community. He caught 85.7 percent of his red-zone targets last year (nine for TDs) and, according to Hue Jackson, is virtually locked in as Andy Dalton's WR2 opposite A.J. Green. Jackson promises a more balanced offense, potentially slicing Dalton's 2013 attempts (586) by 150-170. Still, only attracting 77 targets a season ago, he should sail past 100 looks with relative ease this fall. His 8-130-0 line against the Chargers in the playoffs, a game in which he played on 77 percent of Cincy's snaps, was a preview. Roughly 60-70 catches, 900 yards and 8-10 TDs are in his immediate future.

Andrew Hawkins, Cle, WR (140+, WR70+)

Snaps Seen in '13: 175/692 (25.3%)

On a possible Josh Gordon-less and probable Johnny Manziel-led Browns team, Hawkins figures to carve out a significant role. The 5-foot-7, 180-pound target is a cross between Darren Sproles, Wes Welker and a jackrabbit. He's lightning quick, versatile and can cut on a dime. The veteran will undoubtedly log most action in the slot functioning as an underneath 'binky' for Brian Hoyer or Manziel. However, Browns WRs coach Mike McDaniel said recently the hard-working Hawk will also ocassionally line up outside. A standout in OTAs, he's a good bet to lead Cleveand's morose group of WRs in targets and receptions, potentially elevating him into the WR3 class in PPR formats.

Pierre Thomas, NO, RB (116.4, RB33)

Snaps Seen in '13: 578/1154 (50.1%)

There might be no more ardent supporter of the PT Bruiser than yours truly. For years I have petitioned the Saints coaching staff to give the rusher more time. Finally it appears he will receive exactly that. With Sproles now in Philly, PT will be the featured RB in the old scat-back's packages. The increase in action is refreshing, but it won't necessarily lead to additional touches. Last year, the ex-Illini grabbed 77 passes (on 82 targets), the most among rushers. Though Khiry Robinson and Mark Ingram will remain in the mix, he should see a slight uptick in carries, likely netting 10-12 per game while chipping in a handful of TDs. A spike in receptions, however, probably isn't in the cards. Rookie Brandin Cooks should see the majority of the targets that went to Sproles last year. PT will again be a highly coveted FLEX back in PPR, but don't bank on a return to 2008-2009

Zach Ertz, Phi, TE (105.2, TE13)

Snaps Seen in '13: 482/1018 (47.3%)

This spring/summer Ertz's profit potential has climbed with the mercury. When DeSean Jackson vacated the premises, many immediately deemed  Jeremy Maclin or Riley Cooper as the primary beneficiaries. But because Maclin's lower extremities are held together by weak adhesives and since Cooper is more of a deep threat, the tight end and splashy rookie Jordan Matthews may actual be the real winners. Chip Kelly is a champion of breakneck tempo and mismatches. Because of Ertz's intimidating size (6-foot-5, 250-pounds), sure hands and field-stretching skills – he ranked fourth in deep passing among eligible TEs last year per Pro Football Focus – he will be an integral part of the offense likely netting between 90-100 targets. Throw in Brent Celek's erosion and a top-10 season is on tap for the second-year ogre.

Aaron Dobson, NE, WR (136.9, WR70)

Snaps Seen in '13: 578/948 (60.9%)

The lasting impression most have of the target's rookie season was his embarrassing display of banana hands in rain-soaked conditions Week 2 against the Jets, a chuckle-worthy performance despite a useful fantasy line (3-56-1) that earned him the nickname 'Dropson.' Still, accompanying the downs, he had many ups. Against Miami and Pittsburgh in Weeks 8 and 9 he exhibited the tacky hands and big play ability that made him a star at Marshall, totaling nine receptions, 190 yards and three TDs. Coming off foot surgery, he isn't expected to participate in team activities until training camp. Missing OTAs and minicamp will turn off some, but his blend of size (6-foot-3) and speed (4.40 40-yard) has many New England insiders predicting a breakout season for Tom Brady's 'X.' Think Brandon Lloyd 2012 (131-74-911-4) with a couple more TDs.

View photo

Even after a lousy season Pierce is worth a reach.

Even after a lousy season Pierce is worth a reach.

Bernard Pierce, Bal, RB (133.6, RB52)

Snaps Seen in '13: 414/1055 (39.2%)

Rumors continue to swirl Ray Rice will be severely reprimanded for a domestic incident that occurred during the offseason. Most anticipate he'll miss a minimum of four and up to six games, paving the way for Pierce to steal the show. Rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro and veteran Justin Forsett will push the bruiser in training camp, but the third-year rusher should stake his claim as the Week 1 starter. One look at his hideous numbers from a season ago would turn any fantasy owner to stone, however, expect a rebirth in Gary Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme. Pierce is a solid one-cut runner who can gain appreciable yards after contact. Yes, the offensive line is a concern, especially with a new system being implemented, and the Ravens' early schedule is rather unappetizing (Cin, Pit, at Cle, Car), but he'll have every opportunity to win the job and run with it.

Markus Wheaton, Pit, WR (133.5, WR69)

Snaps Seen in '13: 161/739 (21.8%)

Limited by a hand injury, Wheaton saw only sporadic action last year behind Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. However, with Sanders catching passes from Peyton Manning, opportunity knocks in Year 2. A third-round pick in the 2013 draft, the Oregon St. product  is a big-play burner with excellent ball-tracking skills. Many scouts have compared him to Brown, providing a glimpse of what he could develop into long-term. It's doubtful he'll make the leap his cohort did last fall, but Sanders did log 112 targets and finished No. 35 among WRs in overall fantasy production. If Wheaton can keep rookie Martavis Bryant at arm's length, he should be an occasionally serviceable WR3 in 12-team leagues.

LaDarius Green, SD, TE (128.1, TE21)

Snaps Seen in '13: 450/1251 (35.9%)

After his late-season emergence Weeks 11-13 (16-9-206-2), many within the fantasy community are over the moon about Green's 2014 potential. No mistake, his size/speed combination is salivating. He can routinely gain an extra step on a linebacker, a verifiable matchup nightmare. His 22.1 yards per catch mark from last year says it all. Some are all but guaranteeing a top-10 season from Green. Local propaganda has certainly sparked that feeling. Though he will see an increase in playing time, the 24-year-old still has to contend with a partially fossilized Antonio Gates, who notched a commendable 77-872-4 line in '13. Anticipate some growth, but a top-10 or even top-12 output is probably sill a year away.

Justin Hunter, Ten, WR (131.5, WR67)

Snaps Seen in '13: 340/871 (39.0%)

Not quite the Fred Dryer bad mamma jamma his last name implies, Hunter did show flashes as a rookie in a largely vanilla offense. Against AFC rivals Oakland and Denver he accounted for 10 receptions 225 yards and a pair of scores. Unfortunately, however, he managed just eight receptions, 128 yards and two TDs in his other 11 games. Kendall Wright is entrenched as the Titans' No. 1, but Hunter certainly possesses the talent needed to dethrone Nate Washington for No. 2 duties. Jake Locker's accuracy issues don't inspire great confidence, but, as Tennessee wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson recently boasted , the youngster has the frame and baseline skills to be a difference maker. Scratch off the late-round lottery ticket in deeper formats.

Levine Toilolo, Atl, TE (140+, TE30+)

Snaps Seen in '13: 198/1100 (18.0%)

With Tony Gonzalez now opining on CBS, the 22-year-old Stanford product has enormous shoes to fill. Sharpied in as the starter, he will unquestionably tally the biggest jump in snaps of anyone on this list. Still, it's silly to think he'll be Gonzo revisited. Unlike the future HOFer, Toilolo is more of an in-line tight end, not the slot machine his predecessor was. Matt Ryan has rarely targeted interior TEs during his tenure in Atlanta (2.7 percent in '13), but that likely had more to do with where Gonzalez lined up. Think of Toilolo as a better version of Detroit's Joseph Fauria, a massive red-zone weapon (6-foot-8, 255-pounds) who will finish with favorable TD numbers (5-7) but only modest yards (450-550). Label him as a mid-to-high range TE2.

Want to bull rush Brad? Follow him on Twitter @YahooNoise

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (49)

Recommended for You

  • NFL Power Rankings 2014: Bucs keep on dropping in week three

    NFL Power Rankings 2014: Bucs keep on dropping in week three The power rankings aren't kind to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When you lose two games, at home, to teams starting backup quarterbacks -- people are going to lose respect for you. Which is

    SB Nation43 mins ago
  • Rihanna Says ‘F–k You’ to CBS Over NFL ‘Thursday Night Football’ Song Snub

    Rihanna had harsh words for CBS after the network pulled her song from “Thursday Night Football” last week while devoting the pre-game show to report on the NFL's Ray Rice's domestic violence controversy. Also read: ‘Thursday Night Football’ Scores 20.8 Million Viewers With First CBS Game The…

    The Wrap
  • Colts Coaches Cost the Team a Win

    The Colts coaching staff cost the Colts a win tonight. Chuck, you can talk all you want about how that's a game you just needed to win.  You can talk all you want about how your team needs to be better.  You can talk all you want about how your team didn't play a 60-minute ballgame.  You can talk…

    SB Nation
  • Broncos fans' petition to ban Phil Simms gets 24,000 votes in 24 hours

    Broncos fans' petition to ban Phil Simms gets 24,000 votes in 24 hours Some have called it silly. Some have called it dumb. But over 29,000 fans have signed a petition to ban CBS color commentator Phil Simms from Denver Broncos games. Some have

    SB Nation
    Sun, Sep 14
    Kansas City17 - 24Denver
    Game Recap
  • NFL Power Rankings 2014, Week 3: Eagles are second best NFC team

    NFL Power Rankings 2014, Week 3: Eagles are second best NFC team Ranking all 32 NFL Teams. Now that Week 2 of the 2014 NFL season is over, it's time to see where all 32 teams rank. For reference purposes, here is a link to last week's NFL Power

    SB Nation
    Mon, Sep 15
    Philadelphia30 - 27Indianapolis
    Game Recap
  • Vikings message board shuts down, disgusted by both team and fans, a longtime board devoted to discussion of the Minnesota Vikings, has shut down forever because of its owners' disgust with the burgeoning Adrian Peterson scandal. Sure, there's Peterson himself, indicted on charges of child abuse. Vikings Message Board has been shut down…

    Shutdown Corner
    Sun, Sep 14
    New England30 - 7Minnesota
    Game Recap
  • Official on Colin Kaepernick penalty: 'He knows what he said'

    San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick tried to play off the inappropriate language penalty he received during "Sunday Night Football" by denying it altogether. "I didn't say anything," Kaepernick said, according to CSN Bay Area. “He knows what he said,” side judge Laird Hayes told on…

    Shutdown Corner
  • French Tennis Player Hits A Ridiculous Between-The-Legs Shot During Davis Cup Match

    Gael Monfils has a well-earned reputation as one of the most exciting players in tennis today and he unleashed yet another jaw-dropping shot during France's Davis Cup win over the Czech Republic. France had already clinched their semifinals match-up when Monfils took the court to face Lukas Rosol.

    Business Insider
  • GIF: Cameron doesn't understand why the ref won't count this pinfall

    GIF: Cameron doesn't understand why the ref won't count this pinfall If you thought Cameron blowing Stone Cold Steve Austin's mind on the reboot of Tough Enough would produce the best GIF related to her in pro wrestling, you would be wrong. That

    SB Nation
  • Mets caught trying to secretly change their logo

    Last night, while Mets fans were busy watching Jacob deGrom striking everybody out and the good guys dropping yet another seesaw affair against the Marlins, the Mets' media team were up to some sneaky business. Thanks to a few sharp-eyed logo experts and the power of Twitter, we have learned that…

    SB Nation
    Tue, Sep 16
    4:10 PM PDT
    Miami at NY Mets
    Preview Game
  • Mario Chalmers offers words of wisdom for LeBron James' new supporting cast

    It's not surprising to hear Mario Chalmers tell Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick, "We all just took too much of a back seat in the Finals," since the San Antonio Spurs undressed everyone not named LeBron James and Chris Bosh in their five-game dismantling of the Miami Heat this past June. Only…

    Ball Don't Lie
  • Warren Buffett backed out on Mayweather ring walk

    Warren Buffett was set to walk to the ring with Floyd Mayweather on Saturday night, but the 84-year-old gozillionaire doesn't like marijuana cigarettes. According to TMZ Sports, business magnate Warren Buffett reneged on his pledge to walk to the ring with Floyd Mayweather on Saturday night, after…

    SB Nation
  • Former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir unsure of future

    Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir is one of the most accomplished big men in MMA history, but after four straight losses, he isn't sure when or if he'll return to competition. Mir has not won a bout since December, 2011, when he submitted fellow all-time great Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira with…

  • Play

    Harbaugh expresses frustration in loss to Bears

    San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh expresses his frustration after losing to the Chicago Bears in Week 2.

    NFL Highlights
  • WWE Raw results, recap, reactions (Sept. 15, 2014): John Cena gets it right

    WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Sept. 15, 2014) from Lafayette, Louisiana featuring the go home show to the upcoming Night of Champions pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for this Sunday night in Nashville. John Cena bullied Paul Heyman around, going so far as to…

    SB Nation
  • Ump Joe West grabs Papelbon's jersey after ejecting Pap for grabbing self

    Did closer Jonathan Papelbon grab himself in the ninth inning Sunday afternoon in order make an obscene gesture toward booing Philadelphia Phillies fans, or was he merely adjusting his jockstrap and/or protective cup, as ballplayers do, because his equipment had gotten out of alignment? Is Major…

    Big League Stew
  • Judge in Pistorius trial faces criticism

    Several legal groups in South Africa have expressed concern about threats and harsh criticism of the judge who found Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide, but not guilty of the more serious charge of murder. Some South Africans said they were surprised and even shocked when Judge Thokozile…

    Associated Press