Jay Clemons, the 2008 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year (Fantasy Sports Writers Association), highlights 12 preferred sleeper options for Rounds 10-16 (standard-scoring leagues) -- relative to their prescribed Average Draft Position values (citing the updated mock-draft rankings from Fantasy Football Calculator). These underrated, high-ceiling assets will hopefully contribute to a number of fantasy championships this season, justifying the following time-tested notion: Good drafting involves getting great value with every pick. (Photos: Kirby Lee/Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)
QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
ADP VALUE: 112 ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Given the incredible depth at quarterback, a number of fantasy owners will find viable, highly productive starters (and QB2s) in the double-digit rounds. Rivers, for example, finished fourth in TD passes (32) and fifth in yards passing last year (4,478); and yet, he's consistently tabbed as a middle-of-the-pack consideration. 2) The Chargers are loaded with pass-friendly options at running back (Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead, Donald Brown, Branden Oliver), tight end (Ladarius Green, Antonio Gates) and receiver (Keenan Allen, Malcom Floyd, Eddie Royal). 3) In his first year with head coach/offensive guru Mike McCoy, Rivers established a career-best completion percentage (69.5).
RB Knowshon Moreno, Miami Dolphins
ADP VALUE: 116 ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Knowshon Moreno (left -- 1,586 total yards, 13 TDs with Denver last year) should be the Dolphins' best rushing asset in the red zone, within the passing game (seven outings of five-plus targets in 2013) and superior bet for 1,300 total yards/eight TDs this season. That's why it's hard to imagine Lamar Miller sticking as the No. 1 tailback -- through mid-September. 2) With the additions of left tackle Branden Albert and first-round pick Ja'Wuan James, the Dolphins have admirably tried to reconstruct their wretched O-line on the fly. 3) It's rare to find a potential workhorse back this late in a draft (standard scoring or PPR) ... and Moreno fits that bill (fingers crossed).
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY SportsRobert Mayer
WR DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
ADP VALUE: 119 ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Hopkins (52 catches, 802 yards, two TDs) had a rock-solid first year in the NFL, racking up more receptions and receiving yards than Calvin Johnson for his rookie campaign (2007). 2) The Clemson product tallied six or more targets six times last season -- including two double-digit outings for Weeks 2 (vs. Tennessee) and 10 (at Arizona). 3) Hopkins is the future of Houston's receiving corps ... and Andre Johnson will eventually cease to be a force in PPR leagues. We're just not sure when that transformation takes place.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY SportsTroy Taormina
WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans
ADP VALUE: 120 ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) At 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, the supremely athletic Hunter (18 catches, 354 yards as a rookie) won't encounter many physical clones (cornerback-wise) when running patterns -- especially with Kendall Wright (94 catches, 1,079 yards last year), versatile back Dexter McCluster and rookie rusher Bishop Sankey (potential fantasy stud) commanding the lion's share of defensive attention. 2) Hunter should be a dynamic red-zone force -- eclipsing his four TDs from last year. 3) From Weeks 10-14, spanning five games, Hunter tallied two 100-yard efforts, two TDs and three outings of six-plus targets. That's a substantial upgrade from Weeks 3-9 ... when Hunter didn't collect four or more targets in a game.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY SportsRon Chenoy
RB Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
ADP VALUE: 124 ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) We had gone to great lengths to avoid Ingram in previous years, disavowing his post-Heisman hype as a workhorse back. But there's certainly a market for him in a Saints offense that no longer includes PPR-magnet Darren Sproles. 2) Ingram could have a boffo September against the Falcons and Cowboys, the NFL's 31st- and 27th-ranked rush defenses last year. To wit, Ingram dusted Dallas for 160 total yards and one score in Week 10 -- off just 16 touches. 3) For what it's worth, Ingram rolled for 87 total yards and one TD against the Rams last week (cue preseason joke). 4) If you don't favor Ingram in Round 11 ... fellow Saints rusher Khiry Robinson should be available at this time, as well.
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY SporCrystal LoGiudice
TE Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers
ADP VALUE: 127 ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) This could become a needless risk for fantasy owners in the latter rounds, since Green's teammate in San Diego, Antonio Gates, easily posted better numbers last year -- 77 catches, 872 yards, four TDs -- and also sits here in Round 11. For his age-33 campaign, Gates notched more receptions and yards than Carolina's Greg Olsen, a top-10 tight end for 2014; and yet, no one is calling for Olsen to defer to another Panthers youngster. 2) The m.o. for grabbing Green (above) lies with his supreme physical gifts (6-foot-6, 240 pounds, exceptional leaping ability) and flash of potential after Week 11 last year, when the Louisiana-Lafayette product broke 80 yards twice, collected five-plus targets three times and scored four total TDs.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsKirby Lee
QB Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
ADP VALUE: 128 ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) It should be a crime to steal Andy Dalton (4,293 yards passing, 35 total TDs) in Round 11. Of his first 11 games last year, the Bengals QB accounted for 290 total yards and/or multiple touchdowns nine times. And of his final four regular-season outings, Dalton averaged 287 yards passing and 3.3 TDs. 2) Yes, it's only the preseason ... but against the Jets last week, Dalton tallied a perfect QB rating of 158.3 -- completing 8 of 8 passes for one TD. 3) Last season, Dalton enjoyed top-8 numbers for passing attempts, completions, passing yards, passing TDs and total touchdowns. 4) It's possible that Cincy receiver A.J. Green and tailback Gio Bernard will lead their respective positions in receiving targets this year.
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY SportsAndrew Weber
QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
ADP VALUE: 131 ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Big Ben racked up career highs with completions (375) and pass attempts (584) last season. Compared to previous years, Roethlisberger was also prolific with completion percentage (64.2), yards passing (4,261) and total touchdowns (29). 2) The 2014 Steelers boast a lethal cast of playmakers, starting with receivers Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Lance Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey, rookie Dri Archer and running backs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount.
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY SportsJason Bridge
WRs Jordan Matthews, Eagles/Marqise Lee, Jaguars
ADP VALUES: 136 (Matthews)/157 (Lee) ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) We typically avoid rookie receivers in standard-scoring leagues, given the steep learning curve that takes place in Year 1. However, Matthews and Lee have little competition to start for the Eagles and Jaguars, respectively. (Assuming Philly rides three wideouts in base situations.) 2) In Week 2 of the preseason, Matthews -- the SEC's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards -- carved up the Patriots for nine catches (on nine targets) and 104 yards. Lee, in turn, caught all four of his targeted balls (against the Bears) for 27 yards and one TD.
QB Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
ADP VALUE: 171 ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) In Year 3 of his development, Tannnehill stands as a reasonable bet for 4,100 yards passing and 28-plus touchdowns. 2) For their respective positions, Tannehill has three prominent targets in receiver Mike Wallace, tailback Knowshon Moreno (13 TDs with Denver last year) and tight end Charles Clay (69 catches, 759 yards, six TDs). 3) Given the Dolphins' high-tempo offense, Tannehill will likely match (or eclipse) last year's mark of 13 games of 35-plus pass attempts. Of course, he'll still need to boost that completion mark up to 64 percent or higher. 4) For the fantasy owners with Week 9-bye star QBs (Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler, Matt Ryan) ... Tannehill has an attractive home matchup that weekend against the Chargers -- the 29th-ranked pass defense last season.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsSteve Mitchell
WR Andre Holmes, Oakland Raiders
ADP VALUE: 203 ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) From Weeks 13-17 last year, Holmes (25 catches, 431 yards, one TD in 2013) ranked among the top 25 receivers in targets (41). As such, during that span, he collected seven or more targets in five straight outings. 2) Of the Raiders' primary quartet of receivers (including James Jones, Rod Streater, Denarius Moore), Holmes likely has the greatest big-play potential. 3) The Raiders upgraded their quarterback situation during the offseason, adding Matt Schaub (AFC passing king in 2009) and drafting Fresno State star Derek Carr.