By James LoPresti
Lead Fantasy Writer
Some players fly under the radar on draft day, and all it takes is an injury to a starter to give them that opportunity to grab hold of the position and keep it. These are my sleeper picks. It’s tough to gauge what will happen between today and the end of training camp, but as it stands now, it will take an injury or spectacular preseason to give these players fantasy value.
Tyler Wilson, QB, Oakland Raiders: Oakland brought in Matt Flynn to be its starting quarterback, but if last season was any indication, that isn’t set in stone. Flynn has started just two games in his career, and the word out of training camp is that he hasn’t shown much to separate himself as the starter. Wilson is the same size and build as Flynn, and based on new OC Greg Olson’s play-calling, I think he would prefer a pocket passer leading the offense, rather than scrambling quarterback Terrell Pryor.
Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders: Will Darren McFadden ever stay healthy an entire season? My thoughts are NO. He has incredible talent, but the guy just can’t stay on the field. Marcel Reece filled in admirably but Oakland prefers him in a blocking role. Murray will contend with Jacksonville castoff Rashad Jennings for the backup role, and if he remains healthy, should have no problem holding him off. Murray is a physical back, weighing in at 223 pounds, but surprisingly ran a 4.38 40 at Central Florida’s pro day. Prediction: It’s not if, it’s when – McFadden will get hurt, and Murray will supplant him. Murray isn’t getting much recognition, so he’s a great handcuff to grab on the cheap.
Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams: Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson led the Rams in rushing each of the past 14 seasons. Who was the last player to lead them in rushing? I had to go to Pro Football Reference for this one – Charles “June” Henley. He only played in the NFL in 1998 and he led the entire Rams team with 313 yards rushing! Stacy is currently behind Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead on the depth chart, but Stacy is the type of workhorse runner that fits St. Louis’ style of play. Furthermore, Richardson has battled injuries his entire career, and Pead will be serving a one-game suspension to start the season. If Stacy makes the most of his opportunity in the preseason and during Pead’s suspension, he could chip in 10-15 touches a game. He’s worthy of a late round draft pick in all formats.