Friday night’s NFL preseason action is sure to be entertaining. And if you are a fantasy football player it can be an excellent research opportunity, as well. The preseason is your best chance to see how the up and coming talent of the NFL is doing. It is also your best chance to evaluate potential sleepers, and decide for yourself if you think they are going to boom or bust. For you guys looking to evaluate some potential sleepers, here is a list of five players playing tonight that you should monitor:
Note: Draft Kings currently has DFS preseason fantasy football games. No, really. Play tonight and win cash by picking up sneaky fantasy options like some of the guys below!
Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans
Mariota is definitely the top player to watch tonight. So far reports from Titans’ camp have been overwhelmingly positive for the rookie signal caller. Mariota has seemingly brought his momentum from the NCAA to the NFL. Always one to take tremendous care of the football in college, Mariota has continued that trend by being interception free throughout training camp with a 64.7 completion percentage. That combined with the fact that Mariota is as fast and elusive as Colin Kaepernick, makes him a very interesting fantasy option, with a RIDICULOUSLY high ceiling. With his skill-set and the Titans underrated receiving corps, I think Mariota could make a splash this season and emerge as an elite fantasy football quarterback. Mariota on average is being drafted as the 20th quarterback taken. If you have any semblance of a legit starter already drafted you should definitely consider targeting Mariota for your QB2.
Percy Harvin, WR, Buffalo Bills
Well, I feel a little bit like Charlie Brown trying to kick a football for even mentioning Harvin as a sleeper. But the fact is that when healthy Harvin is one of the toughest players in the entire NFL to defend. Although I do believe the Bills are overrated right now, it is going to be a nightmare trying to contain LeSean McCoy, Sammy Watkins, and FREAKING Percy Harvin. There is just so much speed, and play making ability between the three of them. And between the three of them Harvin is definitely the one getting the least attention. I know that all of this hinges on Harvin staying healthy, which has been his Achilles heel in the past, but considering he is being drafted as the 49th wide receiver taken he is definitely a potential sleeper.
Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Wheaton is poised to be a breakout star in 2015. Big Ben himself stated that he thinks that Wheaton will be the breakout wide receiver for the Steelers this season, not the highly regarded Martavis Bryant. The advantage that Wheaton has over Bryant as the Steelers WR2 is that Wheaton can play outside and inside, whereas Bryant is more singular and really only plays on the outside. Because of the ludicrous amount of firepower the Steelers possess I imagine Wheaton is going to see a lot of favorable coverages, and have good opportunities to score a lot of fantasy points. While it is widely considered that Bryant will be a fantasy stud this season (average draft position is WR27), it is certainly possible that Wheaton will score a similar amount of fantasy points this season. And Wheaton’s average draft position is WR63. Talk about bang for your buck.
Brian Quick, WR, St. Louis Rams
The Rams offense looks to be much improved from last year. Trading for Nick Foles might be the exact move the organization needed to make to compete in the toughest division in football. If you look at Brian Quick he is clearly the top receiving threat on a team that will run to open up the passing. Although Quick will see some great corners on a regular basis, I’m certain he will never garner enough attention to be double teamed. If Foles stays healthy this season than you can certainly expect more than 1,000 yards from Quick this year. Considering he is being drafted as the 60th wide receiver taken more than 1,000 yards would be a homerun. Don’t regret passing up on Quick, and getting a firm “I told you so” from me.
Mychal Rivera, TE, Oakland Raiders
Rivera is a tremendously overlooked tight end prospect. The big knock on him is that he will be competing with the rookie Clive Walford for reps. However, tight end is a tough position to come in and play right away, so Rivera at the very least is going to be the go-to tight end early on this season for the Raiders. Also sophomore quarterback Derek Carr is going to be looking for some familiarity on the field, and Rivera is the only guy he is going to recognize, as the Raiders receiving core consists of recently acquired players and rookies. People are wildly unaware that Rivera was the 15th best tight end last season, and his average draft position right now is as the 29th tight end taken. It is very conceivable that Rivera can finish in the top 12 this season, and should be considered as a legit TE2.
What potential sleepers are you excited to monitor this preseason? Hit me up in the comments, or on Twitter to talk about it!