Well folks, here it is. The 2015 NFL preseason is kicking into full swing on Thursday night, and there is no better time to monitor prospects and potential fantasy football sleepers than now. I’ve detailed five sleepers to watch out for tonight. There will be some familiar names on this list, some names you may have forgotten about, and even a name you may not have heard of yet. Take tonight and everything regarding these players with a grain of salt, but if all goes well, these guys could end up being very sneaky picks in your fantasy draft – and you get to watch them tonight!
Andrew Hawkins – Cleveland Browns – WR
Hawkins is a potential beast in PPR formats, and is certainly a prospect worth looking at if you are in a deeper fantasy football league. With Jordan Cameron gone it can be expected that Hawkins will get more looks in the short/intermediate throwing game. Also, consider that Hawkins is going to be competing for receptions with the likes of Brian Hartline, Dwayne Bowe, and Terrelle Pryor. It’s conceivable that Hawkins may be the best receiver on the Browns roster this season, considering he led the team in receptions (63) and receiving yards (824) last year. Also, Hawkins is inarguably the most experienced receiver in the Browns offensive system. Sure the quarterback situation in Cleveland is garbage, but Hawkins is on average being drafted as the 76th wide receiver taken. To get any teams potential top wide receiver that late would be a steal.
Stevie Johnson – San Diego Chargers – WR
What was once such a hot prospect in fantasy football, has now fallen off to relative obscurity. Just a couple of seasons ago Johnson was being drafted in the first four rounds, and that was with lackluster (at best) quarterback play supporting him. But now, Johnson is playing with a legit A-list quarterback in Phillip Rivers. Everyone knows that Chargers wide receivers just score points. It doesn’t matter who is out there catching the ball. Johnson has ridiculous upside potential, considering he’s being drafted on average as the 66th wide receiver taken. Johnson is expected to contribute a lot to the Chargers this season, especially early on, as Antonio Gates will miss the first four games with a suspension.
Robert Griffin III – Washington Redskins – QB
To reference an obscure quote from the TV series Entourage, “Once a star, always a threat.” This quote applies to RG3 more than any other player in the league. Griffin really does have dynamic offensive weapons to support him. Reception monsters like Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed, and Niles Paul, big play wide receivers like DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts, and one of the only legit full time running backs in the league Alfred Morris, make for a very talented roster of offensive skill position players. Reports from camp have stated that Griffin has been playing well. If that is in fact true then he could possibly crack the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks this season. Considering that he is being drafted as the 27th quarterback on average, his upside might be the highest at the quarterback position in the league. Griffin is also expected to play the whole first quarter tonight, so potential fantasy owners will get a decent look at the fourth year prospect.
Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions – TE
Last season Ebron had as much hype coming into the regular season as just about any rookie. He was dubbed “Optimus Prime”. Comparisons of Ebron to his teammate Calvin Johnson (A.K.A. Megatron) were plentiful, and Ebron didn’t even come close to fulfilling those expectations. But the fact is that tight end is one of the harder positions to come in and play as a rookie, and Ebron was dealing with lingering injuries from day one until the end of the season. But his potential is still the same, even if the expectations aren’t there anymore. The fact is that Detroit throws the ball A TON, and with Ebron being the number one tight end on the Lions depth chart, it is safe to assume the second year tight end will see a lot of targets. If Ebron can stay healthy this year he could be a sneaky pick that could really pay off. Especially considering his average draft position has him being the 22nd tight end taken.
Brandon Coleman – New Orleans Saints – WR
The big story coming out of Saints camp this year has been Brandon Coleman. The rookie, Coleman, is currently the definitive front-runner in the race for the fourth receiver slot on the Saints, and is even vying for the third receiver slot. Whether or not Coleman overtakes the third receiver slot or not he is definitely a hot prospect to watch. He’s 6’6” and reportedly has been using his size really well in training camp. With Jimmy Graham, Kenny Stills, and Robert Meachem gone, and Colston losing the battle to father time bit by bit, it looks like the Saints might be in the process of retooling their receiving core, into a more youthful arrangement. Brandon Coleman isn’t even on most people’s draft boards at this point, but you may want to tune in to preseason action tonight and take a look at this prospect. He could be potential stud, and is definitely worth consideration in deeper leagues.
All average draft positions I referenced were based off of fantasypros.com’s rankings. If you have any questions about these guys, or any other potential sleepers kicking their preseason’s off tonight, just let me know in the comments, and I’ll get back to you ASAP!
*Photo credit – Keith Allison via Flickr