Summer is approaching fast and so are preparations for NFL fantasy leagues. Here is an updated list of potential sleepers from every team in the AFC North.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Martavis Bryant – WR
It really helps for a wide receiver in terms of production when he stands 6’4″. It also helps if he runs with 4.4/40 speed. Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Martavis Bryant does both. While his polish doesn’t nearly match his talent, the Steelers almost certainly have to find a way to get him involved. He has the size to create mismatches in the red zone and the long speed for Ben Roethlisberger to hit him down the sideline. Everything rests on his development.
Baltimore Ravens: Lorenzo Taliaferro – RB
The future of feature Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is very much in question. His backup Bernard Pierce struggled with injury in 2013. Those two factors open the door for rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro. The 4th round pick comes from a small program at Coastal Carolina but boasts the size, talent and production to hint he has starter capability. If he performs well in camp and the preseason, NFL fantasy owners should not be surprised if he sees significant action.
Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Eifert – TE
It’s still primarily the A.J. Green and running game show for the Cincinnati Bengals. That is why 2013 first round pick Tyler Eifert had a limited impact his rookie season. That and splitting playing time with veteran Jermaine Gresham. Now, with a year of experience under his belt and a new offensive coordinator in Hue Jackson who has a history of using tight ends, Eifert is poised to take his play to the next level. Don’t be surprised if he supplant Gresham as the primary receiving tight end.
Cleveland Browns: Miles Austin – WR
The Josh Gordon saga is one vast tragedy for the Cleveland Browns, and has forced the team to act accordingly, trying to bolster the offensive roster in anticipation of a possible year-long suspension. One free agent signing that went under-the-radar was Miles Austin. It’s understandable. The former Cowboys struggled with injuries during his time in Dallas. However, when healthy he was a productive NFL fantasy option. If Gordon is indeed out, then he has a chance to become the feature target at receiver. Health is of course a concern, but the risk is worth taking if taken with caution.