When preparing for another season of fantasy football, it is easy to focus on the early rounds of your draft. But, the truth is that the best opportunity to gain an advantage often does not come until it is time to target sleepers either at the very end of your draft or in free agency afterward.
Usually, the best types of players to focus on late in drafts are young, emerging players who offer the upside to become influential starters. For instance, I would rather target a player like Jake Locker (QB, Titans) over a known entity like Alex Smith (QB, Chiefs). While Smith is more likely to outscore Locker this year, Locker has a much better chance of finally putting it together at the NFL level and emerging as a top 10 fantasy QB.
Another great target late in drafts is a solid backup RB who would be in line for a significant amount of carries if the starter in front of him were to get hurt. Knile Davis (RB, Chiefs), Carlos Hyde (RB, 49ers), Terrance West (RB, Browns), Lance Dunbar (RB, Cowboys) and James Starks (RB, Packers) are prime examples of this.
At the receiver positions, Doug Baldwin (WR, Seahawks), Jordan Matthews (WR, Eagles), Markus Wheaton (WR, Steelers) and Travis Kelce (TE, Chiefs) are sometimes going undrafted.
Yet, they all have flashed talent in the past and should each have the opportunity to earn substantial roles in their respective offenses.
These players, and many more we have yet to learn about, are all capable of becoming the next out of nowhere fantasy star. So make sure to keep your eyes out for young, unknown talents and don't be afraid to use a few roster spots on deep sleepers.
Alex Case is amNY's fantasy football columnist.