Fantasy Football 2014: Heat Waved Sleeper Picks

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Aug 28, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) runs from Chicago Bears safety Marcus Trice during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers

Carlos Hyde ended up on a team with an established incumbent in Frank Gore which has a handful of talented runners already on the roster. Despite the glut of running backs, Hyde has the talent to emerge as the Niners’ lead back at some point this season. At the very least, he can be a nice complement to Gore and then break out down the road

EJ Manuel, QB, Buffalo Bills:

Manuel has a lot going for him in his second season, such as a huge upgrade at the wide receiver position in rookie Sammy Watkins and veteran Mike Williams. A healthy C.J. Spiller will also turn some short dump-offs into long-gainers, and also consider that Manuel’s knee is finally healthy. He also will have a much better grasp of the complicated playbook of head coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

Johnny Manziel, QB, Cleveland Browns

There is hope and a viable path for Manziel to end up as a QB1 fantasy option. He tallied 83 rushing yards per game in college. If Manziel can post about half of that per-game total in the NFL, he would rack up 660 rushing yards. Now add in a rushing touchdown every four games and throw in a mere 10 points per game through the air. Total them up and that’s 250 points, which is at or very close to QB1 territory.

Tre Mason, RB, St. Louis Rams

Efficiency and elusiveness aren’t calling cards for Zac Stacy, who was impressive in his ability to endure a heavy volume of carries for an anemic Rams offense last season. But the team wants more from the position, as indicated by their third-round selection of Mason, a Heisman finalist. Stacy ranked just 24th in Pro Football Focus’ elusive rating, forcing a missed tackle on just 10.8 percent of touches, well behind fellow rookies Eddie Lacy (19.1) and Giovani Bernard (19.4).