Best Fantasy Football Sleepers 2014: Arian Foster, Wes Welker, Doug Martin, Rob Gronkowski, Stevan Ridley Injury Players To Draft

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Aug 31, 2014 12:20 PM EDT
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Doug Martin
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Doug Martin (22) in action, rushing vs Miami Dolphins during preseason game at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa, FL."

The fantasy football season for 2014 starts in a week and some of the top sleepers this year among players that are coming off of injuries or disappointments include Arian Foster, Wes Welker, Doug Martin, Rob Gronkowski, Stevan Ridley, Le'Veon Bell and Andrew Hawkins among others and those names could be smart picks for fantasy owners if they drop in drafts heading into Week 1 and now Welker is a big risk after his suspension for amphetamines.

Arian Foster missed half the season in 2013 with injuries and that was the most amount of games he had to sit out since back in 2009 and he is looking to come back string in 2014. Some leagues have seen Foster drop because of the injury concerns, but the risk-reward in taking him has a major upside, as he is still one of the most productive backs in football when he is healthy. Ridley is on this list because he spent the end of last season in the doghouse for Bill Belichick after having some fumbling issues and now he is trying ot come back from that.

Wes Welker had another concussion this preseason and that has brought on some major injury concerns and even though those are warranted, he is expected to play in Week 1. With Eric Decker out of the lineup Welker should have more targets and could have a very productive season in 2014 if he is healthy, making him a solid pick in PPR leagues. Foster had just 542 yards last season along with 22 catches for 183 yards in eight games and that came after one of the best seasons in his career after he rushed for 1411 yards and 15 touchdowns to go along with 40 catches in 2012. Foster dealt with a hamstring issue earlier in the preseason, but he is expected to play in week 1.

Doug Martin missed the majority of the season in 2013 and only played in six games and that followed a stellar rookie season that showed he is a top fantasy option when healthy. As a rookie Martin had 1454 yards and 11 touchdowns to go along with 49 catches for 472 yards and this season he could be even better if he is healthy, as the Bucs have a new head coach and offense. Josh McCown will help the team rise from last in the league in passing yards per game and the addition of Mike Evans should only open up the running game more as well. Andrew Hawkins was limited last season with the Bengals, but now that the Browns are without Josh Gordon.

Rob Gronkowski is coming off of another injury plagued season and he is one to keep an eye on, as he is expected to be healthy but many owners are worried about drafting him too high. Gronk is a worth risk because his upside is so high and even with the addition of Tim Wright, he still should put up good numbers. Wright and Gronk have very different roles in the offense and if Gronk does go down, Wright would be a great pickup. Ridley was in danger of missing the cut this year after his issues last season, but he rushed for 1263 yards two years ago and still has the potential to be a starter for the Patriots if he can hold onto the ball.

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