For a complete list of sleepers and keepers, visit our draft kit.
As we head towards draft day we've decided to break down each position into four handy categories: Breakouts, Sleepers, Keepers and Use Caution. Along we've these handy categories we've decided to explain what they mean.
Breakouts: Guys who are stepping into a starting role and are primed for a breakout season. These are players that are well known and will not last too long on draft day.
Sleepers: Similar to the above, but of the lesser known variety and much higher risk. They may or may not be late round picks in your draft.
Keepers: Lots of upside, but you may have to wait a year or two for a serious fantasy impact.
Use Caution: These fellas are certain to be drafted, however we have concerns that they may struggle to meet lofty expectations.
Geno Smith, WVU - We love Smith almost as much as his new coach, Dana Holgorsen, loves a cocktail and a trip to the casino. Last season Holgorsen took a senior citizen with limited playing experience (27 collegiate passes) and turned him into Brandon Weeden: Fantasy Star. Now he'll get to work with Smith, who threw for over 2,700 yards and 24 touchdowns last season and will get to wing it against a bunch of bad defenses in 2011. In fact a cursory look at the Mountaineer schedule shows only LSU and maybe Louisville as defenses to fear. There is untapped skill talent out wide in Morgantown, and Smith could parlay everything into a campaign with well over 3,000 passing yards and 30 scores.
Seth Doege, Texas Tech - When it comes to Texas Tech you fall into one of two categories. Either you believe all hope is lost and Tuberville has completely gone away from all things Air Raid, or you are convinced that this will still be the wide-open attack that put the Red Raiders on the map. The truth, as usual, rests somewhere in the middle. While this offense is not the same as it was a mere two seasons ago, the veteran talent was still recruited for the old system. So while the new regime has implemented considerable change, this is not a three-yards-and-cloud-of-dust unit. Which brings us to Doege. He exited spring as the clear starter, and he has a nice receiving corps at his disposal. Plus, the non-conference slate is a cakewalk, and he'll avoid Nebraska in the new, watered-down Big 12.
James Franklin, Missouri - Franklin is not like the previous two Mizzou gunslingers in that he can make plays with his feet, thus he's an especially intriguing prospect heading into his first season as starter. The departure of Tyler Gabbert has left no doubt that this is his team, and offensive coordinator Dave Yost has an emerging team leader ready to take the reigns. There will be huge performances from this youngster, though you'll also have to deal with the occasional stinkfest, possibilities during trips to Tempe, Norman and College Station. Frankllin was impressive in spot duty a season ago, and we're excited at his prospects as the full-time guy.
Taylor McHargue, Rice - Remember the days of Chase Clement, Jarrett Dillard and James Casey? Sure seems like more than just three seasons ago as the Owls have struggled to come close to the offensive production seen during that triumvirate's final season, when they ended 2008 as the nation's 10th-rated offense. 2009 saw them fall to 111th, though they took a rebound step last year, concluding the year at 63. Now with McHargue coming off a limited-duty campaign that saw him account for seven scores against only one pick and play his best football in the season's concluding chapters, there is considerable optimism that we'll see even more improvement in 2011. McHargue brings dual-threat potential, and should post monster games against the many weak defenses he'll see. However keep in mind that Rice does travel to Austin, Waco and Evanston while welcoming Purdue to town. Consider him among the nation's better spot starters.
Ryan Radcliff, Central Michigan - Year II of the Dan Enos era in Mount Pleasant should see an offense that more closely resembles the final year of the Dan LeFevour era. This is not to say that Radcliff is another LeFevour, however he is a youngster coming off a first season as full-time starter where he threw for over 3,300 yards and 17 touchdowns. There are some definite landmines, but Radcliff should have his way against a majority of opponents.
Barrett Trotter, Auburn - Hell, Trotter hasn't even won the job. He's still embattled with Clint Moseley for the right to replace Cam Newton. However the fact that he has a more than decent shot at starting in a Gus Malzahn offense means he's one to nab.
David Piland, Houston - Mr. Piland was impressive enough after Case Keenum was lost for the 2010 season. Regardless of what happens with Keenum in 2011, it's clear that the Cougar offense is in good hands moving forward.
David Graves, Hawaii - When in doubt, go with the next great Hawaii quarterback, and David Graves is the next great Hawaii quarterback. This Sacramento native is a talent who can not only wing it, but can tuck it and run as well. This offense will be his in 2012.
Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State - We're just a little worried, ok? Odds are that we're looking at a quarterback who'll battle with Landry Jones and Robert Griffin for the Big 12's best fantasy quarterback. However with Dana Holgorsen now in Morgantown there is just a little bit of concern. Sure the offensive line returns four starters, and Justin Blackmon is among eight returning offensive starters, but the feeling is that Weeden may go a little earlier than he should. His touchdown passes included 11 against Tulsa and Louisiana-Lafayette. Otherwise he was a 2-3 score per game guy. Just saying he may go earlier in the draft than he should.
Seth Doege, Texas Tech - Wait, isn't this guy on the Breakout portion of this article? Why, yes he is, thus Doege is a risky prop as your number one guy. He likely will not post numbers comparable to Taylor Potts' 37 scores from a season ago, but this is still a starting quarterback throwing to good receivers in a defense-challenged conference. He'll have his moments, but this offense is changing towards a more traditional set every day.
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin - Last season saw the Badgers finish 12th in rushing offense and 75th in passing offense and they ended up sharing the Big Ten title and going to the Rose Bowl. I don't care who transfers in to play quarterback, the Badgers ain't going to fix something that ain't broke. Wilson will have his moments, but those looking for 300+ and three scores on a weekly basis will find themselves disappointed.
Ryan Aplin, Arkansas State - This spring we heard Red Wolves coach Hugh Freeze state that he'd like to get more snaps for #2 QB Phillip Butterfield. This doesn't bode well for Aplin matching or surpassing his 32 total touchdowns from a season ago.