Blog Archives

Never Too Early For Sleepers!

While the season still sits firmly on the horizon, fantasy nerds like myself help prop up the early season ADP data by grinding mock drafts despite having very little information to work with. While I’ll still examine each position with the “hidden gem” feature articles later in the summer, we’re going to provide sleeper updates on a monthly basis until the season begins.

Quarterback:

Ryan Tannehill, MIA: Don’t confuse his inclusion on this list as a suggestion that the Dolphins are a team on the rise; because they’re not. What he is, though, is a potential top 15 fantasy quarterback available in the last few rounds of your draft. Ignoring last season, Tannehill has finished 13th (2013), 7th (2014), and 15th (2015), and turned in a dud in 2016 as the QB25 (he did miss 3 games). Those aren’t world beater numbers, but considering tannehillthe relatively easy schedule he’ll face, and his ability to generate surprising yards on the ground (he averages around 200 yards per season) his floor is well above what we may expect from a player being drafted currently in the 21st round of deep drafts. As a bench player, he costs very little draft capital, but provides more upside than the other QB’s being drafted in a similar spot.

Matt Ryan, ATL: A massive drop off from his QB2 finish in 2016, Ryan’s 2017 has scared off potential suitors and saw him drop to the QB16 spot per current consensus ADP data. No longer playing with the pressures of the QB who blew the biggest super bowl lead, Ryan is poised to bounce back. Atlanta returns it’s superstar backfield, still has Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, and added Calvin Ridley at the draft, marking a very clear focus on surrounding Matty Ice with weapons. A return to the high flying offensive numbers of 2016 may be a stretch, but I’d find it hard to believe if Ryan turns in another dud this year. I fully expect a top 10 QB finish, and one that can be added in the 11th round of your draft.

Running Backs:

Ty Montgomery, GB: I know I was derisive of Montgomery last year, but in spite of that, his current ranking (RB59, ADP – 100) is criminally low for a back that many viewed as a top 20 back last year before injuries derailed his season. While he remains an injury risk, a health Montgomery should resume his lead back role in 2018, especially in the passing game. It doesn’t hurt that he’ll be catching passes from the best QB in the game right now. If you need to add depth at the RB position, or punted on early round backs, Montgomery may help bail out a roster.

Marlon Mack, IND: While Mack was a trendy sleeper pick last year behind the aging Frank Gore, his performance over the season left a lot to be desired. In 16 games Mack garnered double digit touches only twice (in week 1 and week 8) otherwise he was an after thought in a terrible Colts offense. Now, he’s in line to be the lead back with Gore leaving for Miami, and the news that he’s fully recovered from surgery to repair a torn labrum he played the season with further cements his “sleeper” status in my mind. Even if Andrew Luck remains on the shelf, in the 8th round of drafts (ADP of 77th overall), Mack provides a solid floor while presenting plenty of upside.

 

Wide Recievers:

Devante Parker, MIA: Last year, Parker was drafted with the expectation that he’d take a leap into the positions top 20; instead he was saddled with horrendous quarterback play and inconsistent targets following the season ending ACL injury suffered by Ryan Tannehill. While Tannehill doesn’t present much of an upgrade over Jay Cutler and co in terms of real football, he does have a great rapport with Parker. Coupled with a relatively easy schedule, an Parker is a steal at 104 overall.

Cole Beasley, DAL: Another tumultuous offseason for the Cowboys saw franchise corner stone Dez Bryant leave via free agency and Jason Witten retired. Despite the addition of Allen Hurns, the player who stands to gain the most from the absence should be Cole Beasley. After leading the team in targets in 2016, Beasley felt the effects of the Elliott suspension hard as the season saw him finish with only 36 catches on 63 targets. Let’s not forget, though, that the diminutive slot man led the team in targets in 2016 and saw a healthy 75 targets the year before. Expecting 80+ targets shouldn’t be too difficult a prediction considering that Dak Prescott has to throw to somebody and Beasely represents the best option for slot work on a run first team. Basically an afterthought in drafts so far, Beasley can be had for the low low price of nothing.

Tight Ends:

David Njoku, Cle: Coming out of college Njoku seemed like a lock to contribute right out of the gates, but as we so often find out, rookies are a crap shoot in fantasy. Now, the word is that targets are going to be scarce for the talented tight end, thanks to three very good receivers and two capable pass catching backs on the roster. I’d argue that with Tyrod Taylor’s propensity to scramble with the football, Njoku could be a nice target for owners looking to add TE depth late in drafts. While he likely won’t finish in the top 15 at the position, he’ll probably see a healthy number of targets in the red zone, giving him value regardless.

Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, Jac: One of these days my Sefarian-Jenkins take is going to pay off in spades, and this year looks like it’s the year. Uber talented, Sefarian-Jenkins toiled away on a Jets team that couldn’t get consistency on offense no matter how hard it tried. It was recently revealed that ASJ suffered from substance abuse issues that he’s since sought help for and claims that he’s sober and focused on football for the first time as a pro. Color me intrigued as an involved Sefarian-Jenkins could be a monster in fantasy, especially given the lack of top tier weapons in Jacksonville following Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns departures. A late round target, he’ll cost you next to nothing to acquire but could be a massive piece of a championship run.

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2017 Hidden Gems: WR

As futile as the exercise may seem this early, identifying sleeper candidates is one of the most important pieces of research you can embark upon. Below we’ll identify three leading candidates for you to keep an eye on before the preaseaon starts. 

ThielenAdam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings | ADP 106 – WR41 | Despite the efforts of the Vikings to bulk up the backfield after AP left for New Orleans, Sam Bradford was still bought and paid for in order to create some kind of passing game. Diggs is the obvious #1 but Thielen posted borderline WR2 numbers last year despite the turmoil on the field. Expect similar, if not better, for the third year receiver. Prediction: 1000 Receiving Yards, 4 TDs

 

Travis Benjamin – Los Angeles Chargers |ADP 170+ – WR96 | While Benjamin is likely only being drafted in the deepest formats, his WR96 ranking is criminal considering how likely it is that Keenan Allen misses time. Benjamin is progressing ahead of schedule on his own recovery and by all accounts Mike Williams is well behind the rest of the offense and may take time to mature in the NFL. Prediction: 800 Receiving Yards, 3 TDs

 

Cole Beasley – Dallas Cowboys | ADP 131 – WR57 | I’ve been on the Cole Beasley train as early as 2014, arguing his value and suggesting he was a better option than Terrence Williams. Still, even after his success, Beasely is being drafted as late as the 14th round as a 5th or 6th WR. In PPR formats he’s rises as his 75-80 receptions is in the top 25 of all WRs, but he’s incredibly underrated so late in drafts. Prediction: 80 Receptions, 925 Receiving Yards, 5 TDs

 

Honorable Mentions: Robert Woods, LAR (ADP 155), Josh Doctson, Was (ADP 140), Kamar Aiken, Ind (ADP 260)

Updated: WR Rankings

Updated 6/23

  1. Antonio Brown – PIT
  2. Demaryius Thomas – DEN
  3. Dez Bryant – DAL
  4. Odel Beckham Jr. – NYG
  5. Julio Jones – ATL
  6. Calvin Johnson – DET
  7. Jordy Nelson – GB
  8. AJ Green – CIN
  9. Randall Cobb – GB
  10. TY Hilton – IND
  11. Mike Evans – TB
  12. DeAndre Hopkins – HOU
  13. Emmanuel Sanders – DEN
  14. Alshon Jeffery – CHI
  15. Kelvin Benjamin – CAR
  16. Jordan Matthews – PHI
  17. Julian Edelman – NE
  18. Keenan Allen – SD
  19. Brandin Cooks – NO
  20. Sammy Watkins – BUF
  21. Amari Cooper – OAK
  22. DeSean Jackson – WAS
  23. Golden Tate – DET
  24. Brandon Marshall – NYJ
  25. Roddy White – ATL
  26. Martavis Bryant – PIT
  27. Allen Robinson – JAC
  28. Kevin White – CHI
  29. Andre Johnson – IND
  30. Mike Wallace – MIN
  31. Torrey Smith – SF
  32. Brandon LaFell – NE
  33. Eric Decker – NYJ
  34. Vincent Jackson – TB
  35. Jeremy Maclin – KC
  36. Michael Floyd – ARI
  37. Jarvis Landry – MIA
  38. Anquan Boldin – SF
  39. John Brown – ARI
  40. Nelson Agholor – Phi
  41. Marques Colston – NO
  42. Victor Cruz – NYG
  43. Charles Johnson – MIN
  44. Larry Fitzgerald – ARI
  45. Steve Smith – BAL
  46. Breshard Perriman – BAL
  47. Kendall Wright – TEN
  48. Kenny Stills – MIA
  49. Pierre Garcon – WAS
  50. Davante Adams – GB
  51. Terrance Williams – DAL
  52. Rueben Randle – NYG
  53. Brian Quick – STL
  54. Malcom Floyd – SD
  55. Marvin Jones – CIN
  56. Doug Baldwin – SEA
  57. Dwayne Bowe – CLE
  58. DeVante Parker – MIA
  59. Percy Harvin – BUF
  60. Cody Latimer – DEN
  61. Marqise Lee – JAC
  62. Dorial Green-Beckham – TEN
  63. Stevie Johnson – SF
  64. Kenny Britt – STL
  65. Justin Hunter – TEN
  66. Cole Beasley – Dal
  67. Cecil Shorts – HOU
  68. Devin Funchess – CAR
  69. Michael Crabtree – OAK
  70. Phillip Dorsett – IND
  71. Jaelen Strong – HOU
  72. Donte Moncrief – IND
  73. Andrew Hawkins – CLE
  74. Cordarelle Patterson – MIN
  75. Greg Jennings – MIA
  76. Nick Toon – NO
  77. Devin Smith – NYJ
  78. Tyler Lockett – SEA
  79. Sammie Coates – PIT
  80. Stedman Bailey – STL

3 Up

Dwayne Bowe – CLE – Let’s be clear, I’m not suggesting Bowe is going to be a world beater or find himself in the top 20 WRs, but based on his tumbling value, I’d argue he’s poised to far out perform his expectation. 75 receptions, 900 yards and 4 TD’s would be a solid 3rd WR line, and in PPR leagues if his value jumps a bit being the best target on nearly ever down for the Browns.

Cole Beasley – DAL – The NFL slot reciever has found itself at the heart of the PPR world as small recieivers can have value in high volume offenses. Although Beasley may have been outperformed by fellow WR Terrance Williams last year, I see a spike in targets with DeMarco Murray out of the picture. Ranked as the 78th best WR by ESPN, I expect him to out perform a slew of receivers taken ahead of him.

Roddy White – ATL – With Julio Jones in the offense it’s easy to forget that White finished 18th in receptions in 14 games and should likely show less signs of slowing down than other recievers his age. While others value him lower and lower, I feel that White’s consistency and familiarity with QB Matt Ryan should keep him around 70-80 receptions and a healthy 6-8 TDs. Plenty good for a top 25 finish among WRs.

3 Down

Cody Latimer – DEN  – If you believe that the Bronco’s are planning on bringing a more balanced attack to the Mile High city with the increased use of the run game, then you should be nervous about drafting Cody Latimer. Despite his skill set, he’s still at best the fourth option on offense behind Thomas, Sanders, and Anderson. He only had 29 catches last year meaning we’re opperating on assumptions and despite my expectations for him to receive more work, he won’t get nearly enough to justify picking him at the 45-50 range for WR’s.

Donte Moncrief – IND – A fine reciever, Moncrief was already buried deep on the Colt’s depth chart, and they’re willingness to get Dorsett in the 2015 draft shows that they either don’t have faith in him or that they plan on spreading the ball around even more. I’d expect Moncrief to be drafted well ahead of his actual value, and caution that he may be the 4th reciever as early as week one for this offense.

Dorial Green-Beckham – TEN – Already dealing with a minor injury, Green-Beckham has generated a ton of buzz due to his extreme athletic abillity and comparissons to another mercurial WR in Randy Moss. Pump the breaks if you will considering he’s a rookie coming into a disfunctional offense with a rookie QB at the helm. In keeper or dynasty leagues he’s worth a stash but reaching early banking on his upside will burn your team for weeks while we wait for him to blossom.

Would you Rather? April 23

Would you rather is a weekly Fantasy Football article that will run up until Week 1 of the 2015 NFL Regular Season where we look at Pro’s and Con’s involved with Draft Day decisions.

The ghost of DeMarco Murray looms large as the Dallas Cowboys prepare for life without him. Not only was Murray’s impact out of the backfield, his ability to catch passes made him an elite offensive weapon, and the 57 catches on 64 targets will have to be filtered elsewhere. Therein lies the problem: Who after Dez Bryant should I target in drafts?

There’s two obvious choices: WR’s Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley. There’s obvious differences between the two players as well; Williams is a much larger target and has more endzone punch due to his size. His *140 fantasy points ranks XX but he seemed to fade a bit down the stretch as the Cowboys relied mostly upon Dez Bryant and Jason Witten outside the numbers.

Beasley is a diminutive WR, more in the Wes Welker slot receiver mold. Rarely used in the first half of the season (below average fantasy impact between week 2 and 12 according to Rotoworld statistics) he came on strong as the season finished putting up 58 of his 86 points* from week 12-16.

As always, understanding your league format will be tantamount to a solid draft. If you’re drafting in a PPR league Beasley becomes a much more attractive player at his current ADP, if not (and you believe that Williams can provide the same scoring punch as last year) then Williams would be your guy.

I owned Williams in leagues last year and can say his lack of consistency was frustrating. His upside has to be tempered with the fact that he does not have breakway speed and he’s often times the third or fourth redzone target after Bryant, Witten, and whoever laces up in the backfield.

Beasley is intriguing at his current ADP and especially in PPR leagues. With as high powered and offense as Dallas has, and with as often as Romo will throw it, my guess is a lot of those short passes to Murray will go Beasley’s way in the slot. With the success that teams like Pittsburgh, New England and Denver have had with diminuitive slot guys, it’s a safe bet that Beasley will outperform his ADP (assuming he’s healthy). I have serious doubts that Williams will.

Tell us what you think in the comments below to provide your own feedback on the matter.

*fantasy points calculated for PPR league 1pt/rec