A sleeper to me is a fantasy player who will be drafted in the latter rounds or not even drafted at all. Alvin Kamara would be a good example of this from last year as he was hardly drafted or not picked up at all in some leagues and was less than 40% owned in leagues heading in to week 4 in 2017. But as we now know, once Kamara got playing time he took off with explosive results. I want to expose to you four sleepers who may help your team throughout this upcoming season. Let me start by saying this, I am giving you 2nd tier sleepers, with one exception- I am not going to give you the same generic sleepers the industry will be floating out there all off season as I want to dig a little deeper and expand your thinking on deeper sleepers. This will also benefit those of you in dynasty leagues where digging deep may pay off in the long run and give you an insight to players likely to be overlooked in the draft.
Spencer Ware, RB – Kansas City Chiefs
Ware is coming back from a season off due to a torn PCL. The last time Ware played (2016) he put up 921 rushing yards with 3 TDs from 214 carries and 33 catches, 447 yards, and 2 rec TDs. I am calling him a sleeper because I think the fantasy world is so hyped up on Kareem Hunt that they will forget about Ware and what he did in 2016. Will Ware be the starter? Will he get the same amount of carriers as before? Will he split time with Hunt? No, No, and Yes. Should Hunt replicate his mid-season slump from last year where he only managed 43.5 PPR points over a five week stretch (8.7pts per week) , Ware could see himself back into a prime fantasy position come mid-season. Also, with QB Patrick Mahomes now named as the new starter since Alex Smith‘s departure to Washington in free agency, I think defenses will sit back a little bit temping the 2nd year passer to throw more which could lead to interceptions. That, in turn, will mean more productivity for the running game which Ware will be apart of. If you draft Hunt, you need to draft Ware as your handcuff and should be available at the tail end of your drafts.
Stat Prediction: 650 rushing yards/4 TDs; 20 rec/350 yards/2 TDs – 156 PPR points (27th in 2017)
A.J McCarron, QB – Buffalo Bills
Newly acquired free agent McCarron could be a great sleeper because he may finally be given a chance to be the starter. After sitting behind Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton for 3 years, McCarron put up 920 passing yards for 6 TDs and 2 INTs in total in those 3 years. Most of that came in 2015 when Dalton was injured. McCarron will have his hands full as the receiving core isn’t as strong as it was for him in Cincinnati, but I think he will make do with what he has. Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin is coming back for another year accompanied by fellow receiver Zay Jones, veteran tight end Charles Clay and pass catching running back LeSean McCoy who will provide plenty of target opportunities. McCarron isn’t necessarily a weekly fantasy starter or even draft worthy- however, I do think he will be able to be a bye week filler and a match-up dependent play. If he manages to grab the starting gig, he could develop into a fantasy relevant piece and might be worth a stash in deep leagues
Stat Prediction: As starter- 3,200 yards/20 TDs/14 INTs – 180 fantasy points (25th in 2017)
Geronimo Allison, WR – Green Bay Packers
Legendary wide receiver Jordy Nelson is out somewhat surprisingly for the Green Bay faithful, TE Jimmy Graham is in, and Ty Montgomery stays at running back. All of this means that Allison will move into the starting lineup as the third receiver behind last year breakout Devante Adams (885 yards for 10 TDs) and the inconsistent Randall Cobb (653 yards for 4 TDs) on the depth chart. Allison is coming into his 3rd year in the Green Bay offense where last season Allison put up 23 catches for 253 yards. He could easily blow up as he will get an increase in playing time with Nelson no longer around so his targets and receptions should naturally improve, especially with Aaron Rodgers back under center for the Pack. Allison will be a match up dependent play or an injury to Cobb or Adams away from making a splash this year but he is definitely worth a stash.
Stat Prediction: 45 receptions/480 yards/3 TDs – 111 PPR points (63rd in 2017)
John Ross, WR – Cincinnati Bengals
As a rookie last year Ross put up 0 catches, 0 receiving yards and 0 TDs. Oh, and one fumble. Yes, I technically scored more fantasy points than Ross did last season. But, he was injured for most of the year so take that into account. So, why in the world would anyone want to draft Ross this year? Here’s why. He is the #3 WR in Cincinnati, he now has a full year under his belt, he is fully healthy, and the team spent a high draft pick on him (9th overall)- so they will want to use him. He can only go up from last year’s stats and he will be available late in drafts. By mid-season I can see him being a flex spot receiver with a ton of upside.
Stat Prediction: 45 receptions/650 yards/6 TDs – 146 PPR points (42nd in 2017)
So there we have it, your pre-draft deep sleeper forecast. Make sure you look out for articles as we wrap up the draft season here at Across the Fantasy Pond.
By Tyler Belawske @TylerBelawske