Fantasy Implications: Sleeper Candidates – by Gabriel Cabistani

We got to the second part of Draft Fantasy Implications – and this article brings five options who may be considered sleeper candidates this year. Of course, it is impossible to predict very deep sleepers, but we can take some safe shots.

Here are my five rookie sleeper candidates for this year’s fantasy football season:

Rashaad Penny, RB – Seattle Seahawks

Volume, volume, volume. Even though the Seahawks’ backfield is generally more unstable than a middle eastern political situation; Rashaad Penny carries high draft capital (27th overall pick) into a heavy workload – hypothetically.

Penny has all the tools to be a 3DRB – something that the Seahawks desperately need, but big plays shouldn’t be expected. For ones who may take a shot at him and especially because the Seahawks have something that barely resembles an offense – expect RB3 or Flex production for the year.

Royce Freeman, RB – Denver Broncos

Another tricky player to project is Royce Freeman. He was a highly productive back in Oregon, taking multiple awards in his College career.

A physically gifted player, Freeman may carry the bulk of the running back load in Denver – Devontae Booker may spoil this possibility, but he is yet to show any signs of positive production in the 29 appearances he’s had to date in the NFL.

royce
Photo Credit: Scott Olmos/USA TODAY Sports

Freeman can be a very productive player if he gets the starting nod, and if he develops his catching skills, may be a strong 3DRB for years to come at Mile High. Watch for at least RB3 production presuming he takes the starting duties.

Kerryon Johnson, RB – Detroit Lions

Auburn RBs are generally good fits in NFL Offenses – tough with no-nonsense approaches to the game. Kerryon Johnson might have a nice chance to take the Lions’ backfield by storm.

Even though Ameer Abdullah still figures to be on the roster and LeGarrette Blount was hired (in a one-year only deal), Johnson has the talent to be the starting RB right out of the gate. Some may question his physique as Johnson is not a thick built player – but has burst and talent to get nice gains and big plays. Johnson can be another late-round flier who can produce down the stretch, turning into a solid Flex option.

Dalton Schultz, TE – Dallas Cowboys

This one comes with a huge question mark – Who will be the number one receiver in Dallas? The talented tight end comes to the Cowboys with a huge opportunity with Jason Witten retiring and Dez Bryant leaving in free agency, meaning 132 receptions are up for grabs.

Dalton Schultz is a tight end who comes highly touted by his former Stanford coach, David Shaw who said “he [Shultz] is the most complete tight end the team has had in recent years”. He’s known for his very good blocking abilities, but also for productivity in underneath routes – that fits very well with his to-be QB, Dak Prescott.

Look for Schultz to be a late-round flier who produce as a TE2/Flex option down the stretch.

Hayden Hurst, TE – Baltimore Ravens

A former baseball player, Hurst is a walk-on from South Carolina University and, surprisingly, a strong candidate for sleeper of the year. This TE is absurdly athletic and plays with a raging attitude, while also having great hands.

hayden
Photo Credit: Jeff Blake/USA TODAY Sports

 

Hurst arrived in Baltimore – kind of like Schultz in Dallas – with a good opportunity likely to arise. Joe Flacco needs solid receivers across the middle, something he’s not really had since Dennis Pitta retired in 2016. Michael Crabtree will likely see a productive role out wide and while he’s an experienced ‘warhorse’, a safety blanket for short routes always comes to help.

Watch for Hurst to be a TE2 with potential to be a very reliable, safe floor TE1 after the first half of fantasy season.

By Gabriel Cabistani – @GC_Titans

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