Early Dynasty Sleepers to Target (Fantasy Football)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Feb 27, 2018

Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison is one of the better dynasty sleepers who costs essentially nothing

If you play in a dynasty league, you know there’s no offseason. I mean, that’s why you joined a dynasty league after all, right? But here’s the thing – some players aren’t valued as much as they should be during the offseason, because there are a lot of things not at the forefront of their minds. In fact, with the draft so close, you could say a lot of second-stringers have been forgotten about.

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I’m talking about the guys who may have been drafted much higher last year, but after failing to produce up to expectations (or at all), their owners are looking for replacements in this year’s draft. The players they take this year will be the same ones who make this list next year. Why? It’s a vicious cycle with many because we play a “what have you done for me lately?” game. Fortunately for us, we get to take advantage of owners like that. We’re one step ahead of the draft because those players will automatically be overdrafted. Why? Because they haven’t disappointed anyone yet.

Make sure to check out our dynasty trade value chart before you make a trade. You can find it right here.

Quarterbacks

Mitch Trubisky (CHI)
Coming up with sleepers at quarterback is nearly impossible, but Trubisky is one you can get cheaper than you probably should. He showed promise in his first season, while playing in the vanilla offense that John Fox coached with Josh Bellamy and Dontrelle Inman as his top perimeter wide receivers. Doesn’t sound appealing, does it? With Matt Nagy in town, there’s reason to believe the Bears are trying to build around Trubisky the way the Rams did around Jared Goff last year.

Davis Webb (NYG)
He’s likely sitting on your waiver wire right now. That’s why he’s on this list. You don’t pay for a “sleeper” at the quarterback position. The position simply isn’t valuable enough, unless you play in a 2QB or SuperFlex league. Should new head coach Pat Shurmur decide to roll forward with Eli Manning and Webb, it’s not inconceivable that Webb can win the starting job somewhere along the road. That’s why most are clamoring for the Giants to draft a quarterback, isn’t it? Webb is a zero-risk pickup that comes with potential as a starter in 2018. Football is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. I mean, what would you have said if Case Keenum was in this article last year? Exactly.

Running Backs

De’Angelo Henderson (DEN)
There’s rumors floating around that the Broncos are going to be cutting C.J. Anderson, which would open a large chunk of work. We’ve seen Devontae Booker in a starters role and it wasn’t pretty, but Henderson showed tons of promise during the preseason last year. While yes, it was the preseason, opportunity means everything to today’s running back, and Henderson is very usable in the passing game, as evidenced by his 29-yard receiving touchdown in Week 17. He’s simply a “throw-in” trade piece that may have more value than his owner knows.

Marlon Mack (IND)
Some have the Colts selecting Saquon Barkley with the No. 3 overall pick, leaving Mack owners panicked and likely willing to sell at a discount. If I’m being honest, there’s no way the Colts select Barkley in the first round. I’m not ruling out them drafting a running back, because they absolutely will, but they have too many other holes to fill. Mack showed that he was able to do work behind a horrid offensive line last year, and one they’ll likely address in the draft. It’ll also help once Andrew Luck is back under center, as he has traditionally targeted his running backs in the passing game. They’ll also have many more scoring opportunities. At worst, Mack is part of a timeshare and still has value, though I think he’s their starter heading into the season.

C.J. Prosise (SEA)
This one is tough because the Seahawks coaching staff is losing patience with Prosise, who cannot seem to stay on the field. But here’s the thing – he’s a solid three-down running back when he’s on the field. The Seahawks haven’t found a running back that works behind their offensive line because there isn’t one. That offensive line simply doesn’t create enough holes, so you’re running simply to set up play-action. He may cost more than some others on this list, but his owner may be willing to rid himself of the headache.

Austin Ekeler (LAC)
Some will simply think of Ekeler as a backup to Melvin Gordon, but if you pay closer attention, he may just become what Danny Woodhead used to be in the Chargers offense. After playing just 3-12 snaps per game from Week 1 through Week 6, Ekeler started to earn more snaps as the season went on, playing anywhere from 20-32 snaps (up to 43 percent) as the season went on. He broke his hand late in the season, leaving him to strictly special teams work with a giant cast on his hand. Some missed this and just thought he disappeared. This is where we find value. Let’s not pretend Gordon has had perfect health throughout his NFL career, either. Even if he plays the role he did before breaking his hand, you’re looking at 6-10 carries per game, along with 3-5 targets in the passing game, which is Duke Johnson touch territory.

Donnel Pumphrey (PHI)
He’s someone who may be on waiver wires, as he didn’t play a single snap in 2017 after tearing his hamstring in practice. He was supposed to be the Darren Sproles replacement in the Eagles offense, a role that is wide open as of this moment, because Sproles is a free agent. Pumphrey is someone the Eagles liked enough to actually trade up for in the fourth-round of the draft last year. He’s got speed on demand and there wasn’t a player on the Eagles who filled that Sproles role on a regular basis last year. Don’t sleep on him, as he can offer value in PPR formats.

Wide Receivers

Geronimo Allison (GB)
Fun story: I bought all the Davante Adams shares I could when he was drafted. Not even because I believed in his talent on a super-high level. Nope, it was because he was going to play with Aaron Rodgers. Even after the lackluster start to his career, I held onto him, thinking he’d develop into someone who’d at least present some trade value. Well, here we are and he’s a top-25 pick in startup drafts. Allison has shown plenty of skill in his limited role over his first two years, hauling in 35 of 61 passes for 455 yards and two touchdowns. Keep in mind that a lot of those targets came from Brett Hundley in 2017. With Randall Cobb on the roster bubble and Jordy Nelson fading quickly, Allison might find his way into the starting lineup as soon as this year, and more important than anything, with Rodgers.

John Ross (CIN)
While this may seem crazy, last year’s first-round pick is a very cheap asset to acquire right now. After playing just 17 snaps for the Bengals in 2017, there are dynasty owners looking to get what they can. I say this because I, myself, went out and acquired him for a late second-round pick after the season in one league, and got him for two third-round picks in another. There’s a chance that the Bengals actually trade him considering they kept the coaching staff in place and have a lot of other holes to fill on the roster. Ross isn’t just the 4.24-second speedster from the Combine… he was a phenomenal route-runner who very well could be the next T.Y. Hilton. Don’t let 17 snaps change your mind about him. He comes with low-risk (as proven by my trades), but massive upside.

ArDarius Stewart (NYJ)
There’ve been a lot of people who are tying Kirk Cousins to the Jets, considering they are going to “back up the money truck to his house.” Well, if that’s the case, why hasn’t anyone connected the dots on his pass-catchers. Yeah, Robby Anderson has had a solid run over the last year and a half, but he’s now in trouble with the law (again), and do we really think Jermaine Kearse is a player about to break out? Stewart is a versatile weapon who is a monster with the ball in his hands. It’s how he made his living in Alabama, after all. Not having a quarterback to get him the ball was a problem while in college, but that shouldn’t be an issue with the Jets for long. Even if they don’t land Cousins, it’s likely they land a quarterback with the No. 6 pick (my current mock draft has them getting Baker Mayfield). Stewart could be fantasy relevant as soon as this year.

Mack Hollins (PHI)
It hasn’t happened yet, but the Eagles are reportedly going to cut Torrey Smith to save some cap room. That would leave the door wide open for Hollins to start opposite Alshon Jeffery in 2018. While playing with Carson Wentz, Hollins totaled 13 receptions for 201 yards and a touchdown on just 14 targets. Meanwhile, Smith totaled just 430 yards and two touchdowns on 68 targets. You can see why it’s easy for them to move on, yet not many have started to add value to Hollins, who was the Eagles fourth-round selection last year. Knowing Jeffery’s health concerns (just had offseason surgery on his shoulder) and Agholor’s inconsistency over his career, Hollins is the perfect type of dynasty asset who is connected to one of the elite quarterbacks. Did I mention he’s 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds?

Chris Godwin (TB)
He may not be considered a “sleeper” after he posted 209 yards and a touchdown over the final two weeks of the season, but here’s to hoping that his owner wasn’t paying attention. Some will attribute late-season success to that of garbage time, but Godwin is more than just a flash in the pan. After the 2018 season, DeSean Jackson can be cut with no dead money at all, and Mike Evans is slated to be a free agent. While I don’t think Evans hits free agency, Godwin will almost certainly be the Bucs No. 2 receiver heading into 2019. Again, he may not be a “sleeper” per-se, but his value is sleeping from where it should be.

Taywan Taylor (TEN)
One of the more underrated wide receivers heading into the 2017 NFL Draft was Taylor, who many fantasy analysts wanted to pass over. Not us though, and not the Titans, considering they drafted him in the third round. The signing of Eric Decker definitely limited his playing time last year, but Taylor was still able to flash at times as the No. 4 receiver, hauling in 16 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown. Decker is now a free agent, and the Titans have a new offensive coordinator in Matt LaFleur, who left the same position with the Rams to come to the team. Taylor will primarily play the slot with Corey Davis and Rishard Matthews occupying the perimeter, but make no mistake about it, he can play anywhere on the field. Also know that 2018 is Matthews’ final year on his contract, paving the way for more targets.

Carlos Henderson (DEN)
At some point, the tides will turn, and the Broncos will have to look outside of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders for production. Knowing that Sanders is going to be 31 next month and that Thomas turned 30 late last year, that time is coming very soon. Henderson was drafted in the third-round last year but landed on injured reserve with a torn ligament in his thumb. It’s far from an ideal start to his career, as was his arrest in January for driving under the influence. Because of all this, his stock is in the cellar, and you should be able to acquire him for next to nothing. Understand that the Broncos are going to get a quarterback one way or another this offseason, and one who will be an upgrade to the whole passing game. Henderson was someone who reminded me of Golden Tate when watching his college tape. He’s someone I’d love to have on the end of my dynasty bench.

Tight Ends

Nick Vannett (SEA)
A name that not many people know or remember, but Vannett is someone the Seahawks spent a third-round pick on back in the 2016 NFL Draft. He’s a massive tight end at 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds, but really athletic for a guy his size. He’s seen limited playing time behind Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson, but that’s going to change in 2018, as both Graham and Willson are free agents. The Seahawks are also likely to lose Paul Richardson in free agency, which means their two starting receivers would be Doug Baldwin (5-10, 190) and Tyler Lockett (5-10, 180). They’re going to need Vannett in the red zone, and he’s already shown solid chemistry with Russell Wilson in the short time they’ve been together, catching 15-of-19 targets for 156 yards and a touchdown.

Adam Shaheen (CHI)
Not quite a household name at this point, but Shaheen could be one of the true breakout tight ends in 2018 under new head coach Matt Nagy. While we won’t say that he’s Travis Kelce or anything, Shaheen is also a physical specimen at 6-foot-6 and 275 pounds. The Bears liked him so much, that they used a second-round pick to snag him. He was starting to come on in his rookie year, catching 11-of 12 targets for 125 yards and two touchdowns in a five-game span with Mitch Trubisky before suffering a chest injury that shut him down for the season. The Bears didn’t bring Dion Sims in to be the primary pass-catcher, and Zach Miller is now a free agent. On a team lacking options in the passing game, don’t be shocked if Shaheen emerges as a top-12 fantasy tight end this year.

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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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