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Top Sleepers from 60+ Experts (2018 Fantasy Football)

Aug 21, 2018

The experts like Kerryon Johnson as a sleeper option in 2018

Selecting players in each round who outproduce their ADP (average draft position) is the single goal of every fantasy draft. Winning the draft is all about identifying who holds the most value every time you’re up to pick. However, the later you go in the draft, the larger the disparity between a player’s actual value and their ADP becomes since some of these late-round players will inevitably either be total duds or help push you to a championship. Alvin Kamara, Evan Engram, Robby Anderson, Dion Lewis, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Kenyan Drake were all players who were taken outside the top-150 picks in PPR leagues last year, and yet became assets for their fantasy owners over the course of the season.

To help you crush the competition and identify this year’s Kamara, Engram, and Smith-Schuster, we polled 64 experts on which QB, RB, WR, and TE they thought had the best chance of breaking out and asked them all to explain who their favorite sleeper is. Each expert’s choices can be seen here.

Please keep in mind that sleepers are relative to their draft cost, so the deeper a player’s ADP is, the more sleeper potential they have. A wideout with a WR70 ADP who can finish the season as a WR35 is more of a sleeper than the WR40 who can finish as a WR30.

Note: PPR ECR and ADP values are as of August 18

View pick analysis:
RB | WR | QB |TE

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Top Consensus Sleepers

PLAYER TEAM VOTE COUNT ECR ADP
Tyrod Taylor CLE 10 QB27 QB32
Ricky Seals-Jones ARI 10 TE22 TE23
Andy Dalton CIN 9 QB25 QB30
Mitch Trubisky CHI 8 QB22 QB22
Chris Carson SEA 8 RB39 RB41
Eric Ebron IND 8 TE17 TE21
Blake Bortles JAC 7 QB21 QB26
Case Keenum DEN 7 QB24 QB24
Mike Williams LAC 7 WR55 WR50
Eli Manning NYG 6 QB23 QB23
Kerryon Johnson DET 6 RB29 RB30
Chris Godwin TB 6 WR61 WR64
Ben Watson NO 6 TE21 TE25

 

Running Backs

PLAYER TEAM VOTE COUNT ECR ADP
Chris Carson SEA 8 RB39 RB42
Kerryon Johnson DET 6 RB29 RB31
Nyheim Hines IND 4 RB51 RB48
Tarik Cohen CHI 4 RB33 RB32
Marshawn Lynch OAK 3 RB26 RB28
Jamaal Williams GB 3 RB36 RB38
Jordan Wilkins IND 3 RB57 RB59
Matt Breida SF 3 RB52 RB53
Aaron Jones GB 3 RB44 RB41
Kalen Ballage MIA 2 RB67 RB60
Giovani Bernard CIN 2 RB42 RB44
Frank Gore MIA 2 RB54 RB65
Isaiah Crowell NYJ 2 RB35 RB34
Carlos Hyde CLE 2 RB37 RB37
James White NE 2 RB43 RB46
D’Onta Foreman HOU 2 RB56 RB49
Peyton Barber TB 2 RB49 RB55
Austin Ekeler LAC 1 RB59 RB61
Chris Thompson WAS 1 RB30 WR83
Bilal Powell NYJ 1 RB48 RB58
Doug Martin OAK 1 RB58 RB54
Marlon Mack IND 1 RB38 RB36
Ty Montgomery GB 1 RB41 RB43
Tevin Coleman ATL 1 RB28 RB30
Corey Clement PHI 1 RB50 RB47
Jeremy Hill NE 1 RB70 RB69
Robert Kelley WAS 1 RB61 RB57
Samaje Perine WAS 1 RB53 RB56
Darren Sproles PHI 1 RB65 RB70

 

Wide Receiver

PLAYER TEAM VOTE COUNT ECR ADP
Mike Williams LAC 7 WR55 WR52
Chris Godwin TB 6 WR61 WR64
Kenny Stills MIA 5 WR44 WR48
John Brown BAL 4 WR69 WR74
D.J. Moore CAR 4 WR50 WR46
Kenny Golladay DET 4 WR53 WR55
Cameron Meredith NO 4 WR52 WR51
Michael Gallup DAL 3 WR60 WR53
Kelvin Benjamin BUF 2 WR45 WR43
Anthony Miller CHI 2 WR56 WR59
Tyrell Williams LAC 2 WR63 WR73
Sterling Shepard NYG 2 WR43 WR45
Allen Hurns DAL 2 WR48 WR47
Jordy Nelson OAK 2 WR42 WR39
Paul Richardson WAS 1 WR64 WR60
Dede Westbrook JAC 1 WR66 WR65
Antonio Callaway CLE 1 WR97 WR88
Danny Amendola MIA 1 WR68 WR70
Taywan Taylor TEN 1 WR86 WR96
Nelson Agholor PHI 1 WR41 WR44
Jaron Brown SEA 1 WR113 WR115
Keelan Cole JAC 1 WR72 WR67
Marqise Lee JAC 1 WR47 WR49
D.J. Chark JAC 1 WR104 WR93
Ryan Grant IND 1 WR73 WR95

 

Quarterbacks

PLAYER TEAM VOTE COUNT ECR ADP
Tyrod Taylor CLE 10 QB27 QB32
Andy Dalton CIN 9 QB25 QB30
Mitch Trubisky CHI 8 QB22 QB22
Blake Bortles JAC 7 QB21 QB26
Case Keenum DEN 7 QB24 QB24
Eli Manning NYG 6 QB23 QB23
Jameis Winston TB 5 QB26 QB21
Marcus Mariota TEN 2 QB17 QB17
Sam Darnold NYJ 2 QB33 QB34
Joe Flacco BAL 2 QB29 QB31
Sam Bradford ARI 1 QB30 QB33
Alex Smith WAS 1 QB18 QB18
Lamar Jackson BAL 1 QB31 QB27
Derek Carr OAK 1 QB20 QB20
Ryan Tannehill MIA 1 QB28 QB29
Chad Kelly DEN 1 QB44 N/A

 

Tight End

PLAYER TEAM VOTE COUNT ECR ADP
Ricky Seals-Jones ARI 10 TE22 TE26
Eric Ebron IND 8 TE17 TE23
Ben Watson NO 6 TE21 TE22
Hayden Hurst BAL 5 TE26 TE18
Tyler Eifert CIN 5 TE16 TE14
Austin Seferian-Jenkins JAC 4 TE20 TE16
Mike Gesicki MIA 4 TE25 TE21
Nick Vannett SEA 4 TE39 TE49
Jared Cook OAK 4 TE18 TE20
Jake Butt DEN 2 TE28 TE27
Charles Clay BUF 2 TE15 TE19
Austin Hooper ATL 2 TE23 TE25
Vance McDonald PIT 2 TE24 TE24
Cameron Brate TB 2 TE19 TE17
Jacob Hollister NE 1 TE62 N/A

 

Q. Who is the player you expect to be this year’s biggest fantasy sleeper and why?

Running Back

Kerryon Johnson (DET)
“While the hype for Johnson is starting to heat up after his strong performance in Detroit’s first preseason game, the fact that he can often still be had in the sixth round of drafts illustrates that he remains one of this year’s great values. Key to Johnson’s likely breakout is not only his athleticism, but the fact that he will be running behind an offensive line that has quietly become one of the league’s finest. Combine this with his passing game prowess and lack of early-down competition (I am not worried about Blount in the least), and you have a runner that could be a league winner.”
– Matthew Hill (DataForce Fantasy Football)

“When you see a running back in the preseason with the heart and confidence that Kerryon Johnson shows, you want more. We already know the Lions have a planned backfield committee of specialists. This puts a cap on any notions of regular 18+ carries for Johnson, especially in a pass-heavy offense. However, performance can always overcome touch limits, and Johnson is tuning up to do just that.”
– Richard Savill (Fantasy Six Pack)

Kerryon Johnson isn’t built like a three-down NFL workhorse, but he has an open invite to lead the Lions backfield. In 2017, he led the SEC in rushing and has shown well in camp and preseason action. Based on his current ECR of 34 you have nothing but upside with this top-tier RB sleeper.”
– Staff Rankings (Fantasy Knuckleheads)

Jamaal Williams (GB)
“Williams had a strong finish to his 2017 campaign, and I expect that to carry over into 2018. Williams has a great opportunity, as he’ll be running behind a solid offensive line, while a healthy Aaron Rodgers will keep defenses from keying in on Williams. Given how potent Green Bay’s offense is with Rodgers under center, Williams will have countless chances at the goal line, and anything short of double-digit touchdowns would be disappointing. Also, Aaron Jones is going to serve a two-game suspension, so Williams will be able to establish that the running job is completely his.”
– Walter Cherepinsky (WalterFootball)

Jamaal Williams is the most balanced running back the Packers have, and Mike McCarthy seemed to notice that last season. Aaron Jones certainly offers a ton of upside, but when Jones returned in Week 13 last season, he barely saw the field while Williams took complete command of Green Bay’s backfield. Williams was a top-10 fantasy asset down the stretch, and I think he’s going to break free from the committee approach that McCarthy has hinted that he’ll utilize.”
– Jody Smith (FantasyPros)

Jamaal Williams has the inside track to the feature role in the Packers offense due to the suspension of Aaron Jones. I’m not sure he ever gives it up. Williams has top-15 upside and should be projected to finish 10 spots higher than his current rank.”
– Heath Cummings (CBS Sports)

Wide Receiver

Chris Godwin (TB)
“The fast and athletic Godwin finished strong last season with three catches for 98 yards on six targets against the Panthers in Week 16 and 7-111-1 on 12 targets against the Saints in Week 17. In the five games where he played at least 50% of the snaps, he averaged 4.2 catches for 73 yards and 0.20 touchdowns on 7.2 targets per game. He has shined in spring and summer workouts and his offensive coordinator, Todd Monken, said that he had earned the right to start. Beat writer Rick Stroud confirmed that the Bucs “plan to start” Godwin opposite Mike Evans this weekend. If he’s playing 80% or more of the snaps, he should vastly outplay his 13th/14th round ADP.”
– John Paulsen (4for4.com)

“Tampa Bay hit this draft pick right on the head in the third round of the 2017 draft. Chris Godwin proved in Weeks 16 and 17 of last season that talent always finds opportunity by combining for 10 catches and 209 yards in those final two games. Before camp even started, the coaching staff said Godwin deserved to be a starter, and now he had officially passed DeSean Jackson on the depth chart. I expect volume, consistency, and a shot at a top-20 finish in the wide receiver standings.”
– Matthew Bowe (Razzball)

“At the Expert Consensus Rank of WR62, the community has yet to catch onto Chris Godwin’s upgrade status heading into 2018. He looks set to win a starting role across from Mike Evans with DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries rotating in the slot. At 6’1, 208 and defenses stacked to Evans’ side, Godwin should be a target hog in 2018 and could flirt with 1,000 yards.”
– Jeff Haverlack (Dynasty League Football)

Mike Williams (LAC)
“Everyone loves the Chargers’ offense, right? Well, as great as Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen are, they aren’t going to gobble up all the production. There’s plenty of room for a third option to emerge, and with Hunter Henry out for the season, Mike Williams, last year’s No. 7 overall pick, is a strong bet. He’s having a great summer, has all the tools to be a true No. 1 receiver, and was a monster in his final season at Clemson.”
– Michael Beller (Sports Illustrated)

Mike Williams is a stud talent and a former seventh overall draft pick. He 100% has the size, athleticism, and ball skills to be a nightmare, whether he’s making plays down the field or reeling in one-on-one balls in the endzone. After such a bad rookie year, I think he’s on a mission, and even if you’re hesitant, it’s nice that any risk associated with him is baked into his low ADP.”
– Kevin Roberts (Breaking Football)

Quarterback

Mitch Trubisky (CHI)
“Trubisky struggled to have an impactful rookie campaign thanks to one John Fox and a lackluster pass-catching corps at his disposal. The Bears now have innovative minds at the controls in former Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy as head coach and former Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich as offensive coordinator, not to mention putting Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, and Trey Burton around the QB. Trubisky and the Bears could ride an offensive tidal wave similar to the 2017 Rams with Goff and his weapons/coaching staff and send fantasy owners to a QB1 paradise. Don’t forget that Trubisky rushed for over 50 yards in two of his 12 games last season.”
– Nick Mariano (RotoBaller)

“I’m going to say Mitchell Trubisky, as it’s odd that he’s outside the top-20 quarterbacks. When you see Jordan Howard ranked as a top-15 running back, Tarik Cohen as a top-35 running back, Allen Robinson ranked as a top-20 wide receiver, and Trey Burton as a top-10 tight end, something doesn’t quite add up. On top of all the new weapons, he’s got in the offense, Trubisky has severely underrated mobility that should amount to more than 300 yards on the ground, which is just icing on the cake. Matt Nagy calling plays will change the stance of a lot of people when it comes to Trubisky’s skill-set.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Case Keenum (DEN)
“I think Keenum will be the biggest sleeper this year, and he will have a chance to creep into the top-12 QB rankings. We all saw what he did last year with two quality receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, as he passed for 3,547 yards, 22 touchdowns, and a 67% completion percentage. His targets aren’t as great as the previously mentioned duo, but Demaryius Thomas is still a WR1, and Emmanuel Sanders is an excellent low WR2. Keenum has shown that he can play in this league as a starter, and he has the right receiving cast to score higher than his consensus of QB24.”
– Dan Yanotchko (EDSFootball)

Case Keenum is almost forgotten in drafts. Denver has solid receivers in Sanders and Thomas, and I like the potential Jake Butt and Royce Freeman could bring to the offense. He should easily outperform his QB24 ADP.”
– Ken Zalis (Pressbox)

Tyrod Taylor (CLE)
“Taylor has never jumped off the stat sheet anywhere, but in all his time as the starter in Buffalo, he has virtually no weapons around him. Now in Cleveland, he’s got nothing BUT weapons. Between a freakishly athletic tight end, the receiving corps with the highest potential in the NFL, and a very QB-friendly set of running backs that can catch the ball and block a little bit, the man they call “TyGod” should have no trouble outperforming his ADP, which currently has him as the QB22. Sure Baker Mayfield is the future, but as long as Taylor continues to play at the level he’s capable of, there will be no reason for the franchise to turn to the rookie in 2018.”
– Bill Dubiel (RotoBaller)

Blake Bortles (JAC)
“Bortles is a perennially undervalued fantasy quarterback. Over the previous three seasons, he has averaged a QB8 finish, and his worst finish was last season as the QB13, yet he is going undrafted. Last season he got off to a rough start with the unexpected early-season absences of Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and Dede Westbrook. Then he caught fire the second half of the year and brought many players to fantasy championships. Now he has his best overall receiving core ever, an improved offensive line, and one of the easiest schedules in the NFL.”
– Jason Moore (The Fantasy Footballers)

Tight End

Ricky Seals-Jones (ARI)
“I’m going with Seals-Jones. He led all tight ends in fantasy points per opportunity last year (0.74), while averaging 2.96 yards per route run. Plenty of targets are available in Arizona and new quarterback Sam Bradford has seen 29 percent of his career touchdowns go to the tight end position.”
– Adam Pfeifer (RotoCurve)

Eric Ebron (IND)
“Ebron has shown flashes and averaged a decent 66.7% catch rate over the last three seasons. With fewer competition for targets in Indianapolis, Ebron could become a favorite target of Luck around the red zone and has touchdown upside. Ebron has a first-round draft pedigree, and tight ends are known to hit their prime later in their careers. We expect a lot of two-tight end sets out of the Colts this season, with enough targets to go around. The Colts have the second-easiest SOS for the tight end.”
– Sherlock (Pyromaniac)


Thank you to all the experts for naming their consensus sleepers. You can view each expert’s picks below and be sure to give them a follow on Twitter for more great advice. Also, please check out our new podcast episode dedicated to sleepers, which is also available below.


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What's your take? Leave a comment

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