Bobby Sylvester’s Top 10 Sleepers (Fantasy Football)
It’s crunch type with mere days or even hours until draft time. So I’ve compiled my top 10 sleepers to assist with your draft prep. Some of these won’t require a draft pick but make for top-notch waiver wire speed-dial guys worth keeping a close eye on. Each player listed has an ADP outside the top 150 so you should be able to grab them in the final three or four rounds of your draft. If you are looking for my full rankings, my auction values, or a quick-hitting cheat sheet, click on the links. Also, I’d encourage you to take a moment to look at all the tools on our website (that some on Reddit have deemed “cheating”) as they will assuredly give you an upper hand over your league-mates. Our Draft Simulation Software is my personal favorite, followed by customizable cheat sheets, our auction calculator and the expert consensus rankings that most know our site for. Make sure to quickly import your team for free into MyPlaybook, which is like having a team of experts in your war room, and while you’re at it, give my podcast a listen if you’d like. Thanks for visiting FantasyPros; we look forward to helping you win a few fantasy championships this season! Now let’s get onto the sleepers!
10) Chase Edmonds (RB – ARI)
Let’s say Kyler Murray finishes right in the middle of the pack in the NFL in pass attempts (that’s probably a stretch for a run-first rookie QB behind a putrid offensive line). That’s 500 attempts (or the same as DeShaun Watson last year) plus maybe 35 sacks because of that sketchy pass protection. Now we’ll even give David Johnson 300 carries (would have been #2 in the NFL last year) and Murray 120 carries (would be top-10 all-time for a QB). All of that is a reach, right? Well, that comes to 955 plays and Kliff Kingsbury says he is going to run 80 plays a game. Let’s be conservative though and say he runs the 70.2 the Ravens put up per game last year. That comes to 1123 or 168 leftover carries for Edmonds and jet sweeps/fullback carries. Remember, this is all conservative. Alvin Kamara had 194 carries last year and let’s not forget that Edmonds is an excellent receiver too. Folks, I’ve got him projected for 200 touches even without a Johnson injury. Tarik Cohen, for example, finished RB13 with just 170 touches so Edmonds could very well be an RB2 with upside for much more if something were to happen with Johnson again.
9) Dallas Goedert (TE – PHI)
After the top six tight ends (Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, George Kittle, O.J. Howard, Hunter Henry and Evan Engram), everyone should be streaming the position. Essentially, the TE2 with the juiciest matchup on the waiver wire will outscore even the TE7 most weeks making it futile to waste draft capital on the position beyond the 6th round where you may be able to still nab Henry or Engram. Goedert, of course, is not starting because Ertz is ahead of him, but if Ertz were to suffer an injury, Goedert would easily sore into that every week starter conversation with the six names listed above. In fact, he may be a superstar from the get-go. I have never and likely will never again advise drafting a backup tight end, but like the best backup running backs, Goedert comes with extreme upside in the right scenario so he is worth a spot on your bench to open the season.
8) Tony Pollard (RB – DAL)
It seems likely that Ezekiel Elliott will come to his senses and start playing football rather than forfeit an entire year’s salary like Le’Veon Bell did in an obvious failure last season. With that said, there is, of course, a chance that he doesn’t play, or perhaps that he gets injured as workhorses like Zeke occasionally do. Even if the odds are just 1 in 5, that’s a 20% chance we’ve got something special in Pollard. Yes, Alfred Morris will command some touches but no one is saying Pollard requires Zeke’s full workload to become a high-end RB2. Rather, all he would need are 71% of Zeke’s vacated touches to reach Alvin Kamara’s workload. Pollard is more that mold of player anyways, as a supreme pass catcher with serious big-play ability. Add in a top 3 offensive line and we might have fireworks.
7) Geoff Swaim (TE – JAX)
Let’s go super deep. I mean outside the top 300 ADP type of deep. Don’t worry, though, I’m putting my money where my mouth is and STARTING him in Week 1 in several leagues. Josh Oliver is injured so the job belongs clearly to Swaim and hear this: Nick Foles targeted Zach Ertz 9.1 times per game over 12 starts with the Eagles. That’s the same number as Michael Thomas last year and more than both Keenan Allen and Mike Evans. In Kansas CIty, Foles targeted Kelce 8.5 times. Heck, even in St. Louis Foles loved his tight ends, targeting them on an insane 28% of passes. Jacksonville has Dede Westbrook dealing with a groin injury, Marquise Lee still recovering from a knee injury and a whole lot of nothing on their depth chart. Don’t be surprised if this athletic tight end sneaks up on 100 targets in 2019, and don’t overlook the fact that he caught 26 of 32 targets last season in Dallas and had more yards per target than Ertz.
6) Malcolm Brown (RB – LAR)
Most seem to think Darrell Henderson is the clear-cut handcuff to Todd Gurley in case his knee flares up and causes him to miss substantial time. It is true that Henderson cost plenty in the way of draft capital, but apparently, he is struggling to fit into their outside zone which is a crucial part of their offense. Rather, Henderson expects to contribute in an Austin Ekeler like role with Brown serving as the primary early-down and goal-line back. Even if they split the fantasy points in Gurley’s absence, that would make Brown a week to week RB2 with upside for much more. Remember, coaching scheme and offensive line have much stronger correlations to fantasy production than raw talent does, as evidenced by Gurley, himself, in 2016 under a different staff.
5) Justin Jackson (RB – LAC)
Like Brown above, Jackson is currently considered to be the third running back on the depth chart, but the Chargers saw a sample of Ekeler posing as a three-down back in London and it was ugly. Jackson, meanwhile, tore it up in his opportunity as the starter and has three-down capabilities and even history. If Gordon were to hold out, there is a sizeable chance Ekeler remains in the role he best fits while Jackson assumes the majority of Gordon’s 18 touches per game. In this offense, one of the most agile running backs in the game like Jackson has the upside to be an RB1 if the dominos fall for him to get touches.
4) Josh Gordon (WR – NE)
*Editor’s Note: This pick was made before Josh Gordon was reinstated on Friday.
Say what you want about Gordon, but the fact of the matter is that he demonstrated quite clearly last year that he can still play. Over an 8-game sample-size when he was finally playing at least half the snaps for New England, he had 619 yards which was more than both DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Thomas during the same time-frame. Of the course of a full season, that would come out to a Keenan Allen like 1,238 yards. Of course, it won’t matter if he doesn’t play, but if you told me I had a 20% chance at a consistent WR2 with WR1 upside in the 14th round, I’m taking that all day.
3) DeVante Parker (WR – MIA)
Hang with me while I explain because I know what you are thinking. Parker has been a bust, but it has been for two reasons: injuries and Adam Gase. When Parker plays at least 75% of the team’s snaps, however, he has 60+ yards in a whopping 20 out of 34 games. Every other receiver who can boast that rate since Parker entered the league is being drafted in the first four rounds. You can get Parker 120 picks later with ease, and let’s not ignore the fact that his new QB is a gunslinger who’s minutes played extrapolated to a full season comes out to 5,800 passing yards last year. That will obviously come down in Miami, but it is quite clear that Fitzmagic is an upgrade over Tannehill and friends. Plus, Gase leaving with his 31st fastest tempo should get the Dolphins an extra 100 snaps this season which is almost two full games worth.
2) David Moore (WR – SEA)
If you’ve been listening to my podcast any time in the past three months, you are probably shocked that Moore isn’t #1. He is still a last round must-draft for me, of course, though. Tyler Lockett has been in the league for four years and never once has he averaged over 4.4 targets per game. Even when Doug Baldwin was out last year, it was Brandon Marshall who led the team in targets. Lockett is a great gadget receiver but that’s the extent of who he will be. The #1 (in Russell Wilson’s offense, mind you), is most likely to be the receiver that Pete Carroll has been hyping up and running opposite of Lockett. That receiver also happened to have more fantasy points per target last year than DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, Devante Adams and Michael Thomas. The receiver, obviously, is Moore.
1) Justice Hill (RB – BAL)
My new number one has both a safe floor and a huge ceiling out of the 13th round. Baltimore ran the ball, I kid you not, 45 times per game from the moment Lamar Jackson took over. Surely there are 6 to 10 carries to be found in there for the best athlete in their backfield. Hill is a superb pass catcher too, and seeing that Jackson neither has a big arm, nor a #1 or even #2 receiver, Hill could find himself seeing Tarik Cohen like targets all season. Now, just imagine if Mark Ingram suffers an injury or the Ravens realize their bigger, faster, stronger version of Phillip Lindsay is better suited to lead the backfield in touches than their 30-year-old veteran. Hill could feasibly end up the top rookie running back this year for fantasy purposes.