Mike Tagliere’s Top 10 Fantasy Football Sleepers (2019)
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Instead of trying to justify what a “sleeper” consists, of how about we simply set guidelines for what the term means? I’d like to say that a player being drafted outside the top-120 in fantasy drafts should consist as a sleeper. Some may disagree with this, but in the end, these are players being taken outside the top 10 rounds. That means they’re not starters, they’re not locks to produce anything, they likely aren’t proven, and they’ve fallen to the point where anyone can grab them if they really want them.
These are the players I’m targeting beyond the 10th round. Call them sleepers, call them late-round picks, call them whatever you want, but I value you them more than most. Some are worth reaching multiple rounds for, while others you can wait until the final round for. Remember, having a boring player on your bench isn’t going to win you a fantasy championship. These are my top-10 players who could find their way into your starting lineup and do some damage.
10. John Ross (WR – CIN) Current ADP: 262 overall
Did the A.J. Green injury not have any impact on any Bengals player? It certainly did when it comes to target share. I’ll admit that I was one who liked Ross coming out of college, but I’ll also admit he’s disappointed in a lot of ways. Coaching can go a long way; just ask Robert Woods who was left for dead in Buffalo as one of the least-efficient receivers in the league. With Zac Taylor coming in, and bringing the base Sean McVay offense to the team, Ross could be a surprise breakout this year.
9. Parris Campbell (WR – IND) Current ADP: 144 overall
This one would likely require an injury in front of him, but Campbell is an incredible athlete who the Colts loved enough to select in the second-round of this year’s draft. He’s six-feet-tall and 205 pounds, but is actually faster than the 5-foot-10, 183-pound T.Y. Hilton. While Campbell should be able to pass Chester Rogers relatively quickly, he also offers handcuff value if Hilton were to miss time. Keep in mind that Rogers saw 72 targets in this offense last year, which included three double-digit target games.
8. James Washington (WR – PIT) Current ADP: 125 overall
First, it was the rumors that Donte Moncrief had overtaken him as the No. 2 receiver. Then, there was a report about rookie Dionte Johnson passing him on the depth chart. While we don’t know about the Johnson report, we did see Washington play into the second quarter of their first preseason game. This allows us to get him for cheaper in drafts, outside the top 10 rounds. There is plenty of targets up for grabs in Pittsburgh and lets not pretend Moncrief is someone who can stop Washington from breaking out; he’s on his third team in three years.
7. Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL) Current ADP: 130 overall
Did you know that Jackson set the record for most rushing attempts by a quarterback despite not starting until Week 10? Everyone knows that Cam Newton was an elite fantasy quarterback for a long time, right? Did you know he’s eclipsed 24 passing touchdowns just once in his career? Yes, Jackson is a weak passer, but rushing attempts mean more than his passing totals. You not only get an elite ceiling with Jackson; you also get a rock-solid floor.
6. DeVante Parker (WR – MIA) Current ADP: 200 overall
It’s pretty rare to find a receiver who has 120-target potential in the double-digit rounds, but thanks to Adam Gase, Parker is falling all the way to the final round of 12-man leagues. Prior to the 2018 season, Parker had played 36 career games. In those games, he posted WR3 or better numbers 19 times, or 53 percent of the time. Did you know that Tyler Boyd posted WR3 or better numbers in 57 percent of his games in 2018? Parker would benefit greatly from Ryan Fitzpatrick starting, as he’s continually made his wide receivers fantasy relevant.
5. Anthony Miller (WR – CHI) Current ADP: 132 overall
Not many know that Miller suffered a broken foot at the end of his Memphis career, forcing him to stay away from the NFL Combine. He then dislocated his shoulder “five or six times” during the 2018 season, according to reports. He still managed to haul in seven touchdowns on just 55 targets. It’s very possible that he and Taylor Gabriel flip-flop targets this year, which would put Miller close to 100 targets. He’s a mismatch nightmare in the slot, and if he stays healthy, he could breakout as a fantasy superstar.
4. Damien Harris (RB – NE) Current ADP: 120 overall
We know the Patriots spent a third-round pick on the former Alabama running back, presumably to protect their Sony Michel investment. Michel has had two knee procedures in the last 12 months, and if he were to miss time, Harris walks into a very touchdown-heavy role. The fact that the Patriots held him out completely during their first preseason game highlights just how much they value his health.
3. Mitch Trubisky (QB – CHI) Current ADP: 149 overall
It struck me as odd seeing Trubisky this low at the start of the offseason, but knowing how deep quarterback is right now, it kind of makes sense, though not many quarterbacks present the top-five upside he has. Post-NFL merger, there have been just three quarterbacks who’ve scored more fantasy points over a three-week stretch than Trubisky did from Week 4 to Week 7 (bye week in there). Those quarterbacks? Michael Vick, Tom Brady, and Cam Newton, all quarterbacks who’ve shown top-five upside. If we extend it to four games (Trubisky scored 21.9 points in Week 8), he’d rank fifth behind only Vick, Brady, Steve Young, and Deshaun Watson. If he continues developing, he could be your every-week starter at quarterback.
2. Darwin Thompson (RB – KC) Current ADP: 153 overall
The question here is whether you need to be an elite running back to perform in Andy Reid’s offense? After watching Charcandrick West, Spencer Ware, and Damien Williams walk in and simply dominate for fantasy owners, my answer would be “no.” Thompson has looked phenomenal throughout the preseason and has reportedly passed Carlos Hyde on the depth chart. We’ve never seen Williams tally more than 13 carries in a regular season game and he’s already dealing with a hamstring issue. Thompson could be a league-winner if he surpasses Williams on the depth chart.
1. Geronimo Allison (WR – GB) Current ADP: 122 overall
He was on this list for me last year, and though he’s gotten a bit more expensive, he’s still not expensive as he should be. Over the first four weeks of last season, Allison was the No. 26 wide receiver in fantasy football, but suffered an injury that ultimately ended his season. He’s going to be moving to the slot this year, an area of the field that generally produces better results. Based on a study I did this offseason (read it here), slot targets are worth an average of 11 percent more than a perimeter target. Allison has Aaron Rodgers‘ trust, which is more important than anything.
Want more advice? Check out Top Busts to Avoid below!