The infamous fantasy sleepers list. Yes, the highly debated group of players that one feels the average fantasy player is sleeping on. Players that do not typically go as early in the draft as they should in regards to the stats they will put up. I will keep this short, as the only reason you’re reading this is to get the leg up on the competition and see who I think the rest of your league may be sleeping on. Keep in mind sleepers vary depending on your league size. If you are in a 8 team league then you are not as interested in the players listed below as you would be in a say 12 or 14 team league. So wipe the sleep out of the corner of your eyes and lay them upon the list of players that you need to wake up on.
10. Nelson Algholor, WR, Eagles
Now I know what you’re thinking, Maclin is gone and Matthews will be the beneficiary of much of his production, and you’re right. However, Chip Kelly and the Eagles love to throw the ball and they do it well. There uptempo offense keeps defenses on the field without being able to make adjustments like they’d like to. It’s very early in the preseason, but Algholor has looked good and has shown that he’s a play maker. Chip Kelly has a dangerous offense and Algholor is just the weapon that he uses so well.
9. TJ Yeldon, RB, Jaguars
Let me start this off by saying I am not this biggest believer in Blake Bortles. That may be part of the reason why I am a bigger believer in TJ Yeldon. The Jaguars have tried to improve this offense and it’s hard to argue that they haven’t. They added Julius Thomas and already have a group of talented young WR’s. So what’s been missing? The RB position has been very lackluster, although Denard Robinson did bring some excitement last season but tapered off towards the end of the season. He showed that this offense can work though and that’s why I have faith in TJ. He will split more carries than not with Robinson but he may be a little more sturdy. If the Jaguars are going to have a solid fantasy RB, I go with Yeldon over Robinson.
8. Joseph Randle, RB, Cowboys
“Wait! The Cowboys signed the great Darren McFadden! He’s going to revive is career behind the Cowboys O-line!”. I hear you, I just don’t agree with you. Maybe I’m speaking from the fantasy owner who’s been burned by McFadden over and over throughout the years, OR…maybe I just have a sound grip on reality. McFadden has flashed season after season but never can put it all together mostly due to health. Good O-line or bad O-line, they cannot protect McFadden all the way down the field on every run. He will get hit, and eventually it will cost him playing time. He’s injured as I write this, and we are still in training camp where your teammates are looking NOT to hurt you. The sleeper here is Joseph Randle and all I’ve done is discuss McFadden. The point I’m getting at is that Randle will be the best option for you when targeting a Cowboys RB, and with that O-line it isn’t a bad idea. Murray ripped it up last season in Big D, and Randle will look to follow suit.
7. Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins
While everyone is talking about Odell Beckham, the former LSU WR who set the NFL on fire last season. His former college teammate was quietly having a good season of his own down in Miami. He fell just short of 800 rec. yards and had 5 TD’s , which for a rookie is pretty impressive. Tannehill targeted him a ton in his rookie season, and with the additions of TE Cameron and WR Stills, Landry will be on a more talented offense than last season. He will be a better player in PPR leagues but will be good in both. He won’t be your #1 WR, but you could do much worse than having Landry as a #3 WR or a flex, depending on your leagues roster rules.
6. David Cobb, RB, Titans
The lesser know of many of the rookie RB’s from this years draft class. To those who drafted Sankey last season expecting big things (I’m one of them) know he didn’t do anything worthy of being drafted again this season. This is again one of those situations where someone has to be the RB and Cobb in my opinion is the best of the bunch. New QB, a couple new WR options, and Cobb. He carries less value in PPR leagues as he is not your catch the ball out of the backfield type of guy. Sankey also seemed to struggle with protecting the QB, which Cobb will do better and will equal more playing time. He’s not going to be your #1 RB or your #2 RB but he will be a good bye week fill in or a safety option incase you deal with a RB injury during the season. Reminder: Rookie RB’s sometimes come along a little slow, don’t throw Cobb to the waiver wire after a couple of slow weeks.
5. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Vikings
Bridgewater comes in at #5 on this list for a few good reasons. I was close to putting Derek Carr in this slot, but with Norv Turner as Teddy’s coordinator and having Peterson back at RB gives him the nod. The Vikings had Charles Johnson come on late last season showing his skills and even added Mike Wallace in the offeason. Throw in a healthy Kyle Rudolph all season and its starting to look like Teddy has some real weapons at his disposal. He’s a smart kid, can tuck it and run if he has too and throws the ball well. I am not advising anyone to draft Bridgewater as there #1 guy to start the season and not draft a 2nd QB. I feel Bridgewater is best drafted either as your backup QB or if your going the “grab two QB’s late in the draft and rotate them week to week” route.
4. Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers
Don’t let Bryant’s less then 600 rec. yards scare you away. Bryant ended the season with 8 TD’s, and did so with some big time plays. Steelers offensive coordinator Haley loves to throw the ball, and has done so while making even the top 3 WR’s on his teams fantasy relevant. Reports from camp have stated that Big Ben has enjoyed throwing to Markus Wheaton, and we can’t forget arguably the best WR in football is in Pittsburgh in Antonio Brown. Bryant will have his share of competition but as they say, pressure will bust pipes or make diamonds. Bryant, will be a fantasy diamond.
3. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Lions
The world seen Ameer’s first preseason game and wow it was fun to watch. Although all the Barry Sanders talk is premature, I don’t think those who think he will be good are too far off. He showed he had the quick’s and could cut on a dime. Last seasons starting RB Bell will likely still be injured to start the season, which gives Abdullah more playing time then we had originally figured. Everyone is aware of how good the Lions passing game can be with a healthy Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate catching balls being thrown by Matthew Stafford. Abdullah can be exactly what the Lions have been missing even when Bell was healthy, Bell is a good back but he lacks the quick, explosiveness that Abdullah posses. His quickness may remind some of a more recent former Lions RB then Barry Sanders, which is Reggie Bush, although I believe he will be a better true RB then Bush ever was.
2. Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders
History as of late would really beg to question how an Oakland Raider could make this list. This is after all, a list of fantasy players who we believe will have a big upcoming season right? To be fair, if a Raider player was to have a big upcoming season, he would have to be a sleeper because most fans would not see it coming. I don’t think Cooper being a good fantasy player however is much of a stretch. We all can agree that his QB Derek Carr looked good his rookie season, and the team has added some more weapons in the likes of Crabtree and rookie TE Walford along with a new coaching staff who should be better suited at steering this team in the right direction. If Cooper can bring half of what he did in college to the NFL this season then he would already be well worth the pick. Talented players rise to the top and Cooper will be no exception. Will the Raiders win a ton of games this season, who knows? But my gut tells me Cooper is going to be this years Odell Beckham and help his fantasy owners win a ton, as he explodes into the league this year.
1. Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals
Some will say Hill was more of a sleeper last season, and they would be correct in a sense. At this time last year all anyone talked about in regards to the Bengals RB’s was Giovanni Bernard, and rightfully so. Bernard showed flashes of fantastic ability but then he got injured, and injured some more. So the rookie Hill fell into the starting job and never looked back. Hill had a great year last season and showed us all what he could do and so now you are asking “How is he a sleeper if we already know good he is?”. Well the answer is that Hill deserves to be drafted in the first round, and currently he is not. This is the perfect case of a player not being a sleeper by league standards but a sleeper by draft standards. Hill doesn’t get the credit he deserves and belongs in the 1st round of any draft. Yes, Giovanni is healthy and will take from Hill’s carries but not enough to hurt his 1st round status in my opinion. Take Hill in the first round of your draft this season and I promise you will not regret it.