Fantasy Sleepers Article 450x305 Sleepers and Such: Divine Tips for Owning the Late Rounds of Your Fantasy Draft

By Quinn Miller

It’s fantasy draft season, my favorite time of year. America’s citizens are trembling with excitement in anticipation of life’s return, new Laze Boy’s are being delivered by the thousands… in less than a month, the wings we’re already eating and the beer we’re already guzzling become forgivable—even mandatory—on Monday, Thursday, and Sunday nights!

Drafts are still ongoing, or coming up, and with that in mind, here are some sleepers that will help you fill out the latter rounds of your drafts, some less or little known names that might push your team over the edge. Don’t misunderstand me: none of these guys are sure things, but they have a better chance to rise to glory than the rest.

I’ve rated them two ways, (1) on a notoriety scale from “well known, but insanely undervalued,” to “Jeff had to tell me who they were, and how to spell their name,” and (2) on a viability scale following the usual Jeff-rating methodology (1= no better than a lotto ticket, 5 = the guy will be a stud).

And as an added bonus, just because I love y’all, I’ve also chosen one DON’T-YOU-DARE-EVEN-THINK-ABOUT-CHECKING-YOUR-BRAIN-AT-THE-DOOR-FOLLOWING-THE-HERD-AND-DRAFTING-THIS-DUDE-THINKING-HE’LL-BE-ALL-THAT-AND-A-BAG-OF-CHIPS guy at each position.

 

QB

Alex Smith

 

Notoriety Rating: well known, but undervalued.

Viability Rating: 3 Jeffs.

Yes, everyone knows who Alex Smith is, and everyone has heard his OC’s rather ludicrous declarations about him being the best QB in the NFL. What people may not know is that Andy Reid has been jonesing for some Alex for years now. The knock on Smith has always been that he’s a bit of a noodle arm, but in Andy Reid’s pass-happy West Coast offense, that won’t matter.

 

Josh Freeman

 

Notoriety Rating: well known, but insanely undervalued.

Viability Rating: 4.5 Jeffs.

Yes, I’ve mentioned him a lot of late, and yes, he’s not unknown, but for whatever reason, he’s still not getting the love he deserves. He was the 12th highest scoring QB last year, and his current ADP is #155.

 

The DON’T-YOU-DARE-EVEN-THINK-ABOUT-CHECKING-YOUR-BRAIN-AT-THE-DOOR-FOLLOWING-THE-HERD-AND-DRAFTING-THIS-DUDE-THINKING-HE’LL-BE-ALL-THAT-AND-A-BAG-OF-CHIPS guy:

 

EJ Manuel

 

I’m not saying the guy’s a dog, just that he’s incredibly raw, the Bills are incredibly mediocre, and that Manuel’s college stats are far from overwhelming.

 

RB

Andre Brown

 

Notoriety Rating: I Knew who he was, but Jeff had to teach me how to spell his name.

Viability Rating: 3 Jeffs.

I live by two rules. One of them is “don’t buy into the hype associated with any West Virginia alum, playing any position, in any sport, business, or non-profit organization. Ever.” Also, Brown’s a powerful, decisive runner who hits the hole with authority.

Edit at reader’s request: 

I’m referring to David Wilson above. Wilson will start the season in a timeshare with Brown, and since I don’t buy the hype surrounding Wilson, I think Brown has more value than people think, thus making the him a strong sleeper pick.

Thanks for the heads up, AJ. We at DFW strive for clarity.

 

Ronnie Hillman/ Daryl Richardson/Lance Dunbar

 

Notoriety Rating: I knew who the first two of these guys were, and I could spell all of their names except “Daryl,” but Jeff had to tell me who Lance Dunbar was, and teach me how to spell his name.

Viability Rating: 2.5 Jeffs/3.5 Jeffs/1.5 Jeffs.

You: Why group these guys together? What do they have in common?

Me: Montee Ball, Zac Stacy, and Joseph Randle.

You: That doesn’t make any sense because Hillman doesn’t have anything to do with Stacy or Joseph Randle, and Richardson doesn’t have anything to do with Montee Ball or Joseph Randle, and Dunbar doesn’t have anything to do with Ball or Stacy.

Me: Pedant.

You: Crappy writer.

Me: You’re a crappy writer! My point is that Hillman, Richardson, and Dunbar have all been wrongly overshadowed by the RBs their team drafted this past year.

You: I’m listening.

Me: 1) Hillman has been having a good camp, while Ball has struggled both running and blocking.

2) Hillman ripped off three of the Broncos’ seven 20+ yard running plays last year in limited action.[1]

3) Richardson averaged 4.8 yards per carry last year.

4) As per Michael Fabiano, “Rams coach Jeff Fisher ‘thinks’ Daryl Richardson will be his RB1.”[2]

5) Lance Dunbar is still second on the depth chart. And, according to KFFL.com, “Dallas Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar is making a favorable impression with his coaches and teammates during the early part of training camp… QB Tony Romo said… ‘He’s had a great offseason. I’m excited about just having the ability to move (the ball with him).’”[3]

6) DeMarco Murray is made of glass, and Fleaflicker.com just reported that, “Lance Dunbar appears entrenched as the No. 2 back… [and] Randle… has a ways to go to become fantasy relevant.”

You: About time you did your job.

Me: Ingrate.

 

Latavius Murray 

Notoriety Rating: Jeff had to tell me who he was, and how to spell his name.

Viability Rating: 2 Jeffs.

D-Mac is hella-talented, but he breaks very, very, very easily. As for Murray’s other competitor: Rashad Jennings is 28 years-old, and averaged 2.8 yards per carry last year. Finally, watch this, Murray can ball.

The DON’T-YOU-DARE-EVEN-THINK-ABOUT-CHECKING-YOUR-BRAIN-AT-THE-DOOR-FOLLOWING-THE-HERD-AND-DRAFTING-THIS-DUDE-THINKING-HE’LL-BE-ALL-THAT-AND-A-BAG-OF-CHIPS guy:

 

Chris Ivory

He breaks. The Jets have no QB, no proven WRs, are… terrible.

 

WR

Miles Austin & Sidney Rice

Notoriety Rating: well known, but undervalued.

Viability Rating: 3.5 Jeffs/2.5 Jeffs.

Miles Austin: WR#22, ADP #85. Sidney Rice: WR#39, ADP #121. Also, The Cowboys are opening things up for Romo, allowing him to audible on the fly, and Percy Harvin is on the shelf.

 

Rueben Randle

Notoriety Rating: Jeff had to tell me who he was, and how to spell his name, but anyone who’s ever eaten the slice of heaven that is pastrami, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on rye, knows the dude spells his name wrong.

Viability Rating: 3 Jeffs.

Randle is 6’2, 208lbs, and runs a 4.55 40, Nicks can’t stay healthy, and Eli can’t throw every pass to Cruz. According to CBSsports.com, “Coach Tom Coughlin is pleased with his weight and effort and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride thought Randle has been working ‘like a guy that has been here for five or six years’ and promised he’d play a lot.”[4]

Drafting this guy is a strong play.

 

Chris Givens

 

Notoriety Rating: Jeff had to tell me who he was, but I managed to spell his name right without any hints on the fourth try.

Viability Rating: 3 Jeffs.

He was the best WR on the Rams last year, which isn’t saying all that much, but he demonstrated the ability to get behind opposing defenses, and showed flashes of being a complete WR. Bradford has praised his off-season work, as has Fischer, and his tally for pre-season week one, 81 yards and a TD, is making good on their praise.

 

The DON’T-YOU-DARE-EVEN-THINK-ABOUT-CHECKING-YOUR-BRAIN-AT-THE-DOOR-FOLLOWING-THE-HERD-AND-DRAFTING-THIS-DUDE-THINKING-HE’LL-BE-ALL-THAT-AND-A-BAG-OF-CHIPS guy:

 

Torrey Smith

 Like EJ Manuel, Smith isn’t a dog—heck, Smith is worlds better than many if not most WRs. The problem is that he’s being over-drafted. Last year his performance earned him WR#32, but he’s being drafted as WR#20 this year, with an ADP of #52. Further problem: Pitta is gone, as is Q; defenses are going to be on him, two and three at a time.

 

TE

Rob Housler

 

Notoriety Rating: I knew who he was, even without Jeff’s friggin’ help.

Viability Rating: 2.5 Jeffs.

Watch this, and you’ll get it.

Zach Sudfeld

Notoriety Rating: Not even Jeff had heard of this guy before this week.

Viability Rating: 3 Jeffs.

Meet Zach Sudfeld. He’s bigger than you. Much bigger (6’7, 255lbs). And the man is crazy athletic. Don’t believe? Here, watch some more Film.

 

The DON’T-YOU-DARE-EVEN-THINK-ABOUT-CHECKING-YOUR-BRAIN-AT-THE-DOOR-FOLLOWING-THE-HERD-AND-DRAFTING-THIS-DUDE-THINKING-HE’LL-BE-ALL-THAT-AND-A-BAG-OF-CHIPS guy:

 

Yeah right, like anyone gets that excited about a TE not named Graham or Gronk.

 


[1] http://fantasynews.cbssports.com/fantasyfootball/story/22955850/draft-prep-sleepers-for-draft-day

[2] http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1738171-fantasy-football-sleepers-2013-unsung-players-who-will-yield-early-round-value

[3] http://www.rtsports.com/football-draft-guide/player-profile/14181/

[4] http://fantasynews.cbssports.com/fantasyfootball/story/22955850/draft-prep-sleepers-for-draft-day