While the definition of a sleeper is open to debate and opinion, for the sake of this column we’ll define a sleeper as a player that will outperform their draft position. With that in mind, here’s a look at our top fantasy football sleepers and undervalued players who are safe bets to provide good value for where you will be able to get them on draft day. If you have any draft day questions feel free to post them in our Fantasy Football Forum.
I was excited about Tannehill heading into 2015 and even though he had a career high in passing yards, it still seemed like he didn’t live up to his full potential. I think that will change this season with a new coaching staff in Miami. Even though the Fins lost Lamar Miller they still have plenty of weapons on that offense to put points on the board. It’s certainly possible that Tannehill returns to being a QB1 in 2016.
Not since the Aaron Hernandez/Rob Gronkowski days has a team had two tight ends that could have top ten value. Even though Bennett will be behind Gronk on the depth chart, I still think he will be a consistent part of the Patriots game plan. Another thing I like about Bennett is that he could easily be a top five tight end if Gronk were to go down with injury.
The Redskins not making much of an effort to keep Alfred Morris should be an indication that they have confidence in Matt Jones. The second year player out of Florida showed some flashes of brilliance during his rookie season and the Redskins appear ready to take off the training wheels to see what Jones can do. The only thing that worries me about Jones is that on 144 rush attempts he only averaged 3.4 yards per carry. However, his big play potential could end up making up for his low average per carry.
With Calvin Johnson now watching football from his couch the Lions are going to need to find a new No. 1 receiver. That guy is going to be Golden Tate and he could be on the verge of a career year. He was a beast in 2014 when Johnson struggled to stay healthy and I think Tate could see 150+ targets this season.
The Dolphins offense has some solid weapons and I think they will have a productive 2016. I expect Parker to be a big part of their plans this year and he should make great strides in his sophomore season. He is a special talent and he proved during the second half of 2015 that he has the potential to put up solid numbers.
When you look at what Austin did last year you have to look passed his receiving yards. The Rams used him in the rushing game a good bit and he ended up with over 400 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. I think the Rams offense is heading in the right direction and they could be one of the biggest surprises this year.
I have seen Matt Ryan ranked ridiculously low in some other expert rankings and I think it’s an over correction on their part after his sub par 2015 season. The only reason Ryan’s season was sub par was because of his touchdown totals, he only threw for 21 which was his lowest total since his rookie campaign. Let’s not forget that he still threw for almost 4,600 yards last season and I am thinking the low touchdown totals were just a fluke. Matt Ryan is easily still a top 15 quarterback in my mind.
I love me some Duke Johnson and the excitement he brings to the football field. As a rookie he caught 61 passes for the Browns and it’s clear his value mostly falls in PPR leagues. Even though I don’t see Johnson as ever being a workhorse, I do expect him to steal some carries from Isaiah Crowell and I don’t think 15 touches a game is out of the question. Look for Duke to build on his stats from his rookie season and flirt with RB2 value in PPR formats.
Green couldn’t have landed in a much better situation than Pittsburgh. The high powered Steelers offense gives Green a great opportunity for targets between the 20s and in the red zone. He has been stuck behind Antonio Gates his entire career, but now it’s his time to shine and show us what he can do.
Lockett is one of the most electric young receivers in the league and I am excited to see what he does in his second season with the Seahawks. He started off 2015 slow with only 21 catches in his first nine games, but he ended with 30 catches over his last seven and appears to have great chemistry with Russell Wilson. I think it’s certainly possible that he takes over as the No. 1 fantasy option at the receiver position in Seattle and he is a high upside WR3 to target on draft day.