Draft Strategy

Fantasy Football Sleepers 2015

Fantasy Football Sleepers

It’s the most wonderful time of the year- fantasy football draft time! One of the best parts of draft season is trying to acquire all of those sleepers that you have targeted in your draft before your league-mates can grab them. If that sounds like you, we’ve got you covered with value picks for each position.

Jody Smith’s 2015 Sleepers

Fantasy Football SleepersIt’s the most wonderful time of the year- fantasy football draft time! One of the best parts of draft season is trying to acquire all of those sleepers that you have targeted in your draft before your league-mates can grab them. If that sounds like you, we’ve got you covered with value picks for each position.

The following sleepers represent an early, middle and late-round candidate for each of the four main positions in fantasy football. For even more sleepers, be sure to check this out too.

ADP numbers courtesy our friends at: Myfantasyleague.com


Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill– At age 27 and heading into his prime, Miami’s Ryan Tannehill could be on the verge of a breakout. In each of his four pro seasons, Tannehill has gotten better- improving his completion percentage, touchdowns passes, yards passing and rushing output while attempting more passes each year.

Now the Dolphins brass has made some major improvements to their supporting cast, trading for WR Kenny Stills, using a first-rounder on WR Devante Parker, and signing free agent WR Greg Jennings and TE Jordan Cameron.

Tannehill should also be much more comfortable entering his second season under offensive coordinator Bill Lazor‘s scheme. In addition to the plus passing results, Tannehill is an excellent athlete who should supplement his stats with excellent rushing numbers- a key bonus in fantasy football. With an ADP way down in the seventh round as the QB10, Ryan Tannehill is an excellent value that allows you to build your fantasy squad by drafting running backs and wide receivers early, yet still getting top-5 QB output later.

Sam Bradford

Sam Bradford– Drafting Sam Bradford brings out the riverboat gambler in all of us. Bradford has excellent skills and looks like a superb fit in Chip Kelly‘s complex offensebut Bradford’s inability to remain healthy is a risk you must have to consider before drafting him as your fantasy signal-caller.

By all accounts, Bradford has looked excellent in training camp. The Eagles also have an excellent offensive line and a supporting cast that boasts weapons like reigning NFL rushing king RB DeMarco Murray, RB Ryan Mathews, a pair of capable tight ends, and a talented young receiving corps that includes WR Jordan MatthewsJosh Huff, and first-rounder Nelson Agholor. The Eagles also have the luxury of residing in the defensive-challenged NFC East, meaning they’ll have a lot of games with desirable fantasy match-ups. The big knock on Bradford is health- he’s played in only seven games in the past two seasons due to knee injuries. An excellent fantasy strategy this season is to be one of the last to nab your starting QB in the middle rounds of your draft, then quickly grab a high-upside back-up like Bradford to give you a strong rotation to play match-ups with. Sam Bradford is the poster boy for risk/reward drafting, but the potential payoff and value is too great to ignore.

Andy Dalton– Most people have written off Andy Dalton’s strong 2013 campaign as a fluke, but Dalton has tossed 20+ touchdowns in three of his four seasons and just missed that by one last year. Dalton declined last season, but one of the main reasons for that was injuries to WR AJ Green and WR Marvin Jones. The Bengals’ receiving corps is now healthy and boosted by the return of sleeper TE Tyler Eifert, who also missed nearly the entire 2014 season. Now that Hue Jackson has installed a successful rushing attack headed by RB Jeremy Hill and complimented by RB Gio Bernard, there’s a good chance that Dalton will reclaim some fantasy glory, and be a high-upside QB2 that can be acquired with the last pick of you fantasy draft if you choose to grab a back-up.

Running Backs

T.J Yeldon

T.J. Yeldon– A lot of times the path to fantasy production can come down to just one word: opportunity. That’s something that rookie rusher T.J. Yeldon clearly has in Jacksonville. The Jags have little real competition for carries in front of the rookie out of Alabama, who has also made the most out of training camp. Yeldon has drawn praise as a tough runner and as a pass-protector- a key component in staying on the field as an every down back. The Jaguars have also have a pair of promising wide-outs in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns who will be joined by free agent acquisition TE Julius Thomas to give second-year QB Blake Bortles a much needed, improved group of pass catchers. More importantly, the club has invested heavily in shoring up their O-line, with a stated goal of becoming much tougher. Drafting a rookie running back always comes with risk, but when looking for the player most likely to generate the most touches and have the most opportunities to be a consistent fantasy performer.

Arian Foster Injuried

Arian Foster– Drafting too early can be a painful experience when you draft an elite fantasy player, only to have him go down.

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster was the first stand-out player to do down in 2015, injuring his groin in Houston’s first practice and potentially putting him on the shelf for months. Here’s the good news: there are some feelings that Foster could be back sooner than originally anticipated, and when he’s back and healthy, he’s one of the best running backs in the NFL. Spending a middle-round pick on Foster is a dicey proposition of course. With head coach Bill O’Brien from the Bill Belichick coaching school of personality plus, we may have no real idea of when Foster might be ready to suit up. But what we do know is that when he does, Arian Foster is going to win a lot of fantasy football championships by putting up top-5 RB numbers at a steep discounted price. You just have to be willing to “stash” Foster on your bench in the hopes that he’ll only miss a handful of games, rather than the 8-10 as originally feared. With and ADP that is plummeting into the middle rounds, only savvy fantasy drafters who have assembled a strong nucleus of position payers may want to take that risk.

Matt Jones– Another rookie rusher to consider in your drafts is Washington’s Matt Jones, who was already expected to be the Redskins’ third-down back, but has garnered attention as potential ball-carrier. Jones (6-2 231) is big, has excellent hands, runs with a high-motor, and, as seen on Hard Knocks, isn’t afraid to lower his head and run people over.

While teammate RB Alfred Morris remains the favorite for early down work, keep in mind that Morris is an inherited talent that doesn’t fit Jay Gruden‘s offense perfectly, and is also entering the final year of his rookie deal. Jones should start off as a change-of-pace runner and receiver, but has the real chance to command a much bigger role in the season’s second half. Jones is largely going undrafted in most fantasy drafts, so keep his name in mind as a high-upside, late-round flier.

Wide Receivers

DeAndre Hopkins

 DeAndre Hopkins– One early-round receiver who is being slightly overlooked is Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is currently being drafted in the third round behind a dozen other wide receivers, but has the potential to put up top-5 numbers this season. Last season, Hopkins got 127 targets, caught 76 balls for 1210 yards and generated an NFL-high 35% of the Texans’ passing offense- and that was with WR Andre Johnson across from him. Now Johnson is gone, and Hopkins will be the main cog in an underrated Texans passing game that will have a better supporting cast in WR Nate Washington and WR Cecil Shorts. Houston also could put up surprisingly good passing numbers in the wake of RB Arian Foster’s injury. Hopkins has some of the best hands in the NFL, and with more-accurate quarterbacking, he could approach 100 receptions.

Anquan Boldin

 Anquan Boldin– Every year we write off Boldin as the aging old man that will surely fall off, and every season he overcomes the odds and ends up a fantastic fantasy value. In fact, Boldin has managed to string together 10-straight seasons as a PPR-WR 3 or better.

Anquan Boldin

Boldin has really upped his game since coming to San Francisco, but with the 49ers tumultuous offseason, most fantasy leaguers are once again writing him off. Although Boldin turns 35 during the season, there’s been no signs of a decline, or reason to think that he 49ers will change their offensive philosophy. With a current ADP of 12.04, once again Anquan Boldin looks like a low-risk, outstanding WR3 value pick that comes with a WR5/6 price.

Eddie Royal Fantasy

 Eddie Royal– Another underrated sleeper target is Chicago’s Eddie Royal, who is barely being drafted in many fantasy leagues. Royal has quietly hauled in 15 touchdown receptions over the past two years and will now move up to a much larger role in the absence of first-rounder WR Kevin White, who could miss at least half the season. Royals had a nice chemistry with QB Jay Cutler from their time together in Denver, and although he was brought in to excel in the slot, Royal now has the opportunity to also garner some outside routes in Adam Gase‘s new offense.

Although Royals ADP is on the rise with the injury to White, he’s still a must have late-round sleeper target who is likely to way outproduce his draft position.

 Tight Ends

Jordan Cameron

Jordan Cameron– If you’re a believer in the Miami Dolphins improved offense, you’ll want to consider drafting Jordan Cameron as your tight end. A free agent acquisition from Cleveland, Cameron was brought in to excel as a pass catcher over the middle- something Dolphins offense has lacked. Cameron (6-5 260) is also a huge target who could be a real force as a red zone weapon- another area Miami needed to improve.

The biggest knock on Cameron has been injuries, as he has yet to play a full 16-game schedule. Still, if you miss out on the elite TE options like Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, or Jimmy Graham, don’t be afraid to take a chance on Cameron to be a highly-productive receiver and fantasy scorer this season.

Delaine Waker– A forgotten, mid-round TE to consider again this year will be Delaine Walker, who is coming off of a career-best season in which he caught 63 balls for 890 yards on 106 targets. Now the Titans will have rookie signal-caller Marcus Mariota under center, and first-year QB’s are known to use reliable tight ends often as safety valves. Since signing with the Titans in 2013, Walker has quietly produced two-straight top-11 tight end fantasy seasons and new offensive coordinator Jason Michaels has a long history as a tight end coach who keeps his players heavily involved in the game plan. Walker is currently an 11/12th round target who once again has top-10 TE potential.

Ben Watson– Teammate Josh Hill generated all the buzz after the Saints traded TE Jimmy Graham to Seattle, but it now appears that Watson is not only going to start for New Orleans, but could receive enough playing time to potentially make a nice late-round fantasy pick. Though Watson hasn’t been used in the offense much, he has been good for a couple of touchdowns each year for the Saints. With Hill being a big disappointment throughout training camp, Watson is inline to start in one tight end ’11’ sets for Sean Payton‘s new-look offense. Watson is going largely undrafted, but could be a high-upside late round flier as the part of a fantasy TE rotation.

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