The 3 Best Sleeper Picks At Every Position In Your 2015 Fantasy Football Draft
Today, we top off our week-long fantasy football draft coverage with a list of sleepers at every position. We use standard non-PPR scoring for all our rankings. As always, hit me up on Twitter @MrT_BroBible if you have any draft-related questions. Or if you just want to make a new friend. Now on to THE SLEEPERS!
It always helps to strike it rich in fantasy football on players drafted in later rounds. Sometimes these players were ready to rise to the challenge when the season started, but people just didn’t expect it. Others seized the opportunity when it was presented midseason due to injury. As we look for this year’s Jeremy Hill and Odell Beckham Jr., here’s a list of guys not to sleep on in this year’s fantasy football draft.
1. Sam Bradford – Philadelphia Eagles
You’re going to scoff when you hear Bradford could be a top 10 quarterback his year, but it’s true. He gets hurt a lot, but he’s never had talent around him like he does in Philadelphia and Eagles’ offensive line is no slouch. Just look at the numbers Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez combined to out up last year in Chip Kelly’s offense. As one person they would’ve finished 14th in QB points and Bradford is more naturally talented that both of them. The passing game will still be strong despite the loss Jeremy Maclin because Jordan Matthews will kick things up a notch in year two, rookie Nelson Agholor has talent to excel and Zach Ertz might finally be ready to take over as first team tight end. Add in that NFL East defenses are extremely marginal and Bradford should finish in or near the top 10 this year.
2. Teddy Bridgewater – Minnesota Vikings
He may play with gloves on each hand, but that didn’t stop Bridgewater from averaging 15.67 during the last six games of last season. Had he played that well all year, he would’ve finished 13th in points. It’s also very impressive that Bridgewater finished 12th in completion percentage as a rookie. His yards per attempt were 14th in the league, so at least he wasn’t dinking and dunking the whole time. Now he adds Mike Wallace as a target and Adrian Peterson returns to the backfield to keep defenses honest.
3. Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers aren’t going to be good and Winston will make his mistakes, but you may be looking at the captain of the garbage time All-star team right here. Winston has really good weapons in his top two receivers and his tight end is healthy and ready to do big things. (More on that later…) The Buccaneers still don’t have a good defense, so Winston will be trailing in many games and forced to throw a lot. Despite his off-field actions in college, he’s shown intelligence at running an offense. When quizzed by John Gruden at being able to understand play calls, Winston hit all the marks to impress the former coach. The pieces are definitely there for a top-15 season and a perfectly usable starting quarterback in good matchups.
1. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers
I never understood why Carolina paid both Stewart and DeAngelo Williams sizeable contracts. Now that Williams is finally gone, Stewart has the backfield all to himself. HE ran well towards the end of last season as he put up four games of 75 rushing yards or more 10.5 points in the last seven games. Stewart is still only 28 and doesn’t have many miles on the tires. If he can stay healthy, and I’ll acknowledge that’s a big if, then he has the potential to be a top 10 back this season.
2. Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions
As someone who owned Joique Bell last year in many leagues, I can firmly tell you he was a major disappointment. There’s a reason the Lions spent a high draft pick on Abdullah and it’s likely because the saw the same thing I did. Bell’s 3.9 yards per carry in each of the last two years is a number of Abdullah can easily surpass if he’s given the chance. When Bell starts slow again, the Lions will have no choice but to move forward with their rookie.
3. Chris Ivory – New York Jets
Ivory may not be Adrian Peterson, but he’s a solid NFL player. He finished 19th in RB points last year ahead of more well-known names like Andre Ellington, Jonathan Stewart, and Steven Jackson. The Jets’ offense should be better this year despite losing Geno Smith because Ryan Fitzpatrick can manage games and Brandon Marshall will help the productivity on the outside. With Stevan Ridley and Zac Stacy both banged up already, Ivory has the lead job squared away and can run with it.
1. Allen Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars
If Allen Robinson can stay on the field this year, he has the potential to reach 1,000 yards. Why? He caught at least four balls in each game from Week 3 to Week 10 last year. He averaged 61 yards a game in his last five games, which would’ve put him just under 1,000 in a full season. He can easily get there now that he’s a year older and so is his quarterback. The broken foot has healed and Robinson can go back to making plays the way he did at Penn State. This kid has an athletic profile similar to Dez Bryant, the #2 receiver in fantasy football heading into the draft.
2. Charles Johnson – Minnesota Vikings
Teddy Bridgewater has to throw to someone in Minnesota and while Mike Wallace is good, he can’t do the things Charles Johnson is capable of doing on the field. Johnson is two inches taller than Wallace and just as fast. People have come away from Vikings’ training camp saying Johnson looks like the real deal. He showed it in a couple games last year, like the two times in the last five games he scored 13 or more fantasy points.
3. Victor Cruz – New York Giants
I’m taking a trip down narrative street to start this paragraph off, but stay with me here. Cruz wasn’t drafted out of the University of Massachusetts and had to work his butt off just to make the NFL. He put three strong years before going down to a knee injury last year. Now he’s got people telling him he won’t make it back, but he’s only 28 and is already ahead of where people thought he’d be. With Odell Beckham Jr. seeing a lot of double coverage, Cruz should be able to do his thing over the middle. Remember that the Giants’ offense will be better this year and more up-tempo so that certainly helps as well.
1. Tyler Eifert – Cincinnati Bengals
Maybe Notre Dame tight ends are all busts. If you go down the list of Notre Dame tight ends taken in the first two rounds of the last ten drafts, you’ll see Anthony Fasano, Kyle Rudolph, John Carlson, Troy Niklas and Eifert. They’re all solid professional, but none have been necessarily worthy of first or second round selections in retrospect. But Eifert put up better numbers at Notre Dame than all of them and was ready to be a focal point in the offense last year before getting injured in Week 1. With a weak pool at tight end, take a chance with Eifert and see what happens.
2. Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Things didn’t come together last year in the way Seferian-Jenkins was hoping for. The second round pick out of Washington was banged up for a good portion of the year and struggled to find his stride when he was on her field. He’ll have a better handle of the game in year two and he’s back to being healthy. ASJ hits all the marks when it comes to athletic ability as is seen in 40-yard dash, agility score, and catch radius. We know young quarterbacks love their safety blankets at tight end and ASJ can be that for Winston in the same way Nick O’Leary was for him at Florida State.
3. Owen Daniels – Denver Broncos
Owen Daniels is only 32, which may be shocking to those that feel he’s been in the league for 15 years. He followed Greg Kubiak to Denver and replaces Julius Thomas as Denver’s tight end. As Manning’s arm continues to deteriorate, he’ll have to look for receivers in shorter routes and that’s where Daniels comes in. With Demaryius Thomas and Manny Sanders on the outside, there will be plenty of space in the middle of the field to operate and Kubiak will design plays for the guy he’s trusted in Baltimore and Houston.