Democracy Dies in Darkness

Express | Analysis

Three types of fantasy football sleepers for every skill position

August 23, 2018 at 12:12 PM

New Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor has rushed for 14 touchdowns in the past three years. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images/)

Fantasy football drafts are usually predictable in the early rounds, so finding value later in the draft could make or break your season. Here’s a look at three potential breakout players ranked outside the top 10 at each position, according to ESPN’s non-PPR (points per reception) cheat sheet. There’s the sleeper stud (a potential top-five player), the system sleeper (a key player in a friendly offensive scheme) and the deep sleeper (a long shot worth late-round consideration).

Quarterback

The sleeper stud

Matt Ryan, Falcons

He’s coming off a down year, but he was the second-best fantasy QB in 2016 and hasn’t missed a game since 2009. Four of ESPN’s top seven QBs missed significant time last year.

The system sleeper

Philip Rivers, Chargers

He was second in passing yards last season. Over the past five seasons, he has topped 4,200 yards each year and averaged almost 31 TDs.

The deep sleeper

Tyrod Taylor, Browns

With No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield as the backup, there’s obvious risk in taking Taylor. But he’s been a decent fantasy QB because of his rushing ability (14 TDs in the last three years).

After a stellar college career at Oregon, rookie running back Royce Freeman could be the focal point of Denver’s offense this year. (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images/)

Running back

The sleeper stud

Royce Freeman, Broncos

Could he be this year’s third-round gem like Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara were last year? The rookie out of Oregon is seventh all-time in FBS career rushing yards (5,621).

The system sleeper

Jerick McKinnon, 49ers

For the first time, he has the chance to be a true lead back. Despite having just one start last season, he racked up 51 catches. He could thrive in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

The deep sleeper

Rashaad Penny, Seahawks

Seattle’s first-round pick won’t sit behind Chris Carson for long. Penny is getting over a finger injury but is expected be ready for Week 1.

Marquise Goodwin’s chemistry with 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo should increase his value. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/)

Wide receiver

The sleeper stud

Jarvis Landry, Browns

The Browns made last year’s leader in receptions one of the highest-paid wideouts in the NFL, so it’s a safe bet he’ll be a focal point on their revamped offense.

The system sleeper

Marvin Jones Jr., Lions

Matthew Stafford was third in the NFL last year in passing and his deep target was Jones, who averaged a league-best 18 yards per catch and was ninth in receiving yards (1,101).

The deep sleeper

Marquise Goodwin, 49ers

He had three games with at least 99 yards during the 49ers’ season-ending, five-game win streak with Jimmy Garoppolo under center.

Tight end Hayden Hurst could be Baltimore’s go-to option in the red zone. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images/)

Tight end

The sleeper stud

Hayden Hurst, Ravens

The lone tight end drafted in the first round this year had a TD in his first preseason game and could prove to be a favorite red-zone target for Joe Flacco.

The system sleeper

Jack Doyle, Colts

He could be the biggest beneficiary of the return of Andrew Luck. Even without the Pro Bowl QB last year, Doyle had more catches (80) than Rob Gronkowski and Zach Ertz.

The deep sleeper

Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals

As a rookie last year, he had a three-game stretch in which he averaged 56.6 yards and a TD. He should see more targets in his second season.

Read more fantasy football news and analysis:

Fantasy football player rankings: The top 300 players for 2018

Colts tight end Jack Doyle is getting no respect in mock drafts

Tyreek Hill is going higher in mock drafts than he should be

Don’t hesitate to take Saquon Barkley in the top five

QB rankings: What to do with Andrew Luck?

Draft dilemma: Deshaun Watson probably isn’t worth the risk


Jeffrey Tomik is the managing editor for news at Express and has worked in the D.C. area since 2007.

Post Recommends
Outbrain

We're glad you're enjoying The Washington Post.

Get access to this story, and every story, on the web and in our apps with our Basic Digital subscription.

Welcome to The Washington Post

Thank you for subscribing
Keep reading for $10 $1
Show me more offers