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2017 Fantasy Football Draft Kit

2017 Deep Sleeper and Late Round Picks

Deep Sleeper
Photo Credit: Jake Petroski

Just another deep sleeper and late round picks article, right? The difference is I have a proven track record.

In 2015, I recommended a deep sleeper who was often going in the 15th round or later. 14 touchdowns and over 1,000 receiving yards later, Doug Baldwin was winning leagues for many an owner. Meanwhile, in this very same space last year, I stated that I wouldn’t write off Davante Adams just yet. Despite an ADP around 200, he went on to snag 75 balls for 12 touchdowns and three yards short of a 1,000 receiving yards.

Are all of these players going to hit big? No. But my track record says one of them will. So dismiss these late round picks and deep sleepers as too deep and you too might find yourself in the kiddie pool come Fantasy playoff time.

Modesty aside, I try to gear this article toward my deep league brethren. So all of these players are players whose ADP is at least double digit rounds of a 16-team league draft. or about the 16th round of a standard 12-team draft. Furthermore, there’s a very high chance many of these players are available even much later, making them quite affordable. But like the aforementioned Davante Adams, that doesn’t mean they won’t produce a robust ROI.

Here are some of my favorites, starting with an RB whose ADP is more out of whack than the NFL’s suspension policy.

Deep Sleeper and Late Round Picks

Deep Sleeper and Late Round Picks: RBs

T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars

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So y’all are just anointing Leonard Fournette a stud, huh? I was all aboard the Zeke bandwagon last year but that was based on DeMarco Murray leaving, the strong Dallas offensive line, and the emphasis I knew Dallas would put on the running game. Or were y’all really blown away by the production of Devontae Booker and Kenyan Drake, two highly hyped rookie running backs last year too? Or perhaps you forgot the hype train that did a Casey Jones right into Bustville for Ameer Abdullah the year before? How quickly we forget.

At just 23 years old, Yeldon was also highly hyped coming into his rookie year, but he has become a forgotten man. Yet I suggest those of you in PPR leagues especially recall that Yeldon caught 50 passes last year. Let’s also not forget that Yeldon did run for a respectable 740 yards despite just 182 carries. And while I do like Fournette, are people also forgetting he only played seven games last year. Are you so sure Fournette is playing 16 this year? With Yeldon’s ADP jumping back and forth around two bills, it’s worth taking the chance that he gets more action that Fournette does.

While I do like Fournette, are people also forgetting he only played seven games last year? Are you so sure Fournette is playing 16 this year? With Yeldon’s ADP jumping back and forth around two bills, it’s worth taking the chance that he gets more action that Fournette does.

Yeldon, however, is typically being drafted at least. I can’t say that for our next RB sleeper whose ADP is around 260.

Donnel Pumphrey, Philadelphia Eagles

Given the number of Eagles fans that I know, I present Pumphrey as a late round sleeper with trepidation. Because I am also willing to bet against LeGarrette Blount. For starters, New England offensive line’s rushing ability is more reputable than the Eagles. Moreover, Blount is now the not so magical running back the age of 30. With much “pump and circumstance,” I present Pumphrey who is definitely expected to have a role with the Eagles this season.

Admittedly, there is not a whole lot of other RBs I am excited about who has an ADP beyond 200. So let’s move immediately to my favorite sleeper with ADP beyond 200, Marqise Lee.

 

Deep Sleeper and Late Round Picks: WRs

Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars

Yes, Lee’s ADP might be found as high as 164. However, I have also seen it listed in the 240 neighborhood. Even at 164 however, I love the upside that Lee presents.

Of course, I wrote the part above before Lee got injured. But that makes Lee even a better buy now as his ADP will surely continue to drop despite the fact that he might be questionable for Week 1. Despite being the WR3 last year, Lee still put up solid stats. I hear a player was a team’s WR3, I think maybe 40 receptions and a little over 500 yards. But Lee absolutely smashed through that wall, the street lamp outside, the bar across the street and the train station nearby to the tune of 63 catches and 851 yards. I might back him up with Dede Westbrook, who I love as a super deep sleeper too. But I’m actually glad Lee got injured as that should hopefully keep him under the radar.

Lee’s ADP is falling, but there’s another wide receiver I like a lot whose ADP is, unfortunately, rising: Kenny Golladay.

Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions

I’ve seen Golladay’s ADP listed as high as 156 and as low as 244. But Golladay is an absolute lock to be Detroit’s WR3 at worst. Of course, the Lions are expected to run more 2-TE sets than 3-WR sets, but I still love Golladay to be a viable bye-week replacement at a minimum. Preseason games have to be taken with a grain of salt, but all the 6’4 WR did in his premier last week was catch two touchdowns. For those of you in dynasty

Preseason games have to be taken with a grain of salt, but all the 6’4 WR did in his premiere last week was catch two touchdowns. For those of you in dynasty leagues, it is worth noting that Golden Tate becomes a free agent in 2019. Don’t be surprised if Detroit lets Tate walk because of Golladay.

Okay, enough with the “late pick” WRs. Let’s definitely look at two options that are more of deep sleepers.

Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals

Boyd is typically listed in the 220-250 ADP range. And it makes sense given that he’s currently behind stud A.J. Green, the solid Brandon LaFell, and rookie phenom John Ross. But it was way back in 2016 that Boyd was seen as the potential heir to Green’s throne. Meanwhile, Ross is nicked up and Brandon LaFell will continue to be Brandon LaFell. Given that Dalton passed for over 4,000 yards, LaFell’s 862 receiving yards is rather pedestrian. Expect Boyd to see a ton of targets and contribute in Week 1 against Baltimore, who Andy Dalton torches annually. Don’t be surprised if Boyd is the Bengals second best receiver this year.

Paul Richardson, Seattle Seahawks

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Finally, we come to Paul Richardson. And I will tell you that as a keeper league owner whose Doug Baldwin’s contract is expiring soon, I am definitely investing in Paul Richardson. And that is despite his ADP consistently past 200, sometimes even closer to 300.

So in addition to his price, what do I like about Paul Richardson? For starters, he has Beckham like hands.

 

Furthermore, he’s fast. His 4.40 during the Combine is kind of fast. All he needs is the opportunity. If he gets it, look out.

Deep Sleeper and Late Round Picks: QBs

I have already highlighted Jared Goff this preseason, who will likely be available in the double digit rounds regardless of your league format and size. He is probably the only starting QB you can have after the 170s. But there is at least one quarterback whose preseason games I will be watching very closely.

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City

When “solid game manager” is one of the biggest compliments your quarterback play receives, your tenure as the starting QB is not long term. Alex Smith is actually coming off his most productive passing year and still barely had 3,500 yards total. He averaged a career best 234 yards per game average. That’s not good. He only had 15 passing touchdowns. The five rushing touchdowns were nice, but the clock is ticking on Smith. Should Smith get injured (he has played 16 games only twice in his 11-year career), don’t be surprised if Mahomes comes in and relegates Smith to the bench. Mahomes has had a great camp and according to the Kansas City Star has been “making at least one eye-opening throw per practice.” He won’t last long in dynasty leagues, I can tell you that much.

Of course, few things are more comforting to a young quarterback than a dependable TE, so with that in mind….

 

Late Round and Deep Sleeper TEs

I feel like a broken record when it comes to sleeper Tight Ends. There are a ton of them out there like late round picks Jason Witten and Jessie James. There are deeper picks including my favorite TE rookies Adam Sheehan and Jordan Leggett. And if you want to go extremely deep, Stephen Anderson. But in the interest of highlighting one tight end I haven’t yet discussed, I can’t believe the ADP of one absolute proven stud: Antonio Gates.

I like Hunter Henry this year. And Henry will likely play more snaps, but Philip Rivers’ favorite target is not going to just disappear. Gates has averaged just under eight touchdowns a year during his career and he scored seven last year too. There is no reason to think he can’t score half a dozen again. Despite playing just 11 games in 2015, Gates still has a three year average of more than 665 receiving yards.

You could do a lot worse with your 205th pick than someone who scores six touchdowns and gives you over 600 yards. Maybe Gates is too big of a name to be a true deep sleeper. And maybe he and the rest of the guys on this list are all worthless.

Nah….

Need some tools to find more late round and deep sleeper picks? Try the Fantasy Pros Draft Wizard

 

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Mark Strausberg

Mark Strausberg

Mark Strausberg remembers making Jerry Rice his first round selection as well as taking a flyer on a young pitcher named Doug Drabek. His Fantasy analysis has spanned multiple sports including football, baseball, basketball, and even golf. A FSWA finalist, his fantasy analysis has been featured in various outlets including but not limited to SI.com, USA Today national magazines, Yahoo! and RotoExperts.
Mark Strausberg

Voted “Best Fantasy Draft Tool”!

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