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Spotting A Sleeper: 8 Loser Teams Housing Winning 2018 Fantasy Sleepers

2018 Fantasy Sleepers
Photo Credit: Jo Renshaw

Looking for 2018 Fantasy Sleepers? If you read my piece last year on spotting sleepers, you would already know where to look. Yes, there are quite a few ways to spot sleepers, but I gave you one very easy way to do so. And go figure, the methodology hasn’t changed, only the options.

That methodology is pretty simple–grab guys from teams expected to make little noise this season. The eight teams, more or less, that are typically 100-1 or greater to win the SB are the Bengals, Browns, Cardinals, Bills, Bears, Dolphins, Jets and Redskins.

Think it won’t work? Well, let’s look at last year’s picks: Greg Zuerlein (ding!), Cameron Meredith (Sigh, injured again), Robby Anderson (ding!), Blake Bortles (finished just outside the Top 12 QBs, ding ding ding!), Jonathan Williams (oops), and Duke Johnson (finished as a PPR RB1, winner winner chicken dinner!). Well, let’s just say I put my money where my mouth was last year and finished the season in the black.

While I’m still counting my cash, let’s go over the 2018 Fantasy Sleepers.

2018 Fantasy Sleepers

The Best Of The 2018 Fantasy Sleepers: Browns

I really don’t understand why the Browns are not getting more love, especially in Fantasy circles. I’m not saying the Browns are suddenly going to go 13-3. But Vegas set their win total o/u at 4.5. I am leaning towards the over. The rookies alone cause the Browns to be intriguing enough.

But you don’t even have to take that gamble. Take a player that had over 1,000 yards last year and you can get in the 11th round! Maybe you’re not aware that Isaiah Crowell took his talents to the Jets. But that’s not the only reason to grab Duke Johnson. My fellow expert Mike Tomlin already broke down all the reasons to grab Duke. Go read it.

Of course, some will not grab any Cleveland Brown players just on principle. If that’s the case I have another 2018 sleeper for you:

The Non-Cleveland Best Of The 2018 Fantasy Sleepers: Cardinals

Yes, the Cardinals had a disappointing 2017 season and yes Carson Palmer is gone. But the Cardinals still went .500 last year after losing David Johnson to injury and it’s not like Palmer lit it up last year. Johnson is back this year and instead of having to go to Blaine Gabbert or Drew Stanton, the Cardinals now have three very intriguing options at QB.

They include Mike Glennon, who is a proven viable back-up; rookie sensation Josh Rosen; and the highly underrated Sam Bradford. Bradford played only two games last year due to injury. Yet people are quickly forgetting the 3,800-plus yards he threw the year before in Minnesota to go along with his 4:1 TD to INT ratio in 2016. And the year before all he did was have five 300-plus yard games on his way to over 3,700 passing yards for the Eagles.

But even if you don’t draft him in your standard league, you are going to want to look at some of his targets. One is rookie Christian Kirk, who I discussed a few weeks ago. The other is Ricky Seals-Jones, whom I am on record recommending as a late pick.

2018 Fantasy Sleepers: Take The Talent From South Beach

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Miami presents not only a sleeper of low expectations but another sleeper methodology of mine–taking a player coming off an injury. Ryan Tannehill has not played in over a season and is on very few people’s radars. However, in his last full season, he threw for over 4,200 yards and 24 touchdowns. That would have made him a QB1 last year, nestled somewhere between Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees. And given that fact, his ADP is a joke.

Therefore, let’s agree to start sharing reasons we don’t like Tannehill with our rival owners so he falls into our laps after we’ve drafted all our skill position starters and few solid back-ups, ok? Here’s one for you–Tannehill will have to get used to a whole new set of weapons since he was last under center.

However, you should be aware his weapons might be even better. And that includes rookies Mike Gesicki and Kellen Ballage. Ignore them at your own peril.

For the next 2018 Sleeper, we stay in the division but move from the warmth of South Beach to the cold of upstate NY.

2018 Fantasy Sleepers: The Buffalo Soldier

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Buffalo presents more potential bust options than sleeper options. But one constant over the years has been Charles Clay. What I like about Clay is he has one of the highest floors of nearly all tight ends. He’s had over 500 yards receiving each of the last five years. The same can’t be said for Kyle Rudolph or Jordan Reed and a number of other tight ends being drafted before Clay.

Clay has also changed his diet to enable him to stay on the field more, which can only stretch his upside. And with the likelihood we see a Buffalo signal caller this season who will need that security blanket, I think Clay definitely will be start-worthy every week this season.

As you recall, however, there’s a third AFC East team that makes for potential sleepers, the NY Jets.

2018 Fantasy Sleepers: The New York Jets

Amongst all the hype around Sam Darnold was the Jets smart signing of Teddy Bridgewater. Expect Bridgewater to be under center in Week 1 and he makes for a great sleeper choice. And if you’ll forgive me for including last year’s successful sleeper pick again, Robby Anderson makes for a great pick as his current ADP is in triple digits.

2018 Fantasy Sleepers: Cincinnati Has More To Offer Than Chili

I love the cinnamon-y taste of Cincinnati chili, but I also love getting a WR with an ADP of 372 who has the potential to return 10 times his draft status. That receiver is Tyler Boyd. Brandon LaFell and his disappointing 3-TD 52-catch season is Boyd’s biggest barrier to securing the WR2 position in Cincy behind AJ Green. Cincy is likely playing from behind often this season so the Bengal WR2 has the chance to see a ton of targets.

Even if he doesn’t unseat LaFell, Boyd should be used in plenty of 3-WR sets. Expect Boyd to build on the momentum he had the last week of the season when he caught 5 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown against Baltimore, who was the fourth stingiest defense against wide receivers.

Final 2018 Fantasy Sleepers: Chicago and Washington

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Mitchell Tribusky and the Chicago backfield are getting a little too much hype right now. They’re not exactly sleepers. But do I love me some Anthony Miller, who I detailed in the same piece above with Christian Kirk.

Meanwhile, in Washington, Derrius Guice is unlikely to be a sleeper come draft time, but I like him nonetheless. However, if we’re going to go a little deeper, you have to consider Paul Richardson and Brian Quick. Richardson is coming off an acceptable 44-catch and more than 700 receiving yard season in Seattle. The Redskins rewarded him with a 5-year $40 million contract with $20 million guaranteed. I expect the Redskins to get their money’s worth.

Whenever I talk about sleepers, I like to give a nod to those in extremely deep leagues. Brian Quick is an extremely deep sleeper. He’s not someone to grab lightly as he disappointed more times than not. And if you thought Boyd was a deep sleeper, Quick is even deeper. But as approach the 400s of ADP, there are few receivers I like more.

 

Of course, my other deep sleepers will come later this summer. In the meantime, check out our partner FantasyPros Draft Wizard to see what kind of teams you can build around these 2018 Fantasy Sleepers!

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
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