The post squared hype sleeper feels like the beginning of Peter Pan: “All this has happened before, and it will all happen again.”
A post squared hype sleeper is a post-post hype sleeper. They are post hype sleepers for at least the second time. Sadly.
And the Peter Pan parallels are often scary. Similar to how Neverland for Wendy fails to be all “moons and mermaid lagoons,” so too does a highly hyped sleeper fail to meet many owner expectations.
But just as we are ready to walk the plank, we are saved from our watery death. And the post squared hype sleeper, unlike Peter Pan, has often grown up a bit. He is often a little wiser and uses that knowledge to his advantage. Because it takes more than faith and trust, and a sprinkling of pixie dust….
Post Squared Hype Sleepers
Post Squared Hype Sleeper: Wide Receiver
Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers
When Funchess came into the league, I couldn’t help but grin an evil grin. I just knew he was a little too raw but owners were pulling tendons as they reached for him in the eighth round in 2015. He provided his owners with 31 catches and 473 receiving yards. The five touchdowns were nice, but his owners never knew when he would or wouldn’t score. He followed that dissapointing season up with an even worse one last year. His numbers dropped across the board and he produced a 23/371/4 line.
So why do I like him now?
Well, his price finally reflects his floor. Funchess must’ve burned a lot of owners because in two seasons he went from an early eighth round pick to one you can get in the middle of the 14th.
Additionally, I presume you have heard about the “Third Year WR” theory? I’m not saying I agree with it, but there is some validity to it. And yes, this is the third year for Funchess.
Furthermore, Funchess played only 44% of the snaps last year. That percentage was fourth among Carolina’s receivers. However, Ted Ginn and Corey Brown are now gone and he should see more time on the field. That view is also supported by Panthers Coach Ron Rivera who has publicly said they could have used Funchess better in 2016. Expect Rivera to do just that.
Post Squared Hype Sleeper: Quarterback
Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings
No one represents the post squared player possibly better than Sam Bradford. He’s been a sleeper at least twice before only to fail to reach his potential for one reason or another. In fact, Bradford was in this very space last year. However, that was before he got traded to Minnesota and his situation changed. But I see a big year from Bradford and here’s why:
- Bradford is coming off his best year yet. He threw for a career best 3,877 yards and his completion percentage was a career best 71.6%. He had a 4:1 TD to INT ratio (Drew Brees, Marcus Mariota, and Andrew Luck had a ratio less than 3.0)
- That was despite Bradford sitting out the first game. It was also despite Sam Bradford having a healthy Stefon Diggs for only 12 of his games. Additionally, the Vikings offensive line was one of the worst in the league last season (PFF ranked them as the 29th unit overall; Football Outsiders ranked them in the bottom half for pass protection). The additions of Mike Remmers and Riley Reiff can only help
- A more balanced attack should help Bradford. Minnesota should greatly improve on its league worst rushing attack and the acquisition of Latavius Murray and drafting of Dalvin Cook can’t hurt
- Finally, Bradford has to know this is his last chance. His contract is up this year and Minnesota has yet to extend it. If Bradford fails to impress, neither the Vikings nor any other team will be signing him to a starting quarterback’s contract
I like Bradford to excel and think he eclipses the 4,000 yard mark and at least 24 touchdowns.
I am probably overconfident about Bradford this year. So let’s move to another player I am far less confident about.
Post Squared Hype Sleeper: Running Back
Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions
And there are a number of reasons to lack confidence in Abdullah. He will not get the majority of goal line work nor see the lion’s share (pun intended) of backfield targets. He is also coming off of a season where he was only healthy enough to play two games. Finally, Detroit had the third highest percentage of pass plays last year at nearly 65%. That being said….
Despite their inefficiencies in the running game last year, Detroit did not add any additional backs this offseason. The Lions clearly have faith in Abdullah. The Lions also have publicly said they hope to get Abdullah in the territory of 200 carries. Abdullah also has given the Lions reasons for hope as he has a very solid YPC for his career.
Furthermore, Abdullah is not a bruiser but he has speed, which he will take full advantage of on the carpet at Ford Field. Abdullah also faces the 29th (PIT), 30th (CLE) and 31st (NO) rush defenses from last year. Additionally, he will not seeing a single team that was in the top half of schedule adjusted rush defenses last year during the key playoff weeks 14 through 16.
And finally, there is just my personal opinion that he is absolutely electric, but there are highlights to back me up:
Others Considered for Post Squared Hype Sleepers
Kevin White, Chicago Bears
Injury has been the major blockade to meeting the hype. But 20 receptions in two years doesn’t come close to matching the hype when he came out of college.
Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos
Denver has to have the record for number of times the top back is surpassed by others below him, right?
Paul Perkins, New York Giants
The hype started in last year’s preseason and then died down when he got very few carries. He then got 21 carries the week of the season which he turned into 102 yards. The hype started again this year, but Shane Vereen has muted it. There have been worse shots in the dark.
Of course if Perkins fails he might just become a Lost Boy….or next year’s poster boy for a post squared hype sleeper.
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