Fantasy Football: Cheatsheet for Sleepers

Rhett Fail, Jr., Editor-in-Chief

The Olympics are running wild, European soccer is underway, and college football is right around the corner, but let’s be real: Your mind is on Fantasy Football.

I don’t blame you. My mind is there too.

So let’s get into one of the most anticipated topics of the fantasy year, sleepers.

We won’t be breaking these players down into too much detail, but we’ll offer a brief overview on their strengths and weaknesses.

First up are the quarterbacks. As many of you know the 2015 overall draft class has proved to be one of the better classes of the last few seasons. With this class brought a pair of very talented QB’s, in 2015’s first and second overall pick. Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Marcus Mariota (Tennessee Titans).

Both players shined throughout their rookie seasons, so there’s almost no doubt they will improve this year. Winston being the better passer will put up more numbers over the air, utilizing the (literal) giant Buccaneers receiving core. Mariota being better on his feet can be very dangerous and potentially lead the QB rushing race. Each has plenty to overcome to be considered a true fantasy option—Winston has to scale back the turnovers, Mariota has to stay healthy—but each could make a lot of noise in 2016.

Another quarterback on the come up is Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders). He had eight games last year that scored a 17 or higher in standard-scoring leauges. look for his consistency and output to improve. Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and Clive Walford give Carr a good selection of offensive weapons.

When it comes to running backs, it’s hard to break down by an individual effort, but you do want to be on the lookout for younger players in a position to take the starting job due to lack of talent in front of them. Guys like Adrian Peterson and even Todd Gurley are a given for the position, but a real sleeper lies in guys like Melvin Gordon (San Diego Chargers) and Paul Perkins (New York Giants).

Few positions are as deep as wide receiver, so finding a sleeper here isn’t really as important as quarterback and running back, but keep an eye out for a few traits.

  1. Proven veterans on the verge of a bounce-back season.
  2. Rookies in great systems who will earn many opportunities.
  3. New team signees looking to make an impact early.

Last but certainly not least are the tight-ends. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a bit of a lineup battle at TE and Cameron Brate was named the team’s starter. That means he had to beat out Austin Seferian-Jenkins for the starting job, and ASJ was already a sold end. Look for Brate to come up in the end-zone more than a few times this year.

Finally, now that Calvin Johnson is gone, the Detroit Lions are going to have to spread out their targets. In general, players like Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Eric Ebron should be getting a bit of a bump.

The regular season starts on Thursday, September 8th with The Denver Broncos taking on The Carolina Panthers in Denver. Better beat those trade deadlines.