Fantasy football is not a static process. While there are great players like Tom Brady, Le’Veon Bell, Julio Jones and Antonio Brown who can string great performances together on an every-year basis, there are stars like Adrian Peterson who suddenly lose it, and there are sleepers who step up their games in an unexpected way.
Finding those sleepers is often the key to having a winning fantasy football season. Scouting up-and-coming players is vital in fantasy football, and while luck may be a factor, understanding a team’s game plan, personnel and coaching tendencies are all key.
In this piece, we will look at some potential game-breaking sleepers as well as our positional rankings and understanding which players have top value based on their position in the draft.
WR Chris Hogan, New England Patriots
Hogan was a fine role player for the Patriots in his first year playing for Bill Belichick, but he was not an offensive star. He made a contribution with 38 receptions for 680 yards and four touchdowns, and the season-ending knee injury suffered by Julian Edelman this summer means the Patriots are going to make changes in their offensive attack
Brady developed confidence in Hogan last year, and he continued to improve in the postseason when he caught 17 passes for 332 yards and two scores. A full year of playing with the future Hall of Fame quarterback means that there should be no limitations on Hogan’s game.
He is likely to step up into a go-to receiver role, and he could double the number of receptions and touchdowns and increase his yardage significantly.
WR Terrelle Pryor, Washington Redskins
Some may wonder how we may call Pryor a sleeper after he caught 77 passes for 1,004 yards and four touchdowns last year, but it’s that last figure that qualifies him for this label.
Pryor gave it everything he had with the Cleveland Browns, and he was clearly their best skill-position player a year ago. But now he goes to a team with the potential to score a lot of points in the Redskins, and that should allow him to become one of the game’s best receivers.
Kirk Cousins needs a receiver who can do it all and break the long play, and that’s just what Pryor will bring to the table. The Redskins have a dangerous tight end in Jordan Reed who commands attention in the red zone, and that’s just the situation that Pryor needs to find success in the end zone himself. Look for Pryor to catch at least 10 TD passes this year.
WR Dontrelle Inman, Los Angeles Chargers
The situation with Inman is similar to the one with Pryor, except that he hasn’t moved to a new team. Inman became an important part of the Chargers’ offense last year after star receiver Keenan Allen was injured.
Inman caught 58 passes for 810 yards and four touchdowns, and he proved himself to quarterback Philip Rivers, who is never easy to impress.
With Allen back in the lineup this year along with Tyrell Williams and the two-headed monster at tight end that includes Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry, Inman is likely to be overlooked by a number of defenses. As a result, Inman will be a weapon who makes a number of important catches in the end zone.
WR Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
It’s hard not to be impressed with Golladay as the season is about to get started. He has made all the catches that the Lions want to see in preseason, and while he will have to prove himself all over again in games that count, he has the tools to do just that.
The rookie has the size at 6’4″ and 218 pounds to win the battle against smaller defensive backs.
Golladay will almost certainly be the Lions’ third receiver this year, behind Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, but he may soon become their most dangerous scoring threat.
Top 10 fantasy sleepers
WR Chris Hogan, New England
WR Terrelle Pryor, Washington
WR Dontrelle Inman, Los Angeles Chargers
WR Kenny Golladay, Detroit
RB C.J. Prosise, Seattle
WR Pierre Garcon, San Francisco
RB Paul Perkins, New York Giants
RB Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia
WR Corey Davis, Tennessee
RB Dalvin Cook, Minnesota
Fantasy position rankings (Value picks are in bold)
1. Tom Brady, New England
2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
3. Kirk Cousins, Washington
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans
5. Matt Ryan, Atlanta
6. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee
7. Russell Wilson, Seattle
8. Derek Carr, Oakland
9. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay
10. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
1. David Johnson, Arizona
2. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh
3. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo
4. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers
5. Jordan Howard, Chicago
6. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta
7. Jay Ajayi, Miami
8. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee
9. Marshawn Lynch, Oakland
10. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas
1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh
2. Julio Jones, Atlanta
3. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
4. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay
5. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay
6. Michael Thomas, New Orleans
7. Dez Bryant, Dallas
8. Amari Cooper, Oakland
9. Doug Baldwin, Seattle
10. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
1. Rob Gronkowski, New England
2. Jordan Reed, Washington
3. Greg Olsen, Carolina
4. Delanie Walker, Tennessee
5. Travis Kelce, Kansas City
6. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia
7. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota
8. Jimmy Graham, Seattle
9. Julius Thomas, Miami
10. Martellus Bennett, Green Bay
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