Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Sleepers


Fantasy football sleepers. In 2014 they were your golden ticket to fantasy glory. It’s fake football law that early-round decisions can ruin a fantasy season, middle-rounds determine who will ultimately make the playoffs, and late-rounds are where you stake your claim for a championship.

Mike Evans (WR13, ADP 101), DeAndre Hopkins (WR 14, ADP 112), Steve Smith (WR 18, ADP 125), Anquan Boldin (WR 19, ADP 119), and Jordan Matthews (WR 25, ADP 126) are all prime examples of this. And, if we’re being honest here, probably the gems that the more savvy owners gobbled up while you were still giggling like a school girl over “stealing” Zac Stacy in the third-round. But we won’t dwell on that.

Luckily, when you look at the names above, it’s easy to notice some trends. One, that veterans – although they’re not always sexy picks – are generally a sound investment. Two, that young, talented, play-makers thrive when they are placed in the right system.

Recognizing this, there are a few players that have jumped off the page this offseason. And no, these aren’t the obvious guys like Brandin Cooks, Jarvis Landry or Kevin White. Because while these are all solid options, they are known commodities. Generally meaning they have ADP’s that suit that.

My guys, on the other hand, can be had at a much cheaper price – coming in with an ADP over 100. Minimal risk, maximum return – now who doesn’t like the sound of that? On the other hand, there are some players that appear cheap, but come with a fair share of baggage. We can let the suckers after you fight over them.

Next: Who Are The Best Sleepers At WR This Year?

Nov 9, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) catches a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the St. Louis Rams at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Rams 31-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

John Brown (WR 45, ADP 102)

Question: What do you get when you combine a healthy Carson Palmer and a high-powered Bruce Arians vertical offense? Answer: An outstanding opportunity for John Brown – a young, dynamic receiver out of Pittsburgh State who quietly amassed 48 receptions and five touchdowns on over 100 targets last season. This kid has the talent and work ethic to supplant Larry Fitzgerald as the Cards go-to receiver.

Oh, by the way, Palmer and Brown are currently roommates and Palmer is expecting “huge things from him this year”. That doesn’t hurt.

Kendall Wright (WR 47, ADP 111)

I can’t lie here. I was a Wright buyer last year after “flexing” him to a title in 2013. Hell, anyone who posts 90-plus receptions and 1,000-plus yards in a season on my roster has earned a soft spot. That said, 2014 did happen. Yikes. And while he wasn’t a total bust with 57 receptions and six touchdowns, he certainly wasn’t the return you would hope for with a sixth-round ADP.

Enter Marcus Mariota. Rookie quarterbacks need a safety valve. And while I do believe Delanie Walker steals a look or two from Wright, it’s not enough to deter me from a mouth-watering ADP and a situation where the rookie might be leaning on some veteran guidance. After all, he’s shown us what he’s capable of in the past. New quarterback, new outlook.

Devin Funchess (WR 59, ADP 144)

Funchess is a match-up nightmare with mediocre hands and huge upside. Sound familiar? Not only will he be joining Kelvin Benjamin, he might be stealing quite a bit of the limelight this year at half the cost. Now yes, I do realize the the Panthers don’t have the most high powered offense in the world. I also realize that Newton’s ability to feed anyone more than Benjamin and Greg Olsen can certainly be called into question. But this is a guy with major red-zone chops.

You’re not looking at him quite as hard in PPR leagues because the targets could be limited. But don’t be surprised if this guy finishes the year with eight-plus touchdowns. You could do worse in rounds 13-15.

Next: Who Should You Avoid?

Dec 8, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons safety Dwight Lowery (20) in the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Davante Adams (WR 44, ADP 100)

I’ll keep this short and sweet. At 100, his ADP is way too high for me. I’d much rather roll the dice on John Brown or Pierre Garcon if I’m looking to shore up my bench, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention him here. One, because he’s got Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball. And two, because if Randall Cobb or Jordy Nelson goes down, you’re sitting on fantasy gold. That said, you’ll be hard-pressed to find flex value, even in friendly matchups, here.

Philip Dorsett (WR 65, ADP 169)

His ADP might not reflect it yet, but I firmly believe Dorsett will emerge as this year’s Justin Hunter. He should be a hot commodity coming out of training camp and even hotter after he tears it up in the preseason. Just remember that there are a lot of mouths to feed in this offense. So despite Andrew Luck’s considerable talent and propensity to chuck the ball downfield, it’s probably going to take an injury or an Andre Johnson retirement for Dorsett to get his share.

That said, keep an eye on this guy. If his ADP doesn’t move too much and he manages to have a lackluster preaseason keeping him off he radar, there’s certainly value here on the waiver wire or in deeper drafts. Those of you in dynasty leagues should be all over him though.

Kenny Stills (WR 48, ADP 112)

I’m surprised to see his ADP so low here, as he’s being taken much higher in most mocks I’ve participated in. Nevertheless, I’m calling buyer beware on this guy. Ryan Tannehill’s deep ball is still pedestrian, and Stills is entering a new system in which two other pass-catchers (Jarvis Landry and Jordan Cameron) are likely ahead of him in the pecking order. Also, there is a guy named Mike Wallace floating around down there. Maybe you’ve heard of him?

Be sure to let me know who your sleepers are in the comment section below. Or just tell me why I’m an idiot for sticking to my guns on Kendall Wright. That works too.

*All stats are via FFToday. All ADPs are via Fantasy Pros.

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