Go back and look at the draft results from your fantasy season last year. You’re bound to find guys drafted outside the top 50, 75, and 100 that became stars. Maybe it was Josh Gordon, who fell in most drafts and was quietly acknowledged as a sleeper. Maybe it was Knowshon Moreno, someone who slipped to the double digit rounds in leagues. Everyone knew about Gordon and Moreno before the season. They didn’t think Gordon would be the best receiver in fantasy, of course. But they knew the potential was there. As a 6’4″ receiver with 4.3 speed, Gordon had the physical tools necessary to dominate. And for Moreno, the situation was perfect. With Peyton Manning running the offense in Denver, if Moreno could snag the starting job, which lots of people discounted before the season, then he could see tons of red-zone opportunities and rushes with six men in the box.
Those players were not sleepers, who no one had heard of before. They were extremely undervalued. The list of players below is not a list of sleepers. It’s a list of players who are going a round or two (or more) too late.
Cameron began last season on fire, largely because of a 3 TD game, and 5 TDs in the first four games. He had a four game stretch in the second half of the season, in which he didn’t score any TDs, and had only 4, 29, 32, and 43 yards. Cameron had only two games over 100 yards, one of which was the first game of the season. So, I’m listing all the negatives for Cameron. Why is he undervalued? Well, the Browns’ top offensive target Josh Gordon is most likely going to be suspended. It could be four games, half the season, or the entire season. The Browns could also be starting a rookie quarterback in Johnny Manziel. Everyone knows that a rookie QB’s best friend is his tight end. Especially when it’s a Pro-Bowl tight end. Look at the Browns’ depth chart offensively. Cameron is their best player. Miles Austin and Nate Burleson are their wide receivers (!!!!). New running back Ben Tate has struggled to stay healthy his entire career. It’s unlikely the Browns will be able to ground the ball. They’ll be down early and often and will need to chuck the ball plenty.
This is a little bit of a gut call. With Miles Austin officially gone, Jason Witten getting old, and DeMarco Murray constantly getting banged up, Williams is a good bet to improve on his production from last season. And most importantly, the Cowboys have one of the worst defenses in the league. They’ll have to throw the ball a lot, and Dez Bryant won’t get all of the targets. Williams had close to 800 yards last season, and it wouldn’t be crazy to see him surpass the 1,000 yard mark this year. Getting him in the 9th or 10th round is great value, especially when you consider he’s being taken several picks after guys like Reggie Wayne (old, coming off torn ACL) and Mike Wallace (terrible offense).
Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Tom Brady, Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers you name ’em. These are guys you can get in the 100’s! Why spend a first round pick on Manning or Brees, when you can get amazing value in the 10th and 11th round? These guys play on great offenses and have proven track records. Ryan’s entire team fell apart last season, beginning with Julio Jones going down for the season in week 6. Cutler missed games because of a high ankle sprain. He and Romo throw a few more picks than coaches and fantasy owners would like. And Brady lost Gronk for the majority of the season, and had the worst supporting cast of his career. And Rivers? He was great last year, and he’s still slipping to the 100’s. Each one of those guys has an impressive fantasy pedigree and is a great value pick once you’ve drafted good running backs and wide receivers. Quarterback is extremely deep this year. Take advantage and wait on quarterback this year.
It’s understandable that Benjamin is going so late in drafts. He’s a rookie and not an extremely well-known player. Benjamin isn’t fast–he ran a 4.6–but he is 6’5″ and could be Carolina’s top target. They lost Steve Smith and don’t have an impressive group of receivers. Cam Newton isn’t the best passer in the league, but someone will get the lion’s share of his targets, and it could be Benjamin. If he doesn’t pan out, then Jerricho Cotchery is the guy.