The NFL season is approaching which means fantasy football is on everyone’s checklist. With Christian McCaffrey a given at first overall and Saquon Barkley with the second pick, the rest of the draft is a major question mark.
In this year’s draft, who are certain players that make a fantasy team good or scary? Sometimes those sleepers in the late-rounds can oftentimes correlate to their fantasy team’s success. Below are seven deep fantasy football sleepers to keep an eye out for during your fantasy drafts.
QB: Gardner Minshew (JAC)
Average Draft Position (ADP): 14.01
Gardner Minshew is an excellent pick towards the end of the draft with great upside. With Minshew typically going in the 14th round, he has the pieces around him to thrive. Last season in his 12 games, Minshew finished as quarterback 20 to end the season. Although that isn’t impressive, his rushing makes him a dangerous quarterback option later in the season.
In his 12 games, he managed to finish fifth in rushing yards (344) amongst quarterback. Among Minshew’s 12 games, he finished with at least 16 fantasy points nine times. With another year under his belt, Minshew can perhaps finish as a top 12 fantasy quarterback when the season is over.
QB: Drew Lock (DEN)
Even though Drew Lock has only played five games in his NFL career, he makes for a solid pick in the 14th round. The sample size for Lock is so small since he has only appeared in five games. However through those games, Lock looked ready to take the next step.
Although his fantasy production wasn’t outstanding last year (only had one game above 15 fantasy points) he has the offensive weapons to produce efficient numbers in fantasy. Cortland Sutton is coming off his first 1,000-yard season, Jerry Jeudy, arguably the best wide receiver in the 2020 draft and Phillip Lindsay who is a prominent pass catcher will all help Lock take a huge step up in year two.
RB: Antonio Gibson (WSH)
The rookie running back from Memphis is bound to make waves during the season. Gibson can simply do it all and play anywhere. Even though he is classified as a running back for Washington, his primary position in college was wide receiver. In Washington, Gibson will line up in the backfield and even in the slot.
After the release of Derrius Guice, Gibson moved up on the depth chart looking to secure the starting running back job. Although Adrian Peterson is the starter, with Peterson getting older, he won’t be able to play the majority of the snaps. With Washington most likely trailing in a lot of games, Gibson will feed in the passing game which makes him a viable option in flex leagues.
WR: Golden Tate (NYG)
Golden Tate is one of the most underrated fantasy guys in the history of fantasy football. Although Tate finished as wide receiver 45 last season, he averaged 13.8 points per game even while missing the first four games of the season due to suspension. His 13.8 points per game were more than Odell Beckham Jr. (12.6), A.J. Brown (13.6), and Terry McLaurin (13.7) yet Tate is going 7-8 rounds further than those guys.
Last season with Daniel Jones at quarterback, Tate had double-digit fantasy points in every game, even having two 22+ fantasy point games. Although Tate is not Jones’s first option, Tate is usually lined up in the slot against linebackers. Look for Tate to have a breakout season making him a weekly starter in PPR formats.
WR: Michael Pittman Jr. (IND)
Another rookie makes the list. This time being a former USC star wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.
Why is another rookie and wide receiver 2 on this list?
This is due to the fact of the similarities he shares with Mike Williams, Philip Rivers’ former wide receiver two in Los Angeles. Williams and Pittman are both 6-foot-4 about 220 lbs. Pittman ran a 4.52 40 time while Williams ran a 4.49, again very similar. Last season Williams recorded his first 1,000 yard season and had seven games above 10+ fantasy points.
With Rivers in Indianapolis now, Pittman has the potential to be the new Williams. Take a chance on Pittman and if he produces as Williams did, this could be a fantastic pick.
TE: T.J. Hockenson (DET)
Although Hockenson wasn’t fantasy relevant at all last season, this could be the year for the former first-round tight end. In Hockenson’s first career NFL game, he caught six passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. With that kind of production, he can be the steal of the draft.
Despite the fact that Hockenson only had two games where he scored over 10 points, he battled injuries all year long. Also, his quarterback, Matthew Stafford, missed eight games.
With Hockenson looking fantastic in training camp, putting him as a weekly starter in fantasy leagues wouldn’t be a complete shock. He has the upside to finish as a top-eight tight end if Stafford can stay healthy.
TE: Jack Doyle (IND)
The second Colt makes the sleeper list. This is partially due to Rivers again. Rivers loves his tight ends. He made Antonio Gates one of the best fantasy tight ends for years and helped him finish with at least 180+ fantasy points in seven of nine seasons in his prime. Sure Doyle isn’t anywhere close to Gates’s talent, but the production is there.
Last season, Hunter Henry finished as tight end nine while missing five games due to injury. Rivers targets his tight ends frequently and that won’t stop in Indianapolis. In 2017, Doyle finished as tight end seven with Andrew Luck. With Eric Ebron gone to the Steelers, Doyle has the tight end duty to himself and can finish as a top-10 fantasy tight end in 2020.
Featured Image Courtesy of ESPN