5 Deep Sleeper Rookies for 2015
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There’s no guarantee these players will make final rosters, let alone have a fantasy impact. But it’s Spring, the season of dreams; who doesn’t love a good deep sleeper dynasty prospect? These five players have a reasonable chance of making their team, and a good enough history of production to suggest they can produce if they get a chance. Keep these guys in mind for your watch lists and waiver budgets.

Darren Waller, WR

We already know that Baltimore offers a ton of opportunity to incoming receivers. Breshad Perriman is going to get his. I think Waller will too. After Perriman and Steve Smith, there’s just diminutive Michael Campanaro on the depth chart. Figure those three are safe for this year. After that comes Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown. Cutting either results in no dead money. Production isn’t a reason to keep either on the roster, and after two (Brown) and three (Aiken) seasons in the league, neither has a lot of upside. Waller could displace either as soon as this season.Thereafter, cutting Smith becomes increasingly likely, as he’ll be in the final season of his contract with net cap savings if he is cut. In other words, there are both short and long term paths to playing time for Waller.

Is it bold to suggest a sixth-round pick has long term value? Probably. What makes me think Waller could break through? I’ll just leave this here.

Nice comparables. I’ll be taking chances on Waller late in my dynasty drafts.

Kenny Bell, WR

The Buccaneers have no current shortage of high profile weapons. But Vincent Jackson is declining, and expensive. Cutting him this year or next would save Tampa Bay about $7 million against the cap. Louis Murphy costs nothing to cut, and has never posted over 41 catches in a season. There are two other similar receivers on Tampa Bay’s roster, but I think Bell could overtake them both.

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If Bell works his way into being the number three receiver, he’ll have modest short term value, with more potential if and when Jackson leaves Tampa.

Brian Parker, TE

The Chargers currently have Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green atop their depth chart. But both are in the final year of their contract. After that are a few veterans that have never broken out (John Phillips, David Johnson, David Paulson). For that matter, Green has never broken out either. In three seasons, he’s caught just 40 passes for 658 yards and three touchdowns. If Parker can make the team, next year’s depth chart could be wide open. Just for fun, let’s compare him to Green.

Player Ht Wt 40 SpdScore Shuttle Cone Broad Vert
Brian Parker 76 265 4.75 104.1 4.4 7.03 119 38.5
Ladarius Green 78 238 4.45 121.4 4.47 7.12 124 34.5

Green is much faster on both a raw and adjusted basis, but Parker is no slouch athletically. At almost 30 pounds heavier, he’s more agile than Green, and just as explosive. He checks the boxes for a potential fantasy contributor.

Mycole Pruitt, TE

He’s blocked by Kyle Rudolph, whose contract makes him a roster lock for this season and next. There are two other young TEs on Minnesota’s roster (Rhett Ellison and Chase Ford), but both are in the final year of their contract. Combined, Ellison and Ford have 65 career receptions in 63 games. In other words, neither has emerged offensively, and both could be gone after this season. Rudolph will still be there, but has also missed 16 games in four seasons; injury concerns mean his backup will have value. Pruitt’s comparable players suggest he has some potential.

Rasheed Williams, RB

The Lions just spent a premium pick on Ameer Abdullah, so bank on him making the team. Joique Bell seems safe too, at least in the short term. But running backs get hurt, and they also get old and inefficient. After these two, Detroit’s backfield is wide open. The number of RBs and linemen they’ve added suggests they’re serious about building their running game. With luck or good performance, whichever other RB makes the final roster is worth a look as a dynasty stash, in my opinion, as the potential heir to either Bell (old age) or Abdullah (under performance / injury). We’ve written about Zach Zenner, and I agree he’s the front runner to earn a spot in this backfield. But Williams could earn a spot as well – perhaps at the expense of Zenner, but more likely at the expense of either George Winn or Theo Riddick.

Player Ht Wt 40 SpdScore Cone Pros Lab
Zenner 71.5 223 4.6 99.6 7.08 53
Winn 70 218 4.75 85.6 7.13 16
Williams 73 215 4.46 108.7 6.9 70
Riddick 70 201 4.68 83.8 6.99 12

Williams is the fastest of the bunch on both  a raw and weight-adjusted basis. His final season college production was phenomenal, which shows up in his crazy Prospect Lab score. He’s big enough to be a full time runner. He’s agile too. Although he only had nine kickoff returns, his return average (23 yards) was almost the same as Zenner’s (23.6) and better than Riddick’s (22.4). I think there’s a chance both Zenner and Williams make Detroit’s roster.

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