Fantasy football analysis is typically devoted to players that are likely to have an immediate impact. But to paraphrase Rod Serling, there is another land, whose boundaries are that of imagination.
Much like the Twilight Zone, this super-deep fantasy sleepers series will open your eyes to a host of maybes, might-be’s, used-to-be’s, and never-weres. These 64 fantasy sleepers (two per team) are well off the fantasy radar,1 but could have an important role if events unfold in unexpected ways.
Join me, on a team-by-team journey through a land of both shadow and substance, of the deepest of deep sleepers.
Anthony Fasano, TE
Startup ADP: Undrafted
Scenario: Julius Thomas continues to not be good.
Anthony Fasano has been in the league since 2006 and has played 164 of a possible 176 games (93 percent). Contrast that to Julius Thomas, who’s managed just 57 of a possible 96 games (59 percent). The Dolphins traded for Thomas, who’s been very good at times in his career. But he’s also been bad and injured a lot. If that happens again, there’s a chance Fasano becomes useful. The Dolphins are very deep at wide receiver, so they may just divert any targets meant for Thomas to their other pass catchers. But maybe they’ll decide Fasano is a good option. He’s been productive in his career when he gets a chance to participate in the passing game.
When he’s gotten four or more targets in a game, he’s averaged just over 10 PPR points. Not bad.
Kenyan Drake, RB
Startup ADP: RB80
Scenario: Ajayi fails to repeat his 2016 performance.
If Ajayi looks more like the player in the right-hand column, or if he misses time, then there’s room for someone else to make an impact in Miami’s backfield. RotoViz has harbored some interest in Damien Williams, but the most likely beneficiary is Kenyan Drake.
Williams looks more like a workhorse, given his size, but even in college he never dominated the rushing workload. Drake has better weight-adjusted speed and agility, as well as a better pass-catching resume. Most importantly, he has much more in the way of draft pedigree.
No need to do anything about Fasano yet. I think that if Thomas falters, you’d be able to wait and see what Miami does with the position before deciding whether or not to make a waiver claim on Fasano. Drake seems potentially undervalued right now. If Ajayi misses time, the backfield probably gets split, but Drake would seem to be in line for the more valuable passing work.
- Nearly half are undrafted in dynasty startups, only 10 are rookies, and only three are in the top 30 at their position. (back)