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 us, on a team-by-team journey through a land of both shadow and substance, of the deepest of deep sleepers.
2018 Jacksonville Jaguars Deep Sleepers
T.J. Yeldon, RB
MFL10 ADP: 188.6
Dynasty ADP: 195.7
In the annals of boring running backs, Yeldon figures prominently, but perhaps this will be interesting.
We could also put names like Tevin Coleman, Dion Lewis, Giovani Bernard, and Chris Thompson on this list.
Jerick McKinnon is in line for a workhorse role, so he’s justifiably drafted much earlier in drafts. But all of these backs are typically regarded as better assets than Yeldon when in truth they’ve put up similar numbers over the past three seasons. Yeldon can’t help playing behind Leonard Fournette, but he has been useful when he had opportunities.
In 2017, Yeldon provided four double-digit PPR weeks in 10 games, and had some surprisingly good MFL10 stats:
Those aren’t exciting on their own, but it was a nice return for drafting the 75th RB.
What about 2018? Chris Ivory is gone, freeing up over 100 rushes and 20 targets, so there’s room for Yeldon to get more work, even if Fournette takes some more too. It’s possible Corey Grant gets a lot more work, but Grant is also a fourth-year back with just 68 career attempts. Last year, in games Fournette missed Grant picked up about four extra rush attempts per game. But Yeldon picked up six. It’s a new year and Grant’s buzz is positive, but I think Yeldon is the surer bet for consistent (if modest) utility.
In deep dynasty leagues, Grant may be more intriguing. Since his ceiling is unknown, it’s theoretically higher than Yeldon’s, who wouldn’t become a lead back even if Fournette missed time. But for shallower or best ball leagues, I like Yeldon as a situationally useful RB.
Donte Moncrief, WR
MFL10 ADP: 192.2
Dynasty ADP: 209.3
I guess the fantasy community’s infatuation with Moncrief is over. Here’s his recent MFL10 ADP.
And recent Dynasty ADP.
In both cases, Moncrief is going after Keelan Cole and DeDe Westbrook. I’m not sure that makes sense.
I think it’s a little early to write Moncrief off. In fact, by one measure, Moncrief is pretty darn good.
Moncrief’s 2018 salary ranks 19th among all WRs, and it’s 100 percent guaranteed. He’s paid to be a starter and if he can produce TDs at his usual rate (which is much better than both his own historical rate and Jacksonville’s other WRs) he should be on the field a lot.
Westbrook looked promising in a small sample, but with less than half a season under his belt, it’s hard to project him with much confidence. In my opinion, Cole is much more formidable competition than Westbrook. He had a surprisingly good rookie season that generates a slew of interesting comparables.
I far prefer Cole to Westbrook, and if he’s cheaper than Moncrief, I wouldn’t argue against taking Cole then too.4 I think the odds are still with Moncrief to have the best season of the three.
I haven’t mentioned Marqise Lee yet. He’s drafted much earlier, and that’s fine. I don’t expect Moncrief to usurp his role as Jacksonville’s primary WR. But even against Lee, Moncrief stacks up well.
My thinking goes like this. Jacksonville probably has two fantasy relevant WRs. Moncrief, given his contract and TD ability, has as good a chance as Lee, probably a better chance than Cole, and almost certainly a better chance than Westbrook to finish the season as one of those two. Since the cost is much less, Moncrief is my preferred player.
- For example, check out these two super deep sleepers from the Arizona Cardinals. (back)
- Number of points contributed to starting lineups. (back)
- Number of weeks the player appeared in starting lineups. (back)
- Though I would point out that his draft stock and age still matter somewhat. (back)