In this series, we plumb the depths of the poor, the tired, the huddled masses; the wretched refuse of your team’s sure-to-be-cut list.
It’s fantasy sleeper time. And here are two Minnesota Vikings yearning to be free.
KENDALL WRIGHT, WR
MFL10 ADP: 238/Undrafted
Dynasty ADP: 339/Undrafted
There are two players who led their team in receiving in 2017, but weren’t invited back for an encore, and are now being drafted outside the top 15 rounds in MFL10s. One is Mike Wallace (now on the Eagles), and the other is Kendall Wright.
Wright is a former first-round pick, who led the Titans in targets his first two seasons, before being buried under a carousel of coaches and fledgling quarterbacks. In his six-year career, Wright has coaxed targets from first-time QBs four times in Jake Locker, Zach Mettenberger, Marcus Mariota, and Mitch Trubisky. Kirk Cousins will be his first QB with a 4,000 yard season.
Nevertheless, Wright has lead his team in targets in three of his six seasons. He made the most of a mediocre situation in Chicago under John Fox, leading the Bears with 91 targets, despite playing on only 61.1 percent of the team’s snaps.
He’s spent the past two seasons primarily as a slot receiver on Tennessee and Chicago teams that use 3-WR sets at the lowest rates in the league (42 percent in both 2016 and 2017). Although we don’t know exactly what to expect from John DeFelippo, a league-average slot usage of about 60 percent of snaps could lead to better opportunities for Wright, who was in one of the slowest and least explosive offenses in the NFL last year.
Drafters are bullish on the Vikings offense as a whole, but are almost completely avoiding the WRs after Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. This reflects the uncertainty about how much of a role Laquon Treadwell will have, which is understandable. But I am expecting Wright to be the slot WR the Vikings rely on, while Treadwell will have to prove he deserves to take Wright off the field.
Wright is a nice handcuff for Diggs or Thielen owners that will provide some standalone value if the Vikings offense is legit. And in deeper bestball leagues in particular, he is an arbitrage play on more buzzed-about players like Jamison Crowder, Taywan Taylor, or Albert Wilson. In dynasty leagues, Wright can be had outside the top 300 picks, and on a one-year deal at age 28, he could earn another contract with a strong year in a career-best situation.
Mike Boone, RB
MFL10 ADP: Undrafted
Dynasty ADP: Undrafted
Boone is a UDFA out of Cincinnati, who had strong freshman and sophomore seasons, before falling off the prospect radar with injury-plagued seasons as a junior and senior1.
He falls into the category of a Matt Breida: a true wild card who didn’t earn a combine invite, but grabbed teams’ attention by crushing his Pro Day. Boone scored a 100th percentile explosion score with an 11-foot-7-inch broad jump and 42-inch vertical, and put up 25 bench reps. Even taking his 4.45 forty with a grain of salt, he has intriguing athleticism.
Boone will compete with Mack Brown and Roc Thomas (and possibly jack-of-all trades athlete Johnny Stanton), but the Vikings have shown a predilection for attacking the RB position with SPARQ-y athletes, which could give Boone the edge in replacing Jerick McKinnon in what will likely be just a three-man backfield. A true deep sleeper, Boone may nevertheless have a clearer path to fantasy relevance than more familiar names like Ameer Abdullah and J.D. McKissic, who find themselves in backfields that are four or five players deep.
- Turf toe in 2016 and an ankle injury in 2017 (back)