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.
New York Giants Deep Sleepers
Wayne Gallman, RB
MFL10 ADP: 236
Startup ADP: 290
First round pick Saquon Barkley figures to be the workhorse in the Giants backfield. But consider that since 2008, 20 other running backs have been taken in the first round. Here’s their average rookie line.
Only seven of them managed more than 200 carries.
Despite ranking 25th last year, the Giants still managed 394 total attempts … and 257 of those have been vacated.2 In other words, there’s very likely a lot of work for somebody not named Saquon Barkley, even if Barkley gets above average usage for a rookie first round RB. And of course, there’s potential for more usage if Barkley is injured.
Gallman is competing for backup duties with veteran Jonathan Stewart, who is apparently off to a rough start. Comparing their performances last year, neither was a very good runner, but one thing does stand out.
He wasn’t great at it, but Gallman was much more involved as a receiver. That’s something that could signal a nominal floor of utility as Barkley’s change of pace. And if the opportunity arises, Gallman has some definite workhorse traits of his own.
Roger Lewis, WR
MFL10 ADP: Undrafted
Lewis was quietly third on the team in targets last year, and based on his first two seasons, has some interesting comparables.
After their first two seasons, players like Emmanuel Sanders, Golden Tate, and Marqise Lee had similar usage and production. That’s no guarantee for Lewis of course, but it’s helpful to remember that breakouts can happen later in a player’s career.
For his sake, Lewis is still just 24 years old and had an intriguing profile coming out of college. His on-field numbers haven’t been great but have spiked when the opportunity arose.
Playing behind Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram means Lewis probably won’t get many opportunities unless there’s an injury in front of him. On the other hand, Beckham and Engram missed 17 games between them last year.
- I mean take a look at the two outrageously deep sleepers John Lapinski found on the Dolphins. (back)
- Orleans Darkwa, Shane Vereen, and Paul Perkins. (back)