The RotoViz team is hard at work digging deep to uncover the most buried and overlooked sleepers for all 32 teams in the fantasy football landscape.
These are the guys that seemingly have no shot at significance, but with a little imagination and a little luck, could pay off in deeper formats.
Next up, two deep sleepers for the Chicago Bears.
Startup ADP: TE33
Scenario: Has a Larger Than Expected Role
It feels funny to call last year’s second round pick a deep sleeper, but the Trey Burton hype train is out of control.While Matt Nagy has said that he’d look to use Burton in the Travis Kelce role in the Bears offense, it’s important to remember, Burton is not Kelce.
There’s certainly target upside for Burton as he essentially enters a brand new offense with a completely revamped set of pass-catchers and no established roles yet, and his contract indicates the Bears will likely use him heavily. But that doesn’t mean that Adam Shaheen will necessarily be an afterthought.
Shaheen was a second round pick in 2017, and graded out well in the TE prospect model. He’s one of the few pass-catchers on the team returning from last year that had an opportunity to build chemistry with Mitch Trubisky, and though his role was limited, he actually led the Bears last year with three touchdowns1 despite having just 14 targets.
Shaheen’s dynasty value took a big hit with the signing of Burton, but he’s still hanging on to the end of some rosters. In redraft though, he’s mostly being ignored. If the TE role in a Matt Nagy offense is similarly valuable to what it was in Kansas City, then that makes Shaheen one of the most valuable backup TEs in the league if anything should happen to Burton. If Burton struggles to live up to his contract, Shaheen could have some standalone value even if Burton is healthy.
Startup ADP: Undrafted
Scenario: Tarik Cohen gets hurt
The first man up if anything should happen to Cohen is likely veteran Benny Cunningham. He’s been a reasonably good pass-catcher in his time in the NFL, and offers value as an occasional returner and in kick coverage on special teams.2 We’re going deep here though, and there’s an exciting young running back on the Bears depth chart that caught a ridiculous 195 passes in college.
Taquan Mizzell was signed by the Ravens last year as an UDFA and showed off his receiving ability in the preseason, but did not make the final cut. The Bears picked him up and stashed him on their 53-man roster for the entirety of 2017, though he was rarely active on game day.
His receiving ability was his calling card in college, and he finished his career as the only player in ACC history with more than 1,500 receiving yards and 1,500 rushing yards. Mizzell accounted for a sizeable 31 percent of UVA’s yards from scrimmage and led the team in receptions over his final two seasons.
Mizzell will need to beat out Cunningham in training camp to lock in a spot on the depth chart, but it’s not far-fetched to believe that could happen. Cunningham’s contract only carries $150,000 guaranteed and can easily be cut. As a second year UDFA, Mizzell can be kept under team control on the cheap for multiple years without ever hitting the open market. He’ll have a chance to stick around if he’s able to impress the new regime.
Shaheen was a good prospect with high draft pedigree that could play his way into a larger role than expected and he’s a cheap dynasty stash right now. Burton will start with the larger role because of his contract, but we still haven’t seen him as the primary TE in an NFL offense, and it’s far from a guarantee that he’s a locked-in TE1. In redraft leagues with TE-premium settings or two TE starters, Shaheen should be on your radar.
Mizzell will have to earn his role on the team, however he could be a backup in an offense that should have a sizeable role for a satellite back. Like many deeper players, he’ll need an injury to really get an opportunity, but he could end up as a sneaky mid-season add if anything happens to Cohen.