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 Tennessee Titans.
Startup ADP: WR83
Scenario: The AFC South Cooper Kupp
Perhaps no offense is expected to benefit more from a change in coaching than the Titans. Gone are Mike Mularkey, Terry Robiskie, and their slow-paced Exotic Smashmouth, and in comes offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, fresh off working as the OC for a Rams team that led the league in points and operated at the fastest pace in neutral situations.
Among the changes LaFleur may import from his time with Rams is the tendency to have three wide receivers on the field at the same time, something the Rams did at the highest rate in the league while the Titans were among the lowest. With Eric Decker gone and no additional competition added, Taywan Taylor is set to be on the field for a significant chunk of the Titans offensive snaps this season.Taylor’s excellent college production made him an intriguing prospect, and the Titans spent significant draft capital to acquire him early in the third round. Taylor figures to play in the slot for the Titans, a role filled by Cooper Kupp on the 2017 Rams. It’s not hard to envision Taylor, who will still be younger in 2018 than Kupp was in 2017, putting together a poor-man’s version of what Kupp accomplished last year.
Marcus Mariota flew under the radar as a top-tier quarterback during his first two seasons before taking a step back last year as the entire offense sputtered. If he can regain his form in a fresh offense, he could build on the chemistry he displayed with Taylor in the small sample of targets he had in their first season together.
Startup ADP: RB96
Scenario: Wins the RB3 Job
Drafters are expecting the Titans running backs to be valuable this year, as both Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis are being drafted within the first five rounds.
While this doesn’t leave much standalone value for the third RB on the depth chart, it means that if injury strikes, the next man up could be in for a sizeable role.
The most intriguing option for that spot on the depth chart right now is undrafted free agent rookie Akrum Wadley. Though he wasn’t taken in the draft, Wadley did receive a combine invite and was one of the most highly rated UDFAs in the class.
His market share of his backfield’s rushing and receiving work, as captured by Blair Andrews’ Backfield Dominator Rating, was superior to some of the RBs that were taken in the draft and his receiving market share in particular was sixth best in the class.
Wadley has very little competition right now for his spot on the depth chart. The incumbent third-string RB on the Titans is David Fluellen, a player who has been in the league for four years, mostly on the Titans practice squad, and has a grand total of four NFL carries.1
Other than that, the only man he has to beat out is fellow UDFA Dalyn Dawkins. Dawkins was productive in his time at Colorado State, but at only 174 pounds and with very little buzz as a prospect, he’s considered a long shot to make the roster.
Be sure to check out Ryan Bobbitt’s prospect profile on Wadley for more reasons why he should be the backup to own in Tennessee.
Taylor makes for an excellent dynasty buy low candidate,2 but he also should be on the redraft radar as a late round pick in best ball leagues. With a thin WR depth chart behind the starters, Taylor should have plenty of opportunity to stand out, and could end up with an even heavier than expected workload if injury strikes any of his fellow WRs.
On deeper rosters, Wadley is a worthwhile stash as a hedge against an injury to either of the Titans top two RBs. He’ll be a hot waiver pickup if either player in front of him goes down, especially Lewis, as Wadley profiles much closer to him than to the early-down hammer of Henry.