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2 Deep Sleepers: New England Patriots

The bulk of fantasy analysis is devoted to sorting the order of players likely to have a prompt impact, but every year there are a handful of overlooked deep sleepers who emerge to fill a starting role in redraft.

Last year, it was guys like Phillip Lindsay and James Conner at running back. Deep sleepers at WR are a little harder to find, but we did tell you to watch out for Curtis Samuel, and he flirted with WR4 numbers.

Most of these guys in this deep sleeper series will be misses, but the goal is to look for the silver lining and find a handful of players that will emerge from their sleeper slumber in 2019.

Let’s jump in with a look at two deep sleepers from the New England Patriots.

Phillip Dorsett, WR

In 812 Fanball drafts since the start of June, Dorsett has only been drafted in 93 of them (11.5%), making him basically free with an ADP of 228.

The former first-round NFL draft pick makes a nice post-hype sleeper target in an offense that:

  • Just lost Rob Gronkowski’s 71 targets and 905 Air Yards
  • Finished second in total plays
  • Eighth in pass attempts
  • Fourth in points

I’m encouraged by the fact that the Patriots thought enough of Dorsett’s two seasons in New England to quickly re-sign him just hours after he became an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

A lot of his potential is contingent on the availability of Josh Gordon this season. With Gordon out of the lineup, Dorsett saw 60% more targets and played at a WR3/4 pace.

What to Watch for in Camp

Like everyone else, I’ll be keeping a close eye on the status of Gordon, who is currently under an “indefinite suspension.”

If the ban stays that way, Dorsett has a good shot at posting something close to WR4 numbers in a high-tempo offense which just lost its biggest weapon.

Ryan Davis, WR

Davis was an undrafted free-agent signing out of Auburn. He left school as the all-time leader in receptions in Auburn history with 178.

As a senior, the 5-foot-9, 185-pounder led the Tigers in receptions, capturing a 22% and 18% market share over his final two seasons.

Year Class G Rec MS Rec Yds MS Yds Rec TDs Rec Avg
2016 SO 10 25 0.07 194 0.09 1 7.8
2017 JR 14 84 0.22 815 0.25 5 9.7
2018 SR 13 69 0.18 546 0.19 1 7.9

The 23-year-old also started returning punts in his senior year, which should improve his chances of cracking Patriots final roster. And at least early on, he hasn’t looked out of place in OTAs, according to local beat writers.

What to Watch For in Camp

An injury or suspension for Julian Edelman.

As a projected slot WR in the NFL, that’s likely what it will take for Davis to be relevant this year. But keep in mind that Edelman is coming off a PED suspension — one dirty test or one unlucky injury in camp and Ryan is suddenly competing with just Braxton Berrios for slot snaps in a Tom Brady offense.

Image Credit: Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Tom Brady.

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