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Can 2018’s Most Athletic Rookie WR Break Out? 2 Chargers Deep Sleepers

Most fantasy analysis is devoted to sorting the order of players likely to have an immediate 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.

Here’s a look at the rest of our deep sleeper series so far:

AFC East

New England Patriots | New York JetsMiami Dolphins

AFC South

Houston Texans | Indianapolis ColtsJacksonville Jaguars

AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals | Pittsburgh Steelers | Baltimore Ravens

 

The original plan was to put Justin Jackson and his previous ADP of 207 here. Then Melvin Gordon threatened to hold out. Then Shawn Siegele compared Jackson to Christian McCaffrey, and just like that, Jackson was no longer a deep sleeper.

That deep sleeper has left the building, so we’re pivoting further down the RB depth chart. So far down that our man doesn’t even have an ADP.

Detrez Newsome, RB

  • School: Westen Carolina Catamounts (Div I)
  • Size: 5’10”, 210
  • Draft: 2018 UDFA
  • Rookie Age: 24

Newsome is one of the best players in the history of the unheralded Catamounts program, hitting at least 1,000 yards and nine TDs in each of his final three seasons while tacking on more than 100 catches in his career.

Year Team G Rush Yds Yd/Rush TDs Rec Yds Yd/Rec TDs
2014 WCU 12 96 488 5.1 9 20 134 6.7 0
2015 WCU 11 190 1109 5.8 9 37 281 7.6 3
2016 WCU 11 156 1031 6.6 10 31 342 11.0 4
2017 WCU 9 178 1100 6.2 9 21 205 9.8 0
Career 43 620 3728 6.0 37 109 962 8.8 7

The level of competition he faced is certainly a concern, but he didn’t look out of place running for 100 yards against crack programs like Tennessee, Texas A&M, South Carolina, and North Carolina, either.

After being signed by the Chargers as a UDFA, Newsome led the team in 2018 preseason rushing, finishing sixth among all preseason rushers with 10 more yards than Nick Chubb on three fewer carries.

He wasn’t used much during the season, but when Gordon and Ekeler were inactive in Week 15, Newsome shared snaps with Jackson and didn’t look out of place, rushing for 34 yards on six carries (5.7 YPC) and adding two receptions for 19 yards. PFF graded Newsome at 80.3 on the season, ahead of Jackson’s 77.2.

He’ll need a Gordon holdout/trade, and likely an injury to one of the backs ahead of him, to find relevance in 2019. But crazier things have happened, and the great thing about Newsome is that he possesses the overall skill set to fill any role that may present itself.

He should be owned in most dynasty leagues and is a name to watch in training camp.

Dylan Cantrell, WR

The departure of Tyrell Williams frees up 63 targets and 789 air yards, for the Chargers, and Cantrell and fellow sophomore WR Artavis Scott are the best bets at the position to pick up the slack.

I’m giving the nod to Cantrell based on his superior draft equity and physical traits that are among the most impressive of any player at any position in the 2018 class.

 

Cantrell is huge and incredibly agile for his size, giving him the best SPARQ score among all WRs in his class.

Unfortunately, the production profile at Texas Tech is not what we’d like to see — a big reason why such a freaky athlete dropped to the sixth round.

Playing behind Keke Coutee, Cantrell had an adjusted Dominator Rating of 0.19, leading to one of the worst scores in Anthony Amico’s model.

Cantrell was a camp standout for the Chargers last year before a knee injury put him behind the 8-ball. He ultimately landed on the practice squad, but the Chargers thought enough of their sixth-round pick to activate him to the active roster late in the year.

Lending further confidence is the fact that the LA did nothing in the draft or free agency to add to their depth at WR, leaving only Scott and Travis Bemjamin between Cantrell and significant snaps.

Cantrell is nothing more than a deep-league dynasty flier at this point, but his incredible measurables make him a must-watch this summer.

Image Credit: Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Melvin Gordon.


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