revolutionary tools.  groundbreaking articles.  proven results.

Is the Next James Conner Already in Pittsburgh? 2 Steelers 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:

Benny Snell, RB

One of the youngest and most productive running backs in the class lands on the RB paradise that is the Pittsburgh Steelers?

And he’s free in redraft and best ball?

After piling up 3,903 yards and 55 TDs in his final two years of high school, the 5-foot-10, 224-pound Snell was immediately productive as a member of the Kentucky Wildcats.

From a historical perspective, his sophomore Workhorse Score of 0.43 alone gives him a 43.5% of hitting at the next level.

Breakout Age Total Hits Percent Hit Avg Best PPR
<=21 62 27 43.5% 187.1
>21 54 12 22.2% 130.2
None 91 11 12.1% 93.7

He’s also the third-youngest RB in the class, and the fact that he’ll play in the NFL as a 21-year-old rookie reinforces his chances of hitting RB2 numbers.

Production? Check. Snell rushed for 3,873 yards over three season playing against top competition in the SEC.

There are red flags, including a poor combine and lack of involvement in the passing game. But Conner comes out as one of Snell’s top comparables according to the Box Score Screener, and he wasn’t much a receiver in college either.

What to Watch in Camp

I’ll be keeping close tabs on the fight for the backup job behind Conner. It’s presumably Jaylen Samuels’ gig going into camp, but the Steelers have more draft equity invested in Snell, who was also far more productive than Samuels — a converted TE — in college.

With the Steelers among the perennial leaders in expected points from the RB position, Snell could find himself in a position to be a league winner, given a break or two.

Eli Rogers, WR

Rogers makes this list based on the amount of opportunity vacated by Antonio Brown; also, James Washington and Donte Moncrief are too expensive to be sleepers, and Diontae Johnson is a rookie.

Brown leaves behind a hole of 167 targets and 1,899 air yards, and while Juju Smith-Schuster will soak up some of that, there’s room for some more relevant pass catchers in an offense that ranked first and second in pass attempts over the past two seasons.

Rogers had a mini-breakout in as a rookie with 114 fantasy points — a back-end WR5 whose five double-digit PPR games were useful in deeper leagues.

Then the Steelers drafted Smith-Schuster, who stole Rogers’ position in the slot. Then Rogers missed all but two games last year with a torn ACL.

With Smith-Schuster likely to move around the formation more than ever before, Rogers is currently listed as the starter in the slot ahead of Ryan Switzer, who was ineffective with a 44-36-253-1TD line in 16 games last year.

And while it’s the tiniest of samples, it is perhaps noteworthy that, with Brown inactive and all defensive attention focused on Smith-Schuster, Rogers had nine targets and seven catches in last year’s season finale.

Rogers is not a ceiling play, and he can be left on the wire in all but the deepest of formats, but there’s a chance for him to emerge as the No. 3 WR behind Moncrief on an unproven depth chart.

Image Credit: Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: James Conner.

NFL subscribers, the time to get into PGA DFS is now! For a limited time, upgrade your subscription by adding a 2019 Rest of Season PGA subscription at a $10 discount. Click here for details!

recent and related...

in case you missed it...

NFL Week 16: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

Monty Phan wraps up the weekend of NFL action. For nearly four months every year, my wife puts up with a husband who is totally useless on Sundays, a slave to the Red Zone Channel and NBC Sunday Night Football. Just when the season crescendos to a climax – the

Read More

Michael Thomas Sets Records As Surprise WRs Make Their Case to Dynasty Owners

Shawn Siegele looks at all the top wide receiver performances from Week 16, including big games from Sterling Shepard, Diontae Johnson, and Steven Sims Jr. Championship weekend featured a title-winning fourth-down score from Tyler Boyd and monster performances from two legends. Michael Thomas and Julio Jones combined for 22 catches

Read More

Sign-up today for our free Premium Email subscription!

© 2019 RotoViz. All rights Reserved.