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:
- New England Patriots
- New York Jets
- Baltimore Ravens
- Miami Dolphins
- Houston Texans
- Indianapolis Colts
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Cincinnati Bengals
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|
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.
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