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:
Alex Barnes, RB
It was a bit of a shock that Alex Barnes went undrafted this year. I say shocking because despite rushing for the 10th-most yards in college football last year (1,355), then crushing the combine, Barnes somehow wasn’t one of the 25 RBs taken in the NFL Draft.
He was a late breakout, sure, but what a breakout it was — Barnes was:
- Second in the class behind David Montgomery in rushing yard market share
- First in total yards market share
- First (tied) in TD market share
He was no slouch in the passing game either, tacking on 194 yards on 20 catches for a 9.7 average. It was all enough for our mockers to make him the 2.04 pre-draft rookie pick.
The 40-yard dash wasn’t blazing, but at 226 pounds, a 4.59 time is certainly respectable. Other than that, Barnes tested near the top of the class in several categories:
- First in bench, putting up 26% more reps than second-place RB Jalin Moore (34 to 27)
- Fifth in broad jump
- Second in three-cone (not adjusted for size)
- First in Shuttle
It all adds up to the second-best RB SPARQ score in the class.
Best RB SPARQ scores from the #NFLCombine:— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) March 6, 2019
1. Justice Hill, OK St
2. Alex Barnes, K-St
3. Travis Homer, Miami
4. Dexter Williams, ND
5. Miles Sanders, PSU
6. Alexander Mattison, Boise St
7. Mike Weber, OSU
8. Karan Higdon, UM
9. Damien Harris, Bama
10. Darrell Henderson, Memphis
Barnes also came in fourth in our Prospect Lab, which weighs both production and physical measurables. From a purely physical perspective, he looks a lot like Jay Ajayi and Nick Chubb.
His is not a perfect profile, but also not one that should have gone undrafted. Fearing I was missing something, I checked with some of our prospect evaluators for their takes:
Unfortunately, the biggest factor working against Barnes, along with his lack of draft equity, is the fact that his buried on the depth chart behind proven veterans Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis.
Barring injury, he’s not going to get many looks in camp, and even if he’s another undrafted stud in the mold of Phillip Lindsay, he’s unlikely to get a shot to show it this year. That said, he’s competing with NFL re-treads Jeremy McNichols and David Fluellen for the No. 3 job. I like his chances of winning that gig and putting himself in position to take advantage of an injury.
Either way, Barnes is a must-stash in dynasty leagues.
Image Credit: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire.
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