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Talent Lurks Behind Minnesota’s 3-Headed Monster: 2 Vikings 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 Jets | Miami Dolphins

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans | Indianapolis Colts | Jacksonville Jaguars | Tennessee Titans

AFC NORTH

Cincinnati Bengals | Pittsburgh Steelers | Baltimore Ravens

AFC WEST

Los Angeles Chargers | Denver Broncos

NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys | Philadelphia Eagles | Washington

Mike Boone, RB

It’s a shame that we can no longer consider Alexander Mattison a deep sleeper, but the market is starting to wake up to what makes him a great Zero RB target in 2019.

Instead, we pivot to a cheaper back who can fill a number of roles on the Vikings offense if called on.

If this sounds familiar, that’s because we listed Boone as a deep sleeper last year as well. Devin McIntyre compared him to Matt Breida as a result of his elite explosion score and lack of combine invite.

The 5-foot-10, 206-pounder’s college career was off to a flying start, averaging 6.8 yards per carry over his first two years before an injury-plagued final two seasons killed any chances of being drafted.

Year Gms Att RuYds Avg RuTD Rec RecYds Avg RecTD
2014 9 101 650 6.4 9 6 62 10.3 0
2015 11 104 749 7.2 9 15 108 7.2 0
2016 9 105 388 3.7 2 20 249 12.5 0
2017 10 110 463 4.2 4 24 177 7.4 1

He was a preseason star after signing as a UDFA with the Vikings last year, leading the team in rushing and finishing fourth among all preseason rushers with 195 yards while tacking on 10 receptions. But he took a back seat to Latavius Murray once the season started, playing in eight games and getting just 11 carries and three targets.

However, Boone is now the heavy favorite on the No. 3 job now that Roc Thomas has been released, and wasn’t wasting time taking advantage of the opportunity.

Mattison is still the back to own here, and he should be a priority late-round target, but considering Boone’s overall skill set and demonstrated explosiveness, I like his chances of seeing significant snaps if either of the guys in front of him goes down.

Dillon Mitchell, WR

The Vikings are starved for playmakers outside of the big three of Dalvin CookStefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen.

Vikings coaches say that the No. 3 WR job “is Chad Beebe’s to lose.” I’m inclined to believe them, but after a quick glance at Beebe’s body of work at Northen Illinois, I can’t imagine why they’re excited about such an unproductive player.

Year G Rec Yds Avg TD
2013 3 2 101 50.5 1
2014 12 21 219 10.4 1
2015 10 13 193 14.8 0
2017 9 28 417 14.9 1
Total 64 930 14.5 3

Why not give 2019 seventh-round draft pick Dillon Mitchell a crack at that gig instead? Mitchell had more yards in his final season at Oregon then Don Beebe’s son had in his four seasons combined.

Year G Rec Yds Avg TD
2016 5 2 9 4.5 0
2017 11 42 517 12.3 4
2018 13 75 1184 15.8 10
Total 1710 14.4 14

The raw numbers don’t pop off the page, but even that modest 517-yard sophomore season was good for a sturdy 0.36 Dominator Rating in the Ducks low-volume attack that year.

Mitchell piled up plenty of yards after the catch en route to a 14.4 YPR career average.

As a 22-year-old rookie, Mitchell falls in the second-most successful node of rookie receivers. It would be nice if he were a year younger, but at least he was an early declare, which gives his outlook a huge boost.

The training camp battle for the No. 3 job will be one to watch in training camp. It’s hard to imagine the Vikings gifting the gig to a guy whose best college season was 219 yards.

If Diggs or Thielen goes down, I’d much rather take a flier on the more productive rookie.

Image Credit: Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Stefon Diggs.


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