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:
Emmanuel Butler, WR
This one comes from the desk of RotoViz legend Charles Kleinheksel, who wanted to make sure I didn’t overlook the 6-foot-4, 220-pound rookie wide receiver our of Northern Arizona.
Indeed, while Butler went undrafted this year, he ticks some of RotoViz’s favorite prospect boxes.
He broke out at 19-years old with a 1,208 yards on 64 receptions (18.9 YPR) while scoring 15 TDs, good for a 0.43 Dominator Rating.
Here is a quick refresher on the importance of Shawn Siegele’s Dominator Rating metric:
85% of the top 30 WR seasons over the past 5 years have come from a player who managed at least one collegiate season with a DR greater than 30%. Yes, that’s right. Only 15% of top 30 WR seasons come from players who were not dominant college receivers.
A majority (52%) of the top 30 seasons came from players who had their college breakout by age 20.
Butler smashed that threshold at 19, putting him — now 23 — in some promising company.
He was a combine snub, but his pro day numbers give him Freak Score of 71, which would’ve been good for sixth in this class, a point behind Parris Campbell.
His small-school stature means he didn’t land in our Box Score Scout, but MockDraftabe lists Josh Gordon and JJ Arcega-Whiteside among his most comparable physical profiles. Butler is already making an impression in the early days of Saints camp, with beat reporters saying he’s been hard to miss.
Sean Payton, not one prone to playing into rookie hype, said that “he’s someone we’ve noticed,” while Drew Brees noted that Butler “keeps making plays when he is given big opportunities.”
“He’s got a big catch radius,” said Brees. “You feel confident throwing to a guy like that because there’s a lot of places you can throw it where he has an opportunity at it, plus he’s big, physical, good body control.”
I’m intrigued. I’m making Butler a priority stash in dynasty, and if the hype keeps coming, he could force himself into the conversation in deeper redraft formats.
Javorius Allen, RB
Now that he’s free after all these years, I can advocate for drafting Javorius Allen.
I was never able to pull the trigger on the 2015 fourth-round draft pick, especially after an RB20 finish in 2017 made him a touch too pricey.
But as the third man on a Saints team that ranked top three in expected points from its running backs over the past three years, Allen has multiple paths to relevance.
Despite battling various injuries, Allen has at least 35 receptions in three of his four seasons while twice flirting with 10 fantasy points per game.
In Allen’s draft year, the Fantasy Douche noted that workhorse comparables such as Le’Veon Bell made him a fit for any team. He’s big, athletic, and he can catch passes. He can fill in for No. 2 Latavius Murray, and if Alvin Kamara were to go down, Allen would presumably be first in line to fill that extremely valuable role.
I say presumably because the big caveat here is that Allen has been absent from the opening days of Saints training camp, which may be why the team has been sniffing around free agent backs like Theo Riddick.
The Saints are saying nothing about the reasons behind his absence, so it’s a situation to keep an eye on, but assuming Allen doesn’t have some mystery injury we’re not privy to, he’s a guy you should be keeping tabs on in deeper formats.
Image Credit: Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Drew Brees.
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