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The Running Back Who Outplayed Saquon Barkley Is Basically Free: 2 Washington 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

Let’s dive into Washington. With the state of their roster, their entire team is basically just one big deep sleeper.

Terry McLaurin, WR

So far in this offseason, the values of McLaurin and fellow rookie wide receiver Kelvin Harmon have been mostly interchangeable. McLaurin’s ADP in the Scott Fish Bowl was 233 — in that same dart-throw range of Harmon’s 253.

It’s debatable whether either guy should be getting drafted at all. But considering one of them was a third-round NFL draft pick (74th overall), and the other a sixth (206th overall), I know which one I’d bet on — especially considering McLaurin is likely to be catching some passes from his college QB, Dwayne Haskins, at some point this season.

Many had McLaurin and his straight-line speed pegged for a special teams role in the big leagues, but his draft slot suggests Washington may think otherwise.

To be clear, you can count RotoViz in the former camp. McLaurin’s lack of production at Ohio State, both from a raw and market share standpoint, is a problem.

Year G Rec Yds Avg TD msYD msTD DR
2016 9 11 114 10.4 2 0.05 0.10 0.07
2017 12 29 436 15.0 6 0.13 0.17 0.15
2018 12 35 701 20.0 11 0.15 0.24 0.20
Career 33 75 1251 16.7 19 0.12 0.18 0.15

But what really matters is what Washington thinks, and the way in which they spend their draft capital is a decent clue.

And at least early on, they don’t sound afraid to put the 24-year old on the field.

“He can do everything,” said Jay Gruden during June mini-camps. “He can block, he can run the vertical routes, he can run the short, intermediate routes, ran an unbelievable double-move today. I’ve just been very impressed with the total package of Terry, not just his speed — but his toughness, his attention to detail, his ability to finish plays, his ability to block, line up correctly, he’s just been outstanding in all phases.”

Josh Doctson and Paul Richardson sit unimposingly atop the depth chart. Ourlads already has McLaurin listed as a starter in three-WR sets. That doesn’t mean much in July, but this team badly needs a gamebreaker, and perhaps that’s what Washington saw when McLaurin ran wild at the combine.

At 208 pounds, McLaurin ran 40 in 4.35 seconds, giving him the sixth-best Freak Score in the class.

What to Watch for in Camp

McLaurin is exact the type of guy you should avoid in dynasty — old with poor market share numbers and just enough athletic juice to bump his price in rookie drafts.

But reading the tea leaves in Washington, I wouldn’t be surprised to see McLaurin on the field as a rookie and being fed some targets.

Bryce Love, RB

I offer this pick with extreme caution.

Don’t get me wrong — I love me some Love, a player who not so long ago had one of the most impressive rushing seasons ever, running for 1,973 yards and beating out Saquon Barkley for the Doak Walker Award as the best back in the country.

He’s certainly undervalued in dynasty leagues, but with his ACL tear coming on December 1 of last year, I struggle to see how he makes in impact in 2019.

But what do I know? The wisdom of the crowd sees a pulse from Love, as evidenced by ADP of 219.7 in Fanball leagues.

Even in the typically sharp Scott Fish Bowl, he was selected in 38% of drafts with an ADP of 242.

Considering Love’s health and position on the depth chart, I’m a bit surprised by these expressions of optimism in the market. But I’m also wary of ignoring them outright.

Derrius Guice’s own ACL recovery isn’t said to be going smoothly, and Adrian Peterson is 34. I think you can find better deep dart throws in redraft, but Love could make a great late-season waiver grab.

Image Credit: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Saquon Barkley.


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