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:
Isaiah McKenzie was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He didn’t do much as a Bronco and spent most of his time on their practice squad. After Denver waived McKenzie, he was claimed by the Buffalo Bills and emerged as a usable late season option.
Over the last five weeks of the season, McKenzie earned similar receiving opportunity as Robert Foster. Unlike Foster, McKenzie was woefully inefficient with his volume. However, McKenzie is having a strong camp and is slated to make the Bills’ 53-man roster as their sixth WR.
Although it’s difficult to project any semblance of reliable volume for McKenzie if he makes the team, the Bills WR corps is more fragile than it looks on paper. Both John Brown and Zay Jones are ostensibly locked in as the primary receivers in two WR sets, and Cole Beasley is set to break camp as the team’s starting slot WR. Beasley is playing well with the first-string offense in preseason, but none of these receivers played well enough in 2018 to be a no-brainer starter. This is the type of depth chart were a sleeper could emerge later this season.
Note that comps from the RotoViz Box Score Scout are mixed on McKenzie’s NFL potential but underscore his upside as a potential slot WR.
There are several names on the list above that don’t inspire much confidence, but he does represent an interesting arbitrage opportunity on the Keke Coutee enthusiasm.
McKenzie improved his case by turning in a strong performance in Week 1 of preseason. He caught both of his targets for 62 yards. In Week 2 of the preseason, McKenzie once again flashed his big play ability by taking a screen pass 37 yards on his lone target.
Bear in mind that McKenzie is currently going undrafted in 28-round FFPC leagues so don’t feel like you need to draft him. If the Bills WR depth chart breaks against expectation, you want to be ready to beat your leaguemates to McKenzie.