We are just starting the NFL offseason, but it’s never too early to get familiar with some potential sleepers and late round gems when it comes to fantasy football. I’m going list one player at each position that is currently being drafted in the later rounds that could turn into fantasy studs. The ADP’s that you’ll see in this article are based off 10 team/Half PPR drafts. Final note is that no upcoming rookies will be considered, mostly due to once the rookie is drafted, their ADP ranges are crazy wide.
Quarterback: Jameis Winston, TB, Current ADP- Round 13
Jameis Winston has had an up and down career since being the first pick in 2015. He has shown to be a great passer with questionable decision making. If anyone can help cut down Winston’s turnovers, it’s Bruce Arians. Arians is a no-nonsense coach and his vertical passing scheme will allow easy reads for Winston. He also has an elite pass catching group consisting of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard. Another factor is the Bucs defense should still be very bad in 2019. This means, if the Bucs want to win games, they will have to outscore their opponent. With no clear running game in sight, leaning on Jameis is the best option. With a full season under center, and an improved offensive scheme, I can see a top-10 finish from Winston.
Running Back: Rashaad Penny, SEA, Current ADP- Round 12
2018 started off in the worst possible way for Rashaad Penny. After being a first round selection, he broke his finger in camp and was sidelined for the majority of the offseason. Not only did he not gain any reps in camp, but he also had conditioning issues and was in the dog house for the start of the season. This allowed Chris Carson to step in and “run” away with the job. As the season progressed though, Penny started to impress and he continued to improve as the year went on. I believe that the running back situation is up for grabs in Seattle. People think that Chris Carson will be the workhorse but I am a believer in draft capital. Penny was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft for a reason. He has elite elusiveness in the open field and I can see him taking control of the starting job or establishing himself as the “1A” in a committee. Also note that Chris Carson has had his share of injuries. If Penny can get a couple weeks with the backfield all to himself, he may become the stud running back the Seahawks envisioned.
Wide Receiver: D.J. Moore, CAR, Current ADP- Round 9
Wideout is a pretty deep position for fantasy purposes, so you can find value late in rounds. D.J. Moore is someone who I believe is too talented to be drafted this late. He reminds me of what Kenny Golladay was last year. A guy who is super talented but is being held back. Well Moore is now the unquestioned go-to receiver in Carolina. Taken in the first round in 2018, Moore flashed amazing RAC skills and route running in his rookie year, even though he was inconsistent and a part-time player. Still once he was given a bigger role in the offense, he showed his skills. He was the 23rdranked wideout from weeks 8-16, which is when he was given a larger role. There are plenty of factors for a Moore breakout such as Funchess out the door, Olsen considering retirement, Cam’s healthy shoulder, and a full offseason to grow his game.
Tight End: O.J. Howard, TB, Current ADP- Round 10
The tight end position is extremely difficult for fantasy purposes. There aren’t any deep round sleepers because after the top 6 or so guys, the position is awful. So for this one, I am going to give y’all a tight end that can be targeted late, and that could finish in the top three of the position. The pick is obviously O.J. Howard. Before his injury, Howard was enjoying a breakout sophomore year. He still ended up as the 11thbest fantasy tight end, while only playing 10 games. Although tight end isn’t typically a volume role in an Arians offense, Howard is an athletic freak, and should establish himself as the second best passing option in the Bucs offense. While there are plenty of other options in Tampa Bay, I believe there will be enough volume to go around to where Howard will enjoy a good season, and possibly finish as a top tier tight end. Getting that kind of value in the 10thround? Sign me up.
So there are my very early dark horse candidates for the 2019 Fantasy Season. While ADP’s will continue to rise and fall, these players are just one or two factors away from being true fantasy studs. As the off-season continues, keep an eye out for sleepers and other late round fliers.