Welcome BACK fantasy football! It’s been a long 8 months without fantasy football. For us DFS players, it was full of tilting over late inning home runs, watching the Kings-Nets game on a Friday night, and learning the rules of golf as I put together PGA DFS lines.
For the rest of you, I’m sure you learned your kids’ names, talked to your significant other and hell, maybe even impressed your boss with an unusual amount of productivity!
The draft season is officially upon us, and with that being said, I wanted to get out a few quick reads to help you condense your player pool heading into your draft.
Looking ahead to the season, myself and the rest of the FanCave team will have both free and premium articles, cheat sheets, chat rooms, live streams and more to help you dominate both your daily and season-long leagues – get signed up here for as little as $5 per month!
This article will contain my top sleeper at the four main positions (QB, RB, WR, TE). I am leaving out K and D/ST because there’s no reason in evaluating their ADP, as they should always be reserved for your last few rounds. Have questions? Find me on twitter at @JMetz34!
Let’s get to it!
*Average draft positions via FantasyPros
QB | Patrick Mahomes | Kansas City Chiefs | ADP: 107 (QB15)
Some of the guys over at FanCave (Mike and Johnny specifically), having been harping on Mahomes since the latter weeks of the 2017 season, and I’ve finally joined them on the bandwagon.
With Alex Smith gone, Mahomes will take the reigns of the offense in Kansas City that surrounds him with a ton of young talent. Given his skill set and how much more diverse it is than Smith’s (downfield arm strength, mobility), the fact that Smith finished as the #3 overall QB last season gives a ton of hope here. He looked good in his one regular season game against the Broncos, posting 284 yards on 22-35 passes, without Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. In addition to those two, he will have Kareem Hunt in the backfield to catch the shovel passes and I’m sure the Chiefs will get creative with him and Tyreek Hill together.
In his final season at Texas Tech., Mahomes passed for 5,052 yards and 41 TDs, while rushing for for 285 yards and 12 TDs.
I’ll say it again, if Alex Smith excelled in this offense to the point where he was a top-5 fantasy QB, there is a whole lot of reason to believe that Mahomes will outperform his current ADP of QB15.
RB | Jay Ajayi | Philadelphia Eagles | ADP: 43 (RB22)
While I’ve recently seen a few positive takes on Ajayi, the overwhelming majority of pieces I’ve read have been extremely bullish on the talented running back.
A season removed from posting 1,272 rushing yards and 8 TDs, Ajayi was traded to the Eagles ahead of their playoff run and seemed to get lost in the committee of LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement. Now, with Blount out of the picture, opportunity is knocking for Ajayi. Opportunity, being the key word. To show you how important opportunity is, let me break down Ajayi’s 14 games last season (7 with MIA, 7 with PHI).
In his 7 games with the Dolphins, Ajayi compiled 138 rushing attempts for 465 yards (disappointing, yes, but in large part due to the O-line).
In his 7 games with the Eagles, he had 70 rushing attempts for 408 yards (2.4 ypc MORE than with the Dolphins). Given the strength of the Eagles offensive line, if he was averaging 5.8 ypc in 7 games with them, imagine what he could do with more than 10 attempts per game behind that ridiculous O-line.
The icing on the cake is the fact that Legarrette Blount is gone. When he was around in the regular season, Ajayi saw 31% of the snaps, compared to 49% in the playoffs (per Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice). If that trend continues with Blount gone, I expect Ajayi to solidify himself as a high-end RB2 with RB1 upside and outperform his RB22 ADP.
WR | DeVante Parker | Miami Dolphins | ADP: 99 (WR35)
I’m pretty sure that I wrote up Parker as a sleeper last season, and in just about every DFS article I wrote and was continuously disappointed. Well, I’m just a sucker for this guy and this year, it’s harder not to love him than ever.
He was able to rack up 96 targets last season (7.4 per game, in only 13 games) even with Jarvis Landry in the picture. While his 57 catches, 670 yards and 1 TD were rather underwhelming, we see that the opportunity is there.
Now, with Landry gone, I expect the volume to rise, especially in the red zone. The acquisition of Danny Amendola won’t necessarily help the case for Parker, but he is not a player that will take away the deep threat from Parker.
We’ve seen what this kid is capable of and this is a do-or-die season for the receiver. I’m willing to take a gamble on him ahead of his round 10 ADP knowing the upside he possesses (100+ receptions, 10+ TDs).
TE | Eric Ebron | Indianapolis Colts | ADP: 179 (TE17)
This is yet again, another player that I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about. While I admit that I expected him to break out a while ago, I think this is a year where opportunity is knocking (noticing a theme?).
He’s moved to Indianapolis in an offense that, hopefully, should get Andrew Luck back. As of July 20, Colts GM Chris Ballard reported that Luck “will be ‘good to go’ for the start of training camp”. If Luck is indeed healthy for the first time since 2016, this would be a massive bump to the Colts’ offense, including Ebron.
Still only 25, Ebron should be able to excel due to the combination of his freak size and athleticism in the red zone and the fact that the Colts targeted tight ends at a 30.3% clip last season (3rd most in NFL). He will still have to fend of Jack Doyle for looks, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Colts run a lot of two tight end sets given the fact that they have the young talent at the position.
With the TE position being so thin in years past, drafting Ebron as a TE2 with the hope that he’ll rise into an every-week TE1 isn’t the worst strategy in the world.
Thank you for reading my top sleepers! I will begin working on my biggest busts article in the next few days. In the meantime, shoot me a follow on Twitter and let’s work together to crush the season!