2019 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: A six pack of sleeper questions, answered
Our team of analysts takes on six big questions about sleepers, giving their favorites, some they aren't buying, and more.
We're continuing our Fantasy football draft prep kickoff week with a look at sleepers Tuesday, with Heath Cummings revealing his latest round of sleepers, Jamey Eisenberg giving his favorite deep sleeper targets, and more.
And we're back asking questions of our Fantasy football team, too. Big questions. Important, philosophical questions.
Like, "What is a sleeper?"
To quote Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, "I know it when I see it." Fantasy players do, too.
Here's who you'll be hearing from:
- Jamey Eisenberg, CBS Fantasy Senior Writer
- Dave Richard, CBS Fantasy Senior Writer
- Heath Cummings, CBS Fantasy Senior Writer
- Adam Aizer, Fantasy Football Today host
- Ben Gretch, CBS Fantasy Editor
- Chris Towers, CBS Fantasy Senior Editor
1) How do you define the term "Sleeper"?
- Jamey Eisenberg: A sleeper is anyone being drafted with a mid- to late-round pick who is viewed as a backup Fantasy option prior to the season but has the chance to start sooner rather than later.
- Dave Richard: Someone drafted with a mid- to late-round pick who you think will play better than expected.
- Heath Cummings: I'll accept many definitions but generally it's either someone the industry is way too low on by consensus rankings or someone whose ADP is outside of the top 100 and well below where I think it should be.
- Adam Aizer: A sleeper is a mid- to late-round pick who will exceed draft value by a healthy margin. Sleepers are not as high-end as breakouts.
- Ben Gretch: Anyone drafters are taking something like two or more rounds after a place where a reasonable case could be made for them, and the gap is for dubious reasons.
- Chris Towers: It's a dart throw. It's someone who, if you miss, won't hurt your team. So, it's hard to call someone a "sleeper" if you're expecting to have them in your starting lineup in Week 1.
2) Who is the sleeper you are targeting in every draft?
- Jamey: Curtis Samuel. I would not be surprised if he's better than D.J. Moore this year.
- Dave: Parris Campbell. A fast, shifty slot receiver with a knack for making plays after the catch in the Colts' offense? Sign me up for that all day.
- Heath: Tyrell Williams is the one I've drafted the most often. The Raiders have 361 targets to replace and Williams topped 1,000 yards the only other time he saw more than 100 targets.
- Adam: Emmanuel Sanders' ADP will rise as he continues his recovery from Achilles surgery, but I still think Sanders will go late enough in drafts to qualify as a sleeper. His stats were incredibly similar to Julian Edelman's last season, so let's give him some credit! He's not Edelman, but he's the best Broncos wide receiver and he's worth drafting.
- Ben: It changes throughout the offseason as players move up in drafts, but lately it's guys like Matt Breida, Darwin Thompson, N'Keal Harry, Marqise Lee, Andy Isabella, Jordan Reed.
- Chris: I really, really like Isabella as a talent. He's going to be one of the fastest players in the NFL the second he steps on the field, and despite being just 5'9", he has a larger catch radius than you'd think. The Cardinals' offense is wide open right now, with veteran Larry Fitzgerald surrounded by first-or second-year players.
3) Which popular-in-the-industry sleeper are you avoiding?
- Jamey: Parris Campbell. I like him, but I expect him to fall behind T.Y. Hilton, Devin Funchess and Eric Ebron on the pecking order for production this year. I'd rather have Funchess if given a choice of the two.
- Dave: There's no real case against any sleeper you take in Round 11-plus, but Lamar Jackson isn't worth the risk given the talent-rich position. Even if he finds improvement in his passing, I'm worried about him holding up for a full season.
- Heath: I guess the answer to that has to be Ronald Jones. Though I'm not sure we can call him a sleeper much longer.
- Adam: Dak Prescott will not be on many of my Fantasy teams. I like Dak, but I don't LOVE Dak. And unless you're in a 2-QB league, you should LOVE your Fantasy quarterback.
- Ben: Donte Moncrief. Don't think he gets enough volume; think he's a replacement-level wide receiver without it.
- Chris: I don't see the upside with Jaylen Samuels. Even if James Conner goes down, I don't see how he becomes an every-down back for a significant period of time. He played a lot of snaps over the course of three games last season, but in just one did he have more than 12 carries, and he never had more than 12 carries in any game in college. In fact, so far as I can tell, his career high for carries in a season at any level is 109 as a senior in college. Benny Snell will figure in, too.
4) Who is one sleeper you're stashing for the second half of the season?
- Jamey: Justice Hill. You know the Ravens are going to run the ball, and Hill could be exceptional if Mark Ingram were to miss any time due to injury.
- Dave: As of right now, it's Devin Singletary. I was enamored with his college film and expect to see him wiggle his way in and out of tackles this preseason. Obviously this changes if (when?) the Bills move on from LeSean McCoy or Frank Gore or both.
- Heath: I'll be patient with Marquise Brown, who could be slow getting out of the gate due to his foot injury.
- Adam: I've been drafting Devin Singletary fairly aggressively in mock drafts. It could take several weeks, but it's not hard to see Singletary emerging as the best running back in Buffalo and an impact Fantasy player.
- Ben: D'Onta Foreman. Prospect metrics before the Achilles tear suggested he'd be a future workhorse. The track record of overcoming this type of injury isn't there, but his cost makes the gamble worthwhile.
- Chris: Lotta young, exciting names here, so I'll zig and say Dion Lewis. Lewis is going to be a factor in the passing game no matter what, and if Henry is as ineffective in 2019 as he was for most of last season, there's a chance the workload see-saws back Lewis' way.
5) Which rookie backup is a better sleeper: Justice Hill, Darwin Thompson, or Alexander Mattison?
- Jamey: Hill. For the reasons stated above.
- Dave: They're literally ranked back-to-back-to-back in my PPR ranks! Thompson is the headliner since he most resembles the pass-catching running backs in Andy Reid's offenses. As the guy behind Dalvin Cook, Mattison is a very close second.
- Heath: I'll take Mattison just because he has less competition for the role if something happens to the starter.
- Adam: I'll take Alexander Mattison. I expect him to have a decent role even with Dalvin Cook healthy, but if the starters get hurt in Baltimore, Kansas City and Minnesota, I think Mattison is the one who has the clearest path to a big workload and goal-line carries.
- Ben: They are all good options, and if you're considering cost, it's probably Thompson, but in a vacuum it's probably Hill.
- Chris: I'm drafting a lot of Damien Williams, and I don't think Carlos Hyde is a particularly good fit for what Andy Reid likes to get from his running backs. Thompson might not be next up for the Chiefs, but if something were to happen to Williams, he's the guy I would expect to be most effective.
6) Who is a better sleeper QB: Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson?
- Jamey: Lamar Jackson, but it's close. He will run by design, and his Fantasy production will be enhanced by his rushing stats. Allen was great running the ball last year, but I don't think the Bills want him doing that as much in 2019.
- Dave: Bet you can guess who I'm going with! Say I'm in a Best Ball league and wanted a high-upside second quarterback. I'd go with Allen, who last season scored more Fantasy points in three different games than Jackson scored in his best game.
- Heath: I want Jackson. I think his rushing production was more sustainable, and I like the changes his offense made more.
- Adam: This is a tough one but I'll take Lamar Jackson. It may not have been evident last season, but Jackson is a much more talented rusher than Allen in my opinion. I'm excited to see how he does with an offense that is actually designed for him this year.
- Ben: Jackson, and it's not close.
- Chris: If we get word the Bills are trying to build in more read-option concepts in their offense to take advantage of Allen's athleticism, I'd lean his way. I just don't think he can replicate his success when it was so dependent on scrambling.
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