One of the best (maybe worst?) things about the term sleeper is there is no agreed upon definition. Some people base it on ADP, others say it has to be someone no one has ever heard of. I've even tried to base it on the industry consensus rankings. You know, because the experts were "sleeping" on them.
The thing is, I'm not sure it really matters. You're reading this article because you want players you can draft late who are going to help your Fantasy team. I've got 12 of them. Some of them are unproven like Marquez Valdes-Scantling; some of them may be future Hall of Famers like LeSean McCoy. We've got guys who were Fantasy relevant last year (Mitchell Trubisky and Trey Burton), and guys who haven't been relevant in years (John Brown).
My presumption is if you draft these guys and they hit for you, you won't care what qualification I used. The one thing they all have in common? They have an ADP outside the top 100 on CBS.
BUF Buffalo • #10
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
When it comes to sleepers at quarterback, I'm far more interested in where they're being taken within the position than a round value. That's because there's such a wide range in where any quarterback gets taken in an individual league. But Mitchell Trubisky is the rare quarterback who is a value by either measure. In his first year in Matt Nagy's system Trubisky was the No. 12 quarterback in points per game. He's currently the No. 20 quarterback by ADP in CBS drafts. I expect improvement in his second year in the system and a little regression from his defense, which scored way more points than you should expect in 2019. A small boost in volume and efficiency would give him a legitimate chance to makes the leap into the top six. This is your target if you want to wait until the double-digit rounds to take a quarterback.
LeSean McCoy RB
TB Tampa Bay • #25
Age: 33 • Experience: 13 yrs.
I'm sure you'd prefer all the sleepers be young players with oodles of upside. It would certainly be more fun that way. But we're about a week away from the start of the season and the starting running back for one of the more run-heavy teams in the league is available in the 10th round. How could I not call McCoy a sleeper? I know there was speculation about him being traded or cut, but that hasn't happened and every indication we've received is that McCoy is "the man," as he put it. He starts the season against the Jets, Giants and Bengals. It's going to be really awkward when he's a top-25 running back after the first month of the season. I'm thrilled to land McCoy in the eighth or ninth round when I go Zero RB early.
Matt Breida RB
BUF Buffalo • #22
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
If you watched the team's third preseason game, you might just think Breida is going to be the starter. I wouldn't go that far, but there are plenty of touches for Breida to split with Tevin Coleman and still be an absolute steal at his 10th round ADP. I don't see Coleman taking more than 250 touches in an absolute worst case scenario for Breida. Last year Breida touched the ball 180 times and finished as a top-25 running back. That's a ton of upside at this cost and it might be possible even without a Coleman injury. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Breida leads the team in rushing touchdowns and finishes as a top-30 back again.
DEN Denver • #28
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Royce Freeman hasn't generated quite as much excitement as Breida, but he has a similar cost and he's in a similar situation. As of right now I'd expect he'll touch the ball less than Phillip Lindsay, but I don't believe that's a guarantee. While Freeman was less efficient in 208, he did generate more yards after contact and more broken tackles. He was a third-round pick for a reason, and I'm excited to see him fully healthy after playing on a bad ankle most of last season.
LAC L.A. Chargers • #22
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
I keep waiting for Jackson's ADP to skyrocket, and it keeps hovering in the 12th round. It's almost like people either don't believe Melvin Gordon is going to hold out into the season or don't believe Jackson is going to split the load with Austin Ekeler. I expect Jackson to average 10-12 touches per week as long as Gordon is out and have a good shot at goal-line work. If Ekeler misses time, Jackson instantly becomes a borderline top-12 back.
BAL Baltimore • #14
Age: 28 • Experience: 8 yrs.
There was a time earlier this summer when the hype almost got out of control for Watkins. Then the NFL announced it wasn't going to suspend Tyreek Hill, but that still doesn't explain why Watkins is available in the Round 9. In 10 games that Watkins started and finished last year (including the playoffs), he caught 49 passes for 691 yards and three touchdowns. That's an 1,105-yard pace. I don't say that because I think Watkins is going to play 16 games. I say it to illustrate the expectation of what you're receiving when he does play. Watkins is a borderline No. 2 receiver whenever he suits up, and he still has the incredible upside if something happens to Hill or Travis Kelce.
WAS Washington • #10
Age: 24 • Experience: 5 yrs.
If the complaints haven't started yet, this is where I expect them. "Everyone is talking about Curtis Samuel, how can he be a sleeper?" Well, despite Jamey Eisenberg's best efforts, Samuel still has an ADP at the end of the ninth round. I'm the low guy at CBS on Samuel and I still have him ranked a full two rounds higher. Like so many of the running backs above, Samuel should outperform his ADP even if everything doesn't break right. But if Cam Newton is 100% and Samuel overtakes D.J. Moore as the team's No.1? We'll be arguing about whether Samuel was a sleeper or a breakout, and the answer will be both.
Corey Davis WR
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #84
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Unlike with a lot of these players, I can't point to a lot of preseason anecdotes or past statistics to tell you why it's crazy that Corey Davis isn't being drafted in the top 100 picks. I don't even love his new offensive coordinator. But he is a third-year receiver who was a top-five pick in the NFL Draft. He hasn't lost any of the talent or ability that made him that type of prospect. Do the Titans want to ground and pound? Of course. But they also have a schedule littered with great offenses. I'm thrilled to land Davis after Round 8.
GB Green Bay • #83
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a Packer who has received more praise this offseason than Valdes-Scantling. The best part? Most of it has come from his quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. Valdes-Scantling is going to play outside opposite Davante Adams, and the No. 2 outside receiver in Green Bay has been a sneaky source of touchdowns in the past. Remember James Jones? You don't even have to look back that far; remember the first time Adams scored double-digit touchdowns? This is a bit of a lottery tick pick, but he's cheap enough to make it appealing.
DET Detroit • #6
Age: 29 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Tyrell Williams' ADP is a good reminder just how little impact I actually have. I've written about him in every version of Sleepers I've done this year. Even if Antonio Brown plays 16 games, there is plenty of room for Williams due to the fact the Raiders have 361 targets to replace from 2018. We've only seen Williams receive 100 targets once in his career, and he was a top-30 wide receiver. I expect a repeat in 2019, and those expectations will balloon if Brown misses any time.
John Brown WR
LV Las Vegas • #15
Age: 31 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Brown may just be the biggest value in Fantasy this year. He's the No. 1 receiver for the Bills and he's available after the 12th round. It makes no sense at all other than drafters are wary of the Bills. Brown is the most talented receiver on the team and virtually everyone who visited camp raved about him. He was on pace for 1,000 yards last year before Joe Flacco was benched and the team stopped passing. He topped 1,000 yards the only year he was significantly targeted in Arizona. Draft John Brown.
Trey Burton TE
IND Indianapolis • #80
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
I certainly didn't expect to be writing about Trey Burton this year. At least not in a good way. But there are only eight tight ends I really feel good about right now and Burton seems as likely as anyone else to finish at No. 9. Burton was a terrible disappointment last year and finished as the No. 6 tight end in non-PPR. He's currently being drafted as the No. 19 tight end. I prefer him to Eric Ebron, Vance McDonald and David Njoku, all of whom are being drafted in the first 10 rounds.
So what sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which RB2 can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Andrew Luck's huge 2018, and find out.