2016 Fantasy Football Sleepers

QB

Jameis Winston- The apparent model of fantasy consistency. Winston hit double digit points in every game last season but only had one 20+ point game. Winston was also top 10 in rushing attempts and yards for a QB last year and only Cam Newton scored more rushing TD’s from the quarterback position. Winston is being heavily overlooked in pre-draft with a lot of the 2nd tier QB class(Eli Manning, Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, Tony Romo, Phillip Rivers, Blake Bortles, Andy Dalton etc.) and some people even rate rookies and players with less experience over him like Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler. Winston should only get better with a year under his belt and the retention of Dirk Koetter as offensive playcaller. For a guy who is very clearly outside the top 15 at QB you could do a lot worse if you really wait at the position or need a reliable back-up.

Marcus Mariota- He’s the complete opposite from Winston as a fantasy commodity. While Winston is the model of consistency Mariota is an all or nothing risk/reward player. Out of the 11 full games(he missed 4 and got hurt early and left against the Patriots) he played last year Mariota had four 20+ point games, including two 30+ point games. He also proved to be a threat with his legs last year as well, coming in with 252 yards and 2 rushing TD’s in the 11 full games played on only 34 attempts(which comes out to a 7.4 YPC). The Titans aren’t expected to be good but Mariota is definitely worth a flier if he can stay healthy.

RB

Isaiah Crowell- With new head coach Hue Jackson coming to Cleveland and talking up Crowell the obvious player to compare him to is Jeremy Hill. If Crowell could be more consistent instead of just showing flashes(Week 14 against SF) then he could be a nice steal late for owners. He’s going to be the primary ball carrier of a run heavy team with new QB Robert Griffin and at this point in the draft that’s always valuable.

Giovanni Bernard- Consider the following: There were only three players who recorded 49+ catches and 150+ carries in the NFL last year. The first two were Devonta Freeman and Mark Ingram, the 3rd? Why Giovanni Bernard of course. Bernard is a good PPR back at the least but could be intriguing in standard as well. He’s carved out a good role for himself on the Bengals and if Jeremy Hill struggles out of the gate again(compounded with his playoff fumble) it wouldn’t be absurd to see Bernard to see an uptick in touches. Bernard really got the rough end of the stick in fantasy last year because he only scored 2 TD’s. If he could see more paydirt you’re not going to find another 200 touch RB this late in the draft.

James White- Just a dart throw here, but I think this is the “Patriots RB you want to own”. White scored six TD’s in the last seven week of the year and played primarily as the receiving back in the offense to complement Blount. If for any reason Dion Lewis isn’t ready to start the year White could be solid flier late.

Duke Johnson Jr/Theo Riddick- Both these guys are late end PPR backs. Riddick had 80 catches last year for 697 yards and 3 scores on 99 targets and Johnson had 61 catches for 534 yards and 2 scores on 74 targets. Johnson has more upside as an actual runner, where he had 104 carries for 379 yards last year, as he’s only a 2nd year player. Riddick barely gets the ball as a runner, with only 43 carries for 133 yards last year. Johnson has the room for growth and the standard scoring appeal that could make him a steal but both will be valuable zero RB players in PPR.

WR

Mike Wallace/Kamar Aiken- One of these guys is going to hit. I was high on Aiken coming into last season too and I feel the same coming into this year. He’s undervalued because he isn’t as attractive an option as Perriman(whoops hurt again) or Steve Smith(who balled out before getting hurt but a 35+ year old receiver off an ACL isn’t great). Aiken was the reliable target in the offense last year and made some noise when given the volume. I expect him to be the possession guy in the Ravens passing game again this year. As for Wallace, he’s struggled ever since leaving Pittsburgh and I know fantasy owners have been burned by him in his last two stops. This is the perfect fit for him though. Joe Flacco sorely missed Torrey Smith in the Ravens offense last year and Wallace is as good(if not better) than Smith as a deep threat. I expect him to have a couple 60+ yard TD catches this year and maybe can carve out a DeSean Jackson type year at best.

Tavon Austin/Kenny Britt- Jared Goff has the throw the ball to someone right? Austin is a weird hybrid player who as is involved in the passing game as he is in the running game. He had 52 carries and receptions last season for 907 all purpose yards and 9 total TD’s. He’s much more valuable if he has RB eligibility in a PPR league but could find value in standard if he becomes Goff’s go to guy. Britt on the other hand is an OK wide receiver who caught a lot of long passes last year. If Goff establishes a connection he cold end up being serviceable.

Robert Woods- He’s a competent NFL receiver, and with Watkins injury he may be thrust into the #1 role to start the season. There really isn’t anyone else on the depth chart that would scare you to take touches away from him if Watkins misses time.

Laquon Treadwell- Outside of AP there isn’t much on the Vikings offense that looks fantasy relevant, but I have some hopes for Treadwell. If you remember the nice string of games Stefon Diggs put together last year, it showed that Bridgewater can hone in on a receiver enough to make him fantasy relevant. Treadwell is a superior talent to Diggs by season’s end he should find himself as the Vikings #1 receiver. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended the year with 1,000+ yards receiving with a handful of TD’s by being the #1 guy. Bridgewater should have more time to throw with a healthy, upgraded offensive line and Treadwell and the rest of the offense should benefit from it.

TE

Zach Miller- He was great down the stretch when Martellus Bennett was out and now that Bennett is in New England it’s Miller time! Between week 8 and 15 Miller had either a TD or 6 targets in all but one game. He clearly established a connection with Jay Cutler and that momentum should carry over making him a good flier at TE this year.

Cameron Brate- Someone needs to emerge as the #2 receiving option in Tampa Bay, and honestly why couldn’t it be Brate? While ASJ was out last year Brate was solid filling in for him and ended up with a solid year. He’s a good player to target if you are taking TE as your last pick. He’ll be competing with Vincent Jackson, Louis Murphy and ASJ for targets as the #2 guy and if he edges out ASJ for the starting job he could pop.

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