One of the keys to winning your fantasy football championship is the ability to draft Sleepers. “Sleepers” are NFL players who are chosen in much shorter rounds in your fantasy football drafts than their final stats warrant. In terms of buying, it’s like getting a 22-ounce bottle of Not Your Father’s Root Beer (the 19.9% version … mmmmm, mmmm) for A&W’s prices. In the world of fantasy football for the entire season, this is the road to the championship. We have seen championships won in the wake of Sleepers every year. They came out of nowhere to record monstrous years after being double-digit chosen or renounced. When you manage to catch a player at the end of your draft who becomes your # 1 producer in a certain position, you, my friends, have a real Sleeper. Below are some fantasy football projections by location for the 2015 season.
2015 Fantasy Football Sleepers
QB: Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota) – Teddy took over Matt Cassel’s reins in Minny in week 4 in 2014 and has never looked back. He was poised, confident and productive and returned in 2015 as an opening game starter with experience and new toys. He had a trio of running backs to pass the ball to last year, but none of them were named Adrian Peterson. One would think the Vikings will knock Peterson down since he has fresh legs, which could happen, but having him in the backfield will open up the passing game far more than last year’s timeshare. Vikings also upgraded to WR by replacing Elder Greg Jennings and adding stretcher Mike Wallace. Plus, Vikings will have a healthy TE Kyle Rudolph to add to the mix. Teddy is selected in double-digit rounds like QB2 but there’s no reason not to believe that you won’t find more games that you don’t want to start.
Also consider: Derek Carr (Oakland), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo)
RB: Joseph Randle (Dallas) – Though owner Jerry Jones is an idiot, there’s no way he’ll let go of DeMarco Murray and he’s pleased to have brought RB Darren McFadden to replace him unless he’s sure of his spare RBs since 2014. I believe McFadden’s move was a sympathetic move from a fellow Razorback alumni as McFadden has been a real failure since he was drafted from Oakland in 2008, even though injuries are the main reason why. He was very talented in college, but one wonders how much his slew of injuries have had on his speed. With McFadden already battling hamstring injuries, Randle is strengthening his position as the opening match starter as Dallas realizes that McFadden is far from a reliable workhorse as I am. Randle is only 23 and has a great combination of size and speed. Even if Randle started the season with only 15 straight wins, I expect good things because I could probably get 100 yards per game behind that massive Cowboys offensive line.
Also consider: David Cobb (Tennessee), David Johnson (Arizona)
WR: Nick Toon (New Orleans) – We fielded the Saints’ Brandin Cooks last season and he made us look smart … until he was lost through injury. He’s back this season and healthy, but the Saints have rebuilt their bout and, in the process, have lost TE Jimmy Graham and WR Kenny Stills. As WR Marques Colston ages, Cooks will need a running mate and we expect Toon to be that mate. He is entering his third year in the league and appeared to be sympathetic to QB Drew Brees towards the end of 2014 when he shot 23 captures in 17 of his career in the last 6 games of the season. Even though the Saints started relying more on the running game last season, there’s no way they’re not keeping Brees’ throwing arm active and we see Toon MUCH more involved than he’s ever been in the past. You should be able to grab it with your latest WR selection and not risk much for a huge upside making it a huge Sleeper fantasy football.
Also Consider: Allen Robinson (Jacksonville), Davante Adams (Green Bay)
YOU: Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Tampa Bay) – Jenkins was highly regarded entering his 2014 rookie season, but he limped all season with foot, ankle and back problems and had little impact. Enter 2015 healthy and with a beginner QB, which is often good for a tight end that captures the pass as a beginner QB often checks quickly and finds his TE when the rush to pass approaches. At 6’6 “262 pounds, Jenkins will be easy to find on the pitch for QB Jameis Winston. The Bucs have added new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter this season from Atlanta. Atlanta has put the ball in the air more than all but the teams. two last season so there should be plenty of opportunities to get that ball into Austin’s big hands in Tampa.
Also consider: Rob Housler (Cleveland), Josh Hill (New Orleans)
K: Connor Barth (Denver) – Barth came aboard in 2014 after the Broncos knocked Brandon McManus onto the curb and promptly scored 15 of 16 field shots and all of his extra points. Barth hasn’t lined up for any real long field goal attempts, but he has demonstrated his leg strength throughout his four seasons in Tampa, so I would expect to see those opportunities present themselves in Denver nowhere this season. Denver’s bout may not be this season’s powerhouse since QB Peyton Manning joined the squad, but it will provide Barth with more than ample opportunities to compete for the championship title.
Also Consider: Greg Zuerlein (St. Louis), Blair Walsh (Minnesota)
D: Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins were slightly above average last season with DE Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon creating a bit of a stir. In the off-season, the Finns added Ndamukong Suh and now this defensive line is one of the top 2 or 3 units in the league. With the added pressure, you can also expect an increase in fumbles and eavesdropping. Expect the defense to really pick up points in the first half of the season as no opponent has an offense which is scary to expect for a game in Foxboro and to be honest, I expect the Patriots to drop a step this year.
Also consider: New York Jets, Minnesota