Well folks, Fantasy Football finally here. At least it is for those of who have been researching to find the players you will want on your fantasy teams. I will be going through and talking about all fantasy sleepers and busts.
I will keep this simple by talking about 2 players in each (offensive) position that are potential sleepers. Sleepers are players who the fantasy community is undervaluing. I expect sleepers to outproduce their draft cost in a significant way. Furthermore, I will be talking about bust players in each position. The same concept of a sleeper except bust means they will go lower than their projections. So let’s begin.
Sleeper: Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton is an interesting case. He is a scrambler which is good as those QBs (ex Russell Wilson & Deshaun Watson) can pick up yardage using their legs or their arm. Now, in most leagues, you get 0.04 points in passing yardage and 4 points per passing touchdown. However, with scrambler, you get the leg movement that can come in handy since they get 0.10 points in rushing yardage and 6 points per rushing TD. In 2018, Cam racked up 282.6 points off of 3,395 yards, 24 TDs, 12INTs (-2 points per INT) and 488 rushing yards with 6 Rush TDs and 4 fumbles (-2 points per FUM). He was on his way to be a fantasy machine, as usual, but then he got hurt and had surgery this offseason.
Now, I understand the cause for concern with the injury, but he has other talents that can provide fantasy points. Christian McCaffrey gives Newton a nice quick passing option that should enable him to protect his shoulder. Watch out for Cam as he could be making a bit of noise over there in Carolina.
Sleeper: Sam Darnold – New York Jets
Alright, before you get on your high horse and claim I am playing favorites, let’s get one thing straight. I am playing favorites. But that has nothing to do with this. Sam Darnold, like Cam Newton, is an interesting case. Sam started his season off with a pick 6 then came back out and rallied the troops to have a Lion BBQ. Darnold was good until he wasn’t and thanks to Spencer Long, the former Center, he got hurt and that knocked him out until late November. When he came back, boy did he change. He was the highest-ranked QB in the final four weeks racking up 6TDs and 1INT and completing the majority of his passes.
With additional weapons on the offense, such as Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder, Darnold has a better quantity of quality targets at his disposal. Furthermore, the O-Line got a boost thanks to the departure of Spencer Long and the addition of Kelechi Osemele from the Raiders. So there are a lot of hopes riding on this kid but he has the necessary weapons to make the jump. Ultimately, the J-E-T-S on the sign on the side of Darnold’s helmet probably hurts his fantasy value thanks in part to the stigma surrounding his team. Grab Sam and thank me later.
Bust: Jameis Winton – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is a tough one for me to choose between Baker Mayfield and Jameis Winston. I throw Mayfield in not because I don’t believe he will do well, but simply for the fact that I believe he will not live up the hype everyone is giving him. But Winston takes the cake here. This is his final year to prove to the Bucs that he is worthy of a being a QB1. They rolled the dice by picking up his fifth-year option and so that tells me that they believe in him to a certain extent.
Winston is a half and half type of QB, he can play on dirt or turf, in a dome or under the stadium lights or even in the summer or the winter. Regardless, he will be the same type of gunslinger QB which can lead to monster production but also to more turnovers (i.e. INTs) and that will hurt him. Stay away from Winston or buyer beware.
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Sleeper: Josh Jacobs – Oakland Raiders
Yes yes, I know Josh Jacobs is being taken so early and he is the featured back we all want and I agree with you guys one hundred percent. Here is the reason why he makes my sleeper list. Because I think he will outperform a lot of other running backs and possibly break the top 10 at the position. #SleeperStatus.
Look, Jacobs’ value skyrocketed once the former Jet/Brown Isaiah Crowell went down with that injury during camp and now he is featured as RB2 behind Doug Martin but I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes it RB1 before the season starts. With Derek Carr looking like QB100 and the only talent on the roster being AB, I would be worried for the passing game and look to them to lean heavily on the run game. Jacobs’ value could skyrocket even more if they do lean on him more to which I fully expect to happen.
Sleeper: Peyton Barber – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Wait what? I am supporting a Buc? That’s right boys and girls of all ages, come one and come all and let me tell you the tale of the sleepy running back. Look, I am not a fan of the QB room down there in the sunshine state but unlike that position, I like the running back situation. Now, while Bruce Arians has favored the passing game, he has had some excellent production from running backs (David Johnson, 2016). We shall see if he leans on one player in Tampa, or if he uses a committee.
I like Peyton Barber to win out here because his competition is Ronald Jones and Andre Ellington. Jones is a nice back that can rule in the NFL if he bulks up more because he is slightly underweight. As for Ellington, he has been sitting on the heels of Arians for as long as he has been a coach, except or his time in Houston while Bruce was on vacay. Barber is going late enough, that you are not paying a premium price to get him. He does, however, possess the possibility of a large workload on his side.
Bust: Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars
Leonard Fournette has been one of those guys that once he gets going he can go and he can be great but he trips on his own feet too much and gets himself in trouble. I have to favor bust this time even though I kinda like the guy. In a pinch, he can get you the points you need no doubt, but as a long term solution please don’t invest in him its a for sanity sake.
He has run 1,479 yards over two years. Breaking that down he ran 1,040 his first year averaging 80 yards per carrying over 13 games. Pro-rating to a full 16, that would rough out to 1,280 yards. At that rate, he would have finished behind Le’Veon Bell at 4th that year, but unfortunately, things went downhill in 2018. Playing 8 games for 439 yards he averaged about 54.9 yards per game. Finishing out his year, Fournette would have gone for 879 yards which would put him at 19th behind Alvin Kamara.
The Jags threw the ball on 536 attempts and ran the ball 416 times. Fournette got the ball 133 times before he left the game which is the highest out of everyone. Then it was TJ Yeldon who ran 104 times for 414 yards (see the trend already), followed by Carlos Hyde (another bust) at 58 attempts for 189 yards finally it was the ex-Jags QB Blake Bortles (a QB!) with 58 attempts racking up 365 yards. I mean it’s bad when the QB, say it with me QB, has to run for his life and get almost as much yardage as you with half the attempts. Fournette you are a bust.
Sleepers: DaeSean Hamilton – Denver Broncos
I like DaeSean Hamilton who can come be the #2 WR in the Mile High City behind Courtland Sutton who looks like a locked-in #1. While Emmanuel Sanders is still there, he is coming off an Achilles tear which can be game-altering for a wide receiver in the NFL so, for now, I will sit him behind Sutton. Look for Hamilton to have an upgraded role in the up and coming new season. Between him and Noah Fant, Denver can be a contender if Joe Flacco will just admit defeat and let Drew Lock slide on in. But for now, with a vet like Flacco behind the wheel, we can still expect to see Hamilton’s numbers skyrocket.
Sleeper: Robert Foster – Buffalo Bills
This is tough to say, not because I am a Jets fan and but because Josh Allen is actually a good running back. I mean quarterback. Sorry but it’s true, he can run the ball and throw the ball, he is mediocre at best on both sides but the few times he actually does throw those targets will be going towards Robert Foster. The young gun is running that Buffalo offense having only Cole Beasley and John Brown to fight out for starting role. Andre Roberts is there but he is a return man at best and without the help of a good supporting cast that he had in New York, he will just be reduced to a mediocre wide receiver. Foster is fighting for #1 WR and it should not be that hard to win. Expect his role to be boosted in the upcoming season.
Bust: Antonio Brown – Oakland Raiders
What? OMG! Stop the press! Breaking News! No not really everyone should have seen this one coming. Antonio Brown makes my bust list simply because he is falling from the graces of an oiled machine to a black hole of a team (see what I did there). AB is used to having his throws given to him wherever he wanted and while he had to make a couple of out of range catches, he had a very good, probably HoF, QB in Ben Roethlisberger throwing him the ball.
Carr, however, is another breed of animal. He is not pinpoint accurate, he is not that strong and is supported by a weaker O-Line than the Steelers. Therefore, AB will have to actually go out and get his targets and work for it. AB is good but a decent/good WR needs to have a good QB and Carr is not. AB will no longer be the top tier WR that everyone remembers, his little stunt to get more money and leave Pittsburgh may have cost him his place in the HoF. Ouch man.
Thank you for reading this article on sleepers and busts. For more fantasy football analysis, be sure to check out all of the content available on Full Press Coverage.