Hi Folks, I’ve been away for a while, but now I’m back. Coincidentally, NFL training camps are in full swing. Every summer we breathe a sigh of relief when football gets back into action. We’ve been pining away with golf tournaments and a baseball season that lasts foreeeeever. Oh, and the Olympics are getting started. But let’s be honest, no one is watching the Olympics. I feel like if I do, I may simultaneously get zika, get mugged, and come down with a poop virus.
Football is back. Many of us are gearing up for the fantasy season. Some may have already drafted, and others (yours truly) will be drafting in a few weeks. I’m here to help you get prepared if you haven’t drafted yet. Well, to be honest, you may not draft these guys, but you need to be aware of them.
These are the sleepers. The players that will win the crucial games late in the season. They will probably be available on the waiver wire for the first few weeks, and their true value won’t take long to come out. After you’ve reaped the benefits of their greatness, feel free to thank me with a lifetime supply of beer.
Sterling Shepard, WR New York Giants
New York took Shepard in the second round of the draft. Keep in mind, they already had Odell Beckham Jr. and a returning Victor Cruz. However, Shepard is an electric receiver out of Oklahoma who is already drawing rave reviews in training camp. Victor Cruz is coming back from injury. Odell Beckham is one of the best receivers in the league, but Shepard may win the #2 job. He has been compared to Tyler Lockett, and won’t remain a sleeper for too long. Eli likes to spread the ball around.
Braxton Miller, WR Houston Texans
Miller was taken by Houston in the third round. He played quarterback at Ohio State for a couple of years before transitioning to wide receiver. All reports coming out of camp are that Miller looks the part and is ready to play the part. He is an explosive athlete at 6-1, 201. He runs a 4.4 forty and can break ankles at any moment. His time as an All Big-10 quarterback has helped him to understand how receivers run routes and make breaks. Miller should be a big factor in Houston’s offense later in the season.
Ladarious Green, TE Pittsburgh Steelers
This might be a stretch, but Green was kind of an under the radar signing in the offseason. He spent a few seasons backing up Antonio Gates in San Diego, but should now be the main pass catching tight end in Pitt’s offense. Green is 6-6, 240, and runs a 4.5. He is a nightmare matchup. Now he is in an offense that should put up tons of points. Like I said, he may not be such a sleeper, but if you can nab him in the later rounds, he should pay dividends.
Tevin Coleman, RB Atlanta Falcons
Coleman was the forgotten man a year ago. Devonta Freeman garnered all the shine in Atlanta, but Coleman’s a guy who is liked a lot by the coaches. He had injury issues, and Freeman’s stellar play kept him off the field, but this year may be different. Coleman is a smooth slasher who may be taking carries away from Freeman at some point. This is one to keep an eye on.
Kevin White, WR Chicago Bears
White missed all of his rookie season. He is fully healthy now, and his counterpart, Alshon Jeffery is injury prone. White is 6-3, 217, and runs a 4.35. We all know that Jay Cutler likes to toss it up. Opposing defenses will be keying on Jeffery (if healthy). This could mean big numbers for Mr. White. Eyes!!!
Eric Ebron, TE Detroit Lions
When you’re done snickering, just listen! Ebron has been very underwhelming in his first two seasons with the Lions. However, I’m here to tell you, this year may be different. Sure, he hasn’t adjusted well, but some guys need a couple years to figure things out. Ebron runs a 4.6 at 6-4, 260. He’s been given the “drops” label, and for good reason. The last couple of years he hasn’t made many plays, but he also hasn’t been given a ton of opportunities. This year, Megatron is gone, and Detroit is relying on Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Anquan Boldin. Granted, these guys are good, but Ebron could be the red zone man. And us fantasy footballers love us a TE that catches touchdowns. I’m all in.
Terrance West, RB Baltimore
West was able to escape the Cleveland Browns abyss and make his way to Baltimore last season. There are a few names in the Ravens backfield, namely Justin Forsett and Javorious Allen. But let’s face it, if West is better, then he will get the carries. Forsett is coming back from injury and Allen hasn’t really impressed. West, on the other hand, is opening eyes at Ravens camp. You probably don’t want to draft him, but you definitely want to monitor this situation.
Bilal Powell, RB NY Jets
Chris Ivory is gone. Nobody has even heard of Powell. The Jets signed Matt Forte, but he’s 85 years old and can’t take a big workload anymore. Powell is primed to step in and prove he can do some work. Powell is 27, and he’s always been behind somebody, whether it be Ivory or Chris Johnson. Reports now are that Forte and Powell are splitting carries 50-50 in camp. Powell isn’t especially dangerous between the tackles, but he is great in the pass game. Listen up all you PPRer’s. He had 47 catches last year for 388 yards. This is a guy who may come in handy later in the season when all the starting running backs have torn their ACL’s.
J.J. Nelson, WR Arizona
I know there are a lot of mouths to feed in Arizona, but this guy is hungry. Larry Fitzgerald had a great season last year, hard to think he will repeat that. Michael Floyd is good, but injury-prone. John Brown should definitely get drafted, but Nelson is the forgotten one. This guy is a speed merchant. He walks around with a backpack full of speed (not the drug), and he can sell it and still have plenty. Nelson ran a 4.28. He’s not a big guy (5-10, 160), but he can burn. Opposing defenses will key on the big names and Nelson will zip right down the middle. Eyes!!
Jaelen Strong, WR Houston
Houston traded up to get this guy in the 2015 draft. His rookie season was basically a bust. He showed up out of shape and was immediately inserted into the doghouse. To his credit, he came back to make a few plays, but for the most part, his rookie season was mostly lost. Fast forward to 2016. Strong, out of ASU, cut at least 20 pounds and has been a beast in camp. Strong is 6-2, 210, and runs a 4.4. He has an impressive catch radius and is finally learning to run crisper routes. Houston’s offense will start with DeAndre Hopkins and Lamar Miller, but Strong will make an impact. Eyes!!!
Each and every one of these guys will have a fantasy impact this season. The question is just how much? That’s the beauty of sleepers right? If any of these guys get you a win, then feel free to send me beer, lots of it. Thanks.
Oh, and if you actually read this, give me some feedback. I’m doing it for fun, but it’s a lot better to hear from people!!!!