What is a fantasy football sleeper? Ask five people and you'll likely get five different answers. A fantasy football sleeper is really any player who really outperforms his Average Draft Position (ADP). For example, if a Tight End is being drafted as the 16th TE overall and he finishes the year as the 14th-best TE, he wasn't a sleeper. If, however, he ends the season as the 6th-best TE, he really outperformed where you thought he would be. That guy is a sleeper and one or two sleepers can really help your team. Here are a few guys being drafted in later rounds that have the potential to outperform where they're being drafted.
Chris Ivory - RB, New York Jets
He's ranked 30th among all running backs on FFN and 81st overall. That means he's being drafted as a mid/late RB3. What we like about Ivory is that he's in line for a lot of work on a team that has a lot of question marks in the passing game. His strength of schedule shows a relatively average plate of defenses, and even with Ridley, Stacy, and Powell nipping at his heals for playing time, he's easily the most reliable and versatile option the Jets have.
Bishop Sankey - RB, Tennessee Titans
Like Ivory above, Sankey's strength of schedule score on FFN shows a favorable slate of games. Sankey is currently ranked 36th among all RB's and should outperform those expectations. Fantasy owners are going to remember last year's expectations and how Sankey disappointed us, but don't let that prevent you from grabbing him as your RB3 or RB4. He's a starting RB with a rookie QB. The Titans will need to establish the run game before Mariota will be effective. Besides, how often do you get to draft a starting RB in the 9th-round?
Jordan Reed - TE, Washington Redskins
For the first time, it looks like Reed is actually healthy as he heads into camp. He's ranked 22nd among all TE's on FFN which means that he's likely to be someone's backup. If he stays healthy, he should be a productive component of Jay Gruden's offense this year. The talent is there and the potential is there. We would not be surprised to see him finish the season as a Top-12 TE.
Tyler Eifert - TE, Cincinnatti Bengals
If you are waiting on a tight end this year, Eifert may be a guy for you to target. He's ranked 13th among all TE's on FFN making him a TE2, but should easily outperform that distinction and finish the year as a TE1. Remove his freak elbow injury from your mind because he's back and he's healthy. He's also ridiculously talented and should have a solid fantasy year in 2015.
Marcus Mariota - QB, Tennessee Titans
Expect Mariota to go very late in the draft so there's no need to reach for him by any means if you want him. He's ranked 24th among QB's on FFN which means that he's barely being taken as a fantasy backup. If you remember our definition of a sleeper from earlier, it becomes easier to see how Mariota fits that bill. There's lots to dislike about him (rookie, less-than-stellar offense, high expectations), but there's a lot to like about the kid as well. First and foremost is his ability to run. It seems like more and more young QB's make a fantasy impact with their legs (Kaepernick, RGIII, Newton, etc) before they learn to settle down and spend more time in the pocket. It would not surprise us to see Mariota add 30 yards a game on the ground. At his current ADP, he's almost free.
Stevie Johnson - WR, San Diego Chargers
We think that Johnson has been painted with a bad brush in the past. EJ Manuel and Colin Kaepernick are not the kinds of guys who are going to necessarily light the world on fire with their aerial attacks. Even last year, the 49ers had a ton of talent in their receiving corp (Crabtree, Boldin, Davis, Gore) and yet they finished the season as one of the least efficient and least productive passing teams. The move to San Diego should allow Johnson to finally breathe. Philip Rivers is a much more capable passer and the two have started to connect well at camp. In fact, Rivers speaks glowingly of Johnson. With a current ranking of 65 among all receivers on FFN, there's nowhere to go but up for him. There's a great deal of value here for pennies on the dollar. Based upon his ADP, he's being drafted as a WR5 but should be able to post WR3 production.
The Gamemakers CommentedAug 17, 2015 11:00 am
Thanks for the helpful info. I'm a rookie