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  • Writer's pictureNick Mimi @nmimi

Draft Day Sleepers

Fantasy football is not won in the first round, or even the first few rounds of your draft. It is won with your mid to late picks. If you are reading this article then you are already ahead of the ball game. Come mid August and into September a majority of all fantasy football drafts will be occurring. Most home leagues have people who don’t do much prep work, and just show up and draft based on the names off a list on any given draft room software. These casual players don’t know the deep sleepers and probably have not heard the name Antonio Gibson. Nothing wrong with being a casual fan, but if you want to win, you need to start your prep now. Do you play to win, or do you play for fun? Knowing deep sleepers will go a long way, and help you not make that panic pick round 13 that you’re likely to drop.

Every draft I go into I try and identify a group of sleepers who I plan to target. I almost treat these players with a best ball mentality because I know they won’t be my starters for the start of the season, but by the time bye weeks hit, I am hoping they have roles in the offense. In 2017 I drafted Alvin Kamara round 12 of my keeper league. At the time he was a 3rd string running back behind Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram. He burst onto the scene and helped numerous fantasy players to championships who took the late flier on him. So now every draft, people look for that league winner, that Alvin Kamara.

Depending on the size of your league and your bench, a lot of week 1 waiver wire gems will be undrafted. 10 team leagues tend to have deep free agent pools versus 12 team leagues. For the purpose of this article, I used the National Fantasy Championship ADP to break down some of these sleepers in mid July that will experience a huge boost in stock the closer training camp comes.

Antonio Gibson- ADP 186

-Round 18 10 teams

-Round 15 12 teams

He is available for free in both 10 and 12 team leagues. Washington is going to use him all over the field, lining up as both a RB and as a WR. Washington plans to use him as such, and his ADP will most likely jump almost in half. He ran a 4.39 at the combine so his explosiveness is unquestioned. To add, Derrius Guice simply cannot stay healthy despite being as talented as he is. Adrian Peterson is next on the chart, and then we have Gibson/Bryce Love. Ron Rivera wants to find his McCaffrey clone and is going to commit to using Gibson all over the field. I’m not saying he is CMC, but if CMC’s old coach wants to use him the same way, well call me intrigued. Also to add, he may act as their return man for leagues that count return touchdowns. BUY NOW!

Hunter Renfrow- ADP 161

-Round 16 10 teams

-Round 13 12 teams

Hunter Renfrow is the forgotten slot man. Yes Oakland added a lot of talent on offense this year with Bryan Edwards, Lynn Bowden, and Henry Ruggs, but Renfrow developed tight chemistry with Derek Carr last year. Halfway through his rookie season, Renfrow started to show promise. His final 2 games he posted over 100 yards each with a touchdown in each game. He put up 49 catches last year, and as that chemistry brews with Carr, can increase that despite the talent being added around him. Renfrow will control the slot, and will be on the field almost all the time. An 80 catch season is very much on the table. I went zero WR in Scott Fish Bowl this year, and having him as a WR6 offers so much upside in round 17.

Denzel Mims- ADP 185

-Round 18 10 teams

-Round 15 12 teams

J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS! Right? Denzel Mims was drafted by the New York Jets in the 2nd round of this year’s draft. Robby Anderson left in free agency, and the Jets added Breshad Perriman. Robby Anderson’s departure frees up 96 vacated targets. The Jets are returning Jamison Crowder, and have Chris Herndon finally healthy. Mims will almost always be on the field as the outside WR. The Jets improved their offensive line this offseason, so Sam Darnold should be able to take that next step with more time to throw. Mims’ target share alone could make him a borderline WR3/Flex option at times, and right now he is FREE.

Chase Edmonds- ADP 152

-Round 15 10 teams

-Round 12 12 teams

Perhaps the number 1 handcuff this year may very well be Chase Edmonds. Last season we saw David Johnson go down and Kenyon Drake immediately stepped in and put up RB1 numbers. Drake has yet to put up a 1,000 yard season in his career, and, more importantly, has never had even 180 touches in a season. Drake has hardly shown to be durable. If he were to get injured, Chase Edmonds becomes the immediate number 1 waiver wire add, commanding most, if not the rest of your FAAB, or the top waiver wire add of the week just struck gold. With Kliff Kingsbury calling the offense, and Kyler Murray expected to take a huge leap this year, I am targeting Edmonds late to secure myself a top backup with low end RB1 upside in the event of opportunity.

Bryan Edwards- ADP 461

Edwards was drafted by the Vegas Raiders (weird to type that still), in the 3rd round. Edwards slipped due to a foot injury. If not for the foot injury, Edwards may have been a first or a second round selection. He needs to beat out Tyrell Williams for the outside role, and may right away be the go to WR. With time, I believe Edwards is going to surprise people and skyrocket that ADP. Edwards took over Deebo Samuel’s role at South Carolina, which shows in the NFL he could have the same impact. Could Oakland deploy Edwards as the 49ers have Deebo? Very possible and it’s something to closely keep an eye on. If this happens, BUY!!

Steven Sims- ADP 254

Steven Sims is a name that’s about to skyrocket up the draft boards. He is the current WR2 in Washington behind Terry McLaurin. With the recent news of Kelvin Harmon tearing his ACL, Sims’ role in the offense becomes much clearer. Sims has WR1 potential. He saw 56 targets last year, and in his final 3 games saw over 15 points per game in PPR. With McLaurin the clear number 1, Sims will now be the second most targeted member of this offense. Right now in 10 or 12 team leagues he will be undrafted. This is a must buy at the very last rounds in your draft. Oh! And he returns kicks for those who have leagues that count return touchdowns.

Christopher Herndon- ADP 169

-Round 16 10 teams

-Round 14 12 teams

Another Jet on this list. Herndon only played in 1 game last year battling a suspension and injuries. When he is on the field however, Sam Darnold and he have shown great chemistry. His rookie year he saw 56 targets his way. With the departure of Robby Anderson, 96 more targets are now available, and Herndon is going to act as the TE1 for the Jets. Gase has openly admitted Herndon is going to be a big part of the offense. Last year Ryan Griffin stepped into the role and flourished. A fully healthy Chris Herndon is going to be a major sleeper, take him as a late flier if you aren't in on the big three TE, and expect low end TE1 production. In TE premium leagues, he's a lucky heads up penny found on the floor that's going to make your season, that's why he joined my SFBX squad as my TE2 in round 13.

Michael Pittman- ADP 166

-Round 16 10 teams

-Round 13 12 teams

The Colts got a great talent in Michael Pittman. With Phillip Rivers now throwing the ball, I expect to see Pittman’s ADP skyrocket when people see them connect in practice. He is a physical WR, and should have no problem winning the WR2 role outside T.Y. Hilton. He had over 100 receptions at USC his senior year with 3!!! drops. He is going to be the big red zone threat the Colts have been missing for some time. He ran a 4.52 at the combine. Any other WR draft class, Pittman probably is a first rounder. Buy him now before you have to drop all your FAAB on him week 1.

Tyler Johnson -ADP 595


Why is Tyler Johnson on here? He has the potential to become the WR3 in Tampa Bay. The QB? Oh it’s Tom Brady. Brady is known for making any WR a household name. This year I think it’s going to be Tyler Johnson. He excelled at Minnesota. He put up big numbers in college. In the Outback bowl this year, he put up 204 yards on 12 catches for 2 touchdowns against Auburn! The game was played in Johnson’s new home, Raymond James stadium, so he is very familiar with his new turf. By years end, I believe Johnson takes over the WR3 role and can have an impact. I took this gem as my Mr. Irrelevant in round 22 of the SFBX.

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