Late July is that time of year where we get to start preparing our excel spreadsheets and hone in on our game plan as we begin to focus on our upcoming fantasy football drafts.
I have generated a list of NFL fantasy football sleepers at every offensive position, minus kickers, and a “sleeper” can mean many different things.
It could be a player you should reach for in the middle of the draft, it could be a player you should draft and stash in your keeper league or it could be someone you should take a shot on with your very last pick. This list has all of those.
Mariota posted a career low in touchdowns and career high in interceptions last season, but he was still a big part of a Titans team who made their first playoff appearance in nine years.
The Titans made major upgrades to their defense this offseason, and that in itself should help Mariota out a ton. Tennessee also has a couple of young, dynamic targets on the outside in Taywan Taylor and Corey Davis who are ready to show they belong in the league and meet the expectations the Titans’ coaches have for them.
Pair that with a backfield featuring Derrick Henry and newcomer Dion Lewis and Mariota is set up for a career year. The pieces are all there, now it’s just up to him to deliver.
The Chiefs were ready to put this guy under center since he was drafted No. 10 overall in 2017. He already has one of the strongest arms in the NFL and with speedsters like Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill on the outside, that should bode well for the Chiefs offense.
Mahomes II truly is a rookie quarterback this year, as he only played in one game in 2017. There is going to be some kind of learning curve he will have to face in 2018, but having a security blanket in Travis Kelce is going to help him get a handle on NFL defenses fairly quickly.
It’s almost guaranteed that someone in your fantasy league is going to be higher on Mahomes II than you are, which makes it hard to predict where he will go in fantasy drafts. But he would be an ideal backup quarterback on your roster, because he does have that potential to be very good very quickly.
Trubisky proved in his rookie season that he has a future in the NFL. His stats weren’t eye-popping, but he still threw for 2,193 yards in just 12 games, which is the most ever recorded by a rookie in Bears history.
He also rushed for 248 yards, the most by a Bears quarterback since Kordell Stewart in 2003.
Trubisky is the future in Chicago, but it seems like everyone hasn’t caught onto that yet. Plus, adding a star receiver in Allen Robinson doesn’t hurt his case either. Like Mahomes II, he’s worth a late pick in your fantasy draft, because he could end up being your starting quarterback at some point in 2018.
McKinnon has proved that he’s ready to be a feature back in the NFL and the 49ers have totally bought in on him.
McKinnon started only one game last season, but still rushed for 570 yards and recorded 421 receiving yards. He proved he’s a playmaker whenever he touches the ball, and head coach Kyle Shanahan is going to make sure he gets those touches.
McKinnon won’t be a well-kept secret among your fantasy football league, so you may need to reach on him, but I think he will be worth it.
With Demarco Murray missing multiple games due to injury last season, Henry proved that he was ready to take over as the Titans’ main running back.
He rushed for 744 yards and five touchdowns last season, and he has just been waiting for his chance to break out, and in the playoffs against the Chiefs, we got a taste of what Henry can bring to an offense.
In the first round of the playoffs, Henry led a comeback effort in Kansas City, rushing for 156 yards on 23 carries and scored a touchdown. He’s the perfect combination of size and speed, and even though he’s splitting some carries with Lewis, he’s still poised for a monster year.
Collins has continued to get more and more carries for the Ravens and he has produced more often than not, averaging over four yards a carry in eight games last season.
He’s going to be the main running back for the Baltimore Ravens and I think he has star potential. I’ve been a supporter of his since I saw him put up 1,577 yards and 20 touchdowns during his junior year at Arkansas.
Collins was underrated in college and he’s underrated in the NFL. He’s a smart runner, he runs hard and is incredibly shifty. Watch out for him to have a surprising season.
Cooper put up career-low numbers in receptions and yards in 2017. He’s been very inconsistent since he got to the NFL, but everyone knows the potential is there for him.
For example, Cooper exploded for 210 yards on 11 receptions and scored two touchdowns in week seven against the Chiefs last season.
The Raiders as a whole underperformed last season, but under new coach Jon Gruden, I think Oakland has a good chance to return to the playoffs in 2018, but Cooper will have to step it up.
I think that with the new coaching staff, Cooper will put up a career-high in touchdowns. This season is when he’s going to prove that he can be more consistent on the field and stop dropping the ball.
Even though he hasn’t played a full season since 2012, I still believe that Gordon is one of the best receivers in the NFL.
The Browns are a team on the rise, and I think that Gordon will play an important role in helping quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield adjust to their new team.
I’m taking Gordon in every draft I have this season because I know the kind of play he’s capable of, and I know that he has put his past behind him.
With pick No. 210 in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Patriots selected Berrios, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound kid who is known for his speed, route-running ability and aptitude for wild sideline catches. link
Yes, exactly the kind of player Coach Bill Belichick has made famous over and over again during his 18-year career in New England.
What’s interesting to think about is that Berrios was better than Wes Welker and Julian Edelman in college, and that leads me to assume that he could be better than them in the NFL too.
With Edelman suspended for the first four games, the rookie is going to have a baptism by fire, and I think that he will be able to handle it.
Take Berrios with your last pick in your fantasy draft, I truly believe he’s the next Welker/Edelman.
Burton will forever go down as the player who pulled off the “Philly Special,” throwing the ball to quarterback Nick Foles for a touchdown in the Super Bowl last year, but he’s also a pretty good tight end.
Even though he recorded just 23 receptions for 248 yards and five touchdowns last season with the Eagles, it was quite evident that he deserved a bigger role in the offense. But playing behind a great tight end like Brent Celek obviously made things tough.
Things are looking up for Burton in 2018 however, as he signed a four-year, $32 million contract with the Bears.
In Chicago, Burton is going to have his biggest role in an offense yet, and you should expect him to thrive in it.
Drafted at just 20 years old, Njoku became just the fifth tight end to record 30 receptions, 300 yards at age 21: Tony Gonzalez, Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witten, Aaron Hernandez and Njoku. Three of those players are Canton-bound at some point in their life.
George Stockburger brought up this up in one of his articles, and it's a good point.
He caught 32 balls for 386 yards and four touchdowns in his rookie campaign, but if you know anything about this kid, Njoku is getting ready to breakout, and it’s probably going to happen sooner than later.
Whether short, three-yard curls or 15-yard post patterns, Njoku can do it all. There is no doubt that this guy has star potential.
Now this is a risky pick, but if you’re in a keeper league or are looking to switch things up with your last pick, take Butt.
While he didn’t play one down in his rookie season due to injury, he was one of the best tight ends in college football while at Michigan, putting up 654 yards in his junior season and 546 yards as a senior.
Now healthy, Butt will look to be an important part of a born-again Denver offense which features Case Keenum at the helm. The Broncos are going to throw the ball, and Butt will surely be part of the game plan.