I remember selecting handcuff rookie running back, Kareem Hunt, last year in my fantasy football league with the 105th pick. When Hunt had a monstrous 246 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in his first outing as an NFL player, I knew I had the steal of the draft.
Every year has its “diamond in the rough,” whether it be Kareem Hunt, Devonta Freeman, or Nick Williams. It is important to get familiar with the names of players who could be potential draft steals for this upcoming football season. Without further ado, here are my picks for the best fantasy sleepers.
Alex Collins – Baltimore Ravens – RB
Last year, Collins proved his baller status when he took control of the Baltimore backfield. At the young age of 23, Collins averaged 4.6 yards per carry with the Ravens last year and has established himself as the starter for the upcoming season. If Collins stays healthy, he is primed for a full year of lead back duties.
When looking at the film, it is clear Collins is simply hard for defenses to tackle. With a 5’11” 216 pound frame, it is easy to understand why it is difficult to bring him down. Pair his compact size with his agile cuts and you can see why he broke out last year.
Collins’ ceiling is going to be limited because of his average pass catching ability and his size, as he is not the best goal line option. However, I expect big things out of Collins’ as he will rack in touches and yardage as the Ravens starting RB.
Josh Doctson – Washington Redskins – WR
Josh Doctson is a player that has struggled in his first two seasons with the Washington Redskins. Injuries have been a concern for Doctson, during the previous two seasons he has shown crazy potential. With a new QB in town and less competition at the WR position, I expect Doctson to surprise a lot of people this year.
Doctson has the ability to straight up “Moss” opposing cornerbacks. Combining his vertical with his 6’4” height, he is a problem for defenses in the end zone With his insane hops and his role as the Redskins tallest wideout, look for Doctson to be a big-time red zone target for a Washington team that has struggled in the red zone in recent memory due to its lack of a vertical threat.
Let’s hope his recent minor injury in training camp is not an omen for his health during the upcoming season.
Marvin Jones Jr. – Detroit Lions – WR
Marvin Jones Jr. continues to go undervalued despite going off in his past two seasons with the Detroit Lions. Yes, Jones is a hit or miss player, but as he is currently being drafted as a flex, he is definitely worth the risk. Especially considering his top 10 finish last year as a WR in standard leagues.
The concern with Jones is his touchdown volume and general consistency. Last year Jones saw 107 targets, with the Detroit Lions dynamic, I don’t expect that number to change much next year. The Lions have hopefully improved offensively, so he may be not fed the ball as much as he was last year. But for his average draft position, he has the talent and the history to warrant a pick and a spot on your roster as a WR two or flex.
Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – RB
The Chicago Bears have a two-headed monster in Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Both backs are extremely talented and were used a lot last year because of the Bears shaky QB situation. Cohen is the more versatile back in this backfield, as he is fast and is a great pass catching back. With an improved Mitchell Trubisky, I expect the Bears to pass more and get Cohen more involved in the offense.
The Human Joystick will compete with Jordan Howard for playing time, and Howard will likely take care of goal-line duties for Chicago. However, as Cohen is the more versatile and complete back, look for him to be more involved in the offense with Trubisky’s improvement.
Will Fuller V – Houston Texans – WR
Deshaun Watson solidified his status as a stud in his rookie year with the Texans. With DeAndre Hopkins as the top option for Watson, Fullers’ ceiling is limited. But with inefficient running backs and limited competition in the passing game outside of Hopkins, Fuller is primed to get a bunch of high quality looks in the Texans scheme.
Fuller is one of the fastest receivers in the NFL, and last year his speed and height proved deadly as he racked in seven touchdowns in the first four weeks of last season. He did not score again after week four, as his own lingering injuries and Watson’s season-ending ACL injury held him back, but when he and Watson are together and healthy, watch out.
Fuller showed last year in his first four weeks that he has the talent to be a great second option in the receiving game for the Texans. With such a high average draft position, Fuller could see a lot of red zone looks to make him a steal in this year’s draft.
Take note of these guys as preseason is underway and let us know: who is your sleeper for this season? Let’s get hype for another great year of fantasy football.
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