2016 NFL Fantasy Football Sleepers

By Ha Kung Wong

Twitter: @FBGarbageTime

Go  ahead and admit it.

Sometimes you just don’t have time to do all the research you want for your fantasy football draft.  I get it, you got a lot of stuff going on.

Your significant other’s birthday is coming up, you have that huge test to take at school, you have a major project at work due at the end of the week, you somehow how failed to find time to watch the entire 6th season of Game of Thrones, you fell behind watching the “Real Housewives of New York”, or perhaps you just watched too much Women’s Handball during the Rio 2016 Olympics.  I totally understand.  All those things totally happened to me too.

Not only is this really a sport, but it's actually pretty awesome.

Not only is this really a sport, but it’s actually pretty awesome.

But we here at Football Garbage Time want you to be successful in everything you do in life, including your fantasy football draft, so we’re always looking for ways to help.  First, we did a Mock Draft for Round 1 and Round 2.  Then we detailed and analyzed our own Fantasy Football Draft results.  And now I’m going to give you my fantasy football sleepers for 2016!

Note that these are “sleepers”, and aren’t necessarily late round flyers.  A “sleeper” is simply someone I think who will return significantly better value than their current Average Draft Position (ADP).  To help you out even more, I’ve included each player’s ADP pursuant to Fantasy Pros’ consolidated list and their current ownership percentage on Yahoo in standard 12-team head-to-head leagues.

Have questions?  Feel free to Tweet or DM me at @FBGarbagetime on Twitter!

Quarterback

Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III – Cleveland Browns

ADP: 185 (16th Round) / 20% Owned

  • I know, I know.  RGIII hasn’t been “good” since his rookie season in 2012.  Other things that were “good” in 2012 include lip syncing to Carley Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” on Youtube, dancing “Gangnam Style” and saying “YOLO” whenever you decided to make a bad life decision.  None of those things have a chance at coming back (though I’m still partial to lip syncing “Call Me Maybe” here and again), but RGIII seems to have found new life in Cleveland after being released by Washington.  Not only does he have the support of new head coach Hue Jackson as well as his teammates, he’s also shown a good connection with the rest of the offense in the preseason.  His first preseason game was passable, but for a interception in the redzone, but his second preseason game looked like RGIII of old, as he managed 6 of 8 passes for 96 passing yards and two TDs, adding 36 rush yards, against the Falcons.  With Terrelle Pryor stepping up, rookie first round pick Corey Coleman entering the offense, breakout TE Gary Barnidge still in play and Josh Gordon returning from suspension in Week 5, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 2012 homecoming for RGIII.  I discussed earlier in the preseason whether RGIII would be a good fit in Cleveland.  At this point, I think the answer is a resounding “yes”, and he’s a good fit for your team as well at the end of your draft.

Wide Receivers

Devin Funchess

Devin Funchess – Carolina Panthers

ADP: 150 (13th Round) / 39% Owned

  • When Devin Funchess was drafted in the second round last year, Panthers fans all had dreams of Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin forming the dynamic duo to Cam Newton’s Superman.  But, one torn ACL and one Super Bowl appearance later, and fans are starting to wonder whether it’s Funchess or Benjamin that’s the sidekick.  Funchess was inconsistent in 2015, but he did end the regular season strong with 120 yards and a TD against the Bucs, and played well even with light usage in the NFC Championship game securing 2 of 3 for 21 yards and a TD.  Turn to 2016 and everyone thinks Funchess has crushed it in OTAs and training camp.  If Funchess could be solid as a 4th or 5th option in the Panthers offense in 2015, just imagine what he could do as the 2nd or 3rd option in 2016?  And he’s obtainable 9 rounds LATER than Benjamin.  I’d even scoot up a round or two to snag him.
Terrelle Pryor – Cleveland Browns

ADP: 209 (18th Round) / 13% Owned

  • I talked up the converted QB-to-WR Terrelle Pryor to no end in the last Football Garbage Time Podcast, so give it a listen if you want to hear why I think he has sleeper potential.  But, in summary, just check out the highlights from what he’s done so far in the preseason.  He’s a deep threat with good hands and great connection with RGIII.  Need I say more?
Tyler Boyd – Cincinnati Bengals

ADP: 195 (17th Round) / 12% Owned

  • Sure, AJ Green will always be the number 1 target in Cincy, and the Bengals did sign Brandon LaFell this offseason.  But keep in mind that LaFell was awful last season with Tom Brady, so is he really going to make a difference with Andy Dalton?  And top TE target Tyler Eifert is only starting begin his recovery from off season ankle surgery, all but guaranteeing him a few missed games at the beginning of the season.  So, who’s left?  Well, how about second round draft pick Tyler Boyd?  Head coach Marvin Lewis really likes him, and he showed well in the first preseason game catching a 40-yard bomb and in the second preseason game catching 2 of 3 for 38 yards and a TD.  Bengals.com even believes he’ll surpass LaFell before the season even starts.  So far, all his on field production is coming from backup QB A.J. McCarron, but one has to think that Dalton is watching carefully and will try to take advantage of his speed in the regular season.
Tajae Sharpe – Tennessee Titans

ADP: 226 (19th Round) / 12% Owned

  • Yeah, he was only a fifth round selection in the draft, but after newly acquired free agent WR Rishard Matthews, and standout TE Delanie Walker, the Titans don’t have much else to target in the passing game.  And Tajae Sharpe has made the most of his opportunities in the preseason (grabbing 6 for 68 yards against the Panthers), particularly with Dorial Green-Beckham gone to Philly.  Sharpe is expected to be a week 1 starter and reportedly has Marcus Mariota’s trust.  They won’t pass much, but a WR1/2 with upside is a steal in the 19th round (which for most of you is essentially undrafted).  He’s even more interesting in dynasty or keeper leagues.

Running Backs

Jeremy Langford

Jeremy Langford

Jeremy Langford – Chicago Bears

ADP: 63 (6th Round) / 89% Owned

  • For fear of being called a homer, I won’t spend much more time on Langford.  I discussed him on our Podcast after the first preseason week, and again after the second preseason week.  Head coach John Fox likes multi-RB backfields, but also likes what he sees out of Langford.  He’s looking like a solid grab as compared to his ADP in the 6th round.  He’s not Matt Forte, be remember that Forte has been a 2nd round draft pick in the same system.
Rashard Jennings – New York Giants

ADP: 90 (8th Round) / 77% Owned

  • If the Giants used Jennings consistently in 2015, like they did over the last four games of the season, he probably would have had a breakout year.  Heck, he had 521 total yards in those last four games.  Multiply by 4 and you have a 2000 total yard season.  I know the math isn’t that easy, but the Giants are set to give him the bulk of the carries in 2016, so don’t you want to take that chance, particularly at his ADP?  That could be a 3rd to 4th round return on an 8th round investment.
Christine Michael – Seattle Seahawks

ADP: 168 (14th Round) / 20% Owned

  • Thomas Rawls will be back from injury and instilled as the primary RB for the Seattle Seahawks.  But Christine Michael has done so well in training camp and in the preseason (where he’s averaging 5.82 YPC) that he’s got to have a role once the regular season starts.  Head coach Pete Carroll has already referred to Rawls and Michael as a “one-two punch”.  Even without another Rawls injury, it looks like Michael could make a nice end of draft lottery ticket.  But if there is another Rawls injury, well, you could be looking at top 10 RB value for pennies on the dollar.
James White – New England Patriots

ADP: 271 (23rd Round) / 19% Owned

  • Poor Dion Lewis.  He managed to breakout from his prison in Philly to wow Pats fans in 2015, just to go down with an ACL tear.  And then he comes back and now needs another surgery that will sideline him for 8-10 weeks.  But, from that bad news, we come to the good news, or at least good news for James White.  Earlier in the month, people speculated that White might not even make the roster.  But now he’s slated to be the Patriots primary passing down/change-of-pace back.  And that has tons of value in a Bill Belichick system where you have a QB not called Brady for four games, who just might have to dump the ball off a lot.  He only had a few solid games last season, but still tallied 410 receiving yards and 6 total TDs.  For where you can get him (which is certain to climb as we get closer to the start of the season), and in light of the fact that he could end up doubling his 2015 yard totals with another 5-7 TDs, I think he has some serious upside, particularly in PPR.

Tight Ends

Jesse James

Jesse James

Jesse James – Pittsburgh Steelers

ADP: 269 (23rd Round) / 2% Owned

  • Although there have been mixed reports regarding Ledarius Green’s health, it appears that regardless of the cause, he’s at least in danger of missing the beginning of the season. And thus, the Heath Miller role may fall to Jesse James.  Even before it became evident that Green was having some health issues, James was still going to be used in the red zone.  Miller averaged almost 40 yards per game with about 4-5 TDs per season throughout his 11 year career.  If James steps into that role, particularly with the Steelers down a WR due to Martavis Bryant’s season-long suspension, he could be a real value.  He’s clearly confident in his ability to take over the primary TE position in Pittsburgh, and so should you at his current ADP (where he’s essentially undrafted and can be had in the last round of your draft).
Tyler Higbee – Los Angeles Rams

ADP: Undrafted / 1% Owned

  • I really like Tyler Higbee, and I’ve actually already discussed him on the first podcast this preseason, so give it a listen if you’re interested in my take.  In summary, he’s a big athletic target that has shown “Gronk-like” ability to catch and run.  Also, wide receivers coach (and essentially passing game coach as there’s no offensive coordinator listed for the Rams) Mike Groh has already mentioned that Higbee may be a factor in the passing game.  So far, he’s certainly looked like a factor, as he caught 5 of 6 for 49 yards in the first preseason game. If you have a really deep draft, or if you’re in dynasty or keeper league, he’s well worth keeping on the radar late.

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