NFL Fantasy: Sleepers to Target Late in Drafts

After the first several rounds, trying to figure out who to draft becomes more difficult. In the later rounds, the goal is to find sleepers that will exceed their average draft position (ADP). Finding these diamonds int he rough is tricky because we don’t know who will explode and who will flounder under the bright lights. These are some late-round sleepers you can snag that could make a huge impact on your fantasy roster that are outside the top 100 picks.

Quarterback

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 12: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott #4 rolls out against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on January 12, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

Dak Prescott’s current ADP is 128 which is about round 10 or 11. He is currently the 17th quarterback being taken in most mock drafts. Dak has finished as a top 10 quarterback in fantasy every year he has been in the league. Last season, Dak struggled at the beginning only averaging around 17 points per game, but once he got Amari Cooper, he started averaging 21 points per game.

This upcoming season, he arguably has the best talent around him he has ever had, and he has a new offensive coordinator that should help him to do more with the offense. The Cowboys have a very weak start to the season as well, so Dak will be effective early on. Don’t forget about Dak.

Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears

CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 09: Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky #10 of the Chicago Bears looks to pass the football in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Soldier Field on December 9, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Mitch Trubisky comes in right behind Prescott as the 18th quarterback off the board. He is being drafted around the beginning of the 11th round. Last season, Mitch was thrown into a new offense with a new coach and all-new weapons. Even last season, Mitch only played in 14 games and still finished as a top 15 quarterback. He was inconsistent at times, but that comes with being young and in a new offense.

Besides the upgrade at runningback, Mitch now has the same main weapons he threw to last season and new additions such as Cordarrelle Patterson and fourth-round draft pick Riley Ridley. Expect Mitch to see a little less inconsistency and more growth from him in his second year in Matt Nagy’s offense.

Runningbacks

Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Aug 18, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II (27) during warm up prior to the game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Ronald Jones II struggled last season as a rookie. He was stuck behind the inefficient Peyton Barber and even when he did play, it wasn’t pretty. The Buccaneers brought in a new head coach in Bruce Arians to help rejuvenate this offense. Their passing offense put up big numbers last season, but their running offense didn’t. Bruce Arians is known for making great fantasy football runningbacks.

Jones isn’t a guarantee to get the job currently, and that’s why he is going outside the top 100 and is the 41st running back drafted. If Jones does win the job, he has the upside to be a top 24 running back. That risk is worth the buy making him a big-time sleeper.

Kalen Ballage, Miami Dolphins

Dec 2, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Kalen Ballage (27) warms up prior to thegame against the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

When I first heard the Ballage hype, I rolled my eyes and groaned. Now that I’ve done some research, he actually could be a deep sleeper. Ballage has been currently taking the starting reps with the Dolphins ahead of Kenyan Drake. Drake has never had a true workhorse role even old-man Frank Gore started over him. We aren’t really sure if this is because of former head coach Adam Gase or of something we can’t see, but if Ballage is taking the reps with the starters, he could return some value.

Ballage is being drafted around the back end of the 12th round and if he could be a starter, that would be an insane steal. In the 12th round, most people are drafting handcuffs, defenses, or even kickers if they’re crazy. Ballage could truly take this job with the Dolphins and run with it.

Wide Receivers

Donte Moncrief, Pittsburgh Steelers

Moncrief is by far my favorite sleeper in the draft. The Steelers have the highest number of vacated targets out of any team in the NFL with the departure of Antonio Brown. JuJu Smith-Schuster is now expected to step into the main target role, but who will step into the second wide receiver role? At the moment and at camp, Moncrief is that guy.

Moncrief has struggled with injuries and bad quarterbacks in the past, but now he has Ben Roethlisberger throwing him the ball, and he is healthy. He is a high upside touchdown guy that you can draft in 13th or 14th round of your draft.

DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins

Sep 17, 2017; Carson, CA, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (11) is pursued by Los Angeles Chargers free safety Tre Boston (33) in the third quarter during a NFL football game at StubHub Center. The Dolphins defeated the Chargers 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Once touted as a future NFL star wide receiver, DeVante Parker could finally live up to that hype. Ryan Fitzpatrick is now the quarterback in Miami and this is actually a good thing to Parker. Fitzpatrick likes to target the big, deep threat guy that can jump and attack the ball in the air. This could be a perfect fit for Parker now that they have a quarterback that doesn’t care who he is throwing to and how deep he is throwing it.

Parker is being drafted in the 16th round or not even being drafted in most standard drafts. He has the potential to be the main target for Ryan Fitzpatrick who was on pace for 5,800 passing yards last season. If you can draft the main target for him as your last pick in the draft, the upside is huge.

Tight Ends

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

BALTIMORE, MD – OCTOBER 21: Tight End Mark Andrews #89 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates after catching a touchdown in the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints at M&T Bank Stadium on October 21, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The fact that Mark Andrews is being drafted as the 19th tight end off the board is absurd. Andrews is an easy outlet for Lamar Jackson to throw to and he performed at a high-level last season with Jackson. Andrews really didn’t see a whole lot of targets but made the most of them with 34 catches for 552 yards and three touchdowns.

Now that he has a year under his belt, he should expect an increase in targets especially with the departure of Michael Crabtree and John Brown. Hayden Hurst could steal some targets, but Andrews makes the most of his targets.

Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins

Jordan Reed can never seem to stay healthy, but when he is healthy, it is clear that he is a top tight end in the NFL. This offseason is the first offseason that Reed has come in healthy and ready to go. He is very reliable when healthy and always produces top tight end stats.

This would just be a late-round flier if you didn’t get any of the desirable tight ends. At this point, streaming tight ends would be the move so why not go out there with a healthy Jordan Reed? It’s worth the risk since he is being drafted as the 17th tight end off of the board

By: Joseph Herff, @FF_JoeH – Fantasy Football

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