Do not sleep on that wideout in 2019
The phrase sleeper is continually thrown around the fantasy community year on year and with the amount of information that is available to even the most casual owner it makes it that much more difficult to identify those sleeper receivers going under the radar. However finding them could be the difference between winning and losing a match up or could even help drive your team to a title. Below Stocks and Ash have highlighted five players that they believe all fall under the sleeper category. You should be paying attention to these guys heading into the final week of draft season.
It would not be right for us to start a sleeper article with anyone other than David Moore, WR of the Seattle Seahawks. Moore is one of our favourite sleepers this year outside of Anthony Miller (see WR2 article on 5 Yard Rush website).
Whilst many in the fantasy world are debating if Tyler Lockett can really be a WR1 or whether DK Metcalf is ready for the NFL. David Moore has quietly gone about his business and is working towards tying down the number 2 role in Seattle.
Entering his third year in Seattle after being drafted in the 7th round in 2017. Spending year one on the practice squad and in the background of the roster only being active for one game which he did not see a target. Looking at the stats from Year two, 26 receptions, 445 yards and five touchdowns you may be questioning why we see Moore as a sleeper. The answer is a simple one, Opportunity.
Moore is currently competing against DK Metcalf who in our opinion is one dimensional and vastly overrated, Jaron Brown who has 100 receptions total in his six years in the NFL and three rookies (Gary Jennings, Jazz Ferguson and John Ursua).
Seattle may be known as one of the most run heavy offences in the NFL however Russell Wilson has still averaged 465 passing attempts across his seven year career with a 64.2% completion average. This gives him an average of 300 receptions to go across the offence. Running backs will see 60-70 and they no longer have a realistic passing threat at tight end (max 30 receptions) leaving 200 between the wide receivers. I project these being dominated by both Lockett & Moore.
With the attention likely on the run game along with Lockett and Metcalf, Moore should once again be able to take advantage out wide. The one impressive stat from 2018 for is his 19.2% touchdown rate against receptions, completely unrealistic to repeat however 80 receptions and eight touchdowns in 2019 appears very manageable to me.
The upside is there for Moore to make him a flex option on your team and he currently carries an average ADP of #283 (WR98 in PPR) this is undrafted in many fantasy leagues. If that doesn’t scream potential value and sleeper, we don’t know what does!
Expectations are high as Anthony Miller enters his Sophomore year. Coming off an up and down rookie season in 2018, The downs were more injury related than performance. Although missing only a single NFL game in 2018, a dislocated shoulder hindered Miller for the majority of the season & resulted in off-season surgery.
Despite the lingering injury, Miller put up a stat-line of 33 catches, 423 yards, 7 touchdowns and a respectable 12.8 yards per reception. The real standout stat to me is the seven touchdowns, especially playing with one healthy shoulder for the majority of the season. Miller has had a nose for the end zone since college, finishing with double-digit Touchdowns in two of his three collegiate seasons.
Another plus is the chemistry between Miller & Trubisky. Miller saw three or more targets in 10 games last season. The trust is there and the fact that Miller caught over 75% of the targets thrown his way is a good indication of that.
This should improve going into 2019 with a healthy Miller and third year quarterback Trubisky. However, it was not all good last season and something to be mindful of when deciding if Miller can take that next step, his production suffered a serious drop when facing stronger defenses such as the LA Rams.
Miller also failed to register a single catch when facing Green Bay in week 15. Overall Miller has the skill, supporting cast around him and offensive scheme to breakout in 2019 and become a force in the NFL landscape for years to come. Moving from the sleepers group into the lead dog for the Bears.
Sophomore year breakout is a term you can associate with Gallup in 2019, Gallup’s rookie year with Dallas was nothing to shout about in 2018 posting 507 yards and two touchdowns from 68 targets with a mediocre 48.5% catch rate. That being said not all of this was down to Gallup which I will cover shortly.
Once Amari Cooper came into town Gallup’s game increased, whether it be the focus shifting from top secondaries to Cooper or just the presence of a WR1 things started to improve for Gallup. Gallup’s targets almost doubled to 46 in his last nine games with Cooper in the lineup.
High points were few and far between for Gallup in 2018. However he managed to show his true potential and why Dallas invested a third round pick on him. In the playoffs against the LA Rams he posted six receptions for 119 yards along with pulling in a reception in the wild card round against Seattle. Week seven against Washington was also a highlight for Gallup, posting 81 yards and a touchdown off three receptions.
Dak Prescott looked for Gallup many times deep last season, if they can improve the chemistry and connect on more of these deep balls the ceiling will be high for both. The chemistry will be key to any success with Gallup and the lack thereof in 2018 may have been a factor in his poor catch rate, roughly 32% of his targets were categorised as off target from Prescott. Cut that number in half and Gallup’s numbers look much better.
The Depth chart appears kind to Gallup with Cooper on one side, Randall Cobb occupying the slot and then very little competition to speak off outside of these three. Ezekiel Elliott should command the second most targets after Cooper, however both come with their own risks (Cooper nursing an injury and Elliott currently holding out) and these numbers may not necessarily be locked in.
Year 2 could well be a make or break for Gallup. how long will Dallas give him to prove himself? Can he and Prescott get on the same page? These are the questions you need to ask yourself before drafting Gallup.
Be wary of relying on Michael Gallup week to week as he is more of a weekly boom or bust fantasy asset. That being said he has the ceiling to be a WR3 in fantasy for 2019 whilst carrying an ADP of 121 (WR49 in PPR) sleeper territory for sure.
There’s a trend among the public, they like rookie wide receivers a lot more than experts do. Isabella has the biggest gap among them. With Kliff Kingsbury running 4WR sets more than most, Isabella should be on the field alongside Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk.
With Hakeem Butler now on the IR for the season with a hand injury, Isabella has a clear path to be the field stretching underneath hybrid Role. Kingsbury recently said he has a lot of work to do to become the finished article.
During his time at Texas Tech Kingsbury’s offence fired the ball around targeting 7 different receivers over 20 times each. Only once did a receiver go over 70 receptions. Whilst that sounds like bad news don’t forget that college rosters don’t have a limit on players that can play. With NFL teams having 53 man rosters the receiving corps will have more targets shared between less people than at Texas.
Lets not forget he ran a 4.31 40 at the combine and instantly became a combine darling. If Isabella can lift the lid off defences or get short sweeps, screens and slants he can use that blazing speed to get big plays and produce WR3 numbers as a floor with upside. Currently going as the wide receiver 83 in half point PPR. Make hi a sleeper last round pick and if he blows up then bingo.
As Ash mentioned in his Dynasty deep stash article the Steelers have a knack of finding receiving talent in the draft. Heres a list of players you might just recognise. Mike Wallace (2009), Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown (2010), Martavis Bryant (2014), Juju Smith-Schuster (2017), James Washington (2018) and Diontae Johnson (2019).
Of that list Washington flamed out last year but has had a pre season delivered from the gods this year. Johnson was drafted this year and we wait to see how good he can be. Both these guys were 2nd round picks so have draft pedigree.
So far in the pre season Washington has had nine receptions, two touchdowns and has averaged 67.7 yards per game. He scored in the week 3 matchup in which most people see as a dry run for the starters heading into the regular season.
Washington throughout the pre season is tied 1st for receiving touchdowns and 2nd for total yards amongst all receivers. This to me is a clear indication that the Steelers are planning to use Washington in the regular season. He has shown capable hands in his outings so far in 2019.
He is currently the number three wideout on the depth chart behind Juju and Donte Moncrief. If Washington starts fast he will blast past Moncrief and become the two for the Steelers losing his sleeper tag. We all know how the number two in Pittsburgh usually works out. Fantasy relevant is how.
Washingtons current ADP is 9.10 and the 45th receiver off the board. Again like Isabella Washington can be loaded into your team as your wide receiver four with huge upside. Big Ben won’t throw as much as he did last year thats a given but he will still be up there amongst league leaders in pass attempts.