Finding the diamond in the rough is one of the most exciting things about dynasty fantasy football. Taking a flyer on a guy who ends up being productive can often be the difference between a good fantasy team and a great one. Depth is key in dynasty fantasy football of course, so adding sleepers that end up producing rather than just taking a spot on the team is also key. Sleepers have a variety of definitions of course. Jeff Janis is a sleeper, although you’d have to have been living under a rock not to be aware of him. This list of high potential dynasty sleepers is a bit deeper than the Jeff Janis level. I was looking for players who were relatively unknown and drafted low or un-drafted at all in the NFL. These are guys who seem to be barely on the roster and in some cases are, although if just one or two injuries occur or if they find themselves picked up on another roster that needs help in that position, there is high potential they could make the best of the situation. It’s very unlikely that any of these guys will ever be one of your go to guys. That’s not what it’s about. These are guys that as the season progresses have a great opportunity to rise and then, critically, have the talent to make a difference when that opportunity arises. So, with no further adieu, check out these high potential dynasty sleepers:
Devon Johnson RB CAR – Johnson is a rookie and is a mountain of a man at 6 ft, 240 lbs. He’s a converted TE which absolutely has to give him a leg up in blocking. He is on a team that values size rather than speed at the RB position and while he’s not going to overtake Jonathan Stewart any time soon, Stewart is injury prone and his back-ups do get on the field from time to time. above Johnson on the depth chart are Cameron Artis-Payne and Fozzy Whittaker, both are veterans and that alone makes them valuable, though both are under-sized. My point is, if Johnson has a good pre-season he’ll stay on this roster. If he stays on this roster, he has a chance to be the bulldozer in the trio of players that would replace Stewart if (when?) he gets injured.
James Wright WR CIN – Wright is a third year guy with absolutely NO name recognition. He was drafted in the 7th round in 2014 and spent the entire 2015 season on IR for Cincy. In college he played at LSU behind Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, so it’s easy to see why he didn’t see the field much. Here’s the thing thought, Cincy is revamping it’s WR corp and other than All-Pro AJ Green, all other positions are up for grabs. He has the talent and experience to grab the #2 WR position on the team with a strong off-season. His competition? Brandon Lafell (Meh), Tyler Boyd (rookie) and a whole host of other no name receivers. Will that happen? Who knows. Can it happen? Absolutely, which is why Wright is worth a flyer.
Daniel Braverman WR CHI – Braverman is another rookie 7th round pick from Western Michigan. He’s a Wes Welker type who was born for the slot WR role in this offense. That alone should pique your interest as there is no way he’d see the field if he was competing with Alshon Jeffery or Kevin White…but he’s NOT competing with those guys, he’s competing with Eddie Royal. While Royal is a solid veteran and will hold Braverman off for some time, Royal is injury prone and 30 years old this season so he can’t hold him off forever. Pick him late in rookie drafts and he could be a late season special in 2016.
Terrell Watson RB CLE – Un-drafted from Azusu Pacific, Watson is another 240 lbs. back in a situation where he can make a difference. Are you convinced Isaiah Crowell is a difference-maker in Cleveland? Neither am I. Duke Johnson is high quality for sure but is small and is not an every-down pounder. Watson is competing with Glenn Winston for the backup to those two guys and if he wins it can be perfectly situated to at very least take over goal line and short yardage work for the Browns with a Crowell injury.
Trey Williams RB IND – Here’s another backfield that is old and not really deep. Enter Williams who was undrafted from Texas A&M. Williams has the size/speed/athleticism combination to be an effective three down back in the NFL, he was injured and has to improve his vision and technique. Gore and Turbin are above him in the backfield and while Gore has had an awesome career, he won’t make it past 2016. That leaves Turbin, a career back-up, to fight with for carries along with rookie Josh Ferguson (a low round flyer). Stranger things have happened in the NFL…
Marquez North WR LAR – So the Rams top 3 receivers are all scheduled to be free agents next year (Austin, Britt, Quick). Not all of them will be, but it’s likely at least two of them will. So, what do the Rams do? They bring in a ton of rookies, the most notable are Pharoh Cooper and Michael Thomas who were both drafted. North was also brought in as a UDFA and he has the measurables to stick on this roster. Next year will be an absolute free for all in this receiver corp as the undoubtedly revamped corp will be fighting for wide open spaces in the starting lineup. North has the talent to compete and is currently being undrafted in most rookie drafts. Why not let others take Cooper and Thomas in mid-rounds and pick up a guy in free agency or at the end of the draft that could beat them both?
Daniel Lasco RB NOS – Lasco is a combine metric phenom who lacks vision and technique which is why he lasted until the 7th round in this year’s draft. That said, with a bit of coaching and development he has the size/athleticism to make a difference if called upon. With Ingram very injury-prone and CJ Spiller on his last legs, Lasco is competing with career backup Tim Hightower to get the call. Lasco is a good fit for this offense, he’s fast, he has good hands and can catch out of the backfield. He probably won’t see much time as a rookie but I can see him cutting his teeth on special teams and developing into CJ Spiller’s (Darren Sproles’?) role at very least in the future.