The All-NFL Fantasy Football Sleeper Team Heading into 2015
Us fantasy football players are always looking for the next sleeper. Whether it was Peyton Hillis (however many years ago), or more recently, Justin Forsett, Odell Beckham Jr. or C.J. Anderson in 2014, sleepers are what help fuel a championship-winning squad.
It seems like every season there are always one-to-two guys who perform way more than what is initially expected.
I'm going to go out on a limb and surmise that those players I listed above helped you win a championship (especially "OBJ").
Good news for you is that I have put together a full sleeper squad (1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 D/ST and a "Flex" player) whose members are all going way too late in drafts, and they can help you win that league trophy (or a wad of cash).
Get it? OK good, let's go...
QB: Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
Average Draft Position: QB25 (180th overall)
Coming off his rookie season, Derek Carr is expected to take huge strides this season. Although he had his regular struggles as a rookie, he really stepped up the last five weeks of the season, throwing for 1,031 yards, seven touchdowns and only three interceptions. His seven touchdown passes from Weeks 13-17 were tied for 12th in the league with guys such as Tom Brady and Ryan Tannehill.
This season, the Oakland Raiders got Carr a legitimate weapon in Amari Cooper, signed running back Roy Helu and have a more stable run game with Latavius Murray, who should be the best running back Oakland has had in a little while.
In his sophomore season, Carr has top-15 upside at the quarterback position.
RB1: Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia Eagles
Average Draft Position: RB39 (99th overall)
I just want to make this clear: I have no idea how Chip Kelly and the Eagles will split up the carries between DeMarco Murray, Mathews and Darren Sproles. However, I do know Mathews cannot be ignored. He's just too good.
While Mathews has had his fair share of injuries in his career, he won't be the main guy in Philadelphia, which will help him stay healthy.
Let's just say Mathews receives 30 percent of the carries in Philly, for argument's sake. Last season, the Eagles ranked seventh in rushing attempts, with 474.
Now, yes, the quarterbacks ran some, too. Let's deduct those:
By my calculations, that's still 445 carries (yeah, I used a calculator, so what). If you take 30 percent of 445, that's approximately 133 carries (rounded down).
So, the fact that Mathews could get around 150 carries, can catch the ball, is behind a good offensive line, has had success in the league and is going that late is superb value.
Go get him!
RB2: Roy Helu, Oakland Raiders
Average Draft Position: RB59 (141st overall)
As I've said in numerous columns so far this season, I love Roy Helu.
He's in a pretty good situation, with a young quarterback (you know, the guy from the first slide) who will benefit greatly from having a dump-off option in Helu.
Last season, Helu finished with 42 receptions on a very dysfunctional Washington Redskins team, but he only got an opportunity to carry the ball 40 times. In those 40 attempts, he did well averaging over five yards per carry, but of course, that's not a huge sample size.
To be honest, I thought this guy deserved a starting job.
If you play in a points-per-reception league, Roy Helu could be a very sneaky play and score you a ton of fantasy points.
WR1: Eddie Royal, Chicago Bears
Average Draft Position: WR51 (130th overall)
This season, he joins the Chicago Bears with quarterback Jay Cutler, who flung the ball (not well at times) 561 times and completed 370 of those, ranking just behind Royals' quarterback last season, Philip Rivers, with 570 attempts. Additionally, he's on a team where its top draft pick (wide receiver Kevin White) is in danger of missing the entire season, according to Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune.
I'm no mathematician, but that's a lot of targets to go around, and Royal could truly be a top-30 wide receiver in points-per-reception formats this season.
Please stop sleeping on him and go get him before your league-mates read this slideshow.
WR2: Stevie Johnson, San Diego Chargers
Average Draft Position: WR54 (134th overall)
Come back to relevancy, Stevie Johnson.
The former Buffalo Bill and 1,000-yard wideout will once again be fantasy-relevant, and I hope you're as excited about that as I am. Actually, apparently you're not since he's going as the 54th wide receiver in points-per-reception leagues!
If you've never heard of my friend Matt Harmon of NFL.com, he has a methodology in which he basically tells you if a receiver, in a nutshell, is good or not. It's that simple.
The name of this methodology? "Reception Perception."
Here, courtesy of FootballGuys.com, you can find Stevie Johnson's Reception Perception.
The Chargers lost Royal and have also lost tight end Antonio Gates because of his suspension for the season's first four games.
As I mentioned in the previous slide, Rivers ranked pretty high in terms of attempts, so Johnson will have plenty of opportunities to succeed.
TE: Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Average Draft Position: TE28 (233rd overall)
Now, in fantasy football, the general rule of thumb when it comes to tight ends is pretty simple: If you don't draft Rob Gronkowski, wait. Forever.
Well, maybe not forever, but tight ends are a hard position to peg. To be able to draft a player like Rodgers, who is a superb athlete so late (or pick him up on the waiver wire), isn't a bad idea.
Last season, Rodgers didn't receive much action. However, all of Jordy Nelson's stats have to be made up for, and Rodgers could benefit from that.
It's not often you find a player with his potential upside at the tight end position.
Take a chance on Richard Rodgers!
FLEX: Jerricho Cotchery, Carolina Panthers
Average Draft Position: WR76 (242nd overall)
Let's dig real deep here.
I have to be honest. I'm not entirely sure why Jerricho Cotchery isn't getting more love. I mean, last season he still had nearly 50 receptions, and that was with Kelvin Benjamin playing. Unfortunately, the Panthers have lost Benjamin for the season, which leaves the Panthers with a rather depleted wide receiver group.
Cotchery's main problem last season was that he couldn't find the end zone. However, it's also not often a team loses its No. 1 wide receiver option. Cotchery will have some slack to pick up. He will have to compete with rookie wide receiver Devin Funchess and tight end Greg Olsen for targets, but having got 83 last season with Benjamin on board, it's not much of a concern.
If you're in a deeper league, Cotchery could pay huge dividends.
K: Chandler Catanzaro
Average Draft Position: K18 (253rd overall)
Here you go! Your "sleeper" kicker! Ha!
OK, there is no such thing as a sleeper kicker, but in general I prefer drafting a kicker who's on a decent offense, and Catanzaro is.
Last season (his rookie season), Catanzaro was 29-of-33 on field goals. This season, he'll hope to have Carson Palmer play all 16 games and get more attempts.
He's going pretty late among kickers, but let's be honest, it doesn't matter the size of your league; you're streaming kickers.
DEF/ST: Cleveland Browns
Average Draft Position: DEF23 (297th overall)
For what it's worth, the Cleveland Browns defense has been pretty good this preseason.
Like kickers, you should stream defenses and wait on them. Please, please, please don't be that person who takes Seattle's defense in the ninth round.
The Browns will be a nice defense to own the first couple of weeks of the season, as they take on the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans, respectively.
If anything, make sure they are one of the defenses you own during the season's first two weeks.
All ADP references will come from FantasyPros (PPR section).
Follow me on Twitter @RichardJanvrin.