Fantasy Football 2017: Top Preseason Sleepers, Funny Team Names and League Names

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2017

Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) participates in a drill during the team's organized team activity at its NFL football training facility Tuesday, May 30, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

It can be hard for fantasy football owners to align priorities well in August as the preseason gets underway.

After a few months away from the fake-football realm, owners have to turn around and re-up on the details, ranging from player rankings to past performances, projections and beyond while also trying to accommodate for all the rookies and players who changed teams over the course of a few months.

Not only that, owners have to figure out other fine details of the fantasy football experience such as team and league names. It doesn't sound as important at face value, but a bad team name for a winning team might be a bigger disaster than a bad overall season.

Below, let's provide some baseline options in the naming department and then dive into one of the most important areas of the preseason process—sleepers.  

       

Funny Team and League Names

GurleyThings (Team)

Opposing owners might laugh at a name like this until Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley drops a double-digit performance on their heads. 

Gurley did such a thing 10 times last season and should have another solid campaign as the offense around him improves. With 16 rushing scores over two seasons, Gurley things are great to have. 

      

Amari 2600 (Team)

There's nothing like a nice callback to a classic video game system to pair with one of the game's most dominant weapons.

Amari Cooper's dominance translates to the virtual field, where he hit double digits 11 times last season, including a 35.3-point outburst.  

       

Golden Tate Warriors (Team)

A crossover name for NBA fans works wonders here as well. Detroit Lions wideout Golden Tate maybe isn't Kevin Durant or Stephen Curry, but he's quietly one of fantasy football's most steady producers with north of 120 targets in three consecutive seasons.   

       

Greatest Show on Paper (League) 

With a nod to one of the greatest offenses of all time, this name offers some bravado and downright truth given the ridiculous rosters owners are capable of building over a 12-team league.

Bonus points if the league is even smaller, which allows the gaudy offensive totals to climb even higher.  

         

Our Boss Thinks We're Working (League) 

Working on a fantasy football team at work isn't the best idea out there, but the thought process behind this one makes it funny.

Never mind the fact that boss is probably doing the same thing.  

       

In Memory of Tebowing (League) 

Remember Tebowing?

Some fads are better off forgotten, but Tebowmania isn't one of them. It's sweeping MLB these days, but for the nostalgic types, this name works.  

       

Sleepers to Know 

Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Based on name recognition alone, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston doesn't seem like a sleeper.

But fantasy has never been about the names, and Winston finished outside the top 15 scorers among quarterbacks a year ago, even landing behind rookies such as Dak Prescott and struggling names such as Blake Bortles.

Taking it a step further, Winston only had three games north of 300 passing yards a year ago, only went north of two passing touchdowns in a game four times and didn't throw one at all in two outings. 

But this entire narrative should change in a big way next season thanks to the arrival of names such as wideout DeSean Jackson and rookie tight end O.J. Howard. The former does most of the damage on his own once the ball is in his hands, and the latter is another big (6'6", 251 lbs), reliable target Winston can look at instead of spamming it to Mike Evans all the time. 

Considering Winston has an average draft position (ADP) of 8.03, he's a nice mid-round value for owners who want to wait and bank on the upside of a better-looking situation. 

     

Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs 

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

The Kansas City Chiefs turned more than a few heads when they drafted Kareem Hunt at No. 86 in this year's draft. 

Fantasy owners were just getting used to the idea of Spencer Ware, too, who had a breakout year over the second half of last season on his way to flirting with the 200-point mark thanks to 921 rushing yards and another 447 through the air alongside five total touchdowns. 

The rookie might be on the fast track to stealing all the opportunities, especially after notable recent praise from quarterback Alex Smith. 

"Running back is a hard spot. Those guys are doing a lot," Smith said, according to the Associated Press' Dave Skretta. "The thing I'm really pumped about is I feel like [Hunt] has picked up the pass game and the protection and that's normally what's the hardest for young backs, protecting the pass game."

If Hunt is already making himself stand out in passing situations, he could steal a three-down role in a system that has been great for fantasy owners needing production from backs over the years. 

Pair this with the fact Hunt's coming off the board at an ADP of 8.05 and he's a superb sleeper with breakout upside. 

         

Cameron Meredith, WR, Chicago Bears 

Nam Huh/Associated Press

Chicago Bears wideout Cameron Meredith had something of a breakout season a year ago, going from former undrafted status to a No. 1 target on an offense. 

The attention thanks to a three-win team helped Meredith hit 888 yards and four touchdowns. Those owners savvy enough to grab him off the wire got four double-digit performances to close the season and a big taste of what he could do next season. 

Improvements around Meredith should contribute to an actual breakout year. Not only does he have a better quarterback situation thanks to the arrival of Mike Glennon, new faces such as Kendall Wright, Markus Wheaton and Adam Shaheen at least add some size and speed to the offense that defenses need to respect. 

And Glennon is clearly a fan, as Yahoo Sports' Brad Evans captured: 

Meredith coming off the board at 9.09 is a steal from a sleeper perspective. His late-season production stretched out over 16 games is great value before sprinkling in projection ideas thanks to the situation around him and his own natural development curve. 

          

All scoring info courtesy of ESPN standard leagues, as is points-against info and ownership stats. Statistics courtesy of ESPN.com. Average draft position (ADP) courtesy of Fantasy Football Calculator.

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