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Fantasy Football 2018: Latest ADP for Top Sleepers and Tips to Strategize

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2018

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 29: Jamaal Williams #30 of the Green Bay Packers runs for yardage against the Detroit Lions during the first half at Little Caesars Arena on December 29, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Fantasy football sleepers might be the most popular element of fake football itself outside of the initial draft. 

For good reason, too. Sleepers are players who outperform their average draft position (ADP) in drafts via various means. Whether it is simply a breakout player from the beginning of the season or a reserve stepping in for an injured player and making an impact off the waiver wire, sleepers evolve as a season continues. 

With September on approach, the target now is sleepers during those drafts. While sleeper hunting can be a bit akin to playing the lottery at times, there are certain tells and situations to know when it comes to this year's best sleepers. 

            

ADP for Top Sleepers 

Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (11.06)

Alex Smith, QB, Washington Redskins (12.07)

Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants (13.11)

Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay Packers (6.11) 

Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks (7.04) 

Chris Thompson, RB, Washington Redskins (8.05) 

Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (13.09) 

Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (10.01) 

Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants (11.05) 

Trey Burton, TE, Chicago Bears (9.03) 

David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns (10.04) 

Standard league 12-team ADP info courtesy of Fantasyfootballcalculator.com.

       

Tips

Having an ADP chart handy is always a way to provide an advantage on the competition during drafts. While some live drafts provide this as it unfolds, the more data, the merrier. 

Knowing what to look for helps as well. Sometimes a rookie is too difficult to ignore, such as Nick Chubb with the Cleveland Browns. He could see looks early and the position lends production to those who simply get usage. 

Other times it's a new face in a new place, such as Alex Smith with the Washington Redskins. He's coming off a career statistical year and could keep building on that now that he's working with an offensive-minded coach like Jay Gruden. 

Keep an eye on the rebound performer, too. The fantasy community is clearly down on New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning after his down year and random benching, but the arrival of Saquon Barkley and others could create a resurgence, which could mean the same for someone such as wideout Sterling Shepard. 

Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (11.06)

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 09:  Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs drops back to pass during the first half against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium on August 9, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Ima
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

A quarterback like Patrick Mahomes is worth the risk if he's taking a tumble down draft boards like this. 

While Mahomes only appeared in one game last year with the Kansas City Chiefs and didn't throw a touchdown, Smith's departure opens up the door for some serious production in large part simply because he'll be on the same field as weapons such as Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce. 

One of these connections is already alive and well this preseason: 

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill connected for a 69-yard TD just before halftime tonight against the Falcons. Since Hill joined the league in 2016, the @Chiefs wide receiver has the most TD from scrimmage of at least 60 yards in the #NFL (6). https://t.co/wzNzz680dH

Grabbing a later-round quarterback like Mahomes permits an owner to load up on other positions instead. The upshot is a signal-caller capable of starting every week, which would easily outperform the ADP. If it doesn't work out, it's easy to stream the position on the waiver wire if necessary. 

Granted, more owners should catch onto this as drafts continue, so it's best to strike with Mahomes while still viable. 

Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay Packers (6.11)

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 31: Jamaal Williams #30 of the Green Bay Packers runs with the ball against Jamal Agnew #39 of the Detroit Lions during the first half at Ford Field on December 31, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams might not seem like a sleeper in the sixth round, but keep in mind 20 running backs come off the board on the ADP chart before the fourth round. 

Williams, a fourth-round pick in 2017, looked like a sleeper a year ago before only running for 556 yards and four scores, catching another 25 passes for 262 yards and two scores. Keep in mind he had to do this while Aaron Rodgers was on the bench with an injury. 

Still, that is the sort of versatility owners should want to hear about from a running back on limited touches—it's the exact versatility coaches look for as well. In fact, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is open to one of his guys emerging as a workhorse, according to ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky: "But if one of them would emerge as that full-time guy then you have to have that ability to ... adjust to that. As far as planning and going into the season, that's why we're going about it that way."

Now weave in a reminder that Aaron Jones, one of the three running backs Green Bay likes, will not only start the season suspended, but had to deal with an injury that made him miss some time during training camp. 

It all equates to a big opportunity for Williams and those owners willing to take the risk on a chance he scoffs at the ADP and has a big season. 

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