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Fantasy Football 2019: Top Preseason Sleepers, Funny Team Names and League Names

Elizabeth FinnyFeatured Columnist IAugust 4, 2019

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson throws a pass during NFL football training camp Saturday, July 27, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Gail Burton/Associated Press

You can't win your fantasy football league without sleepers.

In my experience, the winning fantasy teams always have sleepers who break out and push their teams over the top. Of course, it makes sense to draft as many top players as you can, but you shouldn't sleep on sleepers.

So much can happen in a season that the team you start with is hardly ever the team you finish with. Take it from me, who drafted Le'Veon Bell with the No. 1 pick in the draft last year.

Age, injury and surrounding teammates are all reasons a player who was considered a top pickup at the beginning of the season ends up needing to be replaced. Rookies are sometimes the answer or veteran players on a new team.

Here's a look at the top 15 sleepers, split up by position, along with an analysis on the top quarterback, receiver and running back.

     

Sleeper Rankings (by Position)

Quarterbacks

1. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

2. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

3. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

     

Running Backs

1. Darwin Thompson, Kansas City Chiefs*

2. Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills*

3. Kalen Ballage, Miami Dolphins

4. Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders*

     

Wide Receivers

1. Dante Pettis, San Francisco 49ers

2. Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers

3. N'Keal Harry, New England Patriots*

4. John Brown, Buffalo Bills

5. Devin Funchess, Indianapolis Colts

     

Tight Ends

1. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons

2. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

3. Noah Fant, Denver Broncos*

*Rookie

     

QB Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Even if the Ravens don't make as deep of a run in the postseason as they would like to, Lamar Jackson and Baltimore are going to be a fun team to watch this year.

Jackson turned the Ravens' season around in his rookie season. His first start came in mid-November against the Cincinnati Bengals, where he led his team to a 24-21 victory. The rookie went on to win five of his next six regular-season games before falling to the Los Angeles Chargers in the Wild Card Round.

He threw for 1,201 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. In addition to that, he showed his potential as a dual-threat, running for 695 yards and five touchdowns.

Along with the experience of his first year under his belt and his training in the offseason, Jackson has the confidence from the Ravens' choice to believe in him and trade longtime quarterback Joe Flacco.

The quarterback out of Louisville and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner has been impressive in training camp so far, launching a sidearm strike to Miles Boykin to excite the crowd, per Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun. His ability to take the ball out of the pocket paired with his growth in passing bodes well and makes him a dangerous fantasy weapon.

     

RB Darwin Thompson, Kansas City Chiefs

This move is definitely a risk but could pay off in the long run.

The Chiefs are looking to replace their star running back Kareem Hunt, whom they released in November after a video was released of him pushing and kicking a woman back in February 2018.

They have a few different rookie running backs, along with veterans Damien Williams and Carlos Hyde. Both entering their sixth years in the NFL, the two haven't shown the consistency and growth to secure them as the go-to backs on their former teams. The two average 4.0 yards per carry, with Hyde rushing for 26 career touchdowns but not receiving many, just three. Williams, on the other hand, has rushed for seven career touchdowns and caught eight.

With neither being a clear go-to option, this is where Thompson comes in. He won't get the starting position out of the gate, but if Williams and Hyde don't prove to be reliable, Thompson should get plenty of opportunities to show his worth in the RB2 slot.

The rookie out of Utah State has shown his dual-threat ability, rushing for over 1,044 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. He added 351 receiving yards and two touchdowns, including an 88-yard touchdown reception.

Thompson is a deep sleeper but could prove to be a steal when given the chance to get into games.

     

WR Dante Pettis, San Francisco 49ers

Dane Pettis makes sense as a top sleeper for wide receivers paired with his quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo.

Garoppolo also made the list for top sleepers at his position, as he's coming off a torn ACL injury that sidelined him just three games into the season last year. While the young quarterback has yet to play a full season—playing backup to Tom Brady for three years and only playing nine games total for the 49ers between 2017 and 2018—he's shown great potential and is sure to have a breakout season soon.

Pettis may be right there with him when he does.

He is the all-time college record-holder with nine career punt returns for touchdowns, and he may be getting more opportunities to do so this season. As a rookie, he received just nine punts after getting hurt early in the season and missing four games. As a projected Week 1 starter, he may get the chance to handle more punts and show why he holds the college record.

He also caught 27 passes for 467 yards, with a 75-yard long reception and five touchdowns. While these aren't numbers to write home about, head coach Kyle Shanahan is excited about his potential for the upcoming season.

"Our young guys, we've got a lot of pressure on those guys," Shanahan said on Inside Training Camp Live on NFL Network (h/t David Bonilla of 49ers Webzone). "We brought in Dante (Pettis) last year, who stepped it up towards the end of the year and helped us. But I keep telling him we have high expectations for him. He needs to get better. He started off a little bit slow in camp, but he's turned it on here these last couple of days."

     

Team and League Names

While fantasy players should be preparing for the season by keeping track of sleepers, rookies, top players and more, it's also time to begin to think about the name of your team.

Gone are the days of boring league and team names. Your family or your friends or your office is way more creative than that.

Here's a list of some fun league and team names.

     

Team Names

Kenyan, Do You Love Me?

Hit the Saquon

Mack-in My Way Downtown

Rolls Royce

Running Miles Around You

The Long Shot

Josh Jacobs Jingleheimer Schmidt

Alvin on a Prayer

     

League Names

Too Many Cooks

Nobody Likes Us But Us

A League of Our Own

Having a Ball

Touchdown for What?

Just a Bunch of Football Nerds

It's All Luck

All We Do Is Win