Fantasy Football 2019: 3 Sleepers Generating Buzz After Preseason Week 2

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2019

Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders runs with the ball during practice at the NFL football team's training camp in Philadelphia, Friday, July 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

There's just one game left in the second week of the NFL preseason. With 30 of the league's teams now at least two games into exhibition season, we're starting to get an idea of what rosters and starting lineups will look like in 2019.

Most fantasy football lineups will feature the usual suspects. Expect players like Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara and DeAndre Hopkins to come off the board early. A championship roster doesn't just consist of the opening act, though.

To build a winning fantasy team, you have to surround your headliners with the right supporting cast. This means finding players in the mid-to-late rounds with the potential to spark your team to glory.

We're talking about fantasy sleepers, of course. Here are three who are gaining steam with Week 2 coming to a close.


Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

One of the biggest question marks surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason has involved the backfield. Philadelphia invested heavily into the position, trading for Jordan Howard and using a second-round pick on former Penn State standout Miles Sanders.

With guys like Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement, Josh Adams and Darren Sproles also in the mix, who would emerge as Philadelphia's starter in 2019?

Coming out of Week 2, it's looking like Sanders has the inside edge.

Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the rookie rushed for 31 yards on just five carries. More importantly, though, he appeared comfortable in roles other than ball-carrier. On a critical 4th-and-4, Sanders held up against the blitz, allowing the Eagles to score.

"It says a lot," receiver Greg Ward said of Sanders, per Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia. "He’s already doing a good job in that area, focused in on it and trying to get better. That’s what you want in a rookie."

While it won't show up on the stat sheet, Sanders' ability to pick up the blitz raises his fantasy stock. It puts him one step closer to being Philadelphia's starting back—and worth more in fantasy than his current average draft position (ADP) of 106.9 would suggest.


Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

Steven Senne/Associated Press

We still don't know when or if Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon will end his contract holdout. It appears unlikely, though, that the situation will come to an end in the near future. This should cement Austin Ekeler's place as a 2019 sleeper.

Ekeler's current ADP is 107.8, making him a prime target in the bottom half of your fantasy draft.

The Chargers have given Ekeler the starting nod in each of their two preseason games. He's responded by amassing 49 yards rushing on eight carries and catching four passes for an additional 35 yards.

While Ekeler may not be L.A.'s new starter, he does figure to see a hefty portion of the workload.

Mike Clay @MikeClayNFL

@YahooNoise Looks right to me. We’ve barely seen Jackson. Ekeler has been outstanding since he stepped on an NFL field.

Should Ekeler split time with Justin Jackson equally, that's fine. He's still a valuable pickup. Despite making just three starts in 14 games last season, Ekeler produced 958 combined rushing and receiving yards. He caught 39 passes and found the end zone six times.

If the Chargers play the bulk of the 2019 season without Gordon, Ekeler could prove to be one of the steals of your draft.


Tyrell Williams, WR, Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders have been one of the bigger stories of the NFL offseason. A lot of that has to do with offseason acquisition Antonio Brown.

Brown was supposed to be the prize of Oakland's summer and the centerpiece to their new passing attack. However, Brown has largely been absent due to injuries to his feet and a lingering helmet issue.

Regardless of why Brown hasn't been a major piece of Oakland's preseason, the Raiders are losing patience.

Oakland Raiders @Raiders

GM Mike Mayock issued a statement today regarding Antonio Brown. https://t.co/5ueLsrOmid

This hurts Brown's stock, obviously, but it also raises the sleeper factor of fellow offseason acquisition Tyrell Williams. The former Chargers standout caught 41 passes for 653 yards and five touchdowns last season. He caught one pass for 27 yards against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2.

Williams is a legitimate deep threat and a fantasy sleeper in his own right. As long as Brown remains out of the starting lineup, though, he's also likely Oakland's No 1 receiver.

With a current ADP of 127.0, Williams is well likely to outperform for your fantasy team.


*2019 ADP from Yahoo Fantasy.