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Early Draft Sleepers - 2019 Fantasy Football


Is it too early to start prepping for next season's fantasy football drafts? If you believe so, you're in the wrong place. On the other hand, if you agree that it's never too soon to get a jump on the competition, read on.

In this space, we are going to give you a list of some players to identify as sleepers in drafts, as they could be bargains at their current ADP.

At RotoBaller, there is no offseason, and fantasy football prep doesn’t stop. Now, let’s find some key sleepers for the upcoming 2019 season.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

QB Draft Sleepers

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

To begin the 2018 season, Wentz was coming off an ACL injury, and it took him a long time to fully recover from it. The first season after an ACL is always the toughest, as the strain placed on other areas of the body cause more lingering injuries to hamper the player. Like Allen Robinson and Dalvin Cook, the best way to know if a player is truly back is in their second season after their return. In what will be Wentz’s second season since the injury, he will be a very good sleeper value as his disappointing season in 2018 will convince many he is no longer an elite quarterback and he will slip below players like Jameis Winston, Mitch Trubisky and Jared Goff in many fantasy drafts. With other league mates looking to avoid him, it would make a great time for you to get a quarterback with the talent and the offense to have an Andrew Luck type season in 2019 as the Eagles look once again to be a favorite in the NFC East and perhaps even the NFC.

In only 11 games in 2017, Wentz threw for over 3,000 yards while having 21 touchdowns compared to seven interceptions. Looking at this over a full season, he would still be behind his amazing numbers of 2017 but his line of 4,500 yards, 30 touchdowns and 10 interceptions would put him firmly in the top-five at the quarterback position, ahead of players like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady and just behind Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan on the season.

If you can wait on a quarterback, which you should be doing, Wentz is going to be a great late-round sleeper as he is currently not ranked as a consensus top-12 player at the position by most experts.

 

RB Draft Sleepers

Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks

Though not the biggest Penny fan, I have to think the Seahawks will still need to find out what they have in him heading into year two after taking him in the first round of the 2018 draft. Yes, this was a bad move on their part strategically, but nonetheless, Seattle ran the ball more than any other team in the NFL in 2018 and will ensure he gets a lot of work in 2019. Despite Chris Carson being solid last season and the fact he is the better player, with the injury bug what it is with Carson Penny may be a better bet in your fantasy drafts.

Carson will go in the third or fourth round of most drafts, while Penny will go in the seventh to eighth round area. This makes him a high-end sleeper worth taking a chance on. In limited action, Penny saw 85 rushing attempts, turning those into 419 yards and two touchdowns. His 4.9 yards per attempt average behind a surprisingly solid offensive line shows there is some talent there should the Seahawks want to use him more often or if they decide to move on from Chris Carson entirely and leave the run game in the hands of Penny and Mike Davis for the coming season.

If he can improve his blocking and his pass-catching ability in the offseason, Rashaad Penny could be a solid RB2 and possibly higher if and when he takes over the lead back role. If you can grab him in the eight-round or later if he slips, he will make at worst a valuable handcuff and at best a James Conner-type value.

 

WR Draft Sleepers

James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers

104 receptions for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns. No, this is not what I project for James Washington in 2019. Instead. it is what is going to have to be replaced when Antonio Brown gets traded by the Steelers for being the second biggest diva in the Steel City. Can you imagine, after all he has done, still not being the biggest diva on the team? This says a lot for Le’Veon Bell.

JuJu Smith-Shuster is ready to take the next step up into superstardom, but he will not be able to do everything by himself, which is where James Washington comes into play.

Although only catching 16 balls for 217 yards and one touchdown as a rookie, this was as the third and sometimes fourth receiver on the team which, by all intents and purposes, made him the fifth or sixth option in the offense. With AB presumably gone, he will move up the third option on the offense behind JuJu and James Conner, making him a steal at his draft price which lies in the double-digit rounds at this point. He should not rise much higher before the prime draft season starts.

We saw the usage of Martavis Bryant by Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers and this should be the floor for Washington in 2019, with his ceiling being a high-end WR3. He should be a top candidate for your wide receiver five spot, as he could wind up as a fantasy starter by midseason.

 

TE Draft Sleepers

Chris Herndon IV, New York Jets

A tight end from a team like the Jets, which is not known to use the tight end position well, is a weird call for sure. That Chris Herndon is the sleeper of choice here should not be that much of a surprise. On the team which was inconsistent on offense all year, Herndon still finished as the fantasy TE15, only four spots behind the almighty Wizard of Gronk and one spot ahead of fellow rookie Mark Andrews from Baltimore.

With 39 receptions for 502 yards and four touchdowns, the season was not such that he can not reproduce or even exceed it in his sophomore season. With new head coach Adam Gase, the tight end should be a bigger part of the offense as he was able to make Julius Thomas look like a real tight end in Denver and used the position adequately in his time with the Dolphins in his three seasons as head coach from 2016 to 2018.

Hendon will make up a core of players surrounding Sam Darnold in New Jersey as the Jets try to position themselves to take over the AFC East (if Tom Brady ever decides to retire).

Being very likely that he will not even be drafted in most fantasy drafts, Herndon is the true definition of a sleeper. It will only take a last-round pick to acquire him and he has the potential to finish as a top-10 tight end in 2019.

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