Re-draft leagues are fun. It gives you a chance to put your strategy and your season-long football takes to the test. Playing in dynasty football leagues is a different animal. Not only do you have to put your season-long football takes to the test, but with limited roster spots, you also have to think about how things might play out in the future. True dynasty sleepers aren’t always rookies with a clear pathway to playing time this season. They’re players with a lot of talent, but a few obstacles in the way. Let’s talk about three players that fit that bill.
2022 Dynasty Sleepers
James Cook, RB, Buffalo Bills
James Cook is my RB43 on the year in redraft. While he’s behind Devin Singletary on the depth chart, and possibly behind former 3rd round pick Zack Moss, James Cook was this year’s 2nd round pick. Investing that kind of capital in a running back in today’s NFL means he’ll see the field this year, and have a chance to be the starter going forward. Perfect for a dynasty stash.
Dalvin Cook’s younger brother has quite the skillset on him. At 5’11” and 200 lbs, he has a prototypical running back build. Sturdy enough to take the hits, but not so big that he can’t hide behind his offensive linemen between the gaps. In his draft class, he was in the 94th percentile for speed, clocking a 40-yard dash time of 4.42 seconds. That speed wasn’t just for show, it was effective, as he was in the 86th percentile with 6.6 yards per carry in college. His skill set isn’t just in the running game, though. He managed to hit the 67th percentile for running backs in college target share at 8.2%. A running back that can run between the tackles and catch out of the backfield is something that any team would covet, but the Bills have been doing it in the aggregate with Singletary and Moss. Cook has the ability to be both of those players in one.
Khalil Herbert, RB, Chicago Bears
Herbert is currently my RB52 in my redraft rankings. This is mainly a play on the future, as opposed to Herbert’s production on the field. David Montgomery has been a polarizing player. When he plays, he’s been effective. However, I’m not quite sure he’s lived up to the bonafide RB1 that he’s capable of. In his three years, he’s had one 1,000-yard season, while the other two were just under 900 yards rushing. He also averages 7 rushing TDs per year in his career. But this is the last season of his rookie contract. Why pay premium running back prices going forward, when they could have a younger/cheaper back on their roster already?
Khalil Herbert stands to benefit next year if/when David Montgomery signs a contract elsewhere. Somewhere with a better offensive line perhaps, capable of catapulting him into the upper echelon of running backs in the league. In the meantime, Khalil Herbert could have a clear path to Rb1 status in 2023. As the Bears build around Justin Fields, I think it’s safe to say they aren’t likely to take a running back to replace Montgomery in the first few rounds, as they are more likely to build out a WR corp and offensive line. Herbert averaged over 4 yards per carry last year. If he’s given the workload that Montgomery currently has in 2023, you’ve got yourself a steal if you get him on your roster this year.
David Bell, WR, Cleveland Browns
The QB situation in Cleveland is still in flux. All we know these days are rumors and leaks that seem to change with the wind. While we don’t know what will come of Deshaun Watson’s future, we do know that someone will be throwing Cleveland WRs the ball. And David Bell isn’t just one of those receivers. He’s a starter. In college, Bell was 88th percentile for WRs in target share, garnering 28.7% of his team’s total targets. Is he the fastest? No. He ran a 4.65 40-yard dash. 15th percentile for his draft class. At 6’1″, 209 lbs, with a sub-ten-foot catch radius (13th percentile for his draft class), Bell has his share of physical limitations. But it’s his skillful route running and great hands that give Bell the potential to take over Jarvis Landry’s position as a target dominant slot receiver. Bell is likely to be under the radar in both redraft and dynasty leagues. If your league gives any type of points for a reception, Bell needs to be on your radar.
Got a take on Bradlee’s Dynasty Sleepers? Share it in the comments below and then head on over and check out the rest of our 2022 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.