Post-Hype Sleepers to Target in Fantasy Football in 2018
A “sleeper” is just a clickbait term for a player that is undervalued. The sleeper is nonexistent in Fantasy Football but there are certain players that the general public is sleeping on. Perhaps the players that present the most value are guys who entered the league with a ton of hype but then failed to produce. These are the post-hype sleepers in Fantasy Football.
Personal bias factors when drafting. It is human nature. A player that burned us last season is most likely not going to make it into our lineups in 2018. That is why I am here to provide you with an outside perspective. I have no bias… Although I may or may not have passed up on Melvin Gordon after his rookie season when he scored zero touchdowns and ran for less than 4.0 yards per carry. It happens to the best of us.
Post-hype sleepers, simply put, are undervalued players that had highly anticipated 2017 campaigns and then let their owners down. There will be many who will not touch these players and this is where you can step in and grab huge value in the later rounds.
Take advantage of some of these post-hype sleepers when you head on over to Fantrax to start or join a league today!
2018 Fantasy Football Post-Hype Sleepers
Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
The Titans offense came out of nowhere in 2016. Demarco Murray had a great year and set the tone for a team that found themselves in the red zone often. Marcus Mariota was the beneficiary of the Titans rushing attack, which also featured rookie Derrick Henry. By Week 9, teams began to plan for this rushing attack and, like many are doing this year, defenses slept on Mariota.
Mariota was the QB1 in Week 9, QB3 in Week 10, QB6 in Week 11, and QB10 in Week 12. The play action-pass and run/pass option matched the Titan’s ability to run the ball and was problematic for opposing defenses.
Unfortunately for Mariota owners last season, the team could not establish the running game. Defenses became accustomed to the Titan’s tendencies and the team never really adjusted. Mariota fell from QB13 in 2016 to QB17 in 2017.
Mariota was the second highest rated quarterback throwing out of the play action in 2017 (115.8). Yet, the Titan’s were 19th with 255 pass attempts out of the play action. Mariota’s improvement this season is dependent on the play calling. I believe their running game will improve with Henry and Dion Lewis in the backfield. This will set up Mariota nicely and he has an underrated receiver corps at his disposal. The range of outcomes is wide but if things break right, he will be a borderline QB1 in Fantasy Football.
Entering his fourth NFL season, Mariota is healthy and should use his legs more this season. If he can sniff 500 rushing yards (he had 349 in 2016) it will give him a safer floor and make him a weekly playable Fantasy asset.
Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
This is the inevitable Amari Cooper section of the Post-hype sleepers piece. His disappointments of last season are well documented. Just like Jonah Hill said in Superbad, “people don’t forget.” Everyone remembers Cooper’s catastrophic stretch of three games when he scored less than two Fantasy points.
Cooper has been a boom or bust player since his rookie season. He did start off his career with two-straight 1,000-yard seasons but has developed the reputation of a player that can disappear in a game.
Last season Cooper was the WR30 and he was drafted in the second round on average. However, there are reasons to feel good about Amari Cooper. He actually had his best touchdown season in 2017 with seven. Despite sharing touches with Michael Crabtree, a touchdown monster the last few seasons, Cooper scored four touchdowns in his last five games of the season.
Quarterback Derek Carr claims that Cooper was dealing with a number of injuries last year which does explain his poor play. He goes into 2018 as the clear number one option at wide receiver and Jon Gruden has made it clear that they are going to do their best to get the ball in his hands early and often. The Raiders also acquired Martavis Bryant and Jordy Nelson which should open up things a bit more for the fourth-year pro.
Cooper is 24 years old and ready to shine. His ADP is 4.02 and he’s being taken as the WR15 which is around where he finished in 2016. He is one of the post-hype sleepers with a lot to prove in an offense where he is projected to see high volume.
Amari Cooper will finish 2018 with 90+ receptions, 1,250+ receiving yards and a career high catch rate.
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Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts
Just like every season (including this one), a lot of the general Fantasy Football community ruled out Frank Gore as a viable option for the Colts. Marlon Mack was a sneaky pick that many hoped would jump Gore for the starting role. Gore continued to defy age and proceeded to have 299 touches in 2017.
Despite Gore’s unfathomable workload last season, Mack managed 114 touches of his own. He rushed the ball 93 times for 358 yards and had 21 receptions for 225 yards with four total touchdowns. It is his highlight reel, however, that really pops. Whenever Mack got the ball in space, he was lethal which is evident based on his 10.7 yards per reception. People are concerned about his 3.8 yards per carry but let me paint the picture for you…
The Colts had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL in 2017. According to Pro Football Focus, they were the 25th ranked offensive line unit. Jacoby Brissett was the starter for most of the season which made the Colts one dimensional. The Colt’s saw eight-in-the-box defenses often and were generally underwhelming moving the football.
Andrew Luck is poised to make his first start since 2016. The Colt’s did their due diligence by drafting the best linemen in the NFL Draft, Quentin Nelson. They also drafted Braden Smith in the second round who will play opposite of Nelson at the guard position.
Mack is set to open the season as the Colts starting running back. Nyheim Hines is a gadget player and Jordan Wilkens is an upright runner who will be used sparingly. With 299 touches up for grabs and a more dynamic offense in 2018, Mack has huge upside. I see 200-210 carries for Mack to go along with 40-45 receptions which will make him an RB2 in Fantasy Football.
David Njoku, Cleveland Browns
Njoku was a first-round draft pick in 2017. His athleticism and speed are unprecedented at the tight end position. Njoku was an absolute monster at the University of Miami where he averaged over 16 yards per catch in his final collegiate season. His metrics will jump out and you and when you watch him play his physical presence stands out.
Njoku flashed at times in 2017 but did not ever establish a consistent target share with Deshone Kizer and company. He will go into 2018 as the clear starter, although Seth Devalve will also be used. The 6’4”, 247-pound Njoku fits into the Brown’s offense as a guy who can run deep-routes and stretch the field while also providing a big body in the red zone.
Tyrod Taylor is going to have a lot of fun this season if the Browns stick with him. Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, Carlos Hyde, and Nick Chubb are just a few of the other weapons at his disposal. Taylor is a good NFL quarterback and will be able to exploit defenses who undoubtedly will have problems covering all of these legitimate matchup nightmares. Njoku will benefit from this with his natural ability to make plays.
Njoku is one of the post-hype sleepers that can be grabbed in the double-digit rounds. His talent and situation give him TE1 upside in 2018.
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