Welcome to another edition of the Monday Morning Sleeper. Last week, I profiled a running back in Detroit named Ameer Abdullah, who has the starting job, but has to live up to the hype to keep it.
A Fantasy Football Sleeper is a player that is in a position to play beyond their rankings or expectations, and who may provide you with some value at their draft position.
The player I will be profiling this week is Breshad Perriman, who is a third-year wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens. Perriman is looking to have a breakout season after his rookie campaign was essentially spent on the IR due to an injury suffered in training camp and his sophomore season gave us less than expected.
On the first day of training camp in 2015, Perriman suffered a partially torn PCL, which shut him down for a couple of months to begin his career. Then, when he tried to return mid-season, he unfortunately re-aggravated the injury in pre-game warmups, and the Ravens were forced to shelve him for the rest of the year. This was an unfortunate set of injuries, which led to a disappointing rookie season for both Perriman and the Ravens, who drafted him 26th overall in the 2015 NFL entry draft with hopes of him becoming a legitimate deep threat for quarterback Joe Flacco.
Perriman is extremely quick, and he put up some impressive numbers on his pro day in 2015. He particularly impressed in the 40-yard dash, where he was officially clocked at 4.25. This speed was made even more impressive considering his size, as he stands in at 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds. The current record for fastest 40 time is held by John Ross, a 40-yard time of 4.22 at this year’s Combine. This performance helped Ross get drafted ninth overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. The previous record holder was Chris Johnson, who ran a 4.24 prior to being drafted 24th overall by the Titans. With this speed, Perriman is built to out-run defenders and get open downfield for Flacco. And with his size, he should be able to win battles for the ball.
[the_ad id=”384″]Perriman’s sophomore season was almost cut short by another knee injury, but fortunately for everyone the injury wasn’t as serious as first expected, and he was able to play in the final preseason game before playing the full 2016 season. However, his sophomore season was underwhelming at best, as he produced only 499 yards and three touchdowns on 33 receptions. Dropping passes was one of his most prominent problems during the season. He dropped five balls on 66 targets, which is one of the worst ratios in the league for players with more than 50 targets. Some players with worse ratios include running back Jordan Howard (seven drops on 50 targets) and tight end Eric Ebron (seven drops on 85 targets).
A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE
During the Ravens’ Organized Team Activities this offseason, Perriman has earned some praise from his teammates and coaching staff for his improvement thus far. As reported by ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, fellow wide receiver Mike Wallace and top corner Jimmy Smith have noticed a drastic improvement in Perriman’s route-running ability and his ability to hold onto the ball. This kind of feedback is encouraging and is a good indication that we may see Perriman break out this season.
OPPORTUNITY AND EXPECTATION
During the offseason, the Ravens lost two wide receivers. The first was the ageless wonder known as Mr. Steve Smith Sr., who retired a Raven and is now heading to a career in broadcasting. The second was Kamar Aiken, who the Ravens lost when he signed with the Colts. The departure of these two receivers will lead to a drastic increase in targets for everyone else, and Perriman should be one of the receivers to directly benefit from this. Recently, Dennis Pitta suffered a potentially career-ending injury. Although the direct beneficiary of this unfortunate injury will be Maxx Williams, Perriman will see some more looks as a result as well. I would not be surprised to see him eclipse 100 targets this season and rack up 1,000 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
The consensus rankings at FantasyPros have Perriman ranked 76th overall and 40th among wide receivers. I would rank him in the top-50 overall, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish the season as a top-20 fantasy receiver. If you have the opportunity to acquire him in keeper or dynasty formats, I would suggest that you make your move now. His value is only going up.
Thank you for reading The Monday Morning Sleeper, and follow me on Twitter, @HaehnelJames.
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