Greetings Falcoholics. Fantasy football season has quickly approached us, and it’s a good time to review some sleepers who could help bring you a championship this season.
Today, I will be highlighting one player per NFL team who I think will likely fly under the radar or be drafted later than he should be in fantasy football league drafts. I will be basing the sleepers on PPR scoring, so please take that into consideration. So without further ado, let’s get started!
Arizona Cardinals – QB Kyler Murray
The Cardinals took quarterback Kyler Murray with the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and he’s also my first sleeper, due to this alphabetical list of teams. If there’s one thing Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes taught us last year, it’s to not sleep on the young guys. While owners in your league reach for a quarterback, an option is to wait and take quarterbacks like Murray later on, so you can secure more talent at skill positions such as running back and wide receiver. Murray is a quality passer who will also put up good rushing numbers. He’s not a one-dimensional quarterback like Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Atlanta Falcons – TE Austin Hooper
The Falcons should have one of the better offenses in the league in 2019. Between Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Devonta Freeman a lot of fantasy points will be scored. Austin Hooper finished 2018 with the sixth most fantasy points among tight ends. With the addition of offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who is used to utilizing his tight ends, and the fact that the tight end position is ultra-thin, there’s no reason Hooper can’t finish 2019 as a top-five fantasy tight end.
Baltimore Ravens – RB Mark Ingram
When people think the Baltimore Ravens, they typically think defense and quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Ravens quietly made a brilliant offseason move by adding former New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram. Ingram should get the bulk of the carries in 2019, as long as he keeps Gus Edwards and rookie Justice Hill off his tracks.
Buffalo Bills – WR Cole Beasley
Often used as a safety net in Dallas, Cole Beasley signed a four-year, $29 million contract in March with the Buffalo Bills. Beasley will occupy the slot in Buffalo’s new-look receiving corps and provide a check-down solution for young quarterback Josh Allen, making him valuable per usual in PPR leagues.
Carolina Panthers – WR D.J. Moore
The only player I really want from Carolina is running back Christian McCaffrey, but for the sake of a sleeper, I’d take wide receiver D.J. Moore. Moore leaves me optimistic heading into 2019 as he played less than 50% of the Panthers’ snaps through first seven games of 2018, and at least 85% in 7 of the final nine weeks. As long as Cam Newton can stay healthy, Moore has an opportunity to creep into WR2 territory.
Chicago Bears – WR Allen Robinson
Wide receiver Allen Robinson has a creative head coach and a young, improving quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky. In 10 full games with Trubisky in 2018, Robinson was on pace for 75 catches and over 1,000 yards. Expect better production in his second year in the system, with the possibility of being a WR2 for your fantasy team.
Cincinnati Bengals – QB Andy Dalton
There’s really no clear fantasy sleeper on the Bengals in 2019. Their offense is pretty self-explanatory, between A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, and Joe Mixon. It’s a make-or-break season for quarterback Andy Dalton, with the Bengals hiring new head coach Zac Taylor. But Dalton should only be viewed as a reserve quarterback for now.
Cleveland Browns – QB Baker Mayfield
Heading into the 2019 season, I don’t know if there’s a more exciting team than the Cleveland Browns, which is weird to say. Quarterback Baker Mayfield will get to start the season, after starting later in 2018. In Baker’s final eight games after Hue Jackson left, he was on pace for 4,508 yards and 38 touchdowns if he played an entire season. Not to mention the Browns traded for Odell Beckham during the offseason. If you’re looking for a potential Patrick Mahomes in 2019, Baker might be it.
Dallas Cowboys – WR Michael Gallup
Even with the addition of Randall Cobb, wide receiver Michael Gallup will be the Dallas Cowboys’ No. 2 receiver. Cobb will slide into Cole Beasley’s former slot role, which doesn’t mean much, considering he only surpassed 65 receptions in a season once. Gallup won’t likely be a must-start option off the bat, but he has value as a WR3/Flex option in most PPR leagues.
Denver Broncos – WR Courtland Sutton
I really like the prospect of Courtland Sutton coming into 2019. He’s the best outside receiver the Denver Broncos have, as Emmanuel Sanders returns from an Achilles tear and Daesean Hamilton mans the slot. Sutton should lead the Broncos in not only targets, but red zone targets as well.
Detroit Lions – WR Kenny Golladay
I said it last year, and I’m saying it again this year: Draft wide receiver Kenny Golladay! Golladay has the potential to be a future star in this league, and entering his third season, this could be the “big one.” With Golden Tate no longer able to vulture his targets, Golladay’s size and playmaking ability make him a solid fantasy WR2 entering the 2019 season.
Green Bay Packers – WR Geronimo Allison
With the departure of Randall Cobb, wide receiver Geronimo Allison is the clear No. 2 receiver on the Green Bay Packers offense. Before an injury, Geronimo was on pace for over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns. With him being the second receiving option, expect somewhere around 100 targets in 2019, making him a solid WR3/Flex option in fantasy.
Houston Texans – WR Keke Coutee
Before dealing with hamstring issues, wide receiver Keke Coutee was a popular short-yardage target for quarterback Deshaun Watson. Coutee will start 2019 as a valuable PPR asset for fantasy owners, but if injuries occur to other Texans wide receivers, Coutee could easily become a weekly starter for your team.
Indianapolis Colts – WR Devin Funchess
After spending time in Carolina, wide receiver Devin Funchess has moved on to Indianapolis, where he will finally have a quarterback capable of throwing him the ball. It’s obviously unclear at this point how many targets Funchess can expect to see, but he’s got a lot of size, which could make him very useful in the red zone. If he’s available late in your league’s draft, he’s worth snagging as a low-risk option at wide receiver.
Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Marqise Lee
Before suffering a major knee injury last preseason at home against the Falcons (I was at that game), Marqise Lee was expected to have a huge role in the Jaguars offense. Lee’s a great route runner with good speed, and he should see a significant amount of snaps in 2019. With the Jaguars now having a decent quarterback in Nick Foles, Lee should be considered a low-risk late-round pick with good upside.
Kansas City Chiefs – WR Mecole Hardman
A lot of your Georgia fans are familiar with this guy, wide receiver Mecole Hardman. He’s definitely one of the most intriguing rookies heading into 2019, considering the Kansas City Chiefs may not have Tyreek Hill and his quarterback is Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes recently shared high praise for Hardman.
“Obviously, he’s very fast, but he’s working on everything – route running, really getting accustomed to the offense,” Mahomes said, via Pro Football Talk. I was very excited (that he was drafted). When you add guys and add depth, it really is a special thing to know the staff is going to keep adding and keep adding and never be satisfied with where we’re at.”
Los Angeles Chargers – TE Hunter Henry
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has a long history of utilizing his tight end, and with Antonio Gates gone, watch out for Hunter Henry. As I mentioned earlier, the tight end position has the biggest drop-off in fantasy football. There are basically five or six guys you can confidently start week to week, and Henry will likely be one of them, as long as he stays healthy.
Los Angeles Rams – WR Josh Reynolds
Last year I had Cooper Kupp in this spot, and we all witnessed the season he went on to have. With that being said, Reynolds is nothing more than a No. 4 wide receiver for the Los Angeles Rams. The reason you would at least want to roster him is due to what could be. Injuries happen, and if one of the three wide receivers ahead of Reynolds goes down, you instantly have yourself a potential WR2/Flex option.
Miami Dolphins – WR Kenny Stills
Regardless of whether it’s Josh Rosen or Ryan Fitzpatrick who starts at quarterback for the Dolphins, they finally have a decent option who can throw. Of the current Dolphins receiving options, Stills has the most upside and shouldn’t be difficult to obtain in regular league drafts. At the very minimum, Stills is worth a late-round pick.
Minnesota Vikings – QB Kirk Cousins
If you’re like me and wait until a later round to draft your quarterback, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is a great option if available. In each of the past four seasons, Cousins has finished as a top 12 fantasy quarterback. Not to mention, he has two of the better receiving options in the league in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.
New England Patriots – WR N’Keal Harry
With their first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Patriots selected wide receiver N’Keal Harry. With the team losing Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan, Josh Gordon, and Cordarrelle Patterson, expect Harry to be utilized right away. Harry is definitely worth taking as a late-round flier, given the potential “boom” he brings to the table.
New Orleans Saints – TE Jared Cook
As I’ve exhaustively mentioned in this article, the tight end position in fantasy football is a wasteland. In 2018, Jared Cook finished as the seventh-best tight end in fantasy football. That was with Derek Carr, and now he has moved on to New Orleans where he has Drew Brees throwing him the ball. At the very worst, Cook will be a top 12 tight end in 2019.
New York Giants – WR Golden Tate
The only Giants players I want are running back Saquon Barkley and tight end Evan Engram. If I must take someone else, it’s Golden Tate. Before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, Tate was on pace for 90 receptions and 1,000 yards. With Odell gone, Eli Manning/Daniel Jones will need to throw someone the ball. Sterling Shepard will be their No. 1 receiver, but Tate should still benefit in PPR formats.
New York Jets – TE Chris Herndon
Again, the tight end position in fantasy football is horribly thin. Chris Herndon proved to be a go-to option for quarterback Sam Darnold, as he finished the 2018 as a top 100 fantasy tight end. Expect similar (or better) results, even with the addition of head coach Adam Gase.
Oakland Raiders – RB Josh Jacobs
After Isaiah Crowell tore his Achilles recently, the competition for rookie running back Josh Jacobs has all but disappeared. Jacobs will likely be a workhorse for the Raiders offense, and could easily surpass 1,000 rushing yards in 2019. He’s definitely worth drafting as a low-end RB2.
Philadelphia Eagles – WR DeSean Jackson
The Eagles finally have a deep-threat option again in the form of DeSean Jackson. The pass-happy Eagles will definitely appreciate the 17.8-yard receiving average DeSean has had in the last three seasons. As long as Wentz stays healthy, Jackson has the chance to be a solid Flex option for fantasy owners in 2019.
Pittsburgh Steelers – WR James Washington
With Antonio Brown now in Oakland, James Washington instantly becomes the Steelers best wide receiver not named JuJu Smith-Schuster. Washington is a big-play receiver, who should have success in the red zone. Right now, he shouldn’t be viewed as anything more than a Flex option until we see how he’ll be utilized as the No.2 wide receiver.
San Francisco 49ers – RB Tevin Coleman
He’s technically not a sleeper, but I’m very excited to see what Kyle Shanahan does with Tevin Coleman in 2019. He’s the best running back the 49ers have, and he’s already familiar with the offense he’ll be playing in. As long as he can hold off Jerick McKinnon, I expect Coleman to be a solid RB2 for fantasy owners.
Seattle Seahawks – WR D.K. Metcalf
Doug Baldwin is gone, and the only other wide receiver quarterback Russell Wilson can rely on is Tyler Lockett. I’m not saying to start D.K. right away, but his ceiling intrigues me. At the very least, D.K. should be viewed as a late-round pick, if he somehow drops that far.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – WR Chris Godwin
With DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries both gone, wide receiver Chris Godwin instantly becomes a great Flex option at worst. With Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries on the roster, Godwin still secured a respectable 59 receptions, 842 yards, and seven touchdowns. Insert offensive genius Bruce Arians, and who knows how high Godwin can go in 2019.
Tennessee Titans – TE Delanie Walker
After breaking his ankle in Week 1 of the 2018 season, tight end Delanie Walker is currently flying under the radar. The expectation (and hope) is that Walker will return to his 2017 form, where he had 65 receptions and scored seven touchdowns. He’s worth a late-round pick, as he’s proven to be a go-to option for quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Washington Team – RB Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson was a big surprise in Washington last season. When rookie running back Derrius Guice tore his ACL, Peterson stepped in and never looked back. Even at 34, Peterson has solid potential again in 2019 after his 1,000-yard season in 2018. He’s worth a late-round selection if still on your draft board, but we’ll know more this summer on who the RB1 might be in Washington.
Well, that’s it folks. As always, if you ever want to talk fantasy football or need any advice, you can find me on Twitter @EvanBirchfield. Remember, when drafting in your league, ALWAYS go with your gut. Thanks for reading, Falcoholics.