Kirk Cousins of the NFL's Washington Redskins

In today’s NFL, “sleepers” are no longer players you’ve never heard of. (We all play fantasy football and we’ve all heard of everyone!) Today’s sleepers are players the fantasy community isn’t talking about enough. The cut-off line we used to determine sleepers was a double-digit-round Average Draft Position (ADP) in season-long leagues.

Kamar Aiken

  • Steve Smith Sr. is 37 and tore his Achilles’ tendon
  • Mike Wallace can still run, but played terribly last year
  • Breshad Perriman partially tore his ACL in the spring
  • Aiken posted 50-611-3 in last eight games of 2015
  • Not a fluke: Has legit NFL athleticism at 6’1/213 with 4.45 speed

Kirk Cousins

  • 23 TDs, 3 INTs & 72.4% completion rate in last 10 games
  • Running game a major question mark; Matt Jones isn’t very good
  • Elite receiving weapons: Jordan Reed, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Josh Doctson
  • Great Weeks 1-7 schedule: vs. PIT, vs. DAL, @ NYG, vs. CLE, @ BAL, vs. PHI, @ DET
  • Jay Gruden coached Andy Dalton to a top-five fantasy QB season (2014)
  • You like that?

Rashad Jennings

  • Top-5 fantasy RB in last month of ’15, averaging 21.5 touches per game
  • Best RB in Giants backfield that added only fifth-round pick Paul Perkins
  • Beat writers expect Jennings to be a true feature back to begin season
  • Will get goal-line carries if Andre Williams gets cut, an overdue move
  • Could start fast with easy Weeks 1-3 schedule: @ DAL, vs. NO, vs. WAS

Eric Ebron

  • People mistakenly think Ebron “sucks” and undervalue him
  • Prime breakout candidate as a third-year tight end
  • Huge opportunity boost post-Megatron; Lions lost 232 targets from last year
  • Took a step as a TD scorer last year, converting 5-of-8 red-zone targets into TDs
  • Lions will continue to be a pass-based team & play indoors

Julius Thomas

  • Started first season with Bortles slow, breaking hand in camp and missing Weeks 1-4
  • Was the TE11 in fantasy scoring after he returned
  • Scored 24 TDs in his previous 27 games entering ’15
  • Public focusing on Allen Robinson/Allen Hurns and ignoring Thomas
  • Still only 28 years old, reportedly was “unstoppable” in OTAs

Devin Funchess

  • Averaged 9.1 yards per target with 5 TDs in last ten games as rotational WR
  • Kelvin Benjamin coming off torn ACL, had an overrated rookie year
  • Funchess will get more slot work with Jerricho Cotchery gone, create mismatches
  • Named the “star of OTAs” by Panthers beat writers
  • Has major breakout potential if Benjamin doesn’t come back strong

Bruce Ellington

  • Will man the slot, where Jordan Matthews saw 126 targets for Chip Kelly last year
  • 49ers are NFC’s worst team, will play from behind and pile up pass attempts
  • Blaine Gabbert is a short-area passer, will feed Ellington on short routes in slot
  • Great athlete played college basketball, runs 4.45 at 5-foot-9, 197

Derrick Henry

  • 2015 Heisman Trophy winner
  • Absurd athlete (6’3/247, 4.54 40, 96th-percentile Speed Score per
  • Titans coaches praised his passing-game skills at OTAs/mini-camp
  • DeMarco Murray is done
  • Look for RB controversy early in the year, if not as soon as the preseason

Bilal Powell

  • Outplayed Chris Ivory last season, averaged 4.5 YPC with career-high 47 receptions
  • Jets signed Matt Forte, but Forte is one of worst goal-line backs in NFL history
  • Beat writers expect Forte and Powell to be used interchangeably
  • We like Forte, too, but there’s a chance Powell is simply better than him at this stage
  • Powell more than a handcuff for Forte; could be every-week flex play in season long

Jeff Janis

  • Davis Mattek’s favorite player to tout has 4 career regular season catches
  • 6’3/219, 4.42 speed; raw, developing 3rd-year WR out of Saginaw Valley State
  • Showed he could do it with 7-145-2 in playoff loss to Arizona
  • 3rd WR job up for grabs after Davante Adams flopped last year
  • If Janis wins, would likely play 70% of snaps in Packers 3-WR base offense

DeAndre Washington

  • Raiders soured on Latavius Murray, who wore down badly in 2nd half of ’15
  • Washington was sprinkled in with Raiders first-team offense at OTAs
  • Caught 124 passes at Texas Tech and likely to have passing-game role right away
  • Runs 4.49 at 5-foot-8, 204; Gio Bernard/Duke Johnson type player
  • PFF rated the Raiders’ revamped O-Line the NFL’s 2nd best behind Dallas

Sammie Coates

  • A more physical Torrey Smith-type player with 4.43 speed at 6’1/212
  • Lots of opportunity in Pittsburgh with Martavis Bryant suspended, Heath Miller retired
  • Had 37- and 24-yard catches in Steelers playoff loss to Denver
  • Should beat out Heyward-Bey for job in 3-WR sets alongside Brown & Wheaton