Fantasy Sleeper WRs by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator & Doug ” insomniac” Bowles
Fantasy Sleepers are a late-round picks or waiver-wire selections who exceed their statistical expectations. Looking over my WR sleeper list, it’s almost split down the middle. 5 Vets- 4 Rookies. Because of the success of the rookie WRs in 2014, this year’s rookie wide receiver class won’t fly under anyone’s radar, but not all of them are in great situations to excel. In the 2015 NFL Draft, 6 WRs were selected in Round One. 3 in Round 2 and 5 in Round 3. Of these 14 rookie wide receivers, I like where 4 of them ended up very much, and consider them nice sleepers for the 2015. Many new faces to the NFL will be obvious 2015 fantasy draft picks in September, such as Oakland’s WR Amari Cooper and Chicago WR Kevin White, and Utter-Fantasy considers their situation early picks and not necessarily sleepers. I have often said that almost anyone can intelligently draft the first 4-5 rounds of a fantasy. The real work is keenly navigating through the later rounds and picking up fantasy sleepers that other owners haven’t paid attention to, or don’t even know about.
In 2014, the general consensus was that the league had “de-valued’ the running back position, so fantasy owners were forced to as well. Owners of DeMarco Murray or LeVeon Bell however, were glad that they didn’t, and a push is back to get quality backs early. The wide receiver corps are deeper than ever, so if you do go RBs early, these sleepers below will help you round out and give depth to your fantasy team.
Here are some wide receiver names that you should consider after the top 20 are gone.
Carolina WR Devin Funchess- Last year Kelvin Benjamin was the WR corps for the Panthers- Along with TE Greg Olsen, they caught 75% of the passes thrown by QB Cam Newton. Carolina desperately needed a #2 WR to run opposite 6’5″ Benjamin, and they drafted a good with 6’4″ Devin Funchess. He is my #1 WR sleeper for 2015. UPDATE: WR K Benjamin, the #1 WR in Carolina, is out for the season with a torn ACL, and some think this hurts WR Funchess’ fantasy value, some think it helps. I think Funchess is still my top sleeper and that it definitely helps TE Greg Olsen’s fantasy value for sure
Philadelphia WR Nelson Agholor- With the departure of WR Jeremy Maclin to KC, comes a huge need in Philadelphia for a solid #2 wide receiver to pair with 2014’s rookie draft pick Jordan Matthews. WR Nelson Agholor is expected to have an immediate impact in Chip Kelly’s offense, and Utter-Fantasy agrees.
Indianapolis Andre Johnson- Andre has to be thrilled wher he landed, and fantasy owners should as well. He has suffered for years playing with sub-par quarterbacks, and yet every year becasue of his amazing talent, manages to put up decent stats. In 2014 he ranked #38 WR for the season despite the fact that few can remeber who was throwing him the ball last year. He hasa ton to prove in 20-15, and has the QB to help him do just that.
Dallas Terrance Williams- Did you know that Terrance Williams started out the 2014 season with 6 Romo TD receptions in the 1st 7 games? Williams ended the 2104 NFL season as the 41 ranked WR with 621 yard receiving and 8 total TD receptions. Despite these star, he is getting very love and current;y ranked the #58 WR by NFL.com. Utter-Fantasy likes him better than that- he’s our #38 WR.
Seattle WR Tyler Lockett- caught 2-of-2 targets for 77 yards and a touchdown in Thursday’s Preseason Week 4 finale, starting with Russell Wilson on Seattle’s first series. Lockett burned past Oakland’s secondary an hauled in a 63-yard touchdown. The rookie receiver ended the preseason with stats 6/129/1, while also having a 103-yard kick return touchdown and 67-yard punt score- a must add especially if your league scores punt/kickoff return yards
Atlanta WR Leonard Hankerson- For the past couple years, WR Harry Douglas has been a had a significant role in the Atlanta offense, even when WRs Julio Jones and Roddy White were healthy. He is now in Tennessee, and it appears as though WR Hankerson is that 3rd WR weapon for QB Matt Ryan.
Baltimore WR Kamar Aiken – The old saying….”Someone has to catch the ball” With WR rookie B Perriman sidelined, Aiken once again got the start. He appears to clearly be the No. 2 behind Steve Smith, making him worth a late-round flier
Chicago Eddie Royal– With injuries to rookie WR Kevin W#hite ( out for the season) and #1 WR Alshon Jeffery ( calf- expected back buy the season opener) WR Eddie Royal moves up to the starting line up and has history with QB Jay Cutler from their days together in Denver. QB Cutler has already targeted Royal often so far, making Royal a big sleeper candidate for 2015
Cincinnati WR Mohamed Sanu- Sanu is another guy who gets very little respect even though he ended the 2014 season as the #34 ranked WR with 790 yards and 5 TDs. ( oh, and 1 TD pass which went to QB Andy dalton in Week 3) It’s all because WR Marvin Jones is always getting the love in the middle rounds. Jones is a mention in my article “CAUTION- Drafting These Players in 2015.”….because of one game in 2013 when he hauled in 4 TD passes. Jones only has 69 total career receptions.
NY Giants WR James Jones- No WR had more receptions or yards over 1st 3 preseason games for NY than WR James Jones- 11/148 yds- WR V Cruz is still doubtful to start Week 1 of the regular season. Also WR Rueban Randle has been sidelined since the Giants’ first preseason game on August 14
( Baltimore WR Breshad Perriman– was one of my earlier WR sleepers, but injuries has caused him to drop fantasy-wise- out since the first practice of training camp with a “strained tendon” in his knee. With QB Joe Flacco’s cannon-arm, speedster Perriman could have some huge games, if he can get healthy )
Other potential candidates: PITT Markus Wheaton- SEA Doug Baldwin- JACK Allen Robinson- CAR J Cotchery- GB Ty Montgomery