Fantasy Sleepers I Keep Getting in Drafts

Fantasy Sleepers I Keep Getting in Drafts by Utter-Fantasy Football Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

I’ve had 6 fantasy drafts so far, 2 dynasty and 4 redraft leagues. My teams seem to have a lot of names in common. As for these 6 teams, I am either going to be very right at the end of December, or very wrong, with regard to my late round sleeper picks. Perhaps the fantasy football owners that I have drafted against do not agree with my assessment of them, or I have just been quicker at drafting them. I am not sure which.

The list of players I have been targeting and getting in fantasy football drafts consists of 2 quarterbacks, 4 running backs, 4 wide receivers and 2 tight ends. I’ve written a brief summary on each of these players and why I want them in 2016. I still have plenty more drafts coming near the end of August. Unless there is big news to change my opinion of these players, with training camp and the preseason games, I am likely to have a lot more teams with plenty of sleeper names in common.


DET Matthew Stafford- Anyone who knows me, knows that I always wait on drafting a quarterback, and it’s usually paid off. ( In 2013, I had SD Philip Rivers on most of my teams, he was drafted in the late rounds and he ended that season as the #6 QB…not bad) This year Stafford seems to be available late. I want him over Dalton, Tyrod Taylor, Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, and even Tom Brady, all of whom are going earlier in drafts. ( I’ve also drafted Brees surprisingly late this season)

HOU Brock Osweiler- I can wait until the bottom of most drafts to get this guy as my #2 or #3 QB because no one else seems to think that he will have a good season. I do. He has a cannon for an arm, and I like his weapons. Houston’s division includes Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Tennessee. Although these 3 teams have made strides in improving their defenses, they still are not great and none of them will rank in the top half of the NFL in 2016. I like that for Osweiler.


PHIL Ryan Mathews- A disaster in San Diego, but he totalled almost 700 yards and 7 TDs splitting time with DeMarco Murray last year for the Eagles. It’s his show in 2016, and with 22 running backs being drafted before him….I say yes and thank you.

CHI Jeremy Langford– Is he Matt Forte? No…no one is. But when successful, HC Fox has shown a propensity to ride one running back, and I think Langford will be successful ( especially a bargain late in drafts where I am getting him)

JACK Chris Ivory- I get it. The Jags only scored 1 rushing touchdown in 2015, and RB T.J. Yeldon is still there. However, the Jags will commit to the run more in 2016, because Ivory is better than Yeldon. Ivory will get most of the carries…because T.J. Yeldon is still there.

N.O. Tim Hightower- RB Mark Ingram is a very good running back. He likes to hit his opponents and maybe he likes to hit his opponents too much. He’s missed 18 games since 2011, which equates to more than one full season. Hightower filled in for Ingram in Weeks 14-17 and he kicked ass! A top handcuff to own.


SD Travis Benjamin- I was afraid that if I wrote too much about Benjamin, fantasy football owners would prevent me from getting this guy. Not so far! I have him in every league.

PITT Sammie Coates- Last year QB Ben Roethlisberger talked up WR Wheaton, and I believed him. Then he threw the ball to Antonio Bryant and Martavis Bryant, over and over. I think Big Ben likes Wheaton, but the connection isn’t there. I’m grabbing Coates while others grab Wheaton.

NE Chris Hogan- Chemistry is everything with QB Tom Brady, and WR Brandon LaFell did not have it with the Pat’s QB in 2015, so he was shipped. Everything I’ve seen and read says that there is chemistry between Hogan and Brady. If there wasn’t a ridiculous 4 game suspension attached to Tom Terrific in 2016, Hogan would a top sleeper for me, but I still want him.

HOU Will Fuller- Look, I was on board with WR Jaelen Strong for the start of 2015, but when it was all said and done Nate Washington had a better season, and Cecil Shorts had a better season. …way better seasons. I do not believe the noise that Strong has passed/ will pass Fuller on the Houston depth chart. I want him.


CHI Zach Miller- ARI QB Carson Palmer will not throw to tight ends…it’s a fact. CHI QB Jay Cutler on the other hand, LOVES to throw to TEs, and he has helped the fantasy football relevance of every TE that he has played with. I laugh ( to myself) when fantasy football owners draft TampaBay’s ASJ, or Detroit’s Eric Ebron before CHI Zack Miller…then I say…..yes and thank you.

NE Martellus Bennett- News flash…HC Bill Belichick knows a thing or two about including one and two tight ends in the offensive game plan. ( Even Scott Chandler had a few nice games for the Pats in 2016). Bennett is definitely worth a late round flyer.


ATL Mohamed Sanu- This team has a TON of talent and there is a “must win now” attitude coming out of Atlanta. Sanu isn’t an amazing talent, but he will get lots of targets, he will get touchdown passes and he may throw a couple. With 52 wide outs being drafted before him, I say…..yes and thank you.

So if you’re in a fantasy football draft with me in the next 4 weeks, and you’re up, consider these guys or don’t….I promise you I will.

Start Em Sit Em Week 15 2015

Start Em Sit Em Week 15 2015 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Like other fantasy football prognosticators, below are my Start Em Sit Em Week 15 NFL Fantasy Football players, minus the obvious. ( No one needs to read that I think fantasy owners should start Seattle’s QB Russell Wilson & most Seahawk players vs the #31 worst Cleveland defense ) For the Record- I don’t claim to have anymore insight on the games than the fantasy league owners reading these, but I do enjoy sharing my “opinions” on them, as well as reading yours-  Good Luck this week


Quarterbacks Start Em Week 15

SD Philip Rivers ( vs MIA )- QB P Rivers was the #1 fantasy quarterback for the first half of 2015, and now ( albeit due plenty to alot of team injuries), Rivers may be one of the worst now. Only 2 TD s in the past 2 games. Miami however gave up 4 TD passes to QB Eli Week 14- Rivers could throw 3 in this one

JACK Blake Bortles (vs ATL)–  QB Bortles is a must start with a great schedule and great weapons the rest of the season

NYJ Ryan Fitzpatrick ( at DAL) –Did you know that QB Fitz only has 2 games this season where he has thrown only 1 TD pass? Even in tough match ups Fitz finds a couple receivers for TD passes

Sleeper Start Em Week 15- MIA Ryan Tannehill ( at SD )- The Dolphins lost Week 14 to the #32 worst pass defense in the NFL, with QB Tannehill only passing for 234 yards and 1 TD. They were embarrassed at home and want to do the same to the Chargers in San Diego

Sleeper Start Em Week 15- CINN AJ McCarron ( at SF )- In a game where he didn’t even expect to play, QB McCarron came in for injured QB A Dalton and threw for 28 yards and 2 TDs. He’ll be more than prepared Week 15 and has plenty of weapons- SF 6th worst vs the pass


Running Backs Start Em Week 15

MIA Lamar Miller (at SD)- New OC Zac Taylor started his new job by announcing that the Dolphins would be “re-committed” to the run. Miller rushed for 89 yards and 2 touchdowns in Week 14, and should have that many in Week 14- fired HC Philbin was an idiot not running Miller

GB Eddie Lacy (at OAK )- Who hates to be in the doghouse? Lacy does. Week 14 he was out, and had 148 total yards and 1 TD. Oakland is only average vs the run, and in deeper leagues, RB James Starks can be started as well

JACK Denard Robinson (vs ATL )- RB D Robinson is one of those players who you can just tell, that he loves to play football. When given the opportunity, Robinson almost always comes thru for his team, and fantasy football owners. He came in Week 14 and had 87 total yards and 1 TD

ARI David Johnson ( at PHIL)- Since getting the Start after RB Chris Johnson went down, Johnson has had 41 carries in 2 weeks, and slotted for another 20+ day vs at Philadelphia ( who are 5th worst vs the run)

N.O. Tim Hightower ( vs DET)- Well, we know the #1 back in New Orleans isn’t RB CJ Spiller (figures)- RB Hightower had 29 touches to Spiller’s six Week 15 and faces the Lions Week 15

Start Em Week 15 Sleeper- SEA Bryce Brown (vs CLEV )- Newly acquired RB Bryce Brown would be a full-fledged “Start Em” Week 15, but as we know, only the coaching staff knows 100% right now who the #1 running back will be. Seattle cut RB DuJuan Harris, but have RBs Fred Jackson & C Michael also ready to run in RB Marshawn Lynch’s absense

Start Em Sit Em Week 15 NFL No Brainers- STL Todd Gurley ( vs TB )….MINN AP ( vs CHI)


Wide Receivers Start Em Week 15

MIA Jarvis Landry & Devante Parker ( at SD)- Embarrassed in a loss Week 14 in a game they should have won, the Dolphins will “bring it” Week 15 vs a bad Charger team

DET Calvin Johnson ( vs N.O.)- I know…I know…you’ve been burned before. But thanks to poor play and even worst coaching, the Lions are now playing for nothing but pride, so I expect QB Matt Stafford to now make Calvin happy by including him in the offense before the season is completely over- ( P.S. HC Jim Caldwell should be fired)

CAR Ted Ginn Jr (at NYG)- Even though I do not expect QB Can Newton or WR Ted Ginn Jr to play the whole game Week 15, I do expect Ginn to burn the Giants lousy pass defense at least once in this game

KC Jeremy Maclin (at BALT)- WR Maclin had 2 great games in Weeks 12 & 13, then put up a dud Week 14 at vs the Chargers. He has a good opportunity to get back on track again vs a sieve of a pass defense in Baltimore

Sleeper Start Em Week 15- Malcolm Floyd ( vs MIA)- WR Floyd is the only healthy wide receiver in San Diego right now, and had 9 targets in Week 14. One was a “drop” that would have gone for a long touchdown

Start Em Sit Em Week 15 No Brainers- NYJ Brandon Marshall ( at DAL)…..JACK WRs A Robinson & A Hurns ( vs ATL)


Tight Ends Start Em Week 15

CHI Zach Miller (at MINN)- TE Martellus Bennett is OUT for the season, and CHI QB Jay Cutler always likes to hit his tight ends, which is Zach Miller now. Week 14, 5 catches for 85 yards and 1 TD- Only owned in 3% of Yahoo leagues

GB Richard Rodgers ( at OAK)- A “Recommended Start Week 14- LINK– TE Rodgers only had 1 reception Week 14, but it was for a touchdown- 2 TDs in his past 2 games, and the Raiders are one of the worst teams in the NFL defending tight ends

WASH Jordan Reed (vs BUFF)-  A “Recommended Start Week 14- LINK and he paid off with 120 yards and 1 TD. TE Reed is a must start with Kirk Cousins as quarterback

Start Em Sleeper NYG Will Tye (vs CAR)- A “Recommended Sleeper” Week 14- LINK– 30 yards and 1 TD pass. TE Larry Donnell (neck) hasn’t seen the field since Week 8, so TE Tye has filled in for him. Tye has 30 targets from QB Eli Manning in the past 5 games

Here’s a great link for rankings of NFL Teams vs the TE positionLINK



Defense Start Em Week 15

STL ( vs TB)- Rookie QB Jameis Winston has run into a tough patch of late, throwing only 3 TD passes in his last 3 games. This week he is without WR Vincent Jackson, so he’s going to be in trouble

KC (at BALT )– The Ravens are just playing out the season, and they aren’t even sue who the starting QB will be Week 15. The Chiefs defense will have a fun day in this one

MIA (at SD)Although I expect QB Philip Rivers to rebound a little from his zero TD passes in 3 of his last 4 games, his going to make mistakes Week 15 and Miami will capitalize on them

Start Em Sleeper JACK ( vs ATL) – The Falcons and QB Matt Ryan are playing as bad as any team in the NFL right now. QB M Ryan only has 2 TD passes in his past 3 games

Start Em Sit Em Week 15 No Brainers- SEA Defense vs CLEV….NE Defense vs TENN



Quarterbacks Sit Em Week 15

PHIL Sam Bradford (at ARI)- Although QB Bradford doesn’t tend to throw a lot of interceptions, he also tend to throw a lot of TDs either- only 6 in his past 6 games. The Cardinal defense ranks #7 overall

TENN Marcus Mariota ( at NE )– The Patriots pass defense ranks #7 and QB Mariota is also running into a “rookie” wall….throwing zero TDs in 3 of his last 6 games

ATL Matt Ryan ( at JACK)- Now isn’t the time for fantasy football owners to start a quarterback playing as bad as Ryan is, even against a Jaguar pass defense that isn’t very good

Sit Em Week 15 No Brainers-CLEV J Manziel ( vs SEA)…….ST L Case Keenum  vs TB


Running Backs Sit Em Week 15

HOU RB Alfred Blue (at IND)- Another team that has decided to run 4 different backs in games

CAR Jonathon Stewart (at NYG)– Can’t see why the Panthers would risk getting RB Stewart hurt in a meaningless game? I like “Sleeper” CAR Cameron Artis-Payne better this week

WASH Alfred Morris/ Matt Jones (vs BUFF )-  Neither of these backs are playing well, averaging less than 3 yards per carry, and they split too much of the work to pay off for fantasy owners

IND Frank Gore (vs HOU )-  RB Gore is averaging only 40 yards per game over the past 4 games. The Houston defense will not let him “up” his average

SD Melvin Gordon (vs MIA)– Same write up as Week 13, just playing a different team. A “preseason favorite” of mine is turning out to be a bust of the “Trent Richardson” variety. ZERO TDs in 2015…….I repeat….ZERO TDs in 2015

Sit Em Week 15 No Brainers- DAL D McFadden( vs NYJ)….NO CJ Spiller ( vs DET)


Wide Receivers Sit Em Week 15

PHIL Jordan Matthews (vs ARI)- It’s tough enough to start a wide out who hasn’t topped 60 receiving yards since Week 9, but also one who is facing the #6 Arizona Cardinals pass defense

DAL Dez Bryant (vs NYJ )- Another big name roster guy that i am recommending you to sit, but truthfully, what ha he done for you lately? He’s only averaging 30 yards in his past 3 games ( zero TDs) because QB M Cassel doesn’t even try to get him the ball

PITT M Bryant/ M Wheaton (vs DEN) – WR Antonio Brown is just too darn talented to sit in any game, even vs the #1 Denver pass defense, but I would not trust Bryant or Wheaton this week

GB Davante Adams (at OAK)- Even in a tasty match up, Adams is no longer trustworthy as a starter, dropping more than he catches it seems. He has only 83 total receiving yards in past 4 games

Sit Em No Brainers Week 15- SF WRs A Boldin/ T Smith ( vs CINN )…..CLEV T Benjamin ( vs SEA)


Tight Ends Sit Em Week 15

DAL J Witten ( vs NYJ)- Since QB Tony Romo went down, I have advised against starting TE Witten, and he hasn’t topped 45 yards in any of the games- zero TDs

NE Scott Chandler (vs TENN)- With GRONK’s return, TE Chandler’s role plummeted to zero receptions Week 15. He will still be involved in the Pat’s offense, but not enough to start anymore

PITT Heath Miller (vs DEN)- 2 of the 3 wide receivers in Pittsburgh are getting sits from me Week 14, and so is TE Miller


Defense Sit Em Week 15

PHIL Defense ( vs ARI )- The Cardinals are playing too good, and the Eagle’s defense is playing too bad to start Week 15

TENN Defense ( at NE )– The Titans won’t be able to slow the Pats down, especially with GRONK back and maybe even WR J Edleman

DET Defense ( at N.O.)– The Lions couldn’t stop RB Todd Gurley Week 14, when the Rams were starting QB Case Keenum. They won’t stop QR Brees and company

Sit Em Defense Week 15 No Brainers- CLEV (at SEA)…..SD ( vs MIA)