Last week in our three-part series, I told you a few players to mark off the big board and stay away from unless they’re later in the draft. This week, we‘re going to win the championship by picking the five biggest sleepers in this year’s draft. Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those fluffly articles that somehow calls Alvin Kamara or DeAandre Hopkins a sleeper. These are actual, late-round sleepers who could push you over the edge in those bye weeks or from injuries.
- George Kittle (TE) 49ers – Kittle is 6’4” and had 515 yards as a rookie in 2017. He will benefit from a full season of Jimmy G. San Francisco doesn’t have a lot of big-name targets at the wide receiver position and 194 of his yards cameduringthe last three games of the season, including a six-catch, 100-yard performance against the Rams. Kittle started seven games last year and should start all 16 this year, barring injury.
4.Michael Crabtree (WR) Ravens – Crabtree has always been a solid receiver,even on bad 49ers teams. He had his worst year ever last year with only 618 yards, but with a new team,appears he’s poised to have another solid year. Based on what? Based on the fact who else is Joe Flacco going to throw to? Is Breshad Perriman finally going to become a star? Doubtful. So, Crabtree will likely see a lot of targets simply because he’s the only proven receiver on the team.
- Corey Davis (WR) Titans – Davis hasn’t had the most productive career yet and that’s partly because of injuriesandpartly because of the Titans’ struggling passing offense. Sometimes, I joke with my Titans fans friends, telling them they’re wasting Mariota by running Wing-T offense with him. That should change this year with a new offensive coaching staff. Davis should see more looks this year.
2. Joe Mixon (RB) Bengals – Mixon never took over asa full-time starter like he was projected in his rookie season last year, but he has shed weight and looks to be in much better shape to carry the load in 2018. Jeremy Hill isn’t there anymore to steal carries from the second year back. I don’t really see Giovani Bernard cutting into Mixon’s carries as much as last year, and Joe will see the all of the goal line touches, setting him up for plenty of touchdowns.
- Eli Manning (QB) Giants – Manning isn’t whohe once was. He’s getting older and his arm doesn’t have the zip it used to. He does have weapons around him,though. The Giants drafted Saquon Barkley in the first round and that should take some pressure off him. Moreover, Barkley should help in the passing game. Manning will also have a healthy and happy O’Dell Beckham Jr after he gets his contract extension. Beckham, Barkley, Sterling Shephard and Evan Engram are a dangerous core. The Giants could be playing from behind a lot this year and that bodes well for fantasy stats, too.