To win your fantasy football league, you cannot just rely on the players you get on your first few picks. Almost everyone gets great players there. Great fantasy owners make their dues in the mid to late rounds, finding diamonds in the rough. A “sleeper” is a player that goes later than round five in a 12-team league. These are the best fantasy sleepers for each position for the 2015 fantasy football season.
Sam Bradford – Philadelphia Eagles – 27-years old
Average draft position: 10th round
Consensus Ranking: 15th QB
Bradford has never been a reliable fantasy quarterback for his entire career with the St. Louis Rams. He has been injured constantly, and even when playing he could not be started with confidence. However, he is now in the fantasy quarterback paradise called Philadelphia. Last year, Mark Sanchez had just two out of nine starts where he had less than 12 fantasy points, in a standard league. Nick Foles had just one game under 12 points in seven games. If he stays healthy, Bradford is supposed to be a better quarterback than both Foles and Sanchez.
There is risk drafting Bradford, as he is coming off an ACL tear from last season. In Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense, where he may have to run more than in St. Louis, he is in even more danger of injury.
Get a good backup quarterback, and Bradford could be a home run pick. Bradford would be a comfortable selection in the 8th round.
Danny Woodhead – San Diego Chargers – 30-years old
Average Draft Position: 9th round
Consensus Ranking: 42nd RB
Like Bradford, Danny Woodhead is coming off an ACL tear. Woodhead also fits the category of 30 year old running backs. However, Woodhead is not your typical running back. His value comes out of the pass game. People forget that two years ago, Woodhead was a top-20 running back in a standard format. In PPR, he was a monster. If he can replicate near what he did two years ago he will be a huge steal. San Diego has already shown this pre-season and training camp that they plan to use him in the same role that they did before.
Target Woodhead in the 7th round. He will be starting before the midway point of the season. He never puts up huge numbers in a game, but he’ll give you 7-12 points consistently.
Charles Johnson – Minnesota Vikings – 26-years old
Average Draft Position: 8th Round
Consensus Ranking: 35th WR
At one point last year, Charles Johnson was an unknown receiver on Cleveland’s practice squad. By the end of the year, he was catching touchdowns from Teddy Bridgewater. He and Bridgewater developed a chemistry over the second half of last season that looks like it has translated to this year’s training camp and preseason. In Norv Turner’s offense the “X” receiver gets a lot of work in the pass game. The Vikings plan on using Johnson as that “X” receiver, while Mike Wallace will be the “Y” reciever, or more of a downfield threat.
Some are worried that Wallace will get the majority of the targets this season, however Johnson has already developed chemistry with Bridgewater, while Wallace has never really developed chemistry with anybody. The Vikings have the makings of a top-10 offense this season, and being able to draft their number one receiver as your receiver four in the 8th round is pure gold.
Tyler Eifert – Cinncinatti Bengals – 24-years old
Average Draft Position: 13th Round
Consensus Ranking: 11th TE
Eifert is the break-out candidate in fantasy this year. He has been described as “uncoverable” and “dominant” in training camp. He missed all of last season due to a dislocated elbow, which is hurt his value. Many fantasy owners are a slave to the “what have you done for me lately” mentality, which is causing Eifert to go as the 17th tight end at the moment. Some experts have him ranked as high as the 6th tight end.
Eifert has all the talent in the world, and no more Jermaine Gresham to fight for snaps with. His 6′ 6″ frame will get him many looks in the red-zone. Eifert will finish second to A.J. Green in targets this season. While the Bengals offense is not prolific, they will provide him enough opportunity go be a starting tight end in your fantasy league.
Most often, fantasy football teams are won with picks in the later rounds. Targeting these players gives you more upside on your team and makes you more likely to find a draft steal. The philosophy of drafting high ceiling guys like Johnson and Eifert can play off more than drafting veterans like Larry Fitzgerald and Jason Witten in the same rounds.
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