The term “sleeper” is almost becoming extinct across the Fantasy Football landscape. From Twitter to local team beat writer columns, access to the internet has eliminated relevant players slipping under the radar. The Fantasy Football sleepers in this piece you have heard of, but a negative stigma exists surrounding the player, dropping his average draft position (ADP).
Let’s take a look at players that are being slept on according to Underdog best ball ADP.
J’Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith are getting all of the hype, but what about Jaylen Waddle? That’s right, the Alabama receiver that was taken first off the board at the 2021 NFL Draft, Waddle was drafted by this organization to produce right away.
When I was researching this year’s prospects going into the NFL Draft, no player’s tape excited me more than Waddle. He is electric with the ball in his hands and can make defenders look silly on routes due to unmatched athleticism.
There are two trains of thought when rationalizing a negative stigma regarding Waddle.
Jaylen Waddle is just a gadget player and will only be used situationally.
While there were concerns about this in his projection as an NFL prospect, those worries should have automatically been dismissed when Miami selected him at six overall, again ahead of Heisman Trophy winner and former teammate, Smith. Waddle has stood out at Dolphins camp and is often lined up in the slot. They have been creative with him pre-snap and move him from X to the slot in an attempt to find the mismatch in the defense.
As it stands now, Waddle will be in the slot with DeVante Parker and Will Fuller outside on most plays. The Dolphins lined up in three-wide receiver sets 55 percent of the time in 2020, which is something you can bet will increase this year with the addition of these play-makers.
Tua Tagovailoa is not good and therefore can’t be trusted for Fantasy.
Tua was great at Alabama and Waddle was one of his weapons of choice. The two connected for 78 receptions, 1,408 yards, and 13 touchdowns in two seasons.
In his rookie season, Tagovailoa had some struggles, but context is everything. He replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 8 and played six of his nine starts with Devante Parker. Besides Parker, Tua had Mack Hollins and Jakeem Grant to throw to. Yikes.
The combination of first-year growing pains and lack of offensive weapons resulted in Tagovailoa ranking 30th in yards per attempt (6.3), 29th in air yards, and 32nd in completed air yards. Despite the poor deep ball numbers, he still was able to convert 64 percent of passes and was second in the league in accuracy rating.
If the Dolphins want to lean on Tua’s strengths (they do), they will put their receivers in a situation to get the ball close to the line of scrimmage. That means bubble screens and slants for Waddle, with the opportunity to produce those lovely yards after the catch.
What if this Dolphins offense is explosive?
Adding Waddle and Will Fuller suggests that Miami wants to push the ball through the air. Instead of adding a lead-running back, they have kept Myles Gaskin as the starter. Like so many teams have done in recent years, the Dolphins will look to “run through the air” by setting up their stud rookie receiver for success within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Waddle will also receive direct hand-offs as well. He will be on the field a lot and it will be just a matter of time before he has a break-out performance, winning you your week.
Jaylen Waddle is being taken as the WR48 in best ball. Take advantage of the negative narrative and go get one of the most explosive Fantasy Football sleepers in best ball 2021.
The narrative that Reagor had a “bad” season is being overblown. The truth is we just haven’t seen enough. In Week 2 Reagor tore ligaments in his thumb but still finished the game, catching all four of his targets from Carson Wentz for 41 yards. He missed the next five weeks.
When Reagor returned to the Eagles it took him a while to get reintegrated into the offense, right? Nay! Wentz fed Reagor with at least five targets in his first four games back. When the transition to Jalen Hurts happened, he saw two games of at least seven targets.
Reagor will be lined up opposite rookie DeVonta Smith. Like Reagor, Smith is a first-round pick, but projects to be the target leader in Philly.
But what if things don’t go perfectly for Smith? He is already banged up and missing time at camp, which has resulted in opportunity for the sophomore receiver. In fact, it didn’t take long for him to make a highlight grab that has turned into a signature moment for Jalen Reagor this offseason.
The Eagles don’t project to be very good, and it is unclear how targets will be divvied up among pass-catchers. With trade talks surrounding Hurts for DeShaun Watson, Reagor’s quarterback is also in question. What is secure, seemingly, is the Eagle’s desire to give their 2020 first-round pick a chance to prove himself. Last year in 7 of 11 games he saw at least 61 percent of offensive snaps.
Reagor was highly touted coming out of TCU. Just because he didn’t hit last year, doesn’t mean you should fade him. He is currently going off the board at WR61 in Underdog drafts. In a world where “sleeper” is becoming obsolete, Jalen Reagor is the closest thing we have to one of the Fantasy Football sleepers for best ball 2021.
Melvin Gordon is one of the Fantasy Football sleepers this year because everyone believes rookie Javonte Williams will take over as the lead back at some point. That is fine, but Gordon has not gone away just yet. He was the RB12 last year.
I feel like you missed that. Melvin Gordon was an RB1 last season and is currently being taken as the RB36 with an ADP of 115. I do not know how the split between Gordon and Williams will progress this season, but I am confident Gordon will be used regardless.
Gordon was the RB2 in Week 11 last season and ended the season with three more games of RB14 or better. The Broncos will continue to run the ball in 2021 at an above-average clip. Their 27.6 rush attempts per game were 12th in 2020.
I see Gordon leading this backfield to begin the season. The seventh-year pro is a proven pass-catcher and the team has already demonstrated trust on third downs. While I do expect Williams to be used more, and potentially take over as the lead back, Gordon should still get about half of those 27.6 carries (or around that) and a few targets per game.
This Denver offense has a chance to be good. If Drew Lock can be better than last year (he has to be, right?!) or Teddy Bridgewater takes over, the Broncos could easily improve their 28th ranked 20.2 points per game in 2020. Melvin Gordo is the perfect addition to any “anchor RB” or “zero RB” approach, making him one of the Fantasy Football sleepers for 2021.
-Steven Toroni @FFprofessorST3
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