Last Call For Sleepers
Note: Here’s our original list of 12 sleepers.
Chris Thompson, RB, Jaguars
It’ll be interesting to see where Thompson’s ADP shakes out following Leonard Fournette’s release. The former 1st-round pick leaves behind a stunning 100 targets.
Thompson should see a good chunk of those. While fellow Jags backs Ryquell Armstead and Devine Ozigbo are capable receivers, they don’t have Thompson’s resume. In Washington from 2015-2019, he caught 35+ passes each season. That came despite missing a combined 20 games.
New Jags OC Jay Gruden was with Thompson for almost all of that stretch — he was fired after an 0-5 start last October — so there’s a built-in relationship. With Jacksonville’s win total (per Vegas) at a league-low 4.5, it’s easy to see game scripts favoring Thompson and the pass game.
Devine Ozigbo, RB, Jaguars
A Combine snub in 2018, Ozigbo showed the requisite athleticism with a 4.54-second 40 time and a 37-inch vertical at his pro day. And he did so at 230 pounds. This followed a 2018 breakout with 155 carries for 1,082 yards and 12 TDs — plus 23 catches.
Ozigbo handled only 12 touches as a rookie behind Leonard Fournette. But his exit to Tampa Bay puts 365 opportunities (carries + targets) up for grabs.
There’s certainly competition for those touches. Ryquell Armstead looks like the favorite for rushing work to open the season, but he’s still largely an unknown after a nondescript rookie year. And he’ll certainly be pricier than Ozigbo in fantasy drafts.
The same goes for veteran pass-catching back Chris Thompson. There’s clearly opportunity for him to catch 40+ balls on a subpar team. But his injury history is exhaustive. It includes 2 labrum tears, an ACL tear, a back fracture and a fibula fracture. He’s missed 17 games over the past 3 seasons. We like the guy -- but we're not counting on him for 16 games.
Ultimately, ability and opportunity are enough for us to strongly consider Ozigbo as a midnight pick in drafts.
Joshua Kelley, RB, Chargers
Kelley’s reportedly been a star of training camp. No major surprise there, as he might be the best power back on the Chargers' roster.
The Athletic’s Daniel Popper wrote on Wednesday that, “this will be a formidable three-headed running back attack, and all [Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson and Kelley] will get opportunities in both the running game and passing game.”
That’s a loaded sentence, but here's the bottom line: There’s an opening for Kelley to prove himself as the #2 back. The Bolts invested a Round 4 pick in the UCLA product. Compare that to a Round 7 investment in Justin Jackson. The latter appeared in only 7 games last year because of hamstring and calf injuries.
Under former RB coach turned HC Anthony Lynn — and with Tyrod Taylor under center — this offense projects as run-heavy. So even 16 games of Ekeler could have Kelley coming into FLEX value.
Preston Williams, WR, Dolphins
DeVante Parker has missed a week of practice with a “minor undisclosed injury,” per ESPN. It’s probably nothing to worry about. But let’s remember who we’re talking about here: a chronic underachiever and an injury-prone talent prior to 2019.
Williams, of course, needs to overcome his own injury obstacle. And a much more serious one. Recall that he tore his ACL last November. He's recovered smoothly, though, and looks ready to play Week 1. The 6'5 former UDFA is likely to build off a rookie year that included 60+ yards in 4 of 8 games.
With Miami’s target tree bare behind Parker, Williams and Mike Gesicki, Williams brings ample upside as a mid-to-late-round stash.
Bryan Edwards, WR, Raiders
Compared to Davante Adams by Derek Carr, Edwards -- a Round 3 pick -- has worked his way into a starting outside role. And that shouldn't be shocking.
He produced at South Carolina at only 17 years old (44-590-4) with help from plus size (6’3, 212 pounds) and physicality. Those traits have shined at training camp; Vic Tafur of The Athletic noted that HC Jon Gruden has tried to “hide” his love for the rookie in interviews.
That’s especially noteworthy for a HC who loves his veterans.
Carrying the upside to see 90-100 targets, Edwards looks like a potential year 1 contributor to fantasy squads.
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Eagles
After an ugly rookie season that found him playing hurt, Arcega-Whiteside brings some promise into 2020. Remember that Philly just invested a Round 2 pick in this guy — then fresh off a 63-1,059-14 line at Stanford.
Beyond a 2nd season in the system, JJAW benefits from a banged-up Eagles WR corps. Alshon Jeffery (Lisfranc) is expected to avoid the PUP list, but missing the first couple of games looks likely. Then there’s rookie 1st-rounder Jalen Reagor, who recently suffered a partial labrum tear. He’s expected to miss at least 2 games.
Philly’s early-season schedule looks solid for WRs: Washington, L.A. Rams and Cincinnati.
Chris Herndon, TE, Jets
First, you like Herndon for his ability. He’s an athletic “move” TE who posted 502 yards alongside fellow rookie Sam Darnold in 2018. That ranked 13th most among rookie TEs since 2000.
Injuries and a suspension derailed his 2019. But a make-or-break 2020 sets up nicely with the Jets dealing with several WR injuries. Chief among them is a knee injury that’s kept Breshad Perriman sidelined for over a week. Then there's rookie Denzel Mims — already behind the 8 ball — who missed 3 weeks with a hamstring injury. He only returned to practice on Wednesday.
With opportunity abound, look for Herndon to be a huge piece of the Jets’ offense.
Logan Thomas, TE, Washington
You’re selecting Thomas — mostly in deep leagues or FFPC leagues — for a few key reasons:
Primarily, you’re looking to capture opportunity. Washington lost 185 targets to offseason departures. Behind our Breakout Pick Terry McLaurin, this depth chart is laughable. We’re talking about Steven Sims and Dontrelle Inman playing significant roles.
The 6’6 Thomas looks like the favorite for Week 1 snaps at TE. His competition (Hale Hentges, Richard Rodgers, Jeremy Sprinkle) isn’t exactly fierce.
Now, this will be Thomas’ first “starting” gig after transitioning to TE only 4 years ago. So there’s likely still some untapped upside for the 29-year-old.
The results won’t be the same, but there’s some Darren Waller to Thomas’ 2020 storyline.