Drafting in Different Formats
Talking the business of sports
I did a little something different when putting together the sleeper list below. Well, I should say someone else did something a little bit different.
I’ve had someone helping me out the past few weeks, a young man by the name of Jonny Lazar. You may see his name in one of our mock drafts very soon, and I would be surprised if that’s the last time you see his name. He’s helped make my projections better, and last week he put together a list of every player who I was higher than Dave, Jamey, and the Fantasy Pros consensus. It’s a pretty big list. The nine players you’ll see below were all on that list. They were also outside the top 100 for Dave, Jamey, and the consensus.
The surprising thing is that there were no late-round quarterbacks on the list. The closest two were Jalen Hurts and Tom Brady. I just wrote about Hurts in my breakouts column and calling Brady a sleeper is a bridge too far even for me. But I do think there’s one potential league-winning sleeper at quarterback, even if he didn’t show up on the list. It’s Justin Fields. In fact, I’m afraid even my ranking is too low.
Like most of the 2021 quarterback class, Fields struggled as a rookie. But he also gave us plenty of reason for hope. In his final four complete games, he averaged 307 total yards of offense per game. In fact, in his final nine starts, he completed 61.7% of his passes and averaged 7.4 yards per pass attempt. Considering he completed 68% of his passes in college and averaged 9.2 yards per attempt, there’s still plenty of reason to hope that he can be an above-average passer.
As an above-average passer, Fields would be a must-start Fantasy quarterback with easy top-five upside. He’s an elite athlete who ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at Ohio State and averaged 5.8 yards per carry as a rookie. His new offensive coordinator is Luke Getsy. The last time Getsy called offensive plays was in 2018 at Mississippi State. That year quarterback Nick Fitzgerald led the team in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.
Much has been made about the fact that the Bears haven’t put enough around Fields for him to break out this year. And compared to what Trey Lance has in San Francisco, his weapons are certainly lacking. But in a sleeper context, that just means more opportunities. If Fields comes close to his ceiling this year, it’s very likely Cole Kmet, Velus Jones, or someone else with a triple-digit ADP greatly outperforms their cost. The Bears may have multiple sleepers.
Here are nine other sleepers who I’m higher on than the industry:
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