by Michael Nazarek (UPDATED - 8/28/2019)
Editor's Note: Below you will find a portion of our Fantasy Football Sleepers for 2019. If you'd like to read about all 47 sleepers, please click HERE to order our 2019 Pre-Season Draft Guide.
Everyone knows about Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley, and DeAndre Hopkins The top 50 players taken in most fantasy drafts will likely be the same group of players. What separates the men from the boys is knowing who will produce when they are not expected to produce. To this end, I will supply you with sleeper lists of players at each of the key fantasy positions. Consider each and weigh them against your league competition. I will list sleepers in three distinct categories… obvious, darkhorses, and long-shots. I have also offered my "deep sleeper" at each position. Note: The official projected statistics for these players were not posted, as they may change with each guide update.
The following DARKHORSE SLEEPER was posted on these pages four summer's ago. It just goes to show you that sometimes these players pan out in a HUGE way…
Devonta Freeman (Atlanta) - Freeman made a minor impact as a rookie in 2014 playing behind veteran RB Steven Jackson, but with Jackson gone, Freeman ran with the first unit this spring and should start for the Falcons come September. That said, the Falcons remain primarily a passing team, and rookie RB Tevin Coleman will share touches with Freeman. In other words, Freeman will have to impress if he has any chance to win the starting full-time job outright and put Coleman on the bench. That makes him an interesting darkhorse fantasy sleeper this summer because he might have the talent to do just that.
Yeah, I’d say he has talent. And I drafted him myself in THREE leagues in 2015 including the FFPC! He was a big reason why I won $10,000! On to this year’s lists…
Baker Mayfield (Cleveland) - Mayfield may be the most obvious fantasy sleeper of all time as we head into training camp. Adding OBJ into the mix at wideout makes this offense so much more threatening. While there may be a learning curve, the confidence is there for both players to get on the same page. Of course, there is also WR Jarvis Landry and speedster WR Antonio Callaway as alternative targets, added to young and still developing TE David Njoku. This offense should and will be scary to say the least! Of course, that means Mayfield will not come cheap in drafts (late 4th round in 12-team leagues). Sexy picks never slide too far! Update 8/12: Mayfield came out on fire in the first preseason contest, so he's on track to make a big impact in 2019. Update 8/28: Nothing has changed here, as Mayfield remains an obvious fantasy sleeper this summer.
Dak Prescott (Dallas) - Some people are questioning my ranking of Prescott as a top 10 fantasy QB. Did you know that after WR Amari Cooper arrived, Prescott was the #4 ranked fantasy QB from week #9 through #17 in 2018? Yup. Well, Cooper returns, while TE Jason Witten unretired, and WR Michael Gallup should mature into a solid #2-WR. All this makes Prescott a very attractive obvious sleeper. Best of all, Prescott's ADP is much lower than Mayfield's (9th round compared to 4th round), so perhaps the better course of action is to wait and take Prescott later! Update 8/12: Prescott was solid in the first preseason game and remains a nice fantasy sleeper, assuming RB Ezekiel Elliott gets a deal done in time for week #1. Update 8/28: No change here at this time.
Lamar Jackson (Baltimore) - Jackson's feet pretty much got the Ravens into the playoffs in 2018. That said, coaches are saying Jackson will throw much more in 2019 and will not run as much, to keep him healthy. They say he's improved his throwing. Well, it can't get much worse. However, if he struggles passing, you know he will start running more. Anything to get the job done. At least he's costing no earlier than the 10th round in early fantasy drafts this summer! Update 8/12: Jackson ran a very vanilla offense in the first preseson game, but it did make him look like a real QB, and not just a runner. We shall see how he looks moving forward. Update 8/28: No change here at this time.
Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco) - Garoppolo was my favorite obvious sleeper in 2018, but a torn ACL wiped out most of his season. He has limited experience in the NFL, but the 49ers believe in him (his contract says they do), so I add him to our darkhorse fantasy sleeper list for 2019. Gone is WR Pierre Garcon, but WR Marquise Goodwin and WR Dante Pettis return, along with WR Trent Taylor. The team also drafted WR Deebo Samuel, and TE George Kittle is a star, so there is every reason to believe that Garoppolo will have success this season, as long as he stays healthy. Update 8/12: Garoppolo has been solid in camp, and remains on track to be a successful darkhorse fantasy sleeper in 2019. Update 8/28: After a terrible preseason week #2, Garoppolo rebounded in a big way this past week #3 to keep his slot on this list for 2019.
Josh Allen (Buffalo) - Allen finished 2018 outside of the top 20 QBs for the entire season, but looking at just the final six games, Alen tore it up as the top fantasy producting QB. He scored 6 of his 8 TDs in those games, also running for almost 500 yards. In 2019, he gets new targets like WR John Brown and WR Cole Beasley. As such, it's a good bet that he will live up to his darkhorse fantasy sleeper status, especially since you should be able to target him in the 11th-12th round of your draft. Update 8/12: Allen has looked good in camp, and the excitement remains that he can take the Bills to a new level in 2019. Update 8/28: No change here at this time. All systems look good.
Sam Darnold (New York Jets) - Darnold showed improvement late in his rookie season, and in 2019, gets RB LeVeon Bell to improve the short passing game. The Jets also signed WR Jamison Crowder, extended WR Quincy Enunwa, and re-signed WR Robby Anderson. In other words, the Jets are locked and loaded to compete better in the AFC East. Darnold produced two games of 25 and 29 fantasy points in week #15 and #16 last year. I'm not saying he will be a top 10 fantasy QB in 2019, but he should easily impove upon his 16.6 points per game average as a solid darkhorse fantasy sleeper this summer. Update 8/12: Darnold looked good in his first preseason aciton, and remains a solid darkhorse fantasy sleeper. Update 8/28: No change here at this time.
Nick Foles (Jacksonville) - Foles was the savior for the Eagles a few seasons ago, helping them win a Super Bowl. He also replaced QB Carson Wentz last year and played well. As a result, he signed a deal with the Jaguars to replace QB Blake Bortles as their starter when the Eagles chose not to tag him. It's a new system with new receivers for Foles to develop chemistry with. As a result, he is a longshot fantasy sleeper at best, and only if he looks good this summer during camp and the preseason. Remember, he played for the Rams and struggled, so if the situation isn't right, more often than not, Foles is not a good fantasy producer. That said, he is definitely one to keep your eye on this summer. Update 8/12: Foles has been OK in camp, but did not play in the team's first preseason game. I will reserve judgement on him for a few more weeks, but keep him listed here for now. The fact that WR Marqise Lee (torn ACL) seems unlikely to play come week #1 won't help his cause. Update 8/28: Foles looked good last week, locking well onto WR Dede Westbrook, and looking good overall. As a result, he maintsins his spot on this list.
Kyler Murray ® (Arizona) - Murray replaces a struggling QB Josh Rosen as the Cardinals' new rookie starter. The Cardinals believe Murray is much more talented than Rosen. I'm not so sure, but I'll give them credit for moving on from such a terrible stituation. Bottom Line: WR Larry Fitzgerald returns for at least one more season, while WR Christian Kirk had a solid rokie season, and has been very impressive this spring. There is hope that Murray can turn this offense around, but can he become an immediate solid fantasy producer? Only time will tell, but adding him to this list as an interesting longshot fantasy sleeper is really a no-brainer since he was the first overall draft pick back in April. Update 8/12: Murray was sharp in his first NFL action this week, and there is hope that he can be a productive NFL QB starting week #1. Update 8/28: No change here at this time. Murray has been up and down this preseason, but has shown he has the tools to potentially be a good QB.
Dwayne Haskins ® (Washington) - Haskins was drafted in April to be the team's QB of the future, and possible of the present, but he will have to beat out both QB Case Keenum and QB Colt McCoy, as QB Alex Smith (leg) is unlikely to play until at least 2020. The team is really high on Haskins, so there is a good chance he starts come week #1, but he will have to impress and win the job. The fact that the Redskins have a weak receiving corps won't help, but he is listed here as a longshot fantasy sleeper due to his potential. Update 8/12: Haskins is still trailing QB Case Keenum and QB Colt McCoy for the starting job, but there is time for him to make his move. That is why he's listed as a longshot fantasy sleeper this summer. Update 8/28: Haskins will not begin the season as the team's starter, but if QB Case Keenum struggles, he will get his chance early, so he stays on this list.
Daniel Jones ® (New York Giants) - The Giants surprised everyone by drafting Jones in April over QB Dwayne Haskins. Jones has talent, but his ability to become a real NFL starting QB is in question, but not by those in the organtization. Barring injury, QB Eli Manning will start come week #1, but odds are good that at some point the Giants throw Jones into the mix for a start (or more). That makes him a deep sleeper for fantasy this summer, one who should only be drafted as a #3-QB at best, and most likely if you have already drafted Manning (as your backup) just for insurance. Update 8/12: Jones came out on fire, leading the Giants on a TD drive in his NFL action this week. That said, QB Eli Manning is not going away, so barring injury, look for Jones to begin the season as the primary backup. Update 8/28: No change here at this time, since Jones has looked great in the preseaason, even though QB Eli Manning will begin the season as the starter. That could change quickly with one poor game from Manning.
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