Brian Sullivan (@MadManScouting)
Your draft is coming up. You feel pretty good about your first few picks. Barring injury, it’s almost impossible to screw them up. So, how do you crush your opponents? You take advantage of the later rounds. Make sure you check out my draft guide from yesterday too; combine the knowledge from these two posts, and you’ll be golden for your drafts. Also, these sleeper picks are mostly for some form of PPR. I don’t understand people who chose to play standard. I’m not judging, I just don’t understand. Also, all rankings are taken from Draftwizards, which is a great resource for practicing mock drafts. The rankings are also based on full PPR, though in half PPR they’d be very similar. Their rankings compare well to both Yahoo and ESPN.
Patrick Mahomes (15th Ranked QB)
You feel confident about Tyreke Hill right? Travis Kelce? Sammy Watkins as a later pick? Kareem Hunt as a dual threat back? Well, somebody has to throw them the ball right? So get the man who will be behind all of their huge seasons.
Jared Goff (17th Ranked QB)
The same concept applies to Goff. Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Todd Gurley, and Cooper Kupp are all going high. Gurley is obviously a huge receiving threat too. Why wouldn’t you draft the QB tossing them all the rock?
Derek Carr (20th Ranked QB)
This is some excellent value for one of the more talented QBs in the league. The Raiders defense is atrocious too, so he’ll have plenty of opportunities to toss the rock and earn some garbage time points.
Jameis Winston (26th Ranked QB)
His suspension has him falling even further, but he’s a fine backup option. His receiving corps is loaded, and like Carr, he has an awful defense to depend on. The Bucs will be down often, so he’ll be forced to chuck it up. He’s a fine backup option, and he could be a decent trade chip if he outplays his ranking.
Kenyan Drake (18th Ranked RB)
Drake is essentially the only option at running back for the Dolphins these days, unless you really think Frank Gore is going to play a key role in this offense. Kalen Ballage is fine, but I doubt he gets sufficient action this year. Drake is a fantastic receiving threat as well. I’d avoid him in standard, but I foresee plenty of 5-7 catch games for him.
Tevin Coleman (27th Ranked RB)
Coleman should earn even more reps this season in a high powered Atlanta offense, especially on third down. He’s an excellent receiving threat, and the Falcons have so many outside weapons that he’s bound to see very few stacked boxes. He’s a safer sleeper, but an excellent bench option if you want a receiving back in a high powered offense.
Sony Michel (33rd Ranked RB)
Sony Michel might have been the best pure runner in the NFL draft. Barkley was obviously the better athlete, but Michel’s vision and burst were on another level. There’s a reason the Pats took him so high in the draft. He might not be a fantastic PPR threat, but as long as he gets back onto the field, he should be a great option. His injury has him falling pretty low as well, so you can get him late, which is excellent value. A little risky, but the reward could be worth it.
Kerryon Johnson (30th Ranked RB)
The rookie has been making some noise since he got to Detroit. The Lions have to eventually hit on a running back right? Johnson has all of the skills to be the starter in Detroit. He’ll share snaps with Theo Riddick, but he could render LeGarrette Blount obselete. Getting a starting running back that late provides excellent value for a team.
Marlon Mack (38th Ranked RB)
Sure, he’ll probably miss a week or two, but if he’s one of your first 2 backs selected, you need to adjust your strategy. Mack is an excellent receiving threat, and he’s bound to see more success behind an improved offensive line. Andrew Luck being under center also forces defenses to spread the field more than when Jacoby Brissett was back there. Accept the loss for a few weeks, and reap the benefits of him.
Austin Ekeler (56th Ranked RB)
This is my super sleeper. Sure, I’m a little biased, but Melvin Gordon is not a great 3rd down back. Ekeler has looked phenomenal in the preseason, and he looked very Darren Sproles-esque for the Chargers last season. In PPR, he’s a fantastic value pick this late in the draft. If Melvin Gordon goes down, his value skyrockets. If not, he still has the potential any week to have a big game catching the ball out of the backfield.
Marquise Goodwin (32nd Ranked Receiver)
He’s essentially the #1 in San Francisco at this point, and he appeared to develop a nice rapport with Jimmy G as last season ended. With a full offseason together, they should have some very nice chemistry.
Julian Edelman (39th Ranked Receiver)
I mentioned it in my article yesterday; take advantage of the suspension. You’ll want Edelman on your team when the playoffs come around. He’s one of the most consistent PPR options out there. He can be your #2 in the long run.
Michael Gallup (53rd Ranked Receiver)
The Cowboys drafted him in the 3rd round for a reason. He could be their #1 by the end of the year. Dak appears to trust him based on what we’ve seen in the preseason. He should see some nice volume this year.
Anthony Miller (56th Ranked Receiver)
You all know how much I adore Anthony Miller. He will be a PPR machine. I’d avoid him in standard for now, depending on how high he goes. But expect him to see a ton of screens and short routes thrown his way. Your opponents will regret passing on him.
Christian Kirk (74th Ranked Receiver)
He’s the new #2 in Arizona, and they still lack a true threat at the tight end position. Aside from Larry Fitz and David Johnson, he should see a lot of action every game.
Dante Pettis (86th Ranked Receiver)
We’re getting real deep now, but Pettis could be a nice option in San Francisco as well. Obviously, I expect them to have a successful passing attack. I expect to see a west coast style offense for them as well, with a lot of short patterns being involved. The ball will be spread out, and Pettis should see plenty of targets.
Curtis Samuel (107th Ranked Receiver)
Curtis Samuel is another player who is built to catch a lot of balls. He’s a versatile weapon who will be utilized on screens often. If you find one of your options being hurt early, or you’re in a super deep league, take a flier on him.
Jack Doyle (11th Ranked TE)
He’s not flashy, but did you know that he caught 80 balls last season? 80… with Jacoby Brissett throwing him the ball. Enter Andrew Luck. I can see a big season for Doyle.
David Njoku (12th Ranked TE)
With an actual quarterback throwing him the ball this season, he’s bound to improve. He was an incredible talent coming out of Miami a year ago. He should be a nice option.
Hayden Hurst (26th Ranked TE)
I didn’t love his tape, but the Ravens took him in the 1st round, and they intend to use him. His numbers might not pop, but I see plenty of weeks where he has 5-7 receptions. That’s all you need from a backup TE, which is what he’ll likely be for your team.
Virgil Green (36th Ranked TE)
Assuming the Chargers do not bring back Antonio Gates, this could be the steal of the draft. Philip Rivers loves throwing to his tight ends. Virgil Green is the starting tight end in Los Angeles. If the season begins and Gates is still a free agent, consider adding Green via the waiver wire, especially if you have an injury prone TE on your roster.
New England Patriots (10th Ranked Defense)
They aren’t super flashy, and they aren’t loaded with star studded talent. But they are disciplined, and more importantly, they get 6 games against the Bills, Dolphins, and Jets. Those aren’t the scariest offenses in the world.
Tennessee Titans (19th Ranked Defense)
Similar to the Patriots, the Titans aren’t loaded on defense. But they do have plenty of talent at every level. They’re very balanced. They get 2 games against Blake Bortles. They get Eli Manning. They play against the Texans twice, and if Deshaun Watson does miss time, you’ll want to start Tennessee in those games. They also get the Bills, Dolphins, and Jets. They get Joe Flacco… they’re a nice pick.
Cleveland Browns (27th Ranked Defense)
Believe it or not, this wasn’t a bad defense last season. They were 13th in yards allowed per game, despite being on the field more than any other defense. They gave up a ton of points because Deshone Kizer was addicted to turning the ball over. They should be significantly improved. If you’re in a very deep league or a league with a ton of bench slots, consider taking them as a backup defense before somebody snags them off the waivers.
Just don’t mess it up, take the best one available.
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