Scott Engel of RotoExperts.com has more than 20 years of experience in the Fantasy industry and is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s Hall of Fame. This is his seventh season providing Fantasy Football coverage and advice on Seahawks.com.
They are the gems and values every Fantasy Football player searches for prior to draft day. Every year, they want to know which guys will exceed their draft day values in a major way, or who can be cleverly plucked in the later rounds. But do sleepers really exist in today’s Fantasy Football universe? With so much information readily available with the tremendous popularity of the pastime, it’s often hard to sneak someone by the rest of your leaguemates, especially if they are savvy players.
But some guys are destined to produce better than their draft positions, and if you are willing to take that chance on them when the time is right, you could end up with a great pick who helps your Fantasy team more than initially projected. Sure, some other owners in your league might know about the same player(s), but if you’re the one that lands one of these discounted options with promise, then you have effectively nailed the process of bagging a sleeper anyway. Plus, if you are more informed than your opponents, maybe you will slip a true sleeper by them. A real sleeper is the unheralded player who suddenly gains prominence.
Of course, in the spirit of serving the Seahawks fans who play Fantasy Football, we list 12 of our favorite sleepers for the 2018 season here. Those who have followed the Seahawks for a long time or studied up on their history know that this franchise has become well-noted for unearthing some of the most memorable sleepers in league history. From Steve Largent to Eugene Robinson and two prominent members of the Legion of Boom, the Seahawks have a storied history of their own sleeper selections who emerged as some of the most impactful players in club lore. So after our dozen Fantasy sleepers for 2018, we have also included, for your fun and perusal, the All-Time Seahawks Sleeper Team.
Fantasy Sleepers For 2018
Tarik Cohen, Bears (107.42): He has an 11th round Average Draft Position in NFL.com standard formats, but his consensus PPR ADP of 81 on FantasyPros.com suggests he is going to be a significant value performer in those formats too, It’s in PPR leagues where Cohen is going to emerge as a more frequently explosive option. New head coach Matt Nagy is going to utilize Cohen much more frequently, unleashing his abilities to provide big plays from anywhere on the field. You’re going to see many more fireworks from the guy who had 46 and 36-yard runs in Weeks 1 and 3 and a 70-yard reception in his rookie campaign.
T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville: Leonard Fournette dealt with ankle issues in his final season in college, and a few injury issues in his rookie year. He has reportedly trimmed down this season, but if he starts getting banged up again, Yeldon can step in and be a real spark to the offense. Yeldon also has better receiving skills than Fournette, as further evidenced by his five receptions for 73 yards in the second week of the preseason vs. the vaunted Minnesota defense. Yeldon rushed for 122 yards, including a 58-yard TD in Week 7 last year. Between Weeks 10 and 16 he had three games with five or more receptions. If any crack of playing time opens up a bit more for Yeldon, he’ll be a nice PPR surprise.
Peyton Barber, Buccaneers: The conventional thinking was that rookie Ronald Jones would win the starting job this preseason, and Barber would only be a placeholder. But Barber has taken clear control of the No. 1 RB job and is showing no signs of letting go any time soon. Meanwhile, Jones has mostly shown that he is going to need to adapt more to the pro game. Eventually, Jones, who has the most pure speed of any RB in this year's draft class, will emerge with more of a role. But Barber seems poised to hold onto the job for awhile right now, and he could be a quality flex play for a good stretch during the regular season while Jones works more on the finer points of the game. Barber has averaged over five yards per carry so far this preseason.
Tevin Coleman, Atlanta: He is already known to Fantasy players as a pretty good flex option, but Coleman is only going in the 10th round of NFL.com drafts. In PPR formats he is more of a sixth to seventh rounder. Coleman is an exciting playmaker, but he never gets regular work because of the presence of Devonta Freeman. But injuries started to creep in on Freeman last year, and if he continues to miss time this season, Coleman could prove to be a more steadily productive all-around Fantasy starter.
Jaron Brown, Seahawks: He caught two passes for 74 yards against the Chargers, and you are going to see more big plays out of Brown when the regular season begins. Last year in Arizona, he was able to get open very often, but didn’t have the ideal connection with his QBs. Now playing with one of the best and most accurate deep throwers in the game, Brown could have a breakout campaign as a thrilling Fantasy WR who can pick up big chunks of yardage at any time. Look for Brown and Wilson to form a dynamic Fantasy bond.
Marquise Goodwin, 49ers: He is already emerging as Jimmy Garropolo’s preferred target. Goodwin always flashed deep gears in Buffalo, but started to become a true pass-catching threat on the rise when he arrived in San Francisco last year. Goodwin had a five-game stretch late last season where he had 78 yards or better, including two 100-yard games. He could actually flirt with high-end Fantasy WR2 status this season.
Chris Godwin, Buccaneers: He is a big and fast target who is already set to move into the starting lineup for Tampa Bay. Godwin can become the effective complement to Mike Evans that Tampa Bay has been searching for. DeSean Jackson will likely move into more of a secondary role in the passing game. Godwin, who averaged 15.4 yards per catch last season, showed glimpses of his considerable potential early in his rookie year.
Tre’Quan Smith, New Orleans: This is the rookie WR no one is talking about, but they will be soon. Smith is a big, tough target who may open the season as the fourth receiver on the Saints depth chart but could elevate quickly. New Orleans cannot rely on Ted Ginn Jr. and there are certainly no guarantees that Cameron Meredith will make an impact or stay healthy as a newcomer. Smith’s talents can boost him up the depth chart past both of the veterans, maybe even early in the season.
Derek Carr, Oakland: Carr took a step backward last year after a quality 2016 campaign. Look for him to bounce back under Jon Gruden. The returning coach is going to boost Carr’s confidence by giving him ownership of the offense, and look for Carr to respond positively. Carr is going to recapture a lot of his form from two years ago and could approach QB1 status again.
Sam Darnold, New York Jets: Yup, another rookie on the list. Darnold is a perfect fit for a Jets team that plays with enthusiasm and zeal under Todd Bowles. He is very strong from the intangibles perspectives, a confident, smart passer who can hang in against pressure and make the right throws. Darnold’s football smarts will translate into him being a high-end QB2 in his first pro season.
Austin Hooper, Atlanta: Entering his third NFL season, Hooper is on the verge of becoming a more reliable option in the Atlanta passing game. While opponents are worried about Julio Jones and new downfield playmaker Calvin Ridley, Hooper will roam the middle of the field to be available on key passing downs. He should also get a healthy amount of targets in the red zone. Tight ends take some time to develop for Fantasy purposes, but Hooper is ready to thrust himself into a bigger role in 2018.
Ricky Seals-Jones, Arizona: RSJ is a big, strong and fluid target who should become a top scoring option for the Cardinals in the passing game. He showed signs of what he is capable of last season with a two-TD outing and a 72-yard performance. Look for Seals-Jones to at least achieve Top 10 Fantasy TE status this season.
The Seahawks All-Time, All-Sleeper Team
This list is mostly compiled of Seahawks players throughout the years who were not drafted in the first two rounds or at all. The one exception is Steve Largent, who was acquired in a preseason trade for a Houston Oilers fourth rounder, which turned out to be not much to give up for a future Hall of Famer. Players were chosen based on a combination of value for round selected and impact on the franchise. Players are listed with the round and year they were drafted in, with UD for Undrafted.
QB Russell Wilson (3, 2012)
RB Chris Warren (4, 1990)
FB Mack Strong (UD, 1993)
WR Steve Largent (trade, 1976)
WR Doug Baldwin (UD, 2011)
TE Pete Metzelaars (3, 1982)
OL Ron Essink (10, 1980),
OL Ron Mattes (7, 1985)
OL Edwin Bailey (5, 1981)
DE Michael Sinclair (6, 1991)
DE Michael McCrary (7, 1993)
DT Joe Nash (UD, 1982),
DT Red Bryant (4, 2008)
LB K.J. Wright (4, 2011)
LB Malcolm Smith (7, 2011)
LB Michael Jackson (3, 1979)
CB Richard Sherman (5, 2011)
CB Byron Maxwell (6, 2011)
S Kam Chancellor (5, 2010)
S Eugene Robinson (UD, 1985)
Returner Bobby Joe Edmonds (5, 1986)
K Norm Johnson (UD, 1982)
Honorable Mentions: QB Jim Zorn (UD, 1976), QB Dave Krieg (UD, 1980), RB Derrick Fenner (10, 1989), WR Darrell Jackson (3, 2000), WR Jermaine Kearse (UD, 2012), DT Brandon Mebane (3,2007), DT Rocky Bernard (5,2002), LB Rufus Porter (UD, 1988), LB Fredd Young (3,1984), LB Leroy Hill (3, 2005), LB Dean Wells (4,1993), S John Harris (7,1977)
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