Scott Engel returns for his ninth season of Fantasy Football coverage on Seahawks.com. Scott is a 20-plus year veteran of the Fantasy industry and an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. You can find more of his Fantasy analysis at RotoBaller.com and SportsLine.com. You can listen to Scott on weekend mornings and on demand on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. Scott has also won his highly competitive Fantasy Football league with other experts and top players in each of the past three years.
In terms of identifying sleepers, the Seahawks have been a model franchise since their inception. In their very first season of existence in 1976, they made one of the all-time best moves in pro football history to procure a true unheralded gem when they acquired Steve Largent from the Houston Oilers for an eighth round pick. Largent turned out to be one of the greatest NFL sleeper pickups ever as he became the first Seahawk to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
From there, team lore has been packed with originally overlooked performers who have exceeded expectations to become real-life and Fantasy standouts. We could actually put together an All-Time Seahawks Sleeper Roster at the three key skill positions.
Quarterback: Russell Wilson is the obvious choice. Dave Krieg would be a quality second teamer from the "pen and pad" days of Fantasy Football.
Running Back: Chris Warren went undrafted in many Fantasy leagues in 1994 and was a championship-winning waiver add. Chris Carson was totally off the Fantasy radar as a rookie in 2017 and was a strong Fantasy starter by his second pro season.
Wide Receiver: Largent would be paired with Doug Baldwin, who went from an undrafted free agent in the NFL and Fantasy Football to a top wideout in both worlds. By 2015 he was a must-play Fantasy starter at WR.
Of course, there were sleepers at other positions that became Seahawks legends and standouts over the years. Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor were both drafted in the fifth round. Of course, they became "Legion of Boom" superstar anchors of the Seahawks defense that was annually one of the elite Fantasy units of the past decade. Michael Sinclair was a sixth-round draft pick and was a major force in Fantasy Football Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues with his 16.5 sacks and 55 tackles in 1998.
Those are all fun Fantasy and NFL stories to look back on. But pinpointing the key Fantasy players at every position who can go from forgotten men to central figures in your lineups is the most important task in this edition of Seahawks Fantasy Insider.
12 Fantasy Sleepers for the 2020 Fantasy Football Season
Duke Johnson, Texans: His current NFL.com Average Draft Position is 147, and you can nab Johnson as a fourth or fifth RB in many leagues. Many of the Texans key skill position starters are established playmakers, yet they do have health concerns. Johnson may be needed at some point to step forward as a pass-catcher and possibly as a starting running back. Johnson caught 74 passes in 2017 for a Cleveland team that needed him to play a significant role.
Damien Harris, Patriots: The second-year pro could get his opportunity to shine this season and may make a real Fantasy impact at a very important position. Harris is the most dynamic runner in the New England mix, and working with Cam Newton in a RPO offense could be a springboard to quality Fantasy production. The running game should become a focal point of the Patriots offense and Harris seems best equipped to seize the opportunity and shine. He is a very important Fantasy depth piece with upside. You may be able to draft Harris in the eighth to 10th round as a value play.
Joshua Kelley, Chargers: Austin Ekeler is already an established high-end Fantasy RB2, but there is room in the Chargers offense for another quality contributor. While Ekeler is further cementing a legacy as the franchise's latest RB receiving standout (don't forget Darren Sproles), the rookie can be a good partner as Los Angeles' preferred inside and goal-line runner. Kelley can take over a healthy chunk of Melvin Gordon's old role and he has real Fantasy flex position potential.
Carlos Hyde, Seahawks: He is a proven NFL RB who can slide into your Fantasy lineup for respectable production in situations where he may see increased touches. Hyde is coming off a season in which he rushed for a career-best 1,070 yards, and he was a very important acquisition who will further solidify the RB position for the "Hawks. Hyde is a determined runner with good vision who can be slippery and often effective when he gets to the second level of a defense. In Weeks 5 and 6 last season, he totaled 30 Fantasy points on NFL.com. He also rushed for 160 yards in Week 9.
Dynasty League Sleeper Bonus: Seahawks rookie DeeJay Dallas has a lot of long-term promise as a dual threat.
Diontae Johnson, Steelers: Despite Pittsburgh's QB issues last season, Johnson scored five times and had four games with 17-plus Fantasy points. The return of Ben Roethlisberger will revive the passing game and Johnson will start to ramp up to a bright future. Look for him to become the top playmaker in the Steelers passing game opposite JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Steelers may actually have an eye on Johnson becoming their top wideout in the future, and he is a great seasonal value pick and a recommended trade target in dynasty leagues.
Hunter Renfrow, Raiders: You can draft him very late, as evidenced by his ADP of 149. The Raiders have added some notable rookie reinforcements at WR, yet it is the returning Renfrow who may turn out to be Derek Carr's most reliable wideout. He totaled over 36 points in Weeks 8 and 9 last season and finished strong. In Weeks 16 and 17, Renfrow had two 100-yard outings and scored in each game. He totaled nearly 56 Fantasy points in those games. Renfrow may really shine out of the slot for the Raiders.
Breshad Perriman, Jets: He busted out late last season with Tampa Bay, yet Perriman still has an ADP of 150. In the final five games of the 2019 campaign, Perriman totaled 506 receiving yards and four TD receptions. Now he can become the main downfield option for Sam Darnold, who will be healthier and might have to throw frequently in several matchups. Perriman won't play in quite the high volume passing attack he was involved with last year, yet he should still carve out a significant role in a New York air game that will be busy enough. The Jets offense has two viable sleeper targets in Perriman and TE Chris Herndon, who has Top 10 potential at his position.
Steven Sims, Washington: After flashing much promise late last year, Sims can emerge as a speedy complement to impressive second-year man Terry McLaurin. Dwayne Haskins does have a big arm to take advantage of Sims' gears if the two can develop a consistent connection. Sims had four TD receptions and over 59 Fantasy points in the final three games of the 2019 season.
Irv Smith Jr., Vikings: The second-year TE is expected to see an increased role in the passing game this year after spending much time learning on the job last year. While he progressed, Smith set a Vikings rookie TE record with 36 receptions. The departure of Stefon Diggs opens up opportunities in the Minnesota passing game, and Smith has the abilities to step forward and make an impact. He is a sizable target who can also challenge defenses with his impressive athletic ability. Draft Smith late as a fine TE2 type.
Dan Arnold, Cardinals: This is our super sleeper recommendation, as Arnold is being completely overlooked in most drafts, even deeper ones that extend to 20 rounds or more. He is a free add in keeper and dynasty leagues that have already drafted. Arizona picked him up late last year and he caught two TD passes in his final three games with six catches for 76 yards in the season finale. Arnold has quickly developed a good rapport with Kyler Murray, and he is going to be a frequent TD option. Arnold is a possible Fantasy starter who is going completely undrafted. This sleeper selection could make you look like a genius while he surprises everyone else.
Cam Newton, Patriots: The former NFL MVP is determined to prove himself in a comeback season. He will resurface as a Fantasy starter in an offense that will suit him well. As previously mentioned, New England will operate a RPO attack, and Newton's playmakers should be adequate and will mesh well with his skills. Look for Newton to operate a quick-hitting passing game in which his pass-catchers produce quality yards after the catch. A healthy Newton will also show he can still be a running threat.
Drew Lock, Broncos: Denver may have found its franchise QB. Lock can become a gusty slinger who may eventually conjure up some possible Brett Favre comparisons with his style of play. He has the potential to be a quality deep thrower. In Weeks 13 and 14 last year, Lock delivered five TD passes and threw for 309 yards in the second outing in a possible glimpse of better things to come. The Broncos have surrounded Lock with a very deep supporting cast and he will make some notable strides in his second season.
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