Fantasy Football Draft 2014: Deep Sleeper Picks
Taking a Look at Some of the Final-Round Draft Day Pickups
August 29, 2014
As we’re heading into the final weekend of fantasy football draft action before the regular season officially begins on Thursday, it’s time to start considering what you might do with your last couple of picks. Late-round gambles are usually reserved for deep sleepers who may or may not pan out during the season, and it’s always interesting trying to speculate which players have the best chances at coming through for fantasy owners.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at a few deep sleeper pickups you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re on the clock at the end of your draft. These guys have the potential for some big scoring throughout the year, far surpassing their anticipated stock.
Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers: If there’s such a thing as a well-known sleeper, Hyde is it. He’s been pretty darn impressive this preseason, turning heads with his rare combination of size and speed. The coaching staff seems to love him, even going so far as to compare him to No. 1 incumbent RB Frank Gore.
Speaking of Gore, There’s some concern among fantasy owners that he could be taking a major step back this year. He’s 31--far past that magical age that sees running backs’ stats fall off a proverbial cliff--and as a result will increasingly require spells of rest to keep himself healthy.
That’s where Hyde comes in. As a fresh set of legs he could dominate very early, and if he can maintain form we could end up seeing something closer to a timeshare situation in San Francisco. At the very least, he’s a gotta-have handcuff guy. Look for him in the late 30s among running backs.
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Tim Wright, TE, New England Patriots: This week’s big trade involving the Patriots and the Buccaneers caught most people by surprise, and had fantasy owners everywhere questioning the health of Rob Gronkowski.
That five-alarm fire seems to be averted--Gronk seems to be progressing as normal and should make the start Week 1--but it also leaves us with a very interesting player in Wright.
Now, Wright certainly wouldn’t have amounted to much in Tampa Bay--they seem to be going toward Austin Seferian-Jenkins--and his stock makes a bit of a jump in New England. We all know how the Pats like to feature the TE position (as in the Gronkowski-Hernandez connection of yesteryear) and will do the same here if they can get that chemistry going. Wright is a lower-end backup as of now, but could end up as a nice bye-week filler or even a low-end starter at some point.
Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons: Let’s get back to the RB position for a moment and talk about Freeman. He’s in much the same position in Atlanta as Hyde is in San Fran. Ahead of him is a 31-year-old Steven Jackson who has been relegated to merely flashing his old self now that some of the tread has worn off his tires.
If Jackson falters or gets injured at some point this year (which is a distinct possibility), Freeman will be the guy for the Falcons. You can find him in the late 30s among running backs, and he’s got the potential to be a top-15 contributor if he gets into that top spot.
John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals: We’ll finish up today with Brown, who is a little off the map since he’s behind both Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd down there in Arizona. That said, Brown has gotten a ton of buzz this off-season, and according to head coach Bruce Arians, could be utilized in “60 percent of the offensive snaps.”
If Brown can get off to a quick start and develop some chemistry with his teammates, he could do big things. You’ll find him (at highest) somewhere in the 40s among wide receivers.
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