We’re back! The offseason was long and painful, but fantasy football is so close to being back that I can smell the sweat and regret from last year’s David Johnson owners. To help you out this year, I’m including a list of not just Sleepers, but also Busts that you’ll want to avoid. We all know that the latter rounds are where leagues are won and lost. Enough chatting – let’s get into it.
Kareem Hunt, Cle RB
Maybe I was a little too hard on Hunt last season when the video of his hotel incident leaked. Not saying he’s a good guy, but a fantasy football draft room is like the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange – emotions should be left out. He’s serving an 8 game suspension, but at his ADP of 98 he is going in the middle of the 8th round. This is great value for someone who was the fourth best running back last season prior to his suspension. At worst, you’ll pick up a RB2 once he starts his timeshare with Nick Chubb towards the end of the season. Best case scenario, Chubb is either injured or unproductive and you just picked up an RB1 who put up 14 total touchdowns in 11 games last season.
Derrick Henry, Ten RB
This guy is the definition of a fantasy football enigma. Through 12 games last season, Henry was an absolute bust averaging 39.5 yards a game on a measly 10.7 attempts. Nobody really knows what happened, but after a 238 yard, four touchdown explosion against the Jaguars, Henry all of a sudden looked like the workhorse back everyone was hoping he would become. Titans coach Mike Vrabel and GM Jon Robinson all said they want to feature Henry heavily in the offense this year so the breakout potential is undeniable.
Tevin Coleman, SF RB
I always felt like Coleman was underutilized on the Falcons last year. Now that he’s back together with Kyle Shanahan, we can see a heavier workload akin to the 2016 workload that saw Coleman finish the year as a RB2. He’s going to get the workload he craves on the 49ers and should be being drafted as a FLEX option, not as an RB4 like he’s going for currently. There’s value here.
Kyler Murray, Ari QB
OK I’ll admit it – I don’t watch college football. However, I can look at trends. Freshman dual threat QBs have had a great deal of success in the NFL this past decade, and if the hype around Murray is real, he has the potential to light up the league for a season before defenses start to adjust. With Arizona ready to employ a spread offense for the rookie quarterback, Murray should have the upside to be a top 10 QB this year. He has David Johnson and a couple of receivers with high upside, speaking of which…
Christian Kirk, Ari WR
The second round pick impressed in his rookie year and with a spread out, pass-heavy offense being instituted behind Kyler Murray, Kirk is a very likely candidate to make a leap up the draft charts. Larry Fitzgerald is past his top receiver days and Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler should be one or two years away from making an impact, so it only makes sense for Kirk to perform as at least a WR2 this season.
Eric Ebron, Ind TE
Regression to the mean is bound to hit here. After hauling in 13 touchdowns last season on 66 receptions, most people are assuming he’s a locked-in TE1 with a healthy Andrew Luck and sans honey buns. However, there’s no reason to believe he can actually do it again. Ebron has been a disappointment throughout his first four years in the league and one solid season boosted by 18 end zone targets just doesn’t seem replicable.
Le’Veon Bell, NYJ RB
I’m a pro-player empowerment guy, but something about Bell’s situation just seems risky. He’s not too old yet, but there are certain red flags that suggest his current first round draft position is too high. Adam Gase doesn’t seem to fully support featuring Bell as a workhorse back and while his Jets quarterback and receivers are all worse than his teammates back in Pittsburgh, he has more running back depth behind him waiting to chip away at his workload. He’s still a top 18 guy, but probably isn’t worth the risk in the top 10.
Sony Michel, NE RB
It seems like you can put a Patriots running back on this list every year and you’ll be right most of the time. Sure, Michel carried the ball 209 times last season for 6 touchdowns, but he was only targeted 11 times all season in the passing game. The Patriots are deep with pass catchers in the backfield and have three capable backups in Harris, White, and Burkhead. Michel was pretty one-dimensional last season and only saw the field for 36% of New England’s possession. Combined with his injury history, there is real cause for concern here.
Amari Cooper, Dal WR
Most people probably think Amari Cooper finally put it all together after he got to Dallas. Truth is, the numbers are deceptive. Cooper played nine regular season games with Dallas last year and had a total of 725 receiving yards. However, 397 yards came in just two games. That means that he only totaled 328 yards in the other seven games. This makes him a poor man’s T.Y. Hilton at best, especially when you consider the skill gap between Dak Prescott and Andrew Luck under center.