2019 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Top Breakouts Per Position

We are sitting a few months out, and drafts are starting to get going. ADP is going to fluctuate over the next few months, as will hype around certain players. The term fantasy sleeper might be a bit outdated, because who is really a sleeper in this day and age? The industry has grown, and the internet pumps out fantasy content by the hour. What we are really after is some late round targets that can produce higher than their ADP.

Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders

ADP Projected Passing Attempts Projected Passing Yards Projected Passing Touchdowns Projected Interceptions
175.3 561.4 4,102.4 25.6 10.6

Derek Carr is being drafted as the 23rd quarterback off the board, and deservingly so. He is also around a few names like Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, and Dak Prescott who are going to go slightly higher, but if they slip are also excellent late round targets. We are going to hear about Carr has never surpassed x amount of stats or fantasy points, but this is by far the best surrounding cast he has had. The defense is still going to be lackluster, creating shootout potential in most games. There are tough divisional games, but that is the case each and every season. Carr won’t give you much with his legs, but 4,000+ yards and 25-30 touchdowns is in his range of outcomes.

Adding in Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, J.J. Nelson, and Josh Jacobs as weapons around him, we could see a jump in the Oakland offense. There were some positives from Carr last season, where he completed 69% of his passes, and also tossed just ten interceptions. Carr has always been a low risk playing quarterback, but the addition of home run threat wideouts, it would be dump for them not to take more shots downfield. Carr has some upside at his ADP, even if he doesn’t have the rushing appeal of names around him.

Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings

ADP Projected Passing Attempts Projected Passing Yards Projected Passing Touchdowns Projected Interceptions
145.2 574.2 3,873.1 27.5 12.1

There was a weird attack on Kirk Cousins last year, and if you didn’t watch a Minnesota Vikings game, you’d expect Cousins to have horrific numbers the way he was talked about. Cousins averaged 17.3 fantasy points per game, and finished as QB13. He had just ten interceptions, and tossed 30 touchdowns with over 4,000 passing yards. The offensive line play was horrendous, and even with a run fist offense in line, Cousins still is a weekly quarterback option. He isn’t being drafted as one, and he gets a cracking schedule to start the year, and only sees three top ten pass defenses all year long. Two of those games are against Chicago. He starts the year seeing five bottom ten pass defenses in the first eight games. Cousins welcomes a strong committee around him, and if the line can just improve a bit, the Minnesota offense should be more efficient. The value on Cousins is there for the taking.

Other Quarterbacks To Consider: Jimmy Garoppolo (153.4), Mitch Trubisky (146.4)

David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

ADP Projected Rushing Attempts Projected Rushing Yards Projected Rushing Touchdowns Projected Receptions Projected Receiving Yards Projected Receiving Touchdowns
50.5 195.6 877.5 4.9 26.7 202.2 1.1

David Montgomery‘s ADP has already begun to rise as I update the article. Many are turning their heads to Mike Davis. While he is not a sleeper anymore, I still like the value he bringsHe has potential to hit 200+ rushing attempts in this offense, and close in on 900 yards. He worked well in the passing game during college, and while Chicago has Tarik Cohen, he should still see a few targets a game. Montgomery isn’t a speedster, but he is agile. This is where Chicago wanted to go, resulting in Jordan Howard being traded. The Bears did sign Mike Davis, but using draft capital on Montgomery suggests he is going to have more of a role. Montgomery checks in as a potential RB2 this year, and within this offense there is a solid ceiling for the rookie.

The Bears will face an easy schedule when it comes to running the ball, having the 10th easiest strength of schedule for fantasy funning backs. Chicago averaged 29 rushing attempts per game in 2018, which was the 8th highest. With a top five defense and a passing attack that isn’t consistent, look for Chicago to continue with what has worked.

Justin Jackson, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

ADP Projected Rushing Attempts Projected Rushing Yards Projected Rushing Touchdowns Projected Receptions Projected Receiving Yards Projected Receiving Touchdowns
214.2 65.2 256.7 1.3 11.2 67.8 0.3

The market and contract situations for running backs create a world of problems for those looking to get paid. That should be everyone, because we all want to get paid. Melvin Gordon is the latest back to declare a holdout, and this seems very legitimate. Los Angeles is also an organization that likely won’t drop a ton of cash Gordon’s way. Therefor, we start looking at the backups. Austin Ekeler is going to be the popular name, but someone who can give the Chargers a bit more bulk on the ground is Justin Jackson. At just 24 years old heading into his second season, he rushed for 206 yards on 50 attempts last season with two touchdowns. He also caught 15 of 19 targets for 135 yards. Jackson produced well during his college days, and he fits well within this offense. Gordon’s holdout threat is much more likely than Ezekiel Elliot’s. I am focusing in here.

Kalen Ballage, RB, Miami Dolphins

ADP Projected Rushing Attempts Projected Rushing Yards Projected Rushing Touchdowns Projected Receptions Projected Receiving Yards Projected Receiving Touchdowns
174.5 105.3 495.6 2.6 19.6 144.2 0.8

With Frank Gore out of the picture, this opens the door for Kenyen Drake and Kalen Ballage. Drake has been efficient and has seen increased activity over the last year or so, however it has still been limited. It is hard to envision Drake getting 180 rushing attempts, but the advantage he has is he chips in with the receiving yards. He had 120 rushes and 53 receptions last season. Gore had 156 rushing attempts, so there will be plenty up for grabs. Kalen Ballage was drafted in 2018, going in the fourth round out of Arizona State.

He was a four year player who split time in a committee. He finished with a 4.4 YPC and 27 touchdowns. Ballage finished in the 97th percentile in speed score and ran a 4.46 40. He needed an opening, and 2019 could be it. Ballage is another handcuff worth monitoring, but I do believe he gets a worthy workload in the beginning of the year. It is hard to see Miami pushing Drake near 200 rushing attempts, and we haven’t really seen Miami push a workhorse back in quite sometime. With that being said, Ballage should get into the mix, and would have a big bump in value of Drake was to miss any sort of time. He is another young back worth taking a look at.

Darwin Thompson, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

ADP Projected Rushing Attempts Projected Rushing Yards Projected Rushing Touchdowns Projected Receptions Projected Receiving Yards Projected Receiving Touchdowns
210.9 36.7 146.9 1.2 12.4 99.8 0.5

There is a looming threat to Carlos Hyde’s future in this league, and Darwin Thompson is a potential reason for that. The Chiefs have named Damien Williams as a true number one, but Thompson still holds value late in drafts. Andy Reid and the Chiefs offense is going to have a lot to go around, and Thompson’s potential would skyrocket as a clear number two. I do believe this happens and we see Williams and Thompson with the bulk of the touches. Thompson is on the smaller side, and is a shifty back who works well in the passing game. He also possesses the ability to make defenders miss, and is sneaky strong. Thompson has the type of skills to drop right into this Chiefs offense and produce when called upon. I would rather take a stash on him late in the draft than compete through the waiver wire once people catch on.

Other Running Backs To Consider: D’onta Foreman (123.5), Ito Smth (134.2), Alexander Mattison (174.9)

Geronimo Allison, WR, Green Bay Packers

ADP Projected Receptions Projected Receiving Yards Projected Receiving Touchdowns
117.4 58.6 698.3 3.6

Green Bay went from being one of the top fantasy offenses to being very average. The Packers continue to transition from the Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb era, and we saw limited production last season. This year there are a few guys worth taking shots on, and one of them is Geronimo Allison. He had a really strong start to the season, but was injured mostly in the second half. Allison suits up better for PPR leagues, and is being taken as the WR44 off the board. Allison caught 67% of his targets in the first five games, averaging 10.1 yards per target. He had 20 catches over those five games, but the fifth game was where he was injured. Allison has potential to see 5-6 targets a game, and the efficiency should hold with him and Rodgers pairing up. Green Bay threw the ball the second most times per game in football, and maybe we have forgotten how good Green Bay is. We should see a resurgence in the Packers offense.

Keke Coutee, WR, Houston Texans

ADP Projected Receptions Projected Receiving Yards Projected Receiving Touchdowns
139.5 59.3 673.1 4.4

This is going to be a popular wide receiver that is still undervalued in drafts. Keke Coutee struggled with injuries in 2019, but in six games (2 starting), he saw 41 targets. Coutee is better reserved for PPR leagues, given his touchdown production isn’t going to be as high with his stature. The usage he had when healthy is really encouraging for a breakout in 2019. Coutee will need to stay healthy, and last year suggests there is some injury risk. Hard to bank on Will Fuller staying healthy, or even being 100% this season, giving a bump to Coutee if he stays healthy. DeShaun Watson has established himself as a quality quarterback who won’t hinder the potential of his pass-catching weapons. Coutee is in a range with some other WR flyers in terms of ADP right now, yet his offense is the one I like the most. The Texans offense should finish inside the top half, pushing top ten in terms of production.

Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys

ADP Projected Receptions Projected Receiving Yards Projected Receiving Touchdowns
158.7 54.2 721.9 5.6

Michael Gallup is known around the industry, but his ADP is fairly low at the moment. Gallup has real potential coming into year two opposite of Amari Cooper. Projected to see 80+ targets this season would be a big boost. He caught 33 of 68 targets last season, which isn’t all that efficient. However, he averaged 15.4 yards per reception, and he had a solid aDOT to show some potential upside. I like the Dallas offense this season in all aspects, and with a lack off pass-catching options outside of him and Cooper, he is in for a solid season. Dallas has the sixth easiest fantasy schedule for wide receivers this season, and with consistent targets he can be a viable WR3 with WR2 upside. Post Week 11, he had 7, 9, 4, and 6 targets, missing one game. In the postseason, he had 15 targets over the two games.

Tre’Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans Saints

ADP Projected Receptions Projected Receiving Yards Projected Receiving Touchdowns
173.4 34.5 485.6 3.3

tre'quan smithTre’Quan Smith saw just 44 targets last season, and doesn’t project for many more this year. The Saints depth chart is a bit jumbled for wideouts, as Ted Ginn, Cameron Meredith, Austin Carr, and Keith Kirkwood are all in the midst of some position battles. Smith has potential to line up on the outside or in the slot, and of course in this offense has big potential. He is a better best ball target, but a late round dart throw in season long is still in play. Smith was a third round pick last year, and most of his production came against the Eagles in Week 10 and Week 5 against Washington. He broke out in his junior year at UCF, and the Saints were looking to get a WR2. Smith is a good mix of speed and size, but until he breaks out on the depth chart, we can’t project him any higher. But, there is potential for Smith to establish himself early in the year. A 28-427-5 line over 44 targets was a nice line for a rookie, even if it came mostly in two games.

Other Wide Receivers To Consider: Curtis Samuel (128.5), Tyrell Williams (152.3), Donte Moncrief (156.1), Andy Isabella (198.3)

Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens

ADP Projected Receptions Projected Receiving Yards Projected Receiving Touchdowns
173.1 39.8 519.5 3.2

Mark Andrews had a sneaky good year, and also posted one of the better seasons for a rookie tight end. He had a 34-552-3 line, and should see a bump in targets. Baltimore isn’t a team that screams fantasy production through the air, but Lamar Jackson had a nice little connection with Andrews. The only downside of Andrews is that Hayden Hurst is also going to see time. Andrews actually finished TE16 in PPR last season. Finishing with 50 targets on the year playing under 50% of the snaps. He had a 68% catch rate and had 16.2 yards per reception in his rookie season. Baltimore would be wise to find more time for Andrews, which would enhance his upside. There are still some hurdles for Andrews to make that next tier of tight ends, but he is looming in the waters.

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions

ADP Projected Receptions Projected Receiving Yards Projected Receiving Touchdowns
146.1 50.8 502.9 4.0

Typically we stay away from rookie tight ends, as their career trajectory takes a bit to get going in terms of fantasy production. However, I am going to be making an exception for T.J. Hockenson. He was drafted 7th overall in the recent draft, and Detroit hasn’t had a viable tight end in quite some time. While we are still looking at a run heavy approach, I don’t think we get that this season. The defense isn’t as strong, and they should be looking to throw a bit more than they want. Detroit lacked red zone targets, and Hockenson will jump in as an immediate threat. Hockenson posted strong numbers last season, with over 13 YPR and over 700 receiving yards. This was with teammate Noah Fant.

Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins

ADP Projected Receptions Projected Receiving Yards Projected Receiving Touchdowns
165.3 57.6 598.9 3.9

jordan reedWelp, here we go again. The only thing with Jordan Reed is the durability question mark. Missing time after time has turned people away from Reed, and the Washington quarterback situation is also not that appealing. Reed saw 84 targets last season, posting a 54-558-2 line. As long as he is healthy, we know targets will be there for Reed. He is now at the point where we won’t need to draft insurance for him. He is a low risk option that you can toss to the free agency pool if he does get injured. Whether it is Case Keenum or Dwayne Haskins, it won’t have much of an effect. At an ADP of 165, Reed is certainly worth taking a shot on.

Other Tight Ends To Consider: Noah Fant (166.5),  Jack Doyle (198.2)

Buffalo Bills D/ST

ADP Projected Sacks Projected Interceptions Projected Fumble Recovers
214.6 32.4 18.1 11.2

Buffalo BillsThe Bills are not really being taken in drafts, and that bodes well for those just waiting till the end for a defense. They will face eight teams that rank in the bottom half for offensive efficiency. They also will welcome Philadelphia, Denver, and Baltimore to Buffalo, which is always a tough place for teams to play. Buffalo held teams under 200 passing yards per game, but the run defense struggled at times. A mix of young players and veterans should improve in this department. They have an elite cornerback in Tre’Davious White, and the draft pick of Ed Oliver will make an impact right away.

Other Defenses To Consider: Indianapolis Colts (201.2), Kansas City Chiefs (203.2)

Jason Guilbault has been writing and podcasting in the fantasy sports world for over five years. You can find his work at Daily Fantasy Cafe. He is an avid Tottenham fan, and follows the Boston sports teams. When he isn’t diving into stats, he is enjoying the outdoors or down at the local brewery.

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