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 The term fantasy sleeper might be a bit outdated, because who is really a sleeper in this day and age?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
190.3 561.4 4,102.4 25.6 10.6

Derek Carr is being drafted as the 24th 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. Weirdly I prefer Carr to Matthew Stafford who is being taken at QB23.

Nick Foles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

ADP Projected Passing Attempts Projected Passing Yards Projected Passing Touchdowns Projected Interceptions
214.3 553.1 4,029.2 20.2 14.5

Jacksonville finally moved on from Blake Bortles, and signed Nick Foles. He isn’t a sleeper by name value, but he is going in the latter rounds of drafts, or sometimes not at all. Jacksonville has the second easiest fantasy schedule for quarterbacks, and Foles is an upgrade for the Jags. Now of course this offense is still committed to running first, and the receiving core isn’t great, but it is not bad either. We have seen spurts of Foles play over the last few seasons, and now we get to see him in a 16-game sample size. He has certainly emerged as a strong quarterback, and I find it odd that projections are so low on him. This defense should bounce back, but if both the passing and rushing attack is clicking, they should move the ball more efficiently.

The Jaguars ranked 19th in pass attempts per game last season, and should be around that mark again. Houston, Indy, and Tennessee all ranked inside the bottom half in pass defense DVOA. Like Carr, he falls a bit short in the rushing department, were names like Jackson and Murray have upside with their legs. Deep leagues, or two-quarterback leagues, these names have some value.

David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

ADP Projected Rushing Attempts Projected Rushing Yards Projected Rushing Touchdowns Projected Receptions Projected Receiving Yards Projected Receiving Touchdowns
73.4 195.6 877.5 4.9 26.7 202.2 1.1

David Montgomery’s ADP will likely be on the rise as we move closer to the season, but at the moment he is one of the rookies getting overlooked. He 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 off the bat, but isn’t being drafted like on at the moment.

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.

Carlos Hyde, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

ADP Projected Rushing Attempts Projected Rushing Yards Projected Rushing Touchdowns Projected Receptions Projected Receiving Yards Projected Receiving Touchdowns
125.6 106.7 399.4 3.9 18.4 96.6 0.7

Kansas City has been a goldmine for fantasy running backs, as for their entire offense. With Kareem Hunt being cut last season, we saw Damien Williams thrive over a few games. Williams is already being drafted inside the first few rounds, and is the 13th RB being taken. Carlos Hyde was signed and is being drafted as the 44th running back off the table. Hyde struggled last season with Cleveland and Jacksonville. He is creeping into that age where running backs are on the decline, KC is where he can thrive. Hyde played in offenses that were expected to run the ball, where Kansas City is going to keep things honest.

Hyde isn’t a big receiving back, but can chip in with a few receptions. There are a few handcuffs to take chances on, and Hyde is one of them. There isn’t a lock where Williams gets the lead role, yet he is being drafted like it. Even if he does get the lead role, is the workload enough for him to be drafted this high? Probably not, I like grabbing Hyde late in drafts hoping for a split workload, or Hyde even getting the nod as a starter.

Kalen Ballage, RB, Miami Dolphins

ADP Projected Rushing Attempts Projected Rushing Yards Projected Rushing Touchdowns Projected Receptions Projected Receiving Yards Projected Receiving Touchdowns
155.1 105.3 495.6 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.

Geronimo Allison, WR, Green Bay Packers

ADP Projected Receptions Projected Receiving Yards Projected Receiving Touchdowns
124.1 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 WR48 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
133.5 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
142.9 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.

Chris Herndon, TE, New York Jets

ADP Projected Receptions Projected Receiving Yards Projected Receiving Touchdowns
151.2 44.5 556.1 4.6

Chris Herndon finished the season very strong, and was a waiver wire add for most down the stretch. Love his potential this season, where he projects to get a bump in targets. He is a 6’4 athlete out of Miami, and was drafted in the 4th round for 2018. For a rookie tight end, this was promising production for the future. We tend to see tight ends get their production up in years two, three, and even four. While I don’t think we see a monster jump, 50 catches, 600 yards, and five touchdowns is very viable for him in this offense now that should move forward.

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.

  
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.