When it is finally time to draft your fantasy football team, just about everyone knows who the top 10 players are at every position. This is because of all of the fantasy football resources provided for you by ESPN and the rest of the internet. So this makes it hard to have an advantage on even the rookies in your league. But there is still a way to separate your team from the rest of the pack. You need to have a list of sleepers ready just in case you need to fill a void left by the draft. Also sleepers are good to have for bye weeks and injuries.
A sleeper in fantasy football is any player that is drafted in the later rounds, or picked up on the waiver-wire that turns out to be a solid point producer for your team. This is my short list of sleepers for each team in the NFC South.
Carolina Panthers: WR Devin Funchess 6’4” 232 lbs.
Prediction: 720 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns
The Carolina Panthers drafted wide receiver Devin Funchess with their 41st pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Cam Newton needed some more offensive weapons, so the Panthers went out and got him a big target. The biggest impact Funchess will have on the Panthers offense is his ability to create mismatches because of his size. This should improve the Panthers red zone offense and could result in more touchdowns for Cam Newton.
I would compare Funchess to either Anquan Boldin or Vincent Jackson because of his size and physical play. Boldin recorded 1,377 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in his first season in the league. I don’t see Devin producing at this high of a level just yet, but I wouldn’t complain if he did. I would draft Funchess in the later rounds and keep him on the bench him, until he starts producing on a consistent basis.
Atlanta Falcons: RB Tevin Coleman 5’11” 206 lbs.
Prediction: 645 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns
The Atlanta Falcons signed veteran running back Steven Jackson back in 2013 hoping that he would be their guy. But because of injuries and the weak offensive line, that experiment just didn’t work out. The Falcons tried to improve their run game this offseason by drafting running back Telvin Coleman in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
They currently have a busy backfield that consists of Tevin Coleman, Devonta Freeman, and Antone Smith. Coleman ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and can hit his top speed quickly. The NFL has compared him to Darren McFadden. I see Coleman winning the starting job week one, but I wouldn’t start him. The Falcons do however have a new head coach in Dan Quinn and he knows how to coach defense. Will he try to the run the ball more?
New Orleans Saints: RB C.J. Spiller 5’11” 200 lbs.
Prediction: 215 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards, 7 total touchdowns
C.J. Spiller’s full potential is a mystery that still can’t even be solved by Sherlock Holmes. Every year the fantasy football experts list Spiller as a top 10 running back but he always gets hurt. The New Orleans Saints needed a player to fill the void left by Darren Sproles when he went to the Eagles, so they went out and signed C.J. Spiller. In the three seasons Sproles played with the Saints he averaged 355.6 rushing yards, 660.3 receiving yards, and 7 touchdowns.
As you can tell Sproles was a very important piece to the Saints offense, and they will want to use Spiller the same way. The only catch is if he can stay healthy. I have Spiller listed as a sleeper because he is injury prone, but he could still be a solid RB3.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins 6’5” 262 lbs.
Prediction: 615 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Jameis Winston with their number one pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. It is going to be his first season in the NFL so he is going to be nervous, and will need a target he can count on. A tight end is known as a quarterback's best friend, so that reliable target is going to be Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Winston already had a good relationship with NFL tight end Nick O’Leary at Florida State. O’leary averaged 587.5 receiving yards and 6.5 touchdowns per season with Winston. He was only 6’3” 247 lbs., so why can’t Winston put up bigger numbers with Austin?
Austin’s only played in nine games last season because of injuries, and he was put on injured reserve. The Buccaneers have said that he will be a featured weapon on offense. He could have a big year because he will be playing alongside Vincent Jackson, and Mike Evans.
Are you adding any of these sleepers to your must draft list?
By, Justin Raymond
Follow Me On Twitter @JayRay19