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August 13, 2018

Fantasy football sleepers: Which players are worth a gamble in your draft?

Fantasy football NFL
0813_Patrick_Mahomes_USAT Denny Medley/USA Today Sports

Patrick Mahomes is expected by many experts to have a break out 2018.

It's time to wake up and smell the sleepers, with fantasy football just weeks away from kicking off and drafts scheduled to happen left and right as August drags on.

We took the liberty of spotlighting one player from each position who we expect will far surpass their likely average draft position (ADP). Here's a look:

QB — Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs

This blurb is almost more about Andy Reid than it is about Kansas City's second year quarterback. Reid, the head coach of the Chiefs, has a really good track record with quarterbacks. In fact, he has nearly a spotless record of success when making changes. And his record also suggests that any time a QB is traded away, that quarterback has a terrible season. Well, that is bad news for the Redskins new signal caller Alex Smith, but great news for Mahomes, who many predict will have a break out season.

The trade to send Smith to Washington was meant to clear the way for the Texas Tech alum, who will have Sammy Watkins to throw to, alongside fantasy football threats Travis Kelce and Tyreke Hill. Expect Mahomes, who is mobile and can run a little bit, to put up numbers similar to Smith's (who had career highs in yards and TD last season).

RB — Semaje Perine, Redskins

The Redskins will have to hand the ball to someone after losing rookie Derrius Guice to a season-ending injury last week, and all indications are that Perine is the next man up. Fantasy gamblers will hope that he has learned from a lackluster rookie campaign and will benefit from a healthier and potentially potent offensive line in 2018.

Sources have suggested that the Skins like what they have and are not planning to add a veteran RB, meaning at least for now starting carries are Perine's to lose.


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL RANKINGS:
QB | RB | WR | TE | DEF/ST | K | FLEX 


WR — Amari Cooper, Raiders

How is Cooper, a big name wideout on a popular team, a potential sleeper? Well, all the makings are there for a breakout year in Oakland. The Raiders have the 31st hardest slate of opponents for WR defenses, according to fantasypros.com and Cooper — who has shown a knack for finding the end zone — will have a healthy Derek Carr throwing to him. He also will get the lion-share of WR1 targets as Jordy Nelson tries to not only prove he is healthy but adjust to the Oakland system. Cooper's ADP is 35 (the 15th best WR), and he has the chance to way outperform that ranking.

TE — David Njoku, Browns

The Browns are the talk of training camp (thanks in part to HBO's Hard Knocks, but also to the impressive play of No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield). In a team that could boast a dynamic emerging offense, Cleveland's second year tight end could have the most to gain from the potential jump in quality of play. An ESPN panel of fantasy experts selected Njoku as a favorite fantasy tight end sleeper (tied for the most votes with Bears TE Trey Burton).

Other sleepers to keep an eye on: Kalen Ballage, RB, Dolphins; Jimmy Graham, TE, Packers; Jerick McKinnon, RB, 49ers; Will Fuller V, WR, Texans


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