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August 22, 2019

Fantasy football sleepers 2019: Patience at tight end could land one of these underrated players

Fantasy drafts are slated to start taking place over the next few weeks leading up to the start of the 2019 NFL season and we've got you covered.

After going through every team's starting (and backup) running backswide receivers and tight ends, giving you our full player rankings and breaking down how experts across the fantasy landscape see players' values, we are now going to dive into some sleeper picks.

By our definition, a sleeper is a player who we expect to overplay his value (average draft position, or ADP) in most fantasy leagues. This doesn't mean you should over draft the players we discuss below in the first round — only that getting them with a good value position (somewhere around their ADP) could wind up paying dividends.

We took a look at four quarterbackrunning back and wide receiver sleepers already. If you aren't planning to make a play on one of the top three tight ends this year (Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz or George Kittle), it might be smart to hang back and grab a sleeper:

Darren Waller, Raiders

2018 stats: 6 rec for 75 yards

2019 ADP proj: TE11

Waller is one of the most interesting cases in all of fantasy football this season. He is an incredibly speedy tight end (he ran a 4.46 40 in 2015 but struggled with substance abuse issues in Baltimore). Now clean and in a solid frame of mind (and starring in HBO's "Hard Knocks"), Waller may find himself reborn in Oakland.

He has a good chance of being the Raiders' starter and of being a really useful weapon for David Carr. He's as close to a George Kittle-breakout kind of tight end as you'll find this year. If he's lingering around on the draft board in the late rounds (say, 11-14th), snatch him up.

T.J, Hockenson, Lions

2018 stats: 49 rec for 760 yards, 6 TD

2019 ADP proj: TE14

He's big, can block, and averaged 14.8 yards per catch in two seasons as a starter in Iowa. He's exactly what the run-happy Lions need and will be starting in 2019. Offensively, he has very high upside as a safety valve for Matthew Stafford.

His versatility and value in the running game will have him on the field a lot, and as he earns the trust and respect of his fellow teammates, Hockenson could break out as the season drags on. If he's around after Round 10 he may be a value pick or future keeper candidate.

Mark Andrews, Ravens

2018 stats: 6 rec for 75 yards

2019 ADP proj: TE12

Andrews is a Lamar Jackson favorite — he was targeted 20 times for 13 catches and 308 yards after the then rookie was promoted to starter last year. Expect him to be even more of a factor in Jackson Year 2.

Many reports out of Ravens camp say he has been the "star of training camp," receiving more targets than any other Baltimore pass-catcher. At TE 12, Andrews is very underrated. Like the other tight ends mentioned above, if he is around during a late round and fills a need, don't be shy. Andrews could play his way into being an automatic starter every week.

Chris Herndon, Jets

2018 stats: 32 rec for 502 yards, 4 TD

2019 ADP proj: TE22

Yeah, we know he's suspended and can't make his season debut until around Week 6. We wouldn't waste a draft pick on him. But we are including him on our list as a big piece to inform some wire moves later in your fantasy season.

Herndon has had a good preseason and is expected to be a big part of the New York offense when he returns. He had five games in double digit fantasy points last season as a rookie, and is a trusted weapon for sophomore QB Sam Darnold. He has a chance to perform better than the 22nd rated tight end in 11 potential games this campaign.

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