Keeper Sleeper-Creeper Discounts That Will Help You Dominate Next Season

James Conner, Pittsburgh

The following is a list of players, for Keeper leagues, that are well known but most managers are fading due to injury or their current roster position. While these players may not contribute very much to your fantasy team this year they are, in my opinion, worth the late round pick.  If you can keep these players on your bench or IR, if available, throughout the whole season they should pay massive dividends for your fantasy team next year.  At the very least you can draft them late dump them and try to pick them up again before the season ends.

First some insight into the 12 team Keeper league I’m involved in. Each manager is allowed 2 keepers per year. Keepers can only be players you originally drafted and they are “kept” at the same position at which they are drafted.  For instance, I was fortunate enough to have drafted Leveon Bell in the 4th round of our draft 4 years ago so I have been able to “keep” him as a 4th round pick ever since.  If you drop a player you originally drafted you can still choose him as your keeper if he makes it back to your roster by season’s end.

James Conner RB Pittsburgh

By far, my favorite player to target late for a Keeper draft, the backup to LeVeon Bell at least has value as a handcuff.  But next year may provide a much greater opportunity for Conner.  With the likelihood that Pittsburgh and Bell part ways next year, Conner would be the RB to inherit Bell’s lead back role.  A Mike Tomlin favorite, James has shown flashes in his short tenure with the Steelers and would be a steal in late rounds, especially for Bell owners. He would be a bell cow for one of the most potent offenses in the NFL  with the potential to finish as a top 10 possibly even a top 5 RB next season and you would get him for peanuts.

Derrius Guice RB Washington

The injury to Guice has killed most interest, outside Dynasty leagues, in the promising back.  In a Keeper league that is a mistake.  Guice, sidelined for the year with an ACL tear, will be the lead back for Washington when the NFL season starts next year.  If your Keeper league has 1 or more IR seats per team this is a massive discount as you won’t have to worry about him taking an active bench spot. Though he has the potential to be a workhorse, he will most likely be in a timeshare with Chris Thompson but should be, at least, a top 15 value at his position next season.

Hunter Henry TE San Diego

An afterthought following his season-ending ACL tear, Hunter Henry was poised for a big year with the Chargers. An obvious top 5 TE candidate this year, he should be considered as one going into next year as well. Like Guice, he can be an even better value if you have IR seats.  In 14 games last year he had 45 receptions for 579 yards and 4 TDs sharing time with Antonio Gates.

And there you have it, folks, 3 massively discounted Keeper league players for your consideration. It’s never too early to plan for the future and if you’re in a competitive league, it’s imperative that you put yourself in a favorable position as early and as often as possible.

Fantasy Football Sleeper Creeper to Draft: Tarik Cohen

Tarik Cohen

Although underutilized, “The Human Joystick” made waves in his first season as an NFL player in both real and fantasy football. The diminutive back finished as the 30nd ranked RB in PPR formats according to Fantasypros.com,  with a 4.3 ypc average and 53 receptions on 71 targets (a 75% catch rate!), good for 10th most targeted RB as per PlayerProfiler.com.  He’s a dynamic back who can do everything. He returns punts and kicks, can make plays from the backfield, and can punish defenses from out wide. Hell, he even threw a 21-yard touchdown last season! And while most people are raving about his route running, breakaway metrics, or 4.42/40, I am much more interested in the things going on around Cohen that may benefit his and a number of other Bears players’ fantasy seasons.

2018 will be the start of the Matt Nagy regime for the Bears and I, for one, have high hopes. I expect that Nagy will follow in the footsteps of fellow Andy Reid alumni, Doug Pederson, as far as the success he’s enjoyed since becoming head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. Even Andy Reid has recently stated that Matt Nagy could be “the best head-coaching candidate that he’s ever had,” according to Adam Kaplan of NFL.com. Cohen should get more time with the ball in his hands under Nagy’s system and has already been seen lining up at various positions in camp. He’ll be crucial in Nagy’s game-planning to create mismatches all over the field much like he did with Tyreek Hill in Kansas City. The additions of Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton, and Anthony Miller via free agency and the draft will give sophomore QB, Mitch Trubisky, a much better opportunity to grow and succeed under Nagy’s tutelage.  Of course, a better passing game, with playmakers at each position, will keep defenses honest allowing the run game an even higher rate of success than last year.

The hiring of highly regarded offensive line coach, Harry Hiestand, is another positive sign for Cohen’s 2018 top-25 trajectory.  Hiestand was offensive line coach for the Bears from 2005-2008 and has recently been responsible for Notre Dame’s highly touted o-lines, developing and preparing players the likes of Zack Martin, Mike McGlinchey, Quenton Nelson, and Nick Martin, to name a few, for the NFL. Hiestand should improve an already decent o-line right away especially with key starters Kyle Long (G) and Cody Whitehair (C) returning and rookie James Daniels (C), picked up in the 2nd round of the draft. This may end up being one of the best o-lines in the league within the next couple of years, if not sooner. Take into account that Fantasypros.com have the Bears ranked with the easiest schedule for running backs this season and it’s hard not to get excited about Tarik Cohen.

While I know that he’s a known quantity, if not a household name, among fantasy footballers, his 7th round ADP still seems like a steal. Don’t hesitate to pull the trigger on Cohen. Sleep on his potential at your own risk.

Fantasy Football Sleeper Creeper to Draft: Albert Wilson

Albert Wilson

After being buried on Kansas City’s depth chart for most of his career, 26-year-old Albert Wilson moves on to greener pastures (well, to a pasture with more targets, anyway) after signing with the Miami Dolphins. Wilson is currently not being drafted in most 12-team leagues and has the potential for a breakout season. Throughout his career with the Dolphins, Jarvis Landry averaged 142 targets/season.

After five years of the slot man hogging all the targets do you really think the target distribution will change because his name isn’t Jarvis Landry? Well, it won’t.  And not to take away from Landry, it’s just the way the offense will operate under quarterback Ryan Tannehill and head coach Adam Gase. So it’s going to be, the also recently acquired, Danny Amendola, who is 32 years old, or Albert Wilson who inherits those newly vacated targets. I for one am “planting my flag” on Wilson (or as we say on the Fourth and Twenty Fantasy Football Podcast, inviting him into our session). Yes, Gase has gone on record saying that Wilson isn’t a slot guy, but I feel that Wilson’s talent will win out, especially with fellow wideout DeVante Parker nursing a broken finger. Gase and Tannehill will find a way to get Wilson the ball.

While Amendola is no slouch, there is a very high likelihood that he doesn’t play a full season with his injury history (and age), while Wilson has been lucky to escape relatively unscathed in the injury department for his career. While spelunking Playerprofiler.com, it’s quite obvious that Wilson is the better overall athlete. His workout metrics are better than Amendola’s–he’s faster, has better burst, and a better catch radius.  On top of that he has better numbers in yards after catch, contested catch, and target separation. He’s younger, a good blocker, has less mileage, is being paid more, is more dynamic, and has already garnered praise from the coaching staff.  I also feel that the Amendola signing was one of those locker room presence/veteran presence/work ethic/teaching additions.  Amendola will certainly have his share of targets but I think Wilson comes out on top in training camp.

If Albert Wilson can take the next step in his development he should be in for a very good season. Three Wilson stats to keep in mind:

1. When Wilson finally got to be the main target, in week 17 on the road against the Denver Broncos, he brought in 10 catches on 11 targets, for 141 yards from rookie QB Patrick Mahomes making his first NFL start.

2. According to Pro Football Focus, Wilson, on just 63 targets, tied with Cooper Cupp for third in most forced missed tackles by a wide receiver last year, trailing just Golden Tate and Jarvis Landry. Tate had 122 Targets, Landry 160, and Cupp received 95.

3. Demonstrating that he’s consistently breaking tackles, Wilson actually leads the NFL in most forced missed tackles per reception from 2014 thru 2017, again, according to Pro Football Focus.

Wilson could easily break the top 25 in PPR for WRs, possibly the top 15.  And he’s currently going undrafted so it’s not like you’d be taking a big risk picking him up in the final rounds of your draft. Oh, and according to Fantasypros.com, the Dolphins have the 9th easiest schedule for WR’s in 2018. Cheap with very high upside. What more could you ask for in a sleeper?!  Don’t miss out!

Fantasy Football Sleeper Creeper to Draft: Geronimo Allison

Geronimo Allison WR

With the Green Bay Packers letting Jordy Nelson walk in the offseason, Geronimo Allison is the next man up. Allison will have an opportunity to accumulate some of the targets that Nelson leaves behind. Nelson averaged 143 targets and 11 TDs/season from 2013 to 2016. Allison is the most experienced wide receiver the Packers have behind Randall Cobb and Davante Adams. While the organization picked up 2 wide receivers in the draft, and also acquired tight end Jimmy Graham, I don’t believe any of the offseason acquisitions will be too much of a threat to Allison’s fantasy outlook. The rookies will need time to learn the system and while Jimmy Graham may take some red zone targets away from Allison, the Packers have never utilized their tight ends as much as other teams in the NFL. As long as the Packers don’t sign a veteran receiver “G-Mo” should be a shoe-in to win the starting role.

While Allison doesn’t really stand out in many advanced metrics on Playerprofiler.com, I’ve seen some things on film that give me high hopes for his 2018 season. Allison is good at tracking the ball, very good finding holes in coverage, and has the ability to make defenders miss in the open field. On top of that, he seems to be developing the same Vulcan mind-meld with Aaron Rodgers that Jordy Nelson had. On broken plays Nelson was Rodgers’ go-to guy and I see the same thing on film between Rodgers and Allison–this signals that Rodgers trusts the young wideout. Yet another sign of trust is the fact that Allison is 60% on catches for first down, behind only Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb for the team. 21 of his 35 receptions for his career were for first downs according to Packers.com.

Allison is getting more and more on folks’ radars, but he’s currently going undrafted in a lot of 12 team leagues, which is ridiculous considering that he will easily be a top-three, if not top-two target-getter in an Aaron Rodgers-powered offense. I can see him finishing a low-to-high end WR3, possibly even a low-end WR2 should his chemistry with Rodgers continue to grow and should Rodgers stay healthy. Keep Geronimo in mind in the later rounds of your draft, don’t be afraid to jump on this high-upside sleeper.