2017 Fantasy Football Post-Hype Sleepers

by Jonathan Chan
2017 Fantasy Football Post-Hype Sleepers

There has never been a Fantasy Football owner that can say they've never been burned by a hype train. In all Fantasy, owners fall into the trap of believing in "coach speak", unproven rookies and unsustainable performances. It's such an odd thing to see a player rise on everyone's draft boards due to an echo chamber of praise for him. A lot of the time, these over-hyped players prove to be Fantasy busts, leaving owners with a sour taste in their mouths.

Some of my favorite draft targets are the post-hype sleepers. Players that provide good value late in drafts because of disappointing performance the year they were hyped. Generally, post-hype sleepers will have been drafted much higher the year before and now can be drafted dirt cheap due to an over correction in their price. DeMarco Murray is the best example from last season.

Owners need to be careful not to let personal feelings get in the way on draft day. If a player is a good value at their ADP, they need to be drafted. Regardless of how badly they destroyed your team the season before.

2017 Fantasy Football Post-Hype Sleepers

See how your team looks after drafting these players on your team using the Fantasy Pros Mock Draft tool.

Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (FantasyPros ADP: 142, QB21)

The mere sight of Bortles' name can make a Fantasy owner's blood boil. After finishing 2015 ranked as QB4, Bortles' follow up performance was less than stellar. He threw for 500 fewer yards and 12 fewer touchdowns. Despite his completion percentage remaining the same, Bortles could not maintain his production in 2016. Drafted as a top 10 QB, Bortles and his inability to lead the Jaguars offense let owners down.

Right now, Bortles sits as FantasyPros' consensus QB21, behind Carson Wentz and Joe Flacco. Everyone knows how bad Bortles can look in real life, but we need to remember that we're not drafting for real life. Despite his struggles, he still finished as QB10 in standard leagues. When looking at pure Fantasy production, Bortles' holds up as a relatively consistent source of points, regardless of the game tape. The trio of young receivers at his disposal (Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee) gives Bortles plenty of good targets. The addition of Leonard Fournette gives Jacksonville a huge upgrade at running back, taking some of the pressure off the passing game.

Bortles currently falls around the 142nd pick in mock drafts, putting him at the end of the 11th round in 12-team leagues. Bortles is still in a situation that will allow him to post solid Fantasy numbers. As disappointing as last year's performance was for the Jaguars, it was still useful for Fantasy teams. With an overall improvement in the Jags offense, there's no reason to believe that Bortles won't be a top 10 QB once again.

Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers (FantasyPros ADP: 192, WR69)

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A LOT has been said in the debate about Devin Funchess. There's the camp that says he is simply not a good football player and will be a non-factor this season. There's also the camp that says he is about to break about and be a useful Fantasy player. His actual value probably lies somewhere in the middle. Despite disappointing owners in his first two seasons, Funchess will have the chance to break out in his third year.

Everyone knows about Funchess' physical tools. The former Wolverine stands 6'4 and weighs 232 pounds, with excellent athletic skills. Last season he finished with just 371 yards and four touchdowns. With Tedd Ginn Jr. gone, Funchess will absorb a large portion of his targets as the No.2 receiver. The Panthers will also look to keep Cam Newton healthy, and his pass attempts will increase moving forward, giving Funchess even more opportunity.

With two years experience under his belt, Funchess may finally be ready for a breakout. He will certainly see an uptick from the 58 targets he saw last year and his chemistry with Cam Newton will be even finer tuned. His bargain basement ADP makes him a worthwhile gamble for someone who could turn into a decent WR3 in his third season.

Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks (FantasyPros ADP: 126, RB44)

Rawls was one of the most hyped players in 2016 draft after an incredible finish to the 2015 season. He was being drafted at the latest the 4th round, despite a small sample size to judge him. Rawls was a headache all season for his owners, suffering from nagging foot injuries and struggling to create (3.2 YPC) behind the Seahawks' league worst offensive line. The addition of Eddie Lacy to the team has dropped caused Rawls' value to plummet to RB44. His current ADP makes him the last Seattle RB off the board. That will likely change with news that Rawls is establishing himself as the No.1 RB in Seattle.

Owners should not worry about Lacy taking too many carries. Over the past few seasons, Lacy struggled to find consistency running behind the Packers' offensive line - consistently ranked as one of the best in the league. With his lack of speed, running behind the 32nd ranked Seahawks' O-line will put a damper on his effectiveness. Not to mention, his conditioning and injury issues won't magically disappear.

At the moment, Rawls is looking like a mid tier RB2 draft choice in the 11th round! If he maintains control of the bulk of the carries, Rawls will provide excellent value for owners who haven't forgotten what he's capable of producing.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, New York Jets (FantasyPros ADP: 218, TE27)

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Hello, darkness my old friend. ASJ is more like a post-post-post hype sleeper, but the potential is there. Hyped for a few seasons in Tampa Bay, ASJ was never able to put it together due to injury and alcohol issues leading to poor play. Now with the Jets, ASJ is looking like the top receiving option for an awful offense.

This far, he's received high praise from the Jet's coaching staff and the media in OTA's and training camp. ASJ has slimmed down to 260 lbs and is showing an excellent work ethic for the first time in his career. Quincy Enunwa will miss the entire season with a neck injury, making Seferian-Jenkins the go-to receiving option for the Jets. Despite past issues, ASJ has always been a gifted athlete and capable receiver.

The Jets will be playing from behind this season, giving Josh McCown the chance to air it out. ASJ will be serving a two-game suspension to start the season. However, he will be ready to go in Week 3. It is very rare to see a number one option go undrafted, but Seferian-Jenkins' spotty history and lack of track record are turning owners off. At his ADP there is there is massive potential for owners who take a flier on the former second round pick.

Robert Kelley, RB, Washington Redskins (FantasyPros ADP: 90, RB35)

This is a different kind of post-hype sleeper. Unlike the other four players, Kelley had little hype or had to live up to a draft expectation. Kelley simply won the starting RB job mid-season and performed admirably with a heavy workload, averaging 4.2 YPC with six touchdowns in nine starts. He was getting plenty of hype after a 137 yard, three TD performance against the Packers, but the train slowed down as the season came to an end. A knee injury contributed to his slow finish, considerably slowing the hype train.

Another concern for owners seems to be the presence of rookie Samaje Perine. Despite early offseason hype on Perine, Kelley has firmly established himself as Washington's starting RB. Perine has struggled with fumbles and pass protection, two absolute musts for an aspiring workhorse RB. This offseason, Kelley worked on his two biggest weaknesses, conditioning and speed. He reported to camp noticeably slimmer, which has helped with his speed and endurance thus far.

Kelley's ADP is a product of rookie hype and a low finish to last season. The way things are looking, Kelley will have full control of the Redskins' backfield until further notice. His current draft price leaves room for profit, as he should post FLEX numbers (at least) on a weekly basis.

2017 Fantasy Football Position Previews
QuarterbacksRunning BacksWide ReceiversTight Ends

For more F6P preseason coverage please visit our 2017 Draft Kit section.

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1 comment

Wednesday August 16, 2017 - Fantasy Football Links - FantasyRundown.com August 16, 2017 - 12:21 pm

[…] wonders if these post-hype football sleepers may finally produce in […]


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