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Sleepers, or late-round selections that exceed expectations, are arguably the most important aspect of any fantasy football draft. As I’ve said before, drafts can be lost in the early rounds, but they have to be won in the later rounds. Every year there are sleepers or late-round breakout players that exceed value and push teams to the top of their league.
For this article, I’ll be outlining two quarterbacks, three running backs, three wide receivers, and two tight ends that I believe are undervalued. Since we’re looking to win late in the draft, we’ll only be taking players that currently have a triple-digit ADP (according to FantasyPros). For this article, the lowest ADP that can be recommended is 100.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions (ADP: 109)
Stafford ended the 2019 season as the QB29, scoring 171.56 fantasy points. He only played eight games, though, which was at least three fewer games than anyone that ranked ahead of him. He was the fourth-best quarterback on a per game basis, averaging 21.45 fantasy points per game in 2019.
Stafford totaled 2,499 yards with 19 touchdowns through the air in only 8 games last season. He averaged a ridiculous 312.4 yards and 2.4 touchdowns on 36.4 pass attempts per game. Stafford is likely to see some type of regression, but it’s worth noting that he has flashed this efficiency in the past, averaging 314.9 yards per game with a 6.3% TD percentage over 16 games in 2011. Stafford quietly has a bit of a rushing bonus, as he has multiple touchdowns in roughly half of his NFL seasons. Keep in mind, this is a very small portion of his fantasy points and he relies heavily on his arm, but knowing Stafford has the opportunity to find the end zone with his legs is an added bonus.
The Detroit Lions added Halapoulivaati Vaitai through free agency. He’s expected to start at right tackle, solidifying Stafford’s line. He has one of the top skill groups, featuring Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and TJ Hockenson. Detroit also added D’Andre Swift in the draft, suggesting they could focus heavier on the run. Stafford has recorded 550+ pass attempts in each of his 8 full seasons in the NFL. Other options in the offense, including Danny Amendola and Kerryon Johnson, give Stafford added outlets outside of the top options.
Stafford is currently being drafted as the QB13, sitting right outside of QB1 territory. He has consistently found himself in the top-10 throughout his career, although he ended 2018 as the QB20. Those struggles coupled with his injury in 2019 have kept his ADP surprisingly low. He’s a safe option who boasts top-5 upside if he returns to pre-injury form.
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