I previously covered potential breakout players for 2018 where I mainly focused on players who are already known by name by most savvy fantasy football owners. Now I wanted to take a look at some deeper off-the-grid types who should be available in all but the deepest of dynasty leagues. Most of these players and their potential production will be tied into the numerous usual things that take place in the offseason, be it the draft or free agency, so keep an eye on the moving pieces around them as the offseason progresses. If you’re in a dynasty league that runs offseason waivers and have some room on your roster, here are a few players that are worth stashing while you wait to see how things shake out.
Trey Burton, TE, free agent
Burton looked the part of a dynamic pass-catching tight end when given the opportunity when Zach Ertz was out of the lineup. Going into free agency, Burton should be on the short list for teams in need of help at the position. Obviously landing spot will play a key role in his usage and subsequent upside, but the price now is going to be much cheaper than if he were to get signed by the New Orleans Saints in March.
Colt McCoy, QB, Washington Redskins
A purely speculative add. There is no guarantee that Kirk Cousins re-signs in the nation’s capital and no guarantee that the Redskins will be able to sign another quarterback that is a no-brainer to start at QB either. Is McCoy a great option for fantasy at the position? No, probably not. However, especially in 2 QB leagues, it never hurts to have starting quarterback depth on your roster. He’s been in the Washington system since 2014, so if the wheels fall off and the entire system unravels in D.C. this offseason, there is a slim chance that McCoy could be the ‘Skins week 1 starter.
Leonte Caroo, WR, Miami Dolphins
Multiple media outlets are reporting that the Dolphins are probably going to part ways with their leading receiver Jarvis Landry. Assuming that is the case, the Dolphins would currently be looking at entering the 2018 season with Devante Parker and Kenny Stills on the outside and Caroo sliding into Landry’s abandoned-heavy-volume-slot-receiver-role. Just looking at it from a purely measurable standpoint courtesy of mockdraftable.com Caroo should be able to thrive in the Landry role if given the same number of targets as he profiles as a much more athletic, dynamic option.
Nick Vannett, TE, Seattle Seahawks
Here is my favorite sleeper for the 2018 season. Jimmy Graham is a free agent and made 10-million dollars last year. Backup TE Luke Willson is also a free agent ( I believe Willson re-signs and resumes his backup role). This leaves Vannett as the last man standing in The Emerald City. Looking at their player grades, NFL.com had Vannett tied with Austin Hooper as the second best TE in his class behind Hunter Henry, and he was even compared to Rob Gronkowski coming out of school. The tight end position for fantasy can be a real struggle after you get past the top 3 players or so, but if he gets the starting nod, Vannett has as good a shot as anybody as being a top-12 fantasy tight end.
Kamar Aiken, WR, free agent
Back in 2015, when Aiken was still with the Ravens, injuries depleted their receiving corps, thrusting Aiken- their #4 wideout into the #1 role for most of the season. How did the previously undrafted Aiken fare suddenly having to play against opposing teams’ top cornerbacks? He grabbed 75 balls for just under 1000 yards and 5 scores. Not too shabby if you ask me. Then, without reason, Baltimore didn’t use him much in 2016. He left Baltimore and signed with the Colts last year. I was fond of the signing as I thought he’d outplay all Colts receivers not named Hilton, but the injury to Andrew Luck sank everybody’s season. Now a free agent, Aiken can pick his spot; hopefully, he signs someplace where he can return to his 2015 form.
Tanner Gentry, WR, Chicago Bears
When you have the time, take a look at the various receiving corps around the NFL. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a sadder bunch than what the Chicago Bears currently have. They should be very active in free agency and the draft, but as far as players currently on the team, rookie Tanner Gentry had shown some flashes when he was getting looks. Unfortunately, that was mostly in the preseason. Gentry is a deep ball, big-play threat and if the Bears fix the rest of the holes in their offense, could emerge as a downfield weapon in this offense. His senior year at Wyoming (with rumored NFL #1 overall pick Josh Allen as his QB) Gentry hauled in 72 passes for over 1300 yards and 14 touchdowns. Will that translate to NFL success? We’ll have to wait to find out, but I’m leaning towards yes.
There is a good chance none of these players do anything worthwhile in 2018. However, as it is still early in the offseason for fantasy football, and these were the players that I felt comfortable taking a shot on. If things break bad for them thanks to the draft and free agency, they might all be droppable by week 1 of next season. But if circumstances play out like I speculated they might, you may have been able to acquire a decent fantasy producer for little more than a few offseason free agent budget dollars. The offseason is the busy season in dynasty leagues. While your league-mates are relaxing enjoying the downtime, this is the time where you can take advantage of being ahead of the curve by attacking waivers and stockpiling sleepers heading into your rookie draft season.