The mission of this article is to make our in-house experts sizzle and bristle over the hot-button issues that face dynasty owners. Our experts make the entire route tree HOT as they address topics from the world of IDP, Devy, Start/sit, Non-PPR, PPR and everything in between. Try not to get burned by all the fiery YAC below! This is Dynasty Hot Routes!
Which 2018 WR Prospect is your sleeper?
Joshua Johnson – Byron Pringle. Okay, so he will be 25 in November. However at 6’2” and 205 pounds Pringle has the build NFL team’s desire in an outside receiver. His return skills (27.2 career kickoff average) alone should get him drafted. He certainly has flaws and off-field issues teams will need to sort through. There is a lot of talent there some maturity that comes with age and past failures.
He has issues versus press coverage. That will be Pringle’s biggest obstacle en route to NFL WR snaps. His 4.46 40-time his 6.87 3-cone tell us he can create separation. He does so film, and his twitchiness is highly successful versus zone coverage brackets. He will get some Dwayne Harris/Cordarelle Patterson comps, but he might be more coachable. A little confidence and technical refinement could turn him into a legitimate WR2. I would also like to second Kyle’s Cedrick Wilson emotion.
Kyle Francis – Cedrick Wilson. Wilson is still relatively new to the WR position but has been extremely productive for the past two seasons at Boise State. What makes his productivity even more impressive to me was that he battled through injuries both seasons while piling up 139/2640/18. Wilson can play outside or inside WR, but I think he will immediately find a role as an oversized slot receiver. His versatile skill set makes him a great option in round 3 or later of rookie drafts.
John Hogue – Deon Cain has all the tools to be a second-day draft pick and an early second-rounder in your dynasty rookie drafts. Yet he frequently goes undrafted in mock drafts. The knock on him are dropped passes due to a lack of concentration at times, which is easily corrected in the right professional environment. Cain’s upside is immense. He’s another in a long line of big, fast, prototypical WR1’s from the University of Clemson.
Unlike Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams before him, Cain is a fluid route-runner who could develop into more of a possession receiver who can create separation at all three levels. He’s better suited for a deep threat, complimentary WR2 role (think Will Fuller), but that could still mean a ton of volume in the right situation. A coaching staff with the ability to cut down on the drops could turn him into a chain-mover as well.
Which 2018 RB Prospect is your sleeper?
Joshua Johnson – Ryan Nall. Our Devy Watch may be the only group of people talking about him in a positive manner. Others have questioned his hip tightness and weight shifting ability. They have also questioned his patience and gap discipline. Then he went the Combine and ran 4.58 40- time at 6-foot-2/232 pounds. Nall also produced 122 broad jump and daZZling 6.95 3-cone. So yes the agility is truly there.
Good coaching could help him open up his hips and make this horse a more forceful runner. I would love what current Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy could do with raw talent and size. Bieniemy has been an RB coach since 2001 with Colorado (college), UCLA (college), Minnesota (pro) and KC. He worked with guys Adrian Peterson to Kareem Hunt and could work wonders for Nall.
Kyle Francis – Nyheim Hines. Hines’ background as a collegiate sprinter for North Carolina State was evident at the combine where he turned many heads with his blazing speed. He played slot WR for the Wolfpack in 2016, that type of versatility is consistent with the direction that I believe many NFL offenses are heading. At 200 pounds, it’s highly unlikely that Hines will be a feature back at the next level, but he should be a valuable committee asset in full PPR formats.
John Hogue – This is such a deep class, but my podcasting partner @TravisNFL would disown me if I didn’t mention a personal favorite of mine and the entire Super Flexible podcast, Chris Warren III. Travis fell in love with the Texas junior’s tape as soon as Warren took over the starting job in 2017, and has been a prophet ever since. Warren is a massive, punishing back with deceptive speed and explosion, and could fill the same role as his father Chris Warren Jr., an 11-year pro (and possibly even for the same Seattle team?).
Warren will catch scouts’ eyes with his 6’3”, 245 lb. frame first, particularly for teams in need of a short-yardage power back. His versatility could make him a preseason darling and candidate for a significant role in a smash mouth offense. If Warren doesn’t get buried on a crowded depth chart, I’ll take him late in rookie drafts and stash him for his feature back upside, with the likelihood that he becomes a goalline force at the very least.
What current NFL player(s) are you viewing as a sleeper for 2018?
Joshua Johnson – I will be leading the Mitchell Trubisky charge as he will have actual weapons and some creative offensive backing him.
I am super excited to see how new Dallas Kris Richard will use Xavier Woods. He may be undersized, but with snaps, he will adapt and get more comfortable.
Let’s not write off Obi Melifonwu just yet. The 2017 rookie could not get healthy as a rookie, but there is a lot to work with there.
Finally, no one is more elated than me to see Christian Jones go to Detroit. After so much coaching turnover during his time in Chicago, he gets a fresh start on a team that wants to use him. Load up on Jones shares, for basically nothing, before he stands at the top of the depth chart in August.
Kyle Francis – Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Tarik Cohen, Joe Mixon (I know, I know.. Sleeper*), Dede Westbrook, Jordy Nelson, Jake Butt, Gerald Everett.
John Hogue – One of my favorite sleeper RBs for 2018 just got disqualified from the conversation whenJerick McKinnon signed with the 49ers to be their feature back. I had a sneaky feeling that “Jet” would find a significant role somewhere. On to the next guy I’ll be scooping up everywhere until the hype train catches up: Kenneth Dixon. Sure, he seems to be a bit of a pea-brain, and he may be headed for the dreaded “injury prone” rep. But Dixon is the most electrifying playmaker on the Baltimore Ravens’ roster.
That may not be saying much, but the fact remains that he will find his way onto the field based on sheer talent. Alex Collins looks like the lead back, but he certainly won’t be the bell cow and I don’t expect the Ravens to address the position in the draft with so many other glaring needs. Dixon goes into the season as the pass-catching back, and quickly turns this backfield into a two-headed monster… provided he stays healthy and out of trouble.
Honorable mention goes to Chris Ivory (a power back behind an aging veteran, with young quarterbacks in a run-heavy offense). I tend to focus on sleeper RBs to go along with my Zero-RB strategy. Sleepers at other positions include QB Nick Foles, who I expect to be traded into a starting job by the start of the regular season. WR Carlos Henderson, a YAC guy could start opposite Emmanuel Sanders if Demaryius Thomas moves to the slot, and TE Rico Gathers who is a big, athletic target in an offense desperate for pass-catchers.