Wide Receiver Sleepers

We’re almost there, friends. Football season is finally upon us. Although dynasty leagues are a year-round sport, nothing beats draft season and the build-up to the regular season. All the studying and watching clips on YouTube of prospects to reconfirm your thoughts of them have finally brought you here. It’s draft season, and we have to decide which prospects will make the cut and join the ranks of your league. 

Depending on your league size, how many rounds your draft is, and if your draft is a rookie draft or not, your pool of players may start falling off at a certain point, and deciding what to do may not be as easy as you initially thought. As a dynasty league owner, it is important to do your homework on not only the top prospects in the upcoming rookie class but the players that were drafted later, that are flying under the radar and can land on your team.

If you’re a follower of mine or the website, I wrote about potential sleepers from every division. Some of the sleepers that were chosen were Hakeem Butler, Riley Ridley, and Hunter Renfrow. You can click on the nice blue font to check out those articles and my thoughts on other sleepers within that division.

But let’s talk about the players that didn’t make the cut in the Diamonds in the Rough series. We all love the idea of sleeper prospects. Investing in a player that no one is talking about or thinks is worth drafting and getting tremendous returns by selecting that player makes you feel like the smartest player in the room (or at least the luckiest, but who cares?). 

Below are three prospects that I’d take a flyer on in the right situation during your rookie draft. Remember, these players should not be selected if you’re planning on having them make an impact in their rookie campaign. These are players that could give you a return as they develop in the league or opportunities present themselves during the year. 

Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants

It’s hard to blame Slayton for an underwhelming 2018 campaign with Auburn. It seemed like whatever could go wrong, went wrong for the Tigers. Part of Slayton’s struggles can easily be traced back to the dysfunction that was the Tigers’ offense. For what it’s worth, his numbers did improve every year that he was in college. 

The athletic and speedy Slayton has shown traits that feel like he can work at all three levels and run an NFL route tree. His speed allows him to become a potential home run hitter, posting 6 touchdowns over 50 plus yards since 2017. One of the toughest adjustments young receivers have to make when they transition from college to the NFL is creating separation at the line of scrimmage. Slayton has proven he can do that with room to grow. 

He did show up in the spring during rookie camps but is currently dealing with a hamstring issue. Although not expected to have fantasy relevance this year, he is an intriguing prospect to keep an eye on or to draft and stash to see how he will grow within the Giants organization.

Kelvin Harmon, WR, Washington Redskins

The big-bodied Kelvin Harmon was viewed as a steal for a lot of people for the Redskins and it’s not a stretch to see why. At 6’2” 221 pounds, the big-bodied receiver will be a handful for most corners. What he lacks in quickness and speed he has made up for in his body control and making contested catches throughout the field.

His speed, or lack thereof, will limit his ceiling to an extent, but his hand strength is clear as he makes catches away from his body consistently. He has shown up in rookie and training camps, drawing attention from his coaches and teammates alike. 

In his first preseason game, he only caught two of three passes for 17 yards against the Browns. But that was the preseason, teams aren’t necessarily concerned about wins and lossses. With a projected win total between 6 and 6.5 according to bookmakers expect Washington to in catch up mode often and be forced to throw the ball a lot. If Harmon can win a starting role he will be one of the prime beneficiaries of this.  Although we would like to see more, I’m not giving up on him yet. I’d like to see how the rest of the preseason goes before I bail on Harmon. 

John Ursua, WR, Seattle Seahawks

This is a selfish choice, I will admit. Although he didn’t make the cut in the Diamonds in the Rough article, I cannot forget about a fellow Hawaii-born player who is from the same island as me. Before you start playing the homer card on me, let me explain. Ursua does show the quickness and explosiveness to excel in a slot receiver role, a position that has recently been open with the retirement of Doug Baldwin.

Ursua has caught the eye of teammates, coaches, and writers who cover the team daily. His hands still need to become more consistent and his size and build will raise questions of withstanding a full season, capping his ceiling potentially. A developmental project if there ever was one. If you have a taxi squad and have an open spot available, you can place him on there and see how the cards fall.

At the wide receiver position, besides the top 10, the position tends to be volatile. It’s easy to see why. The success of the position is dependant on many factors like the offensive line giving the quarterback time to throw, the quarterback is competent enough to deliver a catchable ball, etc. Players that may work on one team in their system does not mean they will work in another. 

View your late-round wide receiver flyers as lottery tickets, not a necessity to win your league. In the first couple of years, you’re trying to add depth to the position with the hopes that they will develop into something more.

Check out my other content here and follow me on Twitter @MichaelOshita90

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