2015 Fantasy Football Sleepers

Scroll down for our most recent sleeper picks. A fantasy football sleeper is that rookie, 3rd year player, free agent or 2nd string player who has an opportunity to start. Sleepers are players that can be had later in the draft or found on your waiver wire. Sleepers often end up falling into one of the following three categories:

  1. Emerging starter that no one saw coming (but you), good thing read our site!
  2. Decent bye-week guy with SOLID potential to eventually make a fantasy impact.
  3. One week wonder / one week plug-in-play.
  4. A complete waste of a draft pick or bye-week fill in.

Either way you look at them, sleepers are to be had later in the draft to minimize your risk. But you better have a long list and rank those sleeping beauties, or else you'll end up with a bunch of has been washed out fantasy duds. So do yourself a favor and check out the articles below, they're our top fantasy football sleepers for this NFL season. If your new to fantasy football check out the wiki for more information.

During the NFL season we post weekly fantasy football sleepers for every scoring position.

My Top 5 Sleepers & David Johnson Makes The List

top-5-sleepers

I've written about several sleepers already but as training camp, pre-season and injuries unfold so does my list of fantasy football sleepers. I didn't mention Sam Bradford in this list but I like him a lot too, read more. Without further ado here's my top 5 sleepers as of today. Next week I'll probably have another top 5 but hey you've got to love all the picks! Good luck this season and check back here for more sleepers in the future.

Eddie Royal: Royal reunited with Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears. Bear Report says Eddie Royal has become a team leader and will be a favorite target of Jay Cutler this year. That could resemble Eddie's rookie season with Cutler when he had 91 catches, 129 targets and just under 1,000 yards. All you guys in PPR leagues better listen up and don't sleep on this sleeper!

Joe Flacco: Flacco is a the definition of a late round quarterback, he gets no respect in fantasy football leagues and we like that. With Marc Trestman as the offensive coordinator Flacco will put up big numbers and rank as a top 12 QB this year. Flacco has two offensive picks (M. Williams and  Breshad Perriman) to throw the rock to this year and Steve Smith is a force in his own right.

Mike Wallace: His move to Minnesota has dropped his ADP and placed him firmly into sleeper status. He's going in the 8th to 9th round of many fantasy drafts which is in the WR3/4 realm, yes please! But I'm not going to try and convince you, these guys can do that for me.

David Johnson: Death, taxes and Andre Ellington getting hurt. Backups becoming waiver wire goldmines is inevitable but you can get David Johnson late and be ahead of the competition.  Johnson has all the tools to get the job done but don't take my word for it, watch this.

Breshad Perriman: Three things going for this first round pick:

  1. A great quarterback with an unbelievable arm, yes Flacco.
  2. An unbelievable yet ageing WR1, yes Smith Sr., that will get the double team.
  3. An OC that loves to throw the football, yes Marc Trestman.

We all saw what the rookie WR's did last year and Perriman has the same setup as the rookie studs from 2014. Don't sleep people, don't sleep...

Another Stash Running Back

Cameron Artis-Payne: Are you drafting Jonathan Stewart and counting on him not getting hurt. Sounds good, I mean, DeAngelo Williams isn't in the picture anymore so why not? By the time J Stew goes down with some ailment (as he always does) someone in Carolina will take over lead back duties and ESPN thinks it will be Cameron. Just like with David Johnson don't be stuck fighting for him on the waiver wire, beat the crowd during your draft.

Sleeper Alert: Saints WR Brandon Coleman

Fantasy football sleepers are like that tasty maraschino cherry placed atop the whipped cream on a sundae, adding that extra bit of flavor to what all owners hope will prove to be a delectable draft haul. The potential is usually obvious, which leads to the "sleeper" label, and if they produce, they are invaluable to the team, just as the cherry is to that tasty novelty. There is no better time than late summer to examine a new crop of potential sleepers as the preseason offers these aces the chance to blip their way onto the radars of owners across the fantasy landscape.

One potential 2015 sleeper that has turned heads throughout the offseason is New Orleans Saints' wideout Brandon Coleman. The 23-year-old, who went undrafted in 2014, spent last season shuffling between the team's practice squad and active roster, but a strong performance on the practice field throughout the spring and summer has left the former Rutgers man poised to make an impact in 2015.

Coleman's measurables speak for themselves: 6 ft 6 in, 225 pounds, and a solid 4.5 forty-yard dash paint the portrait of a prototypical outside weapon with a special catch radius. Coleman cuts a figure similar to that of a young Plaxico Burress, able to use his body and unique length to dominate smaller defensive backs in the passing game, and to excel as a blocker in the run game. He has shown a willingness to contribute on special teams, which has garnered praise from Saints' coach Sean Payton, who is notoriously tough on his young players. The Saints' coach singled Coleman out as the team's most impressive player through camp thus far. In fact, Payton went as far as to say that Coleman reminds him of a current Saint who, nine years ago, transcended sleeper status, literally coming out of nowhere to put together a fantastic rookie year after he nearly went undrafted himself. That player, Marques Colston, has become a stalwart of the Saints' attack over the years, and Payton can see the similarities, particularly in the youngster's improved work ethic.

Brandon Coleman has stood out in practice with the Saints over the last two offseasons.
Brandon Coleman has stood out in practice with the Saints over the last two offseasons.

"I think Brandon has made similar strides (to Colston), so I'm excited about his growth," Payton said. "He's very smart and very detailed. We just need to get him more snaps."

Payton may be referencing last week's preseason opener when Coleman operated almost strictly with the special teams units, seeing sparse action with the backups in the second half. However, he has been practicing almost exclusively with the first-team offense throughout training camp, and is poised to see much more action against the New England Patriots in the club's second preseason game this weekend.

"I talked with him afterwards. I think you’ll see him (against the Patriots). He's healthy, and there was no specific rhyme or reason," Payton said, referencing Coleman's lack of meaningful offensive snaps in the first preseason game. "Obviously there are a lot of guys at that position. But he's been playing too well, and we feel like you'll see him get a lot of work this week with the ones. You'll see in the game Saturday with the ones."

Coleman has been working as the number 3 wideout, teaming with Colston and Brandin Cooks in three-wide sets. The likes of Nick Toon, Joseph Morgan, Josh Morgan, and fellow 2014 undrafted wideout Seantavius Jones are all vying for a role, but Coleman, with his unique physical traits, seems to have sprung into prime position to grab the no. 3 job on the strength of a productive offseason. With Kenny Stills now in Miami, and Jimmy Graham dealt to Seattle, players such as Coleman and fellow Saints' super-sleeper TE Josh Hill are primed for bigger roles, particularly in the red-zone, where Graham's size and playmaking ability will be difficult to replace. Coleman's ability to post up and hold off smaller corners, safeties, and even some linebackers, could make him a useful asset in the red area.

Inconsistency, injury, and a decision to forego his senior year at Rutgers all contributed to Coleman going undrafted last year. That led to the Saints, who have been known to make hay in the UDFA market, quickly snapping him up as a priority free agent. Following a valuable year in the system which gave him a chance to further-polish his skills, Coleman is ready to make good on his chance to showcase the dripping potential which has him as one of our favorite sleepers heading into the season.

Quarterback Drew Brees does not pick favorites, choosing to simply get the ball to the open man and spread it around at will. Furthermore, Coleman's blocking skills on the edge could see him earn extra reps on early downs and on plays near the goal line, where his size, length, and ability to hold off those smaller defenders - particularly in jump ball situations - will come into play. Additionally, he can use that size to evade those defenders in man-to-man coverage and exploit holes in zone looks. The Saints' passing and route trees offer plenty of crossing patterns and slants over the middle; routes that Coleman is familiar with from his college days. His red-zone skills at Rutgers spoke for themselves, as he managed to tie the school's record for receiving touchdowns (20) despite playing just three years.

“It’s been a development process,” Coleman said. “I spent most of the year on the practice squad developing and learning the system as well, and I think this time around - the summer, OTAs, minicamp and training camp - it’s time to take that next step forward. In this offense, you’ve got to understand defenses, understand your leverage in the routes and be on the same page with the quarterbacks. It’s definitely a ‘feel’ thing.”

Fantasy football sleepers come in all shapes, sizes, and packages, but what they all have in common is value. Brandon Coleman has the tools to be a big round peg in a big round hole in the Saints' offense, which, to fantasy players over the last several years, has been a gift that keeps on giving.

The late rounds of fantasy drafts are all about value, and if Coleman continues to progress, he could turn out be quite the steal. The Saints will view him in the same light if he develops into the next steal in a long line of productive undrafted free agents who go on to make their mark on the team's active roster.

2015 Fantasy Football Draft: Bargains By ADP

The earliest fantasy football drafts for 2015 are in the books and ADPs are starting to solidify a bit. This means that if your draft has not yet taken place, you can take a look at the trends and identify players who could be a bargain. Keep in mind that this will not be true for every league. Since you're prepping with FantasyKnuckleheads, you're probably in a competitive league. These are some players that are far enough off the radar that you can still likely get a bargain.

I'll add more players as I see ADPs moving around a bit, but for the moment I'll focus on one player each at QB, WR, RB and TE. I don't tend to get too in depth with IDP rankings, so check here if you want more on that topic.

Carson Palmer QB Arizona Cardinals ADP: QB-20 Overall-128

If you like the strategy of waiting to take your quarterback, Carson Palmer is your guy. In some leagues he is being drafted after Colin Kaepernick and barely ahead of Jameis Winston. I know that it can be scary to run Palmer out there as a starter with his injury history. I also know that the Cardinals have a stacked receiving corps and a stud receiver out of the backfield in Andre Ellington.

Although Palmer only played five full games last year, he put up at least 16 fantasy points in each of those games. He has also looked sharp in limited action so far this preseason, as you can see here. I think that Palmer will have a good enough season to justify starting in 12 team leagues. If you really feel concerned about his history, at least consider him as a cheap QB to pair with Brady if his suspension is upheld.

Players I'd Prefer Palmer Over: Colin Kaepernick, Jay Cutler, Teddy Bridgewater

Danny Woodhead RB San Diego Chargers ADP: RB-53 Overall-135

The Chargers are pumped to have Woodhead back, get on board for PPR goodness.
The Chargers are pumped to have Woodhead back, get on board for PPR goodness.

Danny Woodhead is more than a handcuff for Melvin Gordon, but probably less than a RB1 or even RB2. Woodhead's diverse skill set has made him a very valuable flex player to own in past seasons and that will be the case in 2015. This is especially true in PPR leagues with the suspension of Antonio Gates. Philip Rivers has a great rapport with Woodhead and is ecstatic to have one of his security blankets back in the fold. Melvin Gordon will get playing time; he was picked too high in the draft to sit. He will be far from carrying the load however, as Woodhead will get a solid chunk of playing time.

Players I'd Prefer Woodhead Over: Darren Sproles, Reggie Bush, Darren McFadden

Michael Crabtree WR Oakland Raiders ADP: WR-59 Overall-149

Crabtree has lost a step, but his game was never about speed. Derek Carr has some real targets to throw to in 2015 between rookie phenom Amari Cooper and Crabtree. The trio of Carr, Cooper and Crabtree appear to have some real chemistry going into the season and that should translate into big things for the Oakland offense. Cooper should be a stud right off the bat, but I'm not wowing anyone with that information. Crabtree, on the other hand, might not be on the radar for a lot of fantasy owners. This should change, just make sure that you get on the bandwagon before Crabtree gets all the way back to being the possession receiving machine that he was in his 49er glory days.

Check Out Some Post-Hype Sleepers For 2015

Players I'd Prefer Crabtree Over: Eric Decker, Pierre Garcon, Torrey Smith

Owen Daniels TE Denver Broncos ADP: TE-12 Overall-125

The fact that Daniels is past his prime at 32 years old is not lost on me. However, Daniels has a proven track record of success and a quarterback who has averaged 11.7 passing tds per year to tight ends in Denver. Daniels and Coach Gary Kubiak have a strong history together and the Broncos throw as much as any team in the red zone. All of these factors point to a huge uptick in value for Owen Daniels in my mind. Julius Thomas is a nice tight end, but the majority of his value came from playing in Denver with Peyton Manning.

Players I'd Prefer Daniels Over: Jason Witten, Julius Thomas, Zach Ertz

Bonus Bargains: Latavius Murray RB Oakland Raiders, Tyler Eifert TE Cincinnati Bengals

Top 5 Sleepers 2015

Sam Bradford Enters Sleeper Status

Sam-BradfordSam Bradford was the first overall pick in 2010 and was supposed to be a "once in every 10 years" type quarterback for the St. Louis Rams. In 2015 he moved on to play for Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles making him my 2015 sleeper of the year. But there's a back story to Mr. Bradford and if you keep reading you'll have the 411 on my top QB sleeper pick.

In 2010, His Rookie Year

In Bradford’s first NFL season he played all 16 games and completed 354 passes, the most ever by a rookie quarterback. He tossed the pig skin for 3,512 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions with a 60% completion percentage and a quarterback rating of 76.5.

In 2011, His First Injury

A high ankle sprain bothered Bradford for most of the season and the Rams finished a putrid 2-14.

In 2012, It Got Better, Kinda

Bradford was healthy and despite poor offensive line play and zero supporting cast (Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson and Chris Givens) on offense he threw for 3,707 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions with a QB rating of 82.6.

In 2013 It All Fell Apart

In Week 7 Bradford tore his left ACL on a run out of bounds, ending his season. Very unfortunate because he was on pace to break his career-highs by a large amount. He threw for 14 touchdowns to only four interceptions and had a 60.7 completion percentage despite the Rams injured offensive line and zero legitimate running threats or play makers at receiver to help him out.

In 2014, It Happened Again!

This time in week 3 against the Cleveland Browns, he re-torn his left ACL, ending his season and his career with the Rams.

Enter 2015 Sleeper Status

Now playing in Philadelphia Bradford find himself with two star running backs and a plethora of targets in Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense. Talk about second chances, wow! The Eagles scored 29.6 points a game last season with backup level quarterbacks, no matter how your shake it. Bradford's skill, strength and accuracy has never been the issue and his injuries are just a part of the game, remember there is no such thing as injury prone.

As the 18th QB off the draft board, Bradford is one of the biggest sleepers in the 2015 fantasy football draft. Bradford has one of the most potent supporting cast in the NFL, something he's never had a chance to lead in his career. The Eagles primary wide receivers, Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor, are top draft picks of the highest pedigree. The Eagles also have Riley Cooper, veteran tight end Brent Celek and emerging tight end Zach Ertz. Top it off with two studs at running back, Murray and Mathews, and you've got an award winning recipe for success. No fear my fellow fantasy football knuckleheads, draft Bradford late and enjoy a solid late round quarterback that will have you laughing into the championship game. If you choose to deploy the late round quarterback strategy be sure to draft two quarterbacks. Other options I like later than most are Eli, Newton and Cutler.

Fantasy Football Sleeper Picks, Cowboys Running Backs

Fantasy football sleeper picks are hard to come by because of all the coverage devoted to fantasy sports now a days, but I have one for you to keep your eye on.

There are two running backs with the Cowboys that we should keep our eyes on and they are Gus Johnson and Lache Seastrunk.

First of all it will be hard for Johnson and Seastrunk to make the Cowboys 53 man roster.  Already on the roster are Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle, and Lance Dunbar.  So there is no doubt they will have to beat out one of these guys to get on the 53 man roster.

Both of these two running backs are better all around backs than Lance Dunbar and one of them will have to beat him out to make the 53 man roster and the other one will probably make the practice squad if another team doesn't pick them up.

Fantasy Football Sleeper Picks:  Lache Seastrunk

Fantasy Football Sleeper Picks, Cowboys Running Backs
Lache Seastrunk signed by the Cowboys this offseason hopes to be in the running back rotation. Keep an eye on him for your fantasy team.

On June 8th the Cowboys released rookie Synjyn Days and signed Lache Seastrunk.  Seastrunk was a standout running back for Baylor in 2012 and 2013. He racked up 2,189 total yards and 18 touchdowns in his two seasons with the Bears.

Lache Seastrunk is a very intriguing back.  At 6.0 and 210 pounds he has the prototype size for an NFL running back and he has prototype speed as well with a 4.46 40 time.

The Washington Redskins selected Seastrunk in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft at No. 186 overall, but he did not make their final roster at the end of the preseason. He spent two weeks on the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad before he was ultimately released. He signed to the Titans’ practice squad in October, and he stayed with Tennessee up until his release.

In their last preseason game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seastrunk took a screen pass 80 yards for a touchdown.  He showed great hands and great speed.

Fantasy Football Sleeper Picks:  Gus Johnson

Fantasy Football Sleeper Picks, Cowboys Running Backs
Undrafted rookie Gus Johnson was signed by the Cowboys this week. Keep an eye on him as a sleeper.

On Tuesday, the Dallas Cowboys waived running back Ryan Williams and signed undrafted rookie free agent running back Gus Johnson, from Stephen F. Austin University.

Before this year's NFL Draft I had Johnson ranked as the 8th best running back.  Check out my article:  Top 10 NFL Draft Prospects at Running Back with Video.

Here is some of my reasoning on why I had Johnson ranked so high:

  • He was the 2014 Southland Conference Player of the Year
  • He has prototype size for an NFL running back at 5.11, 215 pounds
  • His 23 touchdowns last season ranked him 4th among the other top draftable running backs
  • He ranked 7th in rushing yards and average yards per carry
  • He has a strong leg drive and drags tacklers
  • He can hurt you with his legs if you hit him low
  • He is a patient runner, but when the hole opens up he hits it hard
  • He runs with his eyes and makes really good cuts

The one weakness he has that probably led to him going undrafted was his 4.65 40 yard dash time.  At his pro day he did lower that time to 4.62, but that is still considered slow for an NFL running back.  Prototype speed for an NFL running back is in the 4.4 range.

But he also showed at the NFL Combine that he is more quick than fast.  He ran a 10th ranked 20 yard shuttle time and ran a 36th ranked 40 yard dash.  The 20 yard shuttle run is more about being quick and changing direction.  He showed he is very good at that.  But, he also showed that he does not have great top end speed.  That is something he needs to work on.

Joseph Randle started training camp this week as the starter with McFadden as the backup.  Those two will make the team for sure, but there is no way that McFadden is gonna be healthy all 16 games.  So they will have to have a 3rd running back on the 53 man roster for sure.

The Cowboys coaching staff seems to really like Lance Dunbar, but I am not seeing what they see.  He is way undersized at 5.8 195 pounds, but he does have prototype speed being clocked at 4.47 in the 40 yard dash.  I have read where the coaches have been real happy with his blitz pickup so far in camp, which is surprising with his small size.  I do not think he will be able to hold up during the season facing 240 pound linebackers trying to take Tony Romo's head off.

Another thing that everyone seems to forget is that it wasn't just the Cowboys great offensive line that let DeMarco Murray rush for all those yards.  According to Pro Football  Focus, Murray led the NFL in yards after contact with 998.  So, of Murray's 1,845 yards he rushed for during the regular season if he wasn't strong enough to break a tackle he would have only rushed for 847 yards, not very good.

So that tells me for the next Cowboys running back to have some success, he must have good size and be able to break some tackles.  McFadden, Randle, Seastrunk, and Johnson fit this mold.

As I stated earlier there is no way in my mind that McFadden will play in all 16 games.  He has a history of getting nagging injuries that keep him sidelined.  Last season was the only season in his 7 year career so far that he played in all 16 games.  Before last year the most games he had played in a season was 13 games.  So that is at least 3 games where you have to have another running back for him.

Randle is pretty much an unproven commodity.  He has been with the Cowboys for 2 years, but still has not rushed for over 100 yards in a game.  This past season he only had one game that he had double digit carries and it was in a blow out against the Indianapolis Colts.  He rushed 13 times for only 37 yards, averaging only 2.8 yards per carry and that was behind this great Dallas line.  Randle did average 6.7 yards per carry, but it is a lot harder running the ball when you are the featured back instead of being the change of speed back.  Defenses don't game plan all week to take away the runs you do best.

Another question about Randle is his behavior off the field.  He has had a few incidents off the field and you have to question if you can put all your faith and trust in him.  He has to become more mature to be the lead back that DeMarco Murray was.

The Cowboys coaching staff should have a true running back competition and give Johnson and Seastrunk a legitimate shot at making the team and starting.  The worst thing they can do is just hand the top three jobs to McFadden, Randle, and Dunbar.

Remember the names Gus Johnson and Lache Seastrunk this season.