With the dynasty offseason in full swing, now is a better time than ever to look at some deep dynasty sleepers at wide receiver and tight end who could see their opportunity increase in 2017 and beyond. These players possess the physical tools to succeed, although most of them are considered afterthoughts in the fantasy community, and could even be considered annoyances to the owners of players who are more established at the moment.
Jaron Brown, WR, Cardinals
Jaron Brown had to have frustrated John Brown owners any time he scored a touchdown, inducing a moment of euphoria after they would see J. Brown with a touchdown credited to his name in the box score, only to have the rug ripped out from under them moments later. Unfortunately for John Brown owners, that could happen more often in 2017. Jaron Brown is a highly athletic receiver in his athletic prime, who posted a 106.0 Height-Adjusted Speed Score (HaSS) (84th-percentile), 10.89 Agility Score (83rd-percentile), 10.16 Catch Radius (78th-percentile), and 119.4 SPARQ-x Score (87th-percentile).
Yes, his 11.2-percent College Dominator Rating places him in only the 4th-percentile, but that’s what happens when you have to compete with Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant, and DeAndre Hopkins for targets at the wide receiver factory known as Clemson University. With the departure of Michael Floyd, the uncertainty of Larry Fitzgerald’s future with the Cardinals, and the injuries and sickle cell issues that seem to be derailing John Brown’s career, Jaron Brown could find himself in a position for a huge increase in target share next season.
Bennie Fowler, WR, Broncos
Bennie Fowler is another wide receiver with big play ability who could see more opportunity next season, as he possesses solid overall athleticism with a 116.8 SPARQ-x Score (81st-percentile) and a 104.0 HaSS (79th-percentile). He also averaged 17.3 yards per reception (81st-percentile) in his final year at Michigan State in a primarily run-based offense.
Fowler was able to flash that ability in Week 12 of the 2016 NFL season, getting behind the Kansas City defense for a 76-yard touchdown. With Jordan Norwood an unrestricted free agent and John Elway looking to upgrade the quarterback position (Tony Romo?) Bennie The Jet could provide a nice compliment to Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, and could see even more opportunity if either were to fall to injury.
Tavarres King, WR, Broncos
We’ve already discussed Roger Lewis as a sleeper, but there is another sneaky New York Giants dynasty asset at the wide receiver position in the form of Tavarres King. With a 4.47 40-yard dash (72nd-percentile) and a 123.6 Burst Score (63rd-percentile), King has displayed the ability to go deep downfield, especially in college, where he averaged a fantastic 22.6 Yards Per Reception (98th-percentile) while outshining more coveted NFL prospects such as Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Conley in his final year at Georgia. A career journeyman, King earned meaningful playing time with the Giants towards the end of the 2016 season, and during Sunday’s Wild Card matchup against Green Bay, he showed the nation what he’s capable of, catching 3 passes on 6 targets for a team-high 73 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown.
If Tavarres King can stick with the Giants, there is a chance his opportunity could increase down the road. Even before the Miami boating trip I would have predicted that 2017 would be Odell Beckham’s final year in a New York Giants jersey, but now that GM Jerry Reese himself has publicly called out Beckham, it almost seems like a forgone conclusion, which can only benefit King. Dirt cheap to acquire, Tavarres King is worth a shot in dynasty leagues.
Wendell Williams, WR, Texans
Digging even deeper, to the Mariana’s Trench of the dynasty player pool, you can find another hidden gem in Wendall Williams. Williams’ metrics, across the board, are tantalizing, as he ran a 4.32 40-yard dash (99th-percentile) with a 103.3 Height-Adjusted Speed Score (78th-percentile), in addition to a 140.0 Burst Score (99th-percentile), 10.75 Agility Score (94th-percentile), 10.46 Catch-Radius (99th-percentile), and 125.6 SPARQ-x Score (93rd-percentile). Throw in a 48.3-percent College Dominator Rating (93rd-percentile) and a stupid 30.5 college yards per reception (100th-percentile), the guy might as well be from another planet. Sure, his breakout age was a late 24 (1st-percentile), but with that athleticism, who cares?
Wendall Williams is definitely a long shot, having bounced from community college to community college before finally committing to football over basketball at Cumberlands College, but if he can carve out a role in the Texans offense, we could be looking at the next Tyreek Hill.
Eric Rogers, WR, 49ers
Eric Rogers may be the most intriguing wide receiver on this list, as he has forged a unique path to the NFL, and may have the most realistic chance to receive a heavy target share as early as next season. Rogers posted a 100.7 Height-Adjusted Speed Score (70th-percentile) and a 123.4 Burst Score (63rd-percentile), and is the owner of a 6-3, 210 pound frame with a 10.18 Catch Radius (83rd-percentile). Rogers has also produced everywhere he’s been, breaking out at the age of 18 (97th-percentile) and posting a 46.4-percent College Dominator (90th-percentile) before dominating the Canadian Football League.
Eric Rogers was brought in for a visit by a whopping 16 NFL teams before signing with San Francisco, so the secret was clearly out regarding his upside. Unfortunately, Rogers suffered a torn ACL in the preseason, but presuming he makes a full recovery, there is no reason to think he won’t have a chance to compete for a starting wide receiver position in 2017. Anyone who watches football knows the San Francisco 49ers easily have the shallowest receiving corps in the league, and due to the overall lack of talent that is unlikely to improve by a significant margin in 2017, the 49ers could again find themselves in plenty of garbage-time passing situations. If Rogers can return to full health, the return value could be staggering.
Jace Amaro, TE, Titans
Continuing with the theme of underdeveloped tight ends who were given up on too early, Jace Amaro is a guy with impressive measurables who was cast off by the New York Jets, who had apparently decided the use of a tight end in their offense was unnecessary before signing Austin Sefarian-Jenkins. Amaro posted a 105.8 Height-Adjusted Speed Score (77th-percentile) and a 127.3 SPARQ-x score (91st-percentile), and was very productive in college, posting a 23.2-percent College Dominator Rating (72nd-percentile) in a high-volume passing offense. As a rookie in 2014, Amaro struggled with drops, posting a 70.4-percent catch rate (17th), but actually ranked 3rd among tight ends with a 15.9-percent Hog Rate. So when he was in the game, he was getting open.
Scooped up by the Tennessee Titans, Jace Amaro did not receive much playing time behind stud Delanie Walker and veteran Anthony Fasano, but again, there is a clear history of tight ends taking multiple seasons to develop before they are fantasy relevant. History has shown you can’t trust the Jets decision-making (see Christian Hackenburg), so just because they cut Jace Amaro doesn’t mean it was a good idea.
Erik Swoope, TE, Colts
Erik Swoope is another former basketball player who made the transition to tight end at the NFL level, and was able to earn meaningful playing time despite sharing snaps with Jack Doyle and Dwayne Allen. Swoope plays for an offensive coordinator who loves to utilize the tight ends, and when he had the opportunity in 2016, he delivered, posting a +44.0 Production Premium (No. 2) and a +29.0-percent Target Premium (No. 6) while averaging 13.5 yards per target (No. 5).
At 6-5, Erik Swoope has the potential to become an excellent red zone threat, as Andrew Luck loves to utilize his tight ends near the goal line. Swoop in and grab Swoope, as he displayed downfield playmaking ability in a high-volume passing offense when called upon in 2016.
MyCole Pruitt, TE, Bears
MyCole Pruitt is an intriguing talent, with impressive across-the-board metrics and plenty of time to develop. 6-2 and 251 pounds, Pruitt is big and fast, posting a 4.58 40-Yard Dash (91st percentile), 110.5 HaSS (84th-percentile), 125.5 Burst Score (85th-percentile), 10.13 Catch Radius (75th-percentile), and 114.2 SPARQ-x Score (67th-percentile). Breaking out in college at age 19 (89th-percentile) and posting a 37.6-percent College Dominator (96th-percentile), Pruitt has showed he can translate his athleticism to the football field, but has yet to show it at the NFL level, primarily due to the presence of Kyle Rudolph in Minnesota.Fortunately, MyCole Pruitt was acquired by the Chicago Bears in December, presumably due to the injury to Zach Miller, and due to the fact that Miller is constantly injured, Pruitt will presumably have a chance to compete for playing time in 2017. He’s probably a free agent in your dynasty league, so keep an eye on him, as it typically takes tight ends longer to develop than any other position in fantasy football.