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Sleepers

Diamonds In The Rough: Late-Round Rookie Running Backs To Know

by Alex Johnson, April 20, 2021

Chris Evans is a good athlete with the size and contact balance to be a productive runner in the league. He possesses the skills to be a reliable contributor on passing downs as well, whether it be as a receiver out of the backfield or in the slot, or in pass protection. Given the opportunity to finally put it all together, Evans can wind up as the ultimate diamond in the rough out of the 2021 class.

Elijah Mitchell is a good all-around back. He’s fast with elite explosiveness and he’s elusive enough to make the first tackler miss. He profiles as a committee back who can emerge as a playmaker in the passing game. Draft capital will likely come mid-to-late day three. He’s certainly a top candidate to be this year’s late-round diamond. He can fall into a lead job on a weak depth chart that sees its top back go down early.

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Elijah Mitchell is a 2021 Must-Draft Rookie With a Workhorse Profile

by Casey Gruarin, March 23, 2021

Elijah Mitchell’s production is fine on the surface, but nothing exceptional for a small-school prospect when looking at the stats. Elite production is a staple for small school players since they play weaker competition. However, Mitchell battled and out-produced three other NFL-caliber players in college. This proves his talent. Also, his production could have been among the best in the nation if not for sharing a field with them, which is why context is so important when evaluating rookies.

Although Mitchell didn’t excel at any trait, it’s essential that he is well-rounded being that he’s a late-round, small school player. This is why his athletic testing could make him the biggest value pick in the class. If he can run fast with the size, production, and receiving ability, he becomes a late-round rookie pick who has NFL workhorse potential. It’s rare to find players with a complete profile like this in the third round or later in rookie drafts.

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Chris Evans, Nico Collins and The Michigan Prospect Conundrum

by Casey Gruarin, March 16, 2021

Chris Evans’ profile hits many important metrics which can translate to the NFL. This suggests that if he goes in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft, he will start his career as a backup but could be a productive RB2 if he can ever become the starter on his team. He has shown the ability to effectively rush and catch passes, but he has never put it all together at the same time. If he can do it at the next level, he’ll become a quality fantasy asset.

The 6-4, 215-pound Nico Collins has the size to be a starting outside receiver in the pros. In addition, this size means he is likely to have an upper-percentile Speed Score if his 40-yard Dash time is even average. He sports a 19.7 (92nd-percentile among qualified wide receivers) College YPR and a 19.5 (80th-percentile) Breakout Age. If he can pair that size with great athleticism, he’ll have the most upside of any late-round rookie receiver in this class.

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The Offseason Dynasty Stash Cache – Tight Ends

by The “Mad Chatter” Ryan MK, February 10, 2021

Donald Parham isn’t on everyone’s radar. Though his Snap Share increased late in the season, he never once eclipsed four targets in 2020. With Hunter Henry likely out of the picture, L.A. may opt to draft a tight end or add one in free agency. Even so, Parham has a legit shot at the starter spot in a best-case scenario and would make for good depth in the worst case. Either way, the man needs to be rostered in dynasty leagues.

Despite being the fourth or fifth receiving option on a team that averaged 32.9 (No. 29) Pass Plays per Game, Harrison Bryant had some impressive metrics. He averaged 8.7 (No. 7 among qualified tight ends) yards of Average Target Distance and drew five (No. 20) five Deep Targets. Furthermore, he posted a, 88.9-percent (No. 11) True Catch Rate. He’s sure to have a breakout sophomore campaign if given the snaps to operate.

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Damien Harris: Taking the Spotlight

by The “Mad Chatter” Ryan MK, October 10, 2020

At 5-10 and 216-pounds, Damien Harris shows quickness. He posted above average marks in Speed Score and Burst Score, with a 4.57 40-Yard Dash that ranks in the 56th-percentile among qualified running backs. With Sony Michel out for the foreseeable future due to a quad injury, Harris becomes a focal point of the New England ground attack. Once Cam Newton returns, the offense will become more productive. This is a boon for Harris, who can take some of those goal line carries.

In 2018, Harris caught 22 passes on 23 targets for 204 yards at 9.2 yards per reception. Yes, he had a 5.3-percent (27th-percentile) College Target Share, but he did share the backfield with Josh Jacobs during that 2018 season. Jacobs himself had 20 receptions for 247 yards that year. The floor with Harris will be solid, and the touchdowns will come. Adding a few receptions per game isn’t out of the question, and would be a boon for the back and those who roster him.

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The Case for Nyheim Hines as 2020’s Ultimate Late-Round Flier

by Josh Kellem, September 3, 2020

Over the past two seasons, Nyheim Hines has demonstrated that he’s competent enough to take advantage of a plus situation. He has averaged 5.4 yards per touch on an average of 68 carries and 69 targets per season. With the switch to Philip Rivers comes a positive switch in the allocation of positional targets. Last year, the Rivers-led Chargers led the league with 182 RB targets after ranking in the top-5 the year before with 141 targets.

Coming off a 63-catch campaign on 85 targets in 2018 as a rookie, Hines followed that up with a 44-catch season in 2019. In fact, he has a sneaky chance to rival Christian McCaffrey as the leader in catches among running backs. Unlike with the Los Angeles Chargers the past two seasons, Hines is the only back for the Colts that will fill the pass-catching role. This may end up making him close to a full-time player depending on Game Script.

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Three Late-Round Wide Receivers to Draft After Pick No. 100

by Corbin Young, September 2, 2020

With a low 8.0 (No. 91 among qualified wide receivers) Average Target Distance mark, it’s not surprising that Jamison Crowder finished with a -4.0 (No. 54) Production Premium. However, efficiency becomes less of an issue with the target volume he receives. He’s the 41st receiver drafted on average per FFPC ADP data and is a solid WR3, at worst, for any squad. The target hogging and draft value make Crowder one of the best wide receivers to draft after pick No. 100. 

Randall Cobb proved to be efficient with 15.1 (No. 22) yards per reception, 10.0 (No. 9) yards per target, and a +10.3 (No. 27) Production Premium, all with the 48th-most targets. With DeAndre Hopkins traded to the Arizona Cardinals, the Texans have 167 (No. 6) Vacated Targets. Most of those targets project to head towards Brandin Cooks, but there’s a chance for Cobb to be in the 70-80 target range paired with an elite quarterback once again.

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14 Deep Sleepers The Underworld Digs

by The Podfather, August 19, 2020

Austin Ekeler seized the primary back role last season, but don’t forget that Justin Jackson was a dominant college producer with explosive athleticism. When called up, Jackson has been an efficient runner, and most importantly, a truly dynamic receiver. The Chargers want to run the ball, and Jackson will have a sizable part to play.

Available in the last round of every draft, Justin Watson looks the part of third year breakout wide receiver given his dominant college career and 85th-percentile speed and burst. After posting a 40-percent Slot Rate last season, he is well-positioned to play when Tampa goes 3-wide. 

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Derrius Guice is Ready to Finally Break Out in 2020

by The “Mad Chatter” Ryan MK, July 27, 2020

Upon first glance, there is plenty to appreciate about the Derrius Guice profile. At 5-11 and 224-pounds, he’s a formidable force on the field. Though he didn’t participate in burst or agility drills at the 2018 NFL Combine, he registered a 4.49 (80th-percentile among qualified running backs) 40-Yard Dash, giving him a 110.2 (91st-percentile) Speed Score. His Best Comparable Player? Oh, it’s just Ezekiel Elliott.

The injuries Guice has sustained through the first two years of his NFL career leave many wondering if he can stay on the field. However, modern medicine is rapidly improving, and an ACL injury isn’t the death knell it once was. Rehabilitation processes are evolving to provide optimal recovery. At age 23, Guice also has youth on his side. Should he stay true to his rehab program, he’ll have the chance to prove his injuries were mere fluke, not a sign of things to come.

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Don’t Sleep on Andy Isabella in Any Format

by Steve Smith, July 23, 2020

The Cardinals did not add a wide receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft. In fact, head coach Kliff Kingsbury gave his second-year WRs a vote of confidence post-draft. Andy Isabella owns the fastest 40-time of the current group. Since Damiere Byrd departed for the New England Patriots in free agency, there are no other notable speedsters in the receiver room. Chrisitan Kirk is the next fastest with 4.47 wheels. If a speed element is wanted in Kingbury’s offense, Isabella is the answer.

With a current FFPC ADP of 320.45 and falling, the time to acquire Isabella is now. At this point, fantasy gamers are drafting the likes of Devin Funchess and Danny Amendola well ahead of him. His value is way too low given his prospect profile. He’s a low-risk, end-of-bench stash in redraft and a solid upside play in Best Ball. In dynasty leagues, he’s the perfect player to acquire as a throw-in to a deal. Just find a way to get him on the taxi squad or end of the bench.

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