Note: Special FanDuel offer — Deposit today and you’ll get five free entries to NFL beginner contests (up to $50 in value). Finish anywhere in the top-half of those contests to win cash! Claim your entries now.
Every year I’m on the hunt for one guy.
A sleeper with the least name recognition and the most potential value to a Fantasy roster. Someone to take late in every single one of my leagues, be patient with and eventually win with. Someone I’m ready to target and commit to.
Crapola. Now everyone I’m drafting with knows who I’m targeting late!
Fine, my loss is your gain. For this very special article, I put on my tuxedo and hired an orchestra just to announce this year’s must-have, late-round deep sleeper.
You can’t see any of this because you’re not in my house right now. But believe me — it’s all here.
And the sleeper is here for your team, regardless of your league size. Presenting the 2016 Fantasy Football Deep Sleeper of the Year.
|TAR: 12||REC: 9||YDS: 163||TD: 0|
Since the preseason started, Sharpe was someone I was excited about.
Titans WR Tajae Sharpe is officially legit now. Looked pretty good in the first preseason game. Definitely worth drafting.
— Dave Richard (@daverichard) August 16, 2016
OK, maybe too excited. Normally I like going with a player who isn’t as well known, and his name has gotten out there a little bit. But I’ve eavesdropped on a lot of drafts over the past two weeks and Sharpe is still a relative unknown. Depending on how smart your leaguemates are, you can find him with a late pick.
Sharpe has good height (6-foot-2) and is fast enough to be a threat after the catch, but the two most appealing parts to his game are his route-running and his hands. From the jump, Sharpe showed he’s willing and able to run sideline routes, work the seams or cross the field — and get open.
That versatility is unique for most rookies and will help keep him the field. As for his hands, they’re great. He caught 196 passes over his final two seasons at UMass (24 games) and already has displayed outstanding athleticism to adjust and grab any pass within his radius.
In fact he caught his first eight targets this preseason and finished grabbing 9 of 12, averaging a too-good-to-be-true 18.1 yards per reception.
It’s no secret the Titans want to run the ball this year, but what they want and what they’ll have to do are two different things. The Tennessee defense isn’t expected to be dangerous, and they play in a very pass-aggressive division. It’ll force Mariota to throw a little more than the 30.8 attempts per game he averaged last season. But even if the run game does well, it’ll create tremendous play-action situations that can help open Sharpe up for excess targets.
This guy is the reason why the Titans dumped Dorial Green-Beckham and are perfectly fine starting the season without Kendall Wright. He’s also a big reason why Marcus Mariota had such a nice preseason. Sharpe is that rock-solid combination of athletic and well-handed to give the Titans help in the passing game. He’ll play early and often and have a chance at racking up the receptions and yardage. Touchdowns could be a little tougher for him to come by but typically any receiver who gets a lot of attention falls into at least decent numbers.
Sharpe is the receiver I’m trying to get in all of my leagues. I’d be willing to take him as soon as Round 9 in a non-PPR league and Round 8 in PPR formats, but I’m in leagues with people who know what they’re doing. You should feel comfortable waiting until at least Round 10 to snap this guy up.
And if you’ve already drafted, find room for him. Every other rookie receiver except for Sterling Shepard is behind Sharpe in the pecking order, as are other names like Stefon Diggs, Michael Crabtree, Devin Funchess, Kevin White and Vincent Jackson.
Source: CBS Sports / 2016 Fantasy Football Strategy: The deep sleeper you must have on Draft Day