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Deep Dynasty Sleepers to Add Before It's Too Late

All the top rookies have found a home on dynasty rosters long ago and the unexpected training camp risers like James Robinson have been snatched up from waivers ahead of Week 1. A quick look at the waiver wire in leagues with deep rosters is pretty bare. For example, a recent search for the best RB options available in our RotoBaller Analyst Dynasty League on Fleaflicker yielded J.J. Taylor and Devontae Booker. I won't recommend you add either of those two like I was forced to.

Below, I'll list some players with rising value that could be available in a deeper dynasty league and should be picked up now, before it's too late.

Here are my favorite sleepers to consider stashing in dynasty ahead of the 2020 fantasy football season.

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Quintez Cephus (WR, DET)

This name went from deep sleeper to must-have commodity from the time I began drafting this to the time I hit "Submit." The Lions are a team thin on WR depth so there is a chance for a young player to emerge. The doubtful tag placed on Kenny Golladay ahead of Week 1 just speeds things up a bit.


A fifth-round pick out of Wisconsin, Cephus didn't see a ton of volume while playing on a traditionally run-heavy Big 10 team. They also had a guy named Jonathan Taylor carrying the offense out of the backfield. Cephus doesn't stand out in terms of measurables or stature, but has drawn praise for his route-running and run-after-catch ability. PFF named him as a top preseason rookie standout along with other players you may recognize such as Joe Burrow, Antonio Gibson, and Bryan Edwards.


On another team, Cephus might be a practice squad player to develop. In Detroit, he now has a chance to shine early in his career with the benefit of gunslinger Matthew Stafford throwing his way. In a perfect world, he could have been stashed before the season opener but even if he isn't involved much with Golladay out, he is still someone to watch.

 

Jason Huntley (RB, PHI)

First thing to know about Huntley: he's fast. Let's get the obligatory PlayerProfiler image out of the way now.

This is a little misleading because he wasn't invited to the NFL Combine and actually ran a 4.37 40 at New Mexico State's Pro Day. That would be faster than any running back that did attend the Combine, including Jonathan Taylor. His 131" broad jump also would have ranked first.

Huntley was drafted by Detroit, which seemed like a fairly good landing spot even after the selection of D'Andre Swift. Then the team promptly released him in favor of 95-year-old Adrian Peterson, which is a very Matt Patricia move. That works in Huntley's favor because he was claimed by the Eagles right away.

Miles Sanders is the present and future for the Philly backfield. He's just one player though and we know Doug Pederson has always used multiple backs. Sanders is already battling a hamstring injury that will keep him out of Week 1 so the Eagles' backfield depth is about to get tested.

Boston Scott is the RB2 and clearly the player to pick up if not rostered already. Corey Clement is the boring vet who will play a fair amount of snaps but not move the needle very far for fantasy purposes. If looking for a home run play or deep sleeper, check out Huntley, who not only has speed to burn but is an excellent pass-catcher and kick returner, having caught 126 passes while racking up 1,521 return yards the last three years in college. Pederson will find ways to get him on the field sooner than later.

 

Joe Reed/K.J. Hill (WR, LAC)

Hopefully, they weren't both selected in your rookie draft because the Chargers receivers have the best path to immediate value on this list. Mike Williams is banged up with a shoulder issue that could linger beyond Week 1. There is also precious little veteran depth in the Chargers' receiver room which means we could even see a fair amount of targets headed to rookie Joe Reed on the outside or KJ Hill in the slot.

Reed was a fifth-round selection out of Virginia who is the superior athlete while Hill was part of a stacked Ohio State offense and could prove more NFL-ready. Hill's production was steady but unspectacular throughout college with a target share under 20% each year. Reed stepped up in 2019 with a 22% target share but wasn't on the most dynamic offense.

The Chargers offense in 2020 may not be explosive between Tyrod Taylor and rookie Justin Herbert at QB while the backfield is still unsettled behind Austin Ekeler. There will be growing pains but if Herbert is everything the franchise expects, either or both of these receivers could benefit.

 

Raymond Calais (RB, LAR)

I'm old enough to remember when Ronald Jones II was the starting running back in Tampa Bay and Ke'Shawn Vaughn was the rookie set to challenge him for touches. Now, Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy have been signed, Vaughn has been relegated to special teams duty and Jones' dynasty value has dropped like a brick. That left Raymond Calais on the practice squad where he was promptly claimed by the Rams, breathing a little life back into his fantasy value.

The Rams are set with Cam Akers as their top RB (trust me on this) with Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson mixing into what could be a committee early on. That won't last long, as both Brown and Henderson have been subpar production-wise. Looking long-term, as dynasty owners ought to do, Brown may not be on the roster next year and the team could move on from Henderson if he doesn't show anything.

Calais is an undersized back who will rely on his speed. His 4.42 40 time is his main asset and he wasn't much of a receiver in college so there's no pretense that he will be more than a change-of-pace back. The upside is limited but if he can develop into a Dion Lewis type with the chance for touches as a backup, there could be fantasy value.

 

Jaeden Graham (TE, ATL)

Austin Hooper is gone, so Hayden Hurst, former first-round pick of the Ravens, inherits those targets. But what if it's Jaeden Graham instead?

Fantasy managers should recall that Hooper was the TE1 over the first 10 weeks of the 2019 season until his injury. During Weeks 11-13, Graham took his place and caught seven passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. Not amazing but as a rookie UDFA out of Yale suddenly forced into action, it wasn't too shabby. As a second-year player who has more familiarity with Matt Ryan than Hurst, it's not inconceivable that he sees the field a fair amount in 2020.

Looking at the most surface of stats, size and speed, Graham compares favorably to Hooper. The big difference is pedigree, as Hooper played at Stanford with Kevin Hogan and Christian McCaffrey while Graham played at Yale.

Don't get me wrong, he won't leapfrog Hurst on the depth chart but between Hurst's injury history and the chance he doesn't gel with his new QB, Graham is waiting in the wings. A lot of fantasy managers are convinced Hurst is this year's breakout TE (wrong: it's Noah Fant or Mike Gesicki) but he could just as easily be Coby Fleener from 2016 when everyone was convinced he would be a Pro Bowler in New Orleans. Hurst is a player you still want to roster but Graham is a stash nobody is paying attention to.

 

Jacob Eason (QB, IND)

There aren't many times a dynasty manager would stash a QB outside of Superflex leagues. There are also deep-enough leagues where you can find yourself looking to hold onto a potential starter for next year.

Philip Rivers is the QB in 2020 but it's on a one-year contract and he's 38 years old. If the team doesn't make a deep playoff run with him at the helm, there's no reason to imagine him as a Colt in 2021. This isn't a team tanking for Trevor or likely to have a top-10 pick, so that leaves the team with the undesirable option of seeking a free--agent quarterback or developing one that wasn't a high draft pick. They may already have one waiting in Eason, who was a fourth-rounder this year.

Eason had an uneven NCAA career marked by a transfer from Georgia to Washington. He finished with a 39/16 TD/INT rate and completed just under 60% of his passes. There's a reason he was a top prospect coming into college, though. He has a big frame at 6'6" and a big arm. His 59 MPH throw velocity ranked in the 90th percentile. If anything, his issue has been overthrowing or rocketing passes through his receiver's arms. An NFL coaching staff and strong mentor could help him hone those physical tools and improve his accuracy.

Eason can spend the season learning under a veteran and has the luxury of developing the old-school way - sitting on the sidelines and soaking it all in.



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