2018 Deep Sleeper Rookies Worth Having On Your Radar

9 Aug 2018 - 3:24pm | Pigskin Ninja | Updated: 9 Aug 2018 - 3:37pm | Likes: 11 Like 
Jaylen Samuels - NC State

We have looked at a couple of sets of rookies now that could have a big-time impact on your fantasy team in 2018.

Firstly, we went to the head of the class, looking at four of the rookies that are – or should be – staples in every draft. Secondly, we looked at some players that might not be headliners in the class, but who you need to know about in the middle to late rounds of the draft as they have the potential to be valuable down the stretch or as spot plays depending on matchups.

Now we are going to dig a little deeper still and look at some of the deep sleeper rookies. These are players that might be generating no buzz at all, yet they are worth keeping an eye on in preseason just in case they blow up and/or their competition from playing time gets injured.

These are players that may be more suited for draft value in dynasty leagues, but players that every fantasy player should at least have as a blip in the corner of their radar when planning for a draft.

Daurice Fountain – WR – Indianapolis Colts

If opportunity is your thing when grabbing sleepers, then Fountain is the player you want to take. The Colts simply don’t have a No. 2 WR worthy of the title, yet you have to figure that someone will play across the field from T.Y. Hilton on a permanent basis.

Ryan Grant is currently listed as the other starter after catching 45 passes for 573 yards and four touchdowns last season. Grant is a solid player, but he isn’t the explosive athlete that Fountain can be.

The issue for Fountain will be his ability to run all the routes at the NFL level. Playing at Northern Iowa he was asked to play in a simple scheme, often making plays on his own back to make up for the inaccuracy of his quarterback. As soon as Fountain learns the depth of the playbook, the clock will be on for Grant.

Jaylen Samuels – RB – Pittsburgh Steelers

Samuels was one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft. That the multi-talented Samuels found his way to Pittsburgh – a team known for finding unique ways to use all the talent on its roster – should have immediately turned the heads of fantasy players everywhere.

Samuels is obviously not going to start in Pittsburgh as the Steelers have the stunningly impressive Le’Veon Bell in that spot. Bell though is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and we all know how running backs are seen as the most expendable players on most rosters because of the wear and tear of the position on the body.

Bell has missed more than his share of games over the years with injury and other issues. If Samuels does start a game or three during the season, then the situation he will be in will allow the rookie to produce excellent fantasy numbers.

Equanimeous St. Brown – WR – Green Bay Packers

St. Brown is a player that is really never going to fly under the radar thanks to the glory of his name. Expected to be drafted at some point on Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft, St. Brown instead fell all the way to the sixth round before the Packers ended his free fall. While dropping in the draft can never be considered a good thing, St. Brown could have found himself in a much worse situation than playing with Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback just a five-hour drive away from his college campus.

The Packers are a team that trusts their receivers more than almost any other, with Rodgers passing plenty of balls to the likes of Jordy Nelson and James Jones over the years that other quarterbacks just wouldn’t throw. In St. Brown, Rodgers has a new toy that stands at 6-foot-5 and runs a 4.48 40-yard dash, a combination of size and speed that will surely see him on the gridiron sooner rather than later.

Bo Scarbrough – RB – Dallas Cowboys

Just like Samuels, Scarbrough is not going to get the carries required to be on the radar of anyone looking for an RB 1, RB 2, or even RB 3. What he does offer though – especially in leagues that are skewed towards massive points for touchdowns and little else – is a giant body to use on the goal line to give Ezekiel Elliot a break.

Basically, Scarbrough is going to be the ultimate touchdown vulture in 2018.
At the back end of the 2016 season, Scarbrough looked like he was destined for big things. You can easily make the argument that his leg injury is what tilted the national championship game that year in favor of Clemson, as the Tigers had shown no ability to stop the freight train when he got rolling.

His power, leg drive, and unwillingness to be tackled at the goal line mean that he will not only be useful in touchdown-only leagues but also that he curtails the scoring output of Zeke in multiple games this season.

Richie James – WR – San Francisco 49ers

Can the 49ers find a place in their system for an undersized pass-catching machine?

If they can – and they should at the very least try – then James is a player worth watching to decide when to make that waiver wire grab.

James graduated from Middle Tennessee with all the receiving records of note. He finished his college career with 243 catches, 3,249 yards, and 23 touchdowns. Given that he barely played in 2017 due to a combination of injuries, it is not hard to imagine he could have added another 70 catches, 1,000 yards, and seven scores.

At 5-foot-9 there will obviously be questions about James’ ability to stay on the field in the NFL. His ability to line up in the slot and be an explosive playmaker from his first NFL snap, however, does make him an intriguing prospect to watch during the preseason.

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