As fantasy football continues to change, one thing has stayed the same. Fantasy owners want to be the smartest person in the room. While this can get you into trouble at the beginning of your draft, the late-round picks are the time to target some fantasy sleepers who could help you win your league.
Here is what is great about targeting players with high upside with your final few picks. If the player does not end up panning out, you can always drop him in favor of someone who breaks out early in the season.
One of the keys to getting great values in fantasy drafts is paying attention to preseason games. It is important to not overvalue performances, but the preseason can help you identify potential late-round gems. Even if you are not able to watch many preseason games, sites like Rotoworld and others provide great recaps of standout players.
Here are five fantasy sleepers to watch.
No. 1 RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
Kamara truthers may have been cringing after watching his breakout performance this past weekend. Kamara had five carries for 61 yards including a 50-yard touchdown. Yes, the Saints backfield is crowded with Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson. However, talent always wins out, and all summer long we have heard how much Sean Payton coveted Kamara in the draft.
He is going to be used in both the run and pass game. The Saints have a history of having successful fantasy players that fit that mold. Kamara is going undrafted in most leagues with an ADP (average draft position) of 195. This is likely to keep going up, but you still have a chance to snag him in the later rounds.
No. 2 WR Eric Decker, Tennessee Titans
While our list is full of rookies, don’t sleep on Eric Decker. He may have missed last season with an injury, but Decker is in a perfect situation to return to form. Decker had 80 receptions for 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2015. Marcus Mariota is desperate for a WR1, and Decker has a good chance to become just that.
Decker has a good chance to play against the Bears in preseason Week 3. Watch to see if he looks close to his old self. Decker’s ADP is 95.2, still offering a great value as the other owners in your league have forgotten about the veteran wideout.
No. 3 WR Zay Jones, Buffalo Bills
I had the opportunity to watch Jones at the Senior Bowl. Each practice, he was making plays showing off great hands and route running. With Sammy Watkins in Los Angeles, Jones has a good chance to be the Bills top receiver. With an ADP of 164, Jones is going in the middle of the 13th round in 12-team leagues.
Jones is worth a flyer in the double-digit rounds. The opportunity is there, and if he ends up coming along slower than expected you can always cut ties with him since you did not waste a lot of draft capital.
No. 4 WR Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
Kupp was another standout during Senior Bowl week. What he lacks in speed, Kupp more than makes up for with his route running. Thus far, Kupp is seemingly open on every play during the preseason. He had six receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown in the Rams preseason Week 2 matchup with the Raiders.
My only concern is a crowded Rams receiving group that now includes Sammy Watkins. Kupp will at least be relevant in PPR leagues, and has a good chance to be a must-own by the end of the season in all formats. Kupp has an ADP of 205, and is going undrafted in most leagues.
No. 5 RB Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks
Carson is not a must-add now, but keep an eye on the undrafted rookie. Neither Eddie Lacy or Thomas Rawls has stood out in the preseason. Both have battled injuries throughout their career, and Carson has been balling the entire pre-season. Pete Carroll has a history of going with the player who performs the best, regardless of seniority.
The Seahawks are one of the few NFL teams dedicated to running the football. The Seahawks takes on the Chiefs this week. Given it is the third preseason game, watch how Carson is used compared to the other running backs. If Carson continues to get more and more carries, he could end up moving into the end of fantasy drafts.