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7 No-Names Who Could Help Your Fantasy Team

Mike_Davis_(running_back)

Every year, fantasy owners spend a profusion of time trying to identify who this season’s sleepers will be. The big media outlets often promulgate the same players, so they lose their sleeper status. Also, more often than not, these tend to be players we all know, who might have had an off-year the previous season, or are up-and-comers in the league.

I want to do something a little different. I don’t want to present you with the same old sleepers whom the rest of your league already know about; I want to give you names that make you say, “who the hell is that?” Or, “doesn’t he play for the Padres?” My favorite reaction thus far has been, “he sounds like an Abercrombie model.” I’m not sure why fellow writer, Nick Bellis, knows the names of Abercrombie models, but that’s his business.

In order to develop this list, I took a long list of names and asked my colleagues if they had ever heard of them. If one of the average football fans in the office could identify a name, that player was immediately thrown out. If both of my esteemed wordsmiths were able to finger what position he played, and for which team, then I also threw that name out. If you see any names on this list that you already have pages of notes on, then your fantasy football skills greatly exceed mine, and you deserve some sort of recognition for it. (That was it.)

With all of this in mind, it is paramount that you grasp what is and is not going on here. These are not players who you should be taking early in drafts, and most of them should not even be considered in the middle-rounds. There is a reason these names are relatively unknown; that reason: they have done next to nothing as a pro, and are not projected to anytime soon.

These are deep, deep sleepers, who should only come to mind when filling the last couple spots on your roster, and some should just receive the “monitor” flag on the waiver wire. You may get some return from them, or they may remain players who simply “sound like Abercrombie models.”

I know Gary Barnidge would’ve made this list last season, so there are some diamonds in the rough to be uncovered. Here are the guys I have diagnosed as having Gary Barnidge potential

Just for the record, no research was needed on any of these players, because I already knew who they all were. (Cue smug look, and pray no one calls me out on it.)


Sammie Coates, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

By Jeffrey Beall (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Jeffrey Beall (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Why he can help:

Martavis Bryant is suspended for the season, and Markus Wheaton isn’t much of a deep-threat, nor has he been overly reliable for the Steelers. Coates has the speed to outrun single-coverage, a luxury he’ll enjoy playing with Antonio Brown, and has play-making ability with the ball in his hands. The potential to be the number two receiver in a pass-happy offense is very intriguing.

Why you’ve never heard of him:

Alright, this one may be a bit of a stretch, as the keen fantasy footballers probably know him by now, but I’m happy to take credit for introducing him to some. However, the addition of a very athletic tight end, Ladarius Green, and the return of Le’Veon Bell has eaten up the majority of the headlines.

Mike Davis, RB, San Francisco 49ers

Why he can help:

With Chip Kelly’s high-octane (used in regards to the energy, not the power) offense now in San Francisco, the Niners’ 390 rushing attempts from 2015 are destined to increase. The majority of those carries will go to Carlos Hyde, but Hyde has been no stranger to injury in his young career. The second-year back only played in seven games last season, and has only carried the ball 198 times in his career. There will be carries for Davis regardless of Hyde’s health.

Why you’ve never heard of him:

He played in six games for the 49ers as a rookie last year and only touched the ball a combined 42 times. Hyde is the feature back, as mentioned, and most of the preseason attention is going to the quarterback battle down in the Bay Area. Not to mention he’s not the first “Mike Davis” to pop up in a google search.

Devontae Booker, RB, Denver Broncos

Why he can help:

The Broncos starting running back, C.J. Anderson, had his fair-share of struggles last season, and has never carried the ball more than 179 times in a season. With Mark Sanchez as their probable starting quarterback, Denver has made it clear that they will be a running team in 2016. There will be lots of carries to go around, especially for a back that fits into the zone-blocking scheme as well as Booker does.

Why you haven’t heard of him:

Ronnie Hillman has handled the backup duties very well in his time in Denver, so this rookie fourth-rounder is viewed by many as the third-option.

Albert Wilson, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

Why he can help:

Wilson will be hoping for a third-year breakout season that so many wide receivers before him have enjoyed. The speedster is the number-two receiver for the Chiefs, and it sounds like the team is beginning to find more ways to utilise him.

Why you haven’t heard of him:

Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce are the top options in an offense that hasn’t thrown the ball more than 470 times in the last two seasons. Jamaal Charles’ return from injury has caused Wilson to fly under the radar.

Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Why he can help:

Austin Seferian-Jenkins doesn’t know what he’s doing, and no one is going to waste their time feeling bad for him. Brate actually caught more passes than Seferian-Jenkins last season, but that was due to S-J’s injury woes. The Bucs are on the rise, and with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson occupying opposing team’s safeties, there will be lots of room for Brate to roam over the middle, should he win the starting job.

Why you’ve never heard of him:

No one can stop talking about Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ abundance of “raw talent.”

Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons

(By: Michael Li (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/])
(By: Michael Li (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/])

Why he can help:

The Falcons used their third-round pick on Hooper, who will now play in a Kyle Shanahan offense in Atlanta. If you’re not familiar with the significance of that statement, tight ends thrive in the Shanahan version of the “west-coast offense.” If a 31-year-old Jacob Tamme can catch 59 balls for 657 yards, then there is no reason a younger, more athletic version can’t do the same.

Why you’ve never heard of him:

Hooper still has to deal not only with Tamme, but also Levine Toilolo. Hooper will make the team, but he’ll have to impress in training camp to get himself on the field.

Matt LaCosse, TE, New York Giants

Why he can help:

The Giants have had no longevity at tight end. They’ve seen a different player lead the position statistically each year since 2010. Since then, we’ve seen Jake Ballard, Martellus Bennett, Brandon Myers, Larry Donnell, and Will Tye flash and fade. LaCosse is the 2016 version. The second-year tight end was reportedly very impressive in OTAs, and is far superior in the running game than Tye and Donnell. With all secondary eyes on Odell Beckham Jr., there will be lots of space for New York’s secondary and tertiary receiving options.

Why you haven’t heard of him:

LaCosse went undrafted in 2015, and spent time with the Giants and Jets last offseason, before rejoining the Giants in early November. He only played in two games last year, catching three passes. Even if he does make the team, 2016 second-round pick Sterling Shepard is expected to grab the bulk of non-OBJ bound balls this year.

Tags : 49ersAlbert WilsonAustin HooperBroncosBuccaneersCameron BrateChiefsDevontae BookerFalconsfantasy footballFantasy TipsGiantsMatt LaCosseMike DavisSammie CoatessleepersSteelers
Tyler "Ty" Worer

The author Tyler "Ty" Worer