One of the most paramount fantasy principles is to draft safely early and shoot for upside in the later rounds. This list will give three of the top skill position late-round options to target as sleepers.
Per vegas odds, Brady projects to have 4300 passing yards. Historically, on average, starting RBs that play for QBs who throw for more than 4300 yards finish as the RB 15 in half ppr formats. And score a fantastic 206.4 fantasy points on the season. Ronald Jones was the starter even before the ESPN report came out. Bruce Arians tends to bench rookie RBs, no matter how efficient, in favor of proven vets. This tendency was shown on an extreme scale when David Johnson received less work than a less efficient and worn down Chris Johnson. Once Arians gave Johnson the load he became a top-five running back and scored twenty total touchdowns. Jones knows the ins and outs of his (Arians) air-raid scheme and is a better talent than the overrated Keshuan Vaughn. Expect his ADP to rise with Jenna Laine’s report confirming the consensus take on the Buc’s backfield. Take him as a rock-solid rb4 with weekly flex value or an ambitious RB2 target for RB0 teams (first two picks are wide receivers).
Everyone who has read any sleeper or breakout lists knows Diontae Johnson. For casuals, this could be confusing as most experts don’t explain or know themselves why he’s a sleeper. He’s a great sleeper because of one stat- average separation. To clarify (on average), Diontae Johnson creates 3.6 yards of separation on all his receptions. This season, ten receivers had more than 3.2 yards of separation on 58 receptions. The elite list contains Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Lockett, Tyreek Hill, and Davante Adams. Even more impressive is that Johnson led ALL wideouts in yards of separation even against some of the best route runners in the NFL. But that’s not all, Johnson isn’t only a remarkable route runner, but he also has demonstrated to be a force to tackle. He leads all receivers in forced missed tackles (tied with Deebo Samuel). Moreover, he did this with two of the worst quarterbacks in the league (Devlin Hodges and Mason Rudolph). His efficiency metrics are jarring and scream breakout. With Ben Roethlisberger coming back, Juju Smith-Schuster returning to the slot. Diontae Johnson is a threat to fill the X role formally occupied by Antonio Brown. Brown had some of the greatest seasons ever as Big Ben’s target, averaging 1,524 receiving yards. If Diontae gets the same amount of receiving work as the prolific number 84, he will win leagues and become the steal of the 2020 fantasy football season.
Hayden Hurst, last year, was wasted in Baltimore. He played behind Mark Andrews and saw his role diminish as the star TE became one of the biggest surprises of the 2019 season. The former first-rounder is one of the most athletic tight ends in the league and was traded to the best possible team (Atlanta Falcons). Matt Ryan even praised Hurst, calling him the fastest tight end he’s played with and a “mismatch problem.” The Atlanta Falcons were the number one passing team last year, and with the defense only getting worse, there is no reason not to suspect the same this upcoming season. Austin Hooper (97 targets) and Mohamed Sanu (42 targets) both left in the offseason. Giving Hurst a potential 90 targets (93% of Hooper’s targets) would rank him seventh in targets for a tight end. Alongside, his elite athleticism and yards after catch ability there is a clear path for Hurst to return value and be a solid tight end for many championship teams.