Trotta’s 2016 Fantasy Snoozers
By Josh Trotta
It’s Midnight and I have just finished watching the season finally of Silicon Valley (loved the twist!) and it hit me: Silicon Valley has to be HBO’s biggest surprise hit. It is sandwiched between Game of Thrones & Veep and it definitely gets a lot of attention for being on right after GoT. No one knew if it’s success would last or better yet how a show about a team of nerds with a compression algorithm was going to take off as it did. I know I didn’t. I started watching it because a few of my friends at work talked about it every week and said it depicted life in the tech industry better than any show they had watched. Just to give you some background, for my day job I work at an Internet Performance Company helping businesses connect to the internet. The reason I bring this up is because at that same moment, I realized that I was recording a podcast in two days about fantasy snoozers (the Guru version of sleepers) and hadn’t done any work on it yet!
Like Silicon Valley, fantasy football snoozers come out of nowhere unexpectedly (Gary Barnidge last year & Alfred Morris back in 2012) but seldomly do they last very long. How much longer does Silicon Valley have? How much longer can a tech company who seems to fail at every turn be able to hold an audience? I think 2 more seasons, but only time will tell. Fantasy football is scattered with snoozers who’s star shines bright for a season or two but burns out just as quickly. This year will be no different as a player or players will emerge out of no where to help a few lucky fantasy owners.
This is why sleeper articles are so important, especially in today’s RBBC or multi WR set offenses in the NFL. Teams are drafting so many players at the same position that it’s hard to keep track of. If you want to listen to the entire teams 2016 sleepers, click here to jump over to our 2016 fantasy snoozers podcast. Below are my picks as 2016 fantasy snoozers (sleepers) who should fall to you in later rounds but might end up yielding you production much higher than their current average draft position. Enjoy!!
Tyrod Taylor – Current ADP 130 / Current Round & Pick 11.10
Last year TyGod had 4 games where he threw 3 touchdown passes and in two of those he added a rushing touchdown. As fantasy owners we love those hybrid quarterbacks who can get you points with their legs just as well as with their arm. Taylor finished the season with 568 Rushing Yards & 5 Rushing Touchdowns. That was good enough for second most rushing yards at the QB position and 3rd most rushing touchdowns. His 6 INT’s was among the league’s lowest. What that says is he was extremely efficient with the ball. Tyrod might have burnt you in the fantasy playoffs not throwing or rushing for a touchdown over the course of week 15 & 16 but his regular season resume was good enough for 16th best at QB. At his current ADP of 130 Taylor is a great candidate to exceed his passing numbers in 2016 as Buffalo brings back it’s core nucleus and he has a year under his belt to understand the offense. Interestingly if Taylor had added just 16 more points to his season total last year he would have jumped all the way up to the 11th spot, right ahead of Ryan Fitzpatrick who had a career year. Tyrod could be a steal at his current ADP and someone who could once again surprise a lot of people. Buffalo is a run first team but if they can give Taylor a bit more freedom to throw the ball he should have an even better statistical season where it matters most to fantasy owners. Also it’s a contract year!
Matthew Stafford – Current ADP 137 / Current Round & Pick 12.05
Before Jim Bob Cooter took over as offensive coordinator, Stafford had thrown 13 touchdowns / 11 INT’s / for 2,083 yards. After Jim Bob Cooter took over, Stafford threw 19 touchdowns / ONLY 2 INT’s / for 2,179 yards – Stafford had a 5 touchdown game and two 3 touchdown games during the final 8 games of the season. Losing Megatron is a major blow especially in the redzone but Tate was equally as effective over the course of the 8 games after Jim Bob Cooter took over. Tate hauled in 5 touchdown passes after he took over compared to only 1 during the first 8 games. His yards per target increased dramatically from 5.78 to 7.9 and his catch efficiency skyrocketed to 85%! Compare that to the 62% he had in the first 8 games of the season. This year they added Marvin Jones who won’t be able to replace Megatron and provide similar numbers but will fill in nicely in the number 2 role. Another year in the system for both Eric Ebron and Ameer Abdullah should help Matthew Stafford keep up his high completion percentage into next season. 5k yards passing and 35+ touchdowns is not out of the questions for Stafford this season.
Matt Jones – Current ADP 47 / Current Round & Pick 4.11
Is a perfect Zero RB strategy target for owners in later rounds. Jones is the man now in Washington after they parted ways with Alfred Morris in the off season. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot to be scared about with this pick. His yards per attempt were awful 3.4YPC last season and he didn’t score a rushing touchdown after week 5. He has fumbling issues and never fully took the role away from Morris no matter how hard the coaching staff tried to do so. What I do like however is he is a three down back in one of the league’s most explosive offensives, he can catch the ball out of the backfield a rare combo in today’s specialist RBBC offensives and you can draft him towards the end of the 4th round. I like Jones to bounce back this year now that is the only man in town and let’s just hope he can hold onto the ball. If he can and he gets starter volume he could be a steal at his current ADP.
Duke Johnson – Current ADP 76 / Current Round & Pick 7.04 – Have the same birthday!!!
Johnson’s hype is at a fever pitch and his coach Hue Jackson is raving about him saying about his guys “they are the best i’ve seen”. Johnson was an impact player in PPR leagues last year finishing with 61 receptions for 534 Yards and 2 TDs. This year look for Hue Jackson to use Johnson in a Gio Bernard role and that could equate to a productive season from a guy who is getting drafted in the 7th round. With Bernard Jackson turned him immediately into a fantasy relevant player. In his rookie year Bernard had his best fantasy season with 170 attempts / 695 yards / 5 TD’s and threw the air Bernard was just as lethal hauling in 56 REC / 514 yards & 3 TD’s. That production was good enough for 16th best at his position, one spot behind a guy you might know Le’Veon bell. Let’s hope Jackson can do the same for Johnson this year.
Torrey Smith – Current ADP 118 / Current Round & Pick 10.10
The San Fransisco 49ers still exist and they do have good players on their team. Smith is the number one receiver in a Chip Kelly run offense. Enough said! While head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles Jordan Matthews turned into a fantasy sleeper and no one averaged more yards per catch than the eagles during his time as their head coach. Every year under Kelly the number one wide receiver in his offense has gone on to have career years in every important statistical fantasy category. At his current ADP of 118 and 40th overall at his position if Smith were to have a career year he would potentially end up in the top 10 in scoring at his position. The 49ers are not great but why they do have is little compeition for production. Smith might be their best offense player (Let’s see if Hyde can rebound) and who ever is at quarterback is going to look for him early and often. Targets equal production when it comes to fantasy wide receivers so sign me up on the Torrey Smith hype train.
Sammie Coates – Current ADP 142 / Current Round & Pick 12.10
Ok Sammie Coates did NOTHING last season but his number wasn’t called much. He only saw the field in an NFL game in week 3 against Baltimore (2 targets / 1 catch for 11 yards) and then not again until the playoffs against Denver. It was in this game that Coates flashed his athletic ability hauling in 2 catches on 3 targets for 61 yards! That’s the Superbowl champs he did that against, who last time I checked had the greatest defense run of all time. At Auburn Coates was a big play receiver and was integral part of the Tigers reaching the national championship game in 2013. Haley said Coates “turned it up a notch” this spring which has me excited about the potential that he see’s the field a lot more this season. In the SEC Coates ended his career with a 20.9 yards per catch average. Wheaton will start the season as the #2 but I am buying low on Coates because I think it will be him who ends the season there. We all know how good that offense is and i’m willing to take a late round risk on Coates who could end up grabbing every down snaps across from the NFL’s best wide receiver.
Coby Fleener – Current ADP 76 / Current Round & Pick 7.04
Last year Ben Watson finished the 2015 season with 110 targets / 74 catches / 825 yards / 6 TDs / 11.15 y/r at the age of 35. This signing is a marriage made in heaven and on the surface it looks like a slam dunk! Fleener will turn 28 shortly after the season starts and is known around the league for his straight line speed similar to Watson. Back in 2014 Fleener had a career year with a healthy Luck where he had a stat line of 92 targets / 51 catches / 774 yards / 8 TDs / 8.41 Y/R. Look for Fleeners y/r numbers to go up in the vertical passing attack of New Orleans. If he see’s the volume Watson did last year, Fleener could be in for a career year. At his current position ranking Fleener could be a huge steal come draft day.
Zach Miller – Current ADP 155 / Current Round & Pick 13.11
Miller played so well down the stretch after Bennett got injured in week 12 that the Bears decided to let Martellus head off to the Patriots (thank you by the way!). After Bennett went down Miller posted 20 targets / 18 catches / 211 yards and 1 TD. Even before Bennett went down Miller flashed his skill set, especially in week 9 against the Rams where he went off for 107 yards and 2 TDs. This performance capped back to back weeks Miller found the endzone. From what I saw as the season came to an end is that Cutler trusted Miller and now that he is the man going into 2016 look for them to build on that momentum.
Well those are my snoozers for the upcoming 2016 season. A lot is going to happen between now and your draft day, so make sure to keep an eye on the players you are looking to target late in drafts and their ADP. Like always, thanks for reading and if you haven’t already, check out our podcasts which you can find here on our website, iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher. Have a fun and safe 4th of July weekend (JPP) and keep an eye out for our top 10 lists which will be coming out very soon!