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Sleeper Spotlight: Tennessee Titans

As part of the premium content package, we’re not only releasing exclusive team capsules (complete with commentary), but also focusing on one sleeper from all 32 teams in the NFL.

These sleepers all have varying levels of “sleeperness,” but all merit a little more talking about than we had room for in the dynasty capsules for each team. Some of these players are deep dynasty sleepers who could merit a spot on your bench in a deep league, while others are players who may contribute a little faster than the deep prospects, but deserve more attention than they may be getting. By definition, a sleeper could mean something a little different to everyone, but we’re simply doing the best job we can to unearth one player from each team who fits the category in some way, shape or form.

We’ll just never insult you with a comprehensive list of “sleepers” that includes such names as Demaryius Thomas, Ryan Mathews or even someone like Stevan Ridley. You’re all too good for that.

While many of these players will undoubtedly fizzle, we figure there’s value in looking more closely at these deeper prospects and players. We invite you to keep an open mind and even re-assess your value on those who may be rostered in your league. You may even consider adding a few of these deeper prospects we focus on this Summer who are free agents in your league – after all, some are destined to pan out, too.

Taylor Thompson, TE TEN
Age: 22 (10/19/89) 

Taylor Thompson probably isn’t a surprise choice to many of you as my Titans sleeper.

Thompson played DE because of June Jones’ crazy (yet effective) offense at SMU.  I’m not sure that offense even has a TE on the roster!  He played his first snaps at TE in his college all-star game and then worked out at the Combine as a TE.  Smart move – it got him drafted in the fifth round.  Oh, and speaking of the Combine – he ran a 4.59 forty and broad jumped 10.5 feet.

Thompson is a hybid player with a Gronkowski like build.  He comes in at 6’6” and 260 lbs.  Clearly that’s a load to cover when you consider the 4.59 speed.

Not surprisingly he’s looked raw so far in camp and the preseason games.  His routes don’t look crisp to me and he seems to struggle catching the ball.  That said, he’s flashed real play making ability already.  He needs time to develop but if he does, maybe the Titans have finally found their tight end to replace Frank Wycheck.  (Note: Wycheck has been gone since 2003.)

Thompson must be rostered in any league with either a taxi squad or 25 or more roster spots.  He’s shown enough that I think he will continue to get playing time and a chance to develop.  It’s critical in deeper leagues to reserve a roster spot of two for a developmental tight end.  The position is evolving quickly and you have to be ahead of the curve.  Once a guy hits (think Jimmy Graham), they become far too expensive to acquire via trade – this is a big shift in fantasy.  Just two years ago, the mantra was tight end is deep, you can wait, etc.  Forget it – the game has changed.  If I have the option to roster a receiver who is an established flex option vs. a prospect tight end who might hit (or bust), the decision is clear these days.

Editor’s Note:  Tim Stafford can be found @dynastytim on twitter and in the forums as dlf_tims.

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