Summer Sleeper: San Diego Chargers

Dan Meylor


With fantasy season right around the corner, we’re continuing our annual series focusing on a few sleepers from all 32 teams in the NFL. You can find all of the Summer Sleeper articles here.

These sleepers all have varying levels of “sleeperness,” but all merit a little more talking about here in the Premium Content section. 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 never insult you with a comprehensive list of “sleepers” which include such such dynasty mainstay names as Toby Gerhart, Christine Michael or Cordarrelle Patterson. You’re all too good for that.

While many of these players will undoubtedly fizzle, there’s more value in looking more closely at these deeper prospects and players. We invite you to keep an open mind and either or re-assess your value on those who may be rostered in your league or 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.

Feel free to add your own comments about our choice for the designated sleeper, or nominate one of your own!

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There aren’t many fantasy sleepers on the Chargers’ roster going into the 2014 season.  Yearly fantasy players would probably consider Ladarius Green a sleeper, but that’s hardly the case in the dynasty community and many have considered Vincent Brown to be a sleeper for the past two seasons, so he really doesn’t qualify any longer either.

No, there aren’t many fantasy sleepers in San Diego, but there is one that may be the Rip Van Winkle of sleepers – and dynasty owners should file away his name as the season approaches.

Tevin Reese, WR

At 5’10” tall and 168 pounds, Tevin Reese is by no means an imposing NFL receiver.  If you watch the tape of him burning past Big 12 defenders, however, you can see why the Chargers front office spent a seventh round pick on him.

Reece’s overall size will probably deter many from considering him as a potentially dangerous weapon on Sundays but that may be an unfair inclination.  You see, there is one thing he has that could make his size very trivial – his blazing speed.

At the combine, Reece was fast and incredibly explosive.  He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds and posted a 41-inch vertical and 11-foot broad jump – numbers that were each among the best at his position in Indianapolis.  His performance only reaffirmed what everyone who watched him play for Baylor over the last four seasons already knew – he’s an explosive athlete.

While in Waco, Reece line up both outside and in the slot.  The Bears’ coaching staff primarily used him as a vertical threat due to his incredible straight-line speed but he was also asked to run bubble screens and quick slants in an attempt to get him the ball in space and allow him to use his game changing burst more often.

To see the impact that Reese’s speed made on the Baylor offense, you don’t have to look much further than his stats while on campus.


As you can see, Reece was a playmaker for the Bears from his sophomore season on.  Over those three seasons, he tallied 142 catches for 2,701 yards (19 yards per reception) and 24 touchdowns.  What the statistics above fail to show, however, is how impactful those touchdowns were.  Perhaps the most impressive statistic Reece posted while in college was that 22 of his 24 touchdown receptions were at least 40-yard scores.

Some of those touchdowns were on bubble screens where he weaved through defenders and blockers near the line of scrimmage, but most of them came on fly patterns, which is what Reece does best.

As he became the primary field stretcher for the Bears, Reece developed an incredible ability to put himself in a perfect position to make a catch.  He possesses an uncanny knack to speed up, slow down or contort his body in any direction so an errant pass falls perfectly over his shoulder into his waiting fingertips.  Once the ball gets in his hands, he quickly turns on the jets and blasts towards paydirt.

At this point, you may be wondering why such a gifted deep threat with such incredible speed and explosiveness would last until the seventh round of the NFL Draft and be relatively unknown except by those who watch the Big 12 or read the FFGhost’s Orange Report.  Well, outside of the obvious (his size), there are holes in Reese’s game.

The biggest knock of Reece is his inconsistent hands.  Like the rest of him, they’re small at only 8 5/8”.  While in college, Reece had an awful habit of finding himself wide open and flat out dropping a well-placed pass.  It’s unclear if his butter fingers are due to a lack of focus, his undersized paws or his eagerness to turn up field and flip on the afterburners on the way to the end zone, but no matter the reason, his drops could make his time in San Diego (let alone the NFL) very quick if he can’t get it under control.

To go along with his scattershot hands, there are also some who question whether Reece will be able to hold up physically at the next level.  He suffered a serious wrist injury which caused him to miss five games during his senior year at Baylor and has given many a reason to wonder if durability will be an issue for him.  Those who are worried should keep in mind the broken wrist was the only instance where he missed time over the last four seasons.

While his size is a reason for some concern, dynasty owners should remember DeSean Jackson (5’10, 178 pounds), Wes Welker (5’9, 185) and Steve Smith (5’9, 190) have all been able to stay relatively healthy at the same position and had different levels of success on Sundays, so it’s certainly not impossible for Reece to do the same at his size.

Overall, Reese is a long-term sleeper.  The Chargers have an obvious need for a speedy receiver who can stretch the field and could be looking for a potential replacement in the slot for Eddie Royal at some point in the near future – although he certainly profiles as both, it’s unclear if San Diego’s coaching staff sees Reese as either just yet.

Now that training camp has opened, dynasty owners will be able to get a good feel for where Reese falls on the Chargers’ depth chart.  As it stands now, he’s competing with Vincent Brown, Seyi Ajirotutu and a host of unknowns for the fourth and fifth receiver jobs behind Keenan Allen, Malcom Floyd and Royal, but he could very likely end up on San Diego’s practice squad for 2014.

To this point, I haven’t seen Reese selected in a shallow rookie draft throughout the off-season and for good reason.  He isn’t yet worth a roster spot in dynasty leagues outside of those that roster nearly every player in the league, but is worth monitoring as the preseason gets underway.  He has potential if he gets his drops under control to develop into an impactful slot receiver with the ability to get beyond defenses and make game changing plays.

Reese may be the Rip Van Winkle of fantasy sleepers, but dynasty owners everywhere should wake up to his upside.

dan meylor