A few months ago, I wrote an article detailing five dynasty sleepers that you could acquire at next-to-nothing. Wanting to run with the idea of sleepers that the community seems to love so much, I decided to continue the “March Madness” theme of my first article and create an interactive series to help identify 16 more sleepers for dynasty owners.
Poring over the DLF March ADP data, I identified 16 guys, all with ADP’s lower than 100, (seven lower than 200) that I saw as rifts in the markets that are currently priced at something much lower than their expected value. With help from DLF’s own Brian Malone, each player was seeded based on their ADP (Highest ADP was the 1 seed and so on) and then matched up in a tournament style to determine the community’s favorite dynasty sleeper. After the conclusion of the first round, the first of 4 pieces was published on DLF, detailing the first eight sleepers who were eliminated from the polls. A few weeks after that, the second of 4 articles was posted, detailing the results of the elite eight and revealing the final four. Last month, the semifinal article was completed and we finally arrived at our championship matchup. Using a handy twitter poll, DeAndre Smelter and Chris Conley fought for the sought-after title of “The Ultimate Sleeper” and in the end, only one emerged. Chris Conley was officially crowned the community’s favorite sleeper after eking out a victory over Smelter (52 percent was the winning margin). Presented below are the final two sleeper profiles for the 2016 edition of Sleeper Mania. Cheers!
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The runner-up: DeAndre Smelter, WR SF
If you would have told me back in March that Smelter’s ADP will drop over 60 spots and be placed just outside of the top 200 drafted players, I would have called you crazy. His ADP had been slowly rising throughout the early months of 2016 and the hiring of offensive savant Chip Kelly had all signs pointing upward for the 24-year-old Georgia Tech product.
Yet, continued limitation from an ACL tear (he missed his entire rookie year) has put him behind the pack competing to line up alongside Torrey Smith and there is now real concern on whether he will make the 53-man roster in San Francisco. But at this point, no one outside of the 49ers front office really knows how the receiving corps will take shape this upcoming season. A quandary of unproven guys – Bruce Ellington (19 career receptions), Quinton Patton (30 receptions in first full season), Aaron Burbridge (6th round rookie), and Eric Rogers (2013 UDFA who is transitioning from two-year CFL stint) – along with Smelter make up the bulk of the Niners receiving corps for 2016 and it is seemingly unknown which of them will rise from the pack into the starting job.
And that unknown alone is what still qualifies Smelter as an intriguing buy in dynasty leagues. A training camp at full health could see him catapult into the WR2 role in a Chip Kelly offense and a shot at legitimate fantasy production. We could also see the quick burnout of a 4th round pick who suffered a major setback before his career even started and was never able to regain the momentum you need to make an NFL team.
But at nothing else, Smelter is worth a waiver claim or even a super late rookie pick, a price so minimal that any production he accrues generates a positive ROI for you the owner. It will also give you reason to watch countless hours of training camp coverage and check his Rotoworld page more than any sensible person should. Who can say no to that?
The Champion: Chris Conley, WR KC
If I were a betting man, I would not have put good odds on Conley to win this whole thing back in March. A surprising victory in the first round against Coby Fleener (who has seen his value skyrocket this offseason) followed by another unexpected victory over Tavon Austin (another growing commodity as the season nears) placed him in a slightly more even semifinal matchup against Kenny Bell and finally culminated with his ever-so-slight victory over Smelter.
So what is it about Conley that has everyone enamored? Well for one thing, he still has that illustrious quantity that lures in owners more than just about anything: he’s young. Only 23, he seems to be primed for a starting role in Kansas City for the foreseeable future. And while starting doesn’t necessarily equate production, you’ll be hard pressed to find many guys around Conley’s current ADP of 194 that will be able to match his snap count numbers.
And while Kansas City isn’t the most pass-happy team in the league by any stretch, Conley should still see an uptick from the 31 targets he received in his rookie year. He offers low end WR3 upside at a incredibly cheap price and is certainly worth a buy if you can attain him at a price that cuts out the inflation usually added to any rookie or sophomores expected price tag.
Additionally, his ADP dropped 31 spots in July for seemingly no reason, something that just screams “buy.” Conley is currently at the cheapest price of his career while on the verge of actually producing in year two and after a full off-season of adapting to the NFL and reportedly living and training with Jeremy Maclin. He may not be the most deserving champion, but he’s certainly a quality buy and a really nice sleeper heading into 2016. Go scoop him up.
Also, why wouldn’t you want a guy on your dynasty team that made this awesome Star Wars fan film during his time at Georgia? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsJU5Ebka44
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