We continue our annual 32-part Summer Sleeper series where DLF scribes identify a lightly-touted player on each NFL roster who may be worthy of your consideration. Our subjects all have varying levels of “sleeperness,” but each merits a bit of in-depth discussion here in the Premium Content section.
To help everybody along, we are going to be categorizing our sleepers under one of three headings:
- Super Deep Sleepers – Players who aren’t roster-worthy in 12-team leagues, but are still worth keeping an eye on.
- Deep Sleepers – An end of the roster player who is more often than not on the waiver wire in 12-team leagues.
- Sleeper – A likely rostered player who makes for a good trade target. Their startup ADP puts them out of the top-175 or so.
Because we aren’t going give you the likes of mainstream sleepers like Jay Ajayi or Isaiah Crowell, most of these players will undoubtedly fizzle. All we are asking is for you to keep an open mind and perhaps be willing to make room for one of these players on your bench. You never know when the next Alfred Morris is going to spring up. Feel free to add your own thoughts about our choice for the designated sleeper, or nominate one of your own in the comments below.
When combing through the Ravens’ roster, two things immediately stand out regarding the skill players on offense: 1) there are a LOT of them, and 2) none of them are particularly inspiring. Whether Justin Forsett, Steve Smith, Mike Wallace and Ben Watson finally fall off the cliff will determine the values for many of these players as they are currently at the top of the depth chart for their respective positions.
There are “sleepers” on this roster, though Kenneth Dixon and Chris Moore were covered extensively in DLF’s off-season coverage and Maxx Williams is still rostered everywhere. Quickly looking past Breshad Perriman, a couple options stand out as potential contributors in deeper leagues.
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Michael Campanaro, WR BAL (Deep Sleeper)
Currently listed by depth chart aficionados OurLads.com alongside Wallace and Kamar Aiken as a starter in three-wide receiver sets, Campanaro is generating buzz as one of Joe Flacco’s primary targets in the middle of the field. A local favorite as a Maryland native and alum of nearby Wake Forest, he has a diverse skill set with the toughness to play the slot.
Ozzie Newsome traded up in the 2014 draft to take Campanaro as their only wide receiver selected that season. Now entering his third year in the league, while he had little fantasy production in his brief career to date he has made the most of his opportunities with an 80% catch rate and 11.4 yards per reception.
Reliable hands, a high football IQ and ability to contribute on special teams will likely give him an edge over the likes of Daniel Brown and rookie Keenan Reynolds to make the 53-man roster.
Campanaro needs to have a strong camp and prove he can stay on the field. If he does, he has a unique skill set that will allow him to stand out from the deep pack of wide receivers and earn enough playing time to be a bye-week fill-in.
Dennis Pitta, TE (Super Deep Sleeper)
There are so many reasons not to consider Pitta, most of which have led to his absence from the field in all but seven games over the last three seasons. Add in the crowded depth chart with Watson, Williams, Crockett Gillmore and Darren Waller (as well as the aforementioned excess of running backs and wide receivers), and Pitta seemingly has no reason to be on a fantasy roster.
However, in Pitta’s back-to-back seasons in which he played all 16 games (2011-2012), he caught more than two-thirds of passes thrown his way and became a strong red zone threat as one of Flacco’s favorite targets. Although it feels like his fantasy relevance was ages ago he just turned 31 last month and was not even placed on Baltimore’s active/PUP list for training camp, giving substance to reports that he may be past the hip injuries that have been plaguing him.
I’m not advocating for Pitta to be rostered in any but the deepest of leagues (preferably those with premium scoring for tight ends), but in those formats there is a nonzero chance that he can contribute again. For the old guys like me that remember Pitta, in the right format it is a low-risk nostalgic add that could actually turn into something.