We conclude 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 Tyler Lockett or Carlos Hyde, 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 Willie Snead 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.
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Tyler Higbee, TE
The more I watch Tyler Higbee play, the more I like him. My personal second-ranked rookie tight end, Higbee has many positive traits you’d want in a pass catcher. He’s been getting praise all offseason by his coaching staff and peers, so it’s time for you to consider the rookie tight end as a viable prospect. Let’s go over what this young man brings to the football field, and why he is deserving of the term “sleeper”.
Listed at 6-foot-6, Higbee played his college football at Western Kentucky. He started his college career as a wide receiver before being converted into a tight end after his freshman year. The tight end didn’t really make his mark until his senior year, when in nine games he had 38 catches for 563 yards and eight touchdowns. What was most impressive though, is that his best games came against some of Western Kentucky’s best opponents. In three games against Vanderbilt, Indiana, and Marshall, Tyler Higbee totaled 21 catches for 303 yards and four touchdowns.
It’s evident that Higbee once played wide receiver when noticing his dynamic pass catching ability. He can work the middle of the field with his toughness, but has the burst and athleticism to stretch the field as well. Higbee is smooth and quick out of his breaks, and has reliable hands. On top of it, he is very good after the catch. I love the tenacity in which he plays with. Overall, there is a lot to love about his potential.
Scouting aside, there is plenty of optimism surrounding Higbee’s long term opportunity with the Los Angeles Rams. When digging into the Rams’ depth chart, the only other tight end of much relevance is Lance Kendricks; a decent all-around tight end, but not exactly an explosive pass catcher. Outside of Tavon Austin, the Rams offense is severely lacking explosive receiving playmakers. This presents Higbee a bright chance of helping fill that void and becoming a playmaker that the Rams need.
In terms of dynasty, I think Higbee has a chance to be a really good tight end in the future, both in real life and in fantasy. In dynasty leagues with large rosters, Higbee is likely on someone’s roster. He would be a fine target as a throw-in in a trade if you’d like a tight end stash with high potential. In small roster dynasty leagues, there’s a good chance Higbee may be sitting on the waiver wire. If you can afford to use a roster space on him, he’s a great tight end prospect. However, if you can’t it’s not something I would fret over. For example, in my small 20-man roster dynasty leagues, Higbee is available in about half of them. However, I am not in any rush to pick him up, for I know tight ends rarely do much in their rookie years. Therefore, I will likely still be able to pick him up off of waivers late in the season for next year. Even if I can’t, his price to acquire likely won’t rise much between now and then. The time I really want Tyler Higbee is for the 2017 season and beyond.