In our annual 32-part Summer Sleeper series, 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, 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 Adam Thielen 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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Seth Devalve, TE
Category: Super Deep Sleeper
Until he was drafted a couple rounds too early by Cleveland last spring, the vast majority of the dynasty community, myself included, had no idea who DeValve was. His TE53 2016 on the back of ten receptions, 127 yards, and two scores didn’t do much to introduce himself to us either.
All this would go a long way towards explaining the Princeton alum’s ADP of “I’d rather eat Taco Bell that has been sitting in the sun for seven hours.” What it doesn’t do is give us any hint of what could happen if things were to break just so.
To get you up to speed, here is what the 6’ 2”, 245 pounder brings to the table: He ran a 4.68 40, including a pretty crazy 10-yard split of 1.54. He also posted a 40” vert, 10’5” broad, 6.96 three-cone, and 4.18 short shuttle. All of those, save for the broad jump, surpass what the Browns’ other young tight end, David Njoku, did this past combine. In fact, DeValve had higher burst, agility, and SPARQ scores than Njoku. If padless numbers were a fantasy scoring category, we’d have a dead heat.
Aside from looking good in spandex, DeValve also has a bit of on-field game. The lack of NFL film to look at isn’t ideal, but what is there shows some promise. As a rookie, the former college wide receiver attacked the ball, showing tenacity at the catch point. I thought his routes looked better than expected considering college scouting reports, but the agility shown on the stopwatch doesn’t always show up on tape. That isn’t terribly uncommon for first year tight ends, so I’ll hold my judgement until I see more of the (relative) youngster.
The stumbling blocks are admittedly numerous. Namely, the aforementioned Njoku, who was a first round pick in the 2017 draft. Luckily for DeValve fans, Njoku is listed third on Cleveland’s depth chart and doesn’t figure to make much of an impact this season. That leaves our sleeper du jour and Randall Telfer, a blocking specialist, atop the pecking order.
At least early on, DeValve will have opportunities to be on the field, running routes, and, hopefully, soaking up a few targets. He could even find himself as high as fourth in line in the passing game. That puts us just above table scraps level, especially in a not-exactly-spectacular offense, but it isn’t nothing either.
With glowing camp reports calling DeValve one of the Browns’ most improved players and pegging him for much bigger role, it is hard not to look at the sophomore as a nice end of the bench stash. The pecking order for catching passes in Brown Town (pun intended) is filled with unproven talent and unrealized upside. It isn’t far-fetched to think DeValve could assert himself and prove to be a very nice bargain for proactive dynasty owners.
- How to Win Without Watching Football - July 22, 2021
- 2018 Summer Sleeper: Chicago Bears - July 9, 2018
- NFL Draft Aftermath: Winners and Losers from the AFC North - June 18, 2018