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 to 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.
With names like Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Emmanuel Sanders, the Denver Broncos were one of the most feared passing offenses in the league for a multi-year run in the mid-2010s. Unfortunately, future Hall of Famer Manning’s retirement made way for lackluster names like “Osweiler,” “Siemian,” and “Keenum” under center. Continuing, Decker left in free agency, and Thomas was traded just before last year’s deadline after beginning to show his age. Even stalwart Sanders, arguably the only remaining startable option in the Broncos passing attack, succumbed to a ruptured Achilles in the waning moments of the 2018 season.
With these changes came a diminished capacity for fantasy production. Through the conclusion of the 2018 season, Denver was a mere 19th in passing yardage and 24th in passing touchdowns, helping result in a finish as the 24th-highest scoring team. Though the team supported three top-50 PPR receivers (including the traded Thomas), Sanders led the group merely as the WR23, with no other contributing better than WR4 numbers.
Not surprisingly, this has led and will continue to lead to a changing of the guard. Rookies Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman led the charge at running back, forming a dynamic one-two punch. Courtland Sutton had a fine freshman campaign with just over 700 receiving yards, and fellow 2018 draftee DeaSean Hamilton closed the year with four straight performances of five or more receptions.
Tight end Noah Fant was selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, with quarterback Drew Lock drafted a round later to eventually take over for stopgap free agent addition Joe Flacco. For a team struggling to eclipse mediocrity, this youth movement has come just in time to hopefully keep up with a defense that remained above league average in terms of points against.
There remains one member of this diaper squad who came out of nowhere in 2018 to post respectable numbers. While he remains a footnote as compared to the names mentioned above, there remains potential for 2019 relevance. The Broncos’ 2019 Summer Sleeper is none other than: