2019 Summer Sleeper: Baltimore Ravens

Noah Ballweg

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.

For many dynasty owners, the Baltimore Ravens offense appears to be behind one of those “Danger, Keep Out!” signs that you might find in some suspect locations around your city or town. While most wise owners will steer clear of the red flags and warning signs, there still is some intrigue for those who look past the face of danger and dig for something much deeper. While only time will tell what type of offense will be on the field in 2019 with Lamar Jackson at the helm, one thing is certain: the Ravens focused heavily on the offense this off-season. Our Summer Sleeper is…

Antoine Wesley, WR

Category: Deep Sleeper

88 receptions, 1,410 receiving yards and nine touchdowns certainly do not ring the “undrafted free agent” bell, but that is exactly where Wesley found himself at the end of the draft in April after a breakout Junior season at Texas Tech. Despite his terrific 6’4”, 206-pound frame, Wesley was very underwhelming at the 2019 Scouting Combine. He posted just six bench press reps and ranked in the bottom 15 of wide receivers in the shuttle run and three-cone drill.

His evident lack of top speed and strength led every NFL general manager to steer clear of him during the draft, but since summer OTAs have commenced, the Ravens are looking like they could have found a diamond in the rough. It is clear that Wesley put in a ton of work during the off-season to improve his agility and footwork which now could be one of his greatest strengths. Combining this improvement with his size and frame, Wesley could turn into a red-zone threat at the professional level.

He has been one of the highlighted players this off-season as the Ravens complete their OTAs, making contested catches, showing great route running and even getting past defenders on the sideline. While he only gave us one solid season to base his abilities off, here are some great highlights from the 2018 season.

A finalist for the Biletnikoff Award – which recognizes the nations top receiver – it still remains a mystery to me as to how Wesley ended up falling to the Ravens undrafted. With a dire need for offense, specifically on the receiving end, Wesley is primed to step into an immediate opportunity if the cards fall his way.

The Ravens showed a focus for improving the offense around Lamar Jackson in 2019, drafting Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin in the first three rounds and adding Sean Modster, Jaylen Smith and Joe Horn Jr via free agency. While Willie Snead, Jordan Lasley, and Chris Moore all figure to receive a higher share of snaps and therefore targets than Wesley, the Ravens will not be able to deny the playmaking ability that he has been putting on display.

With a very young and unproven receiver core, Wesley is in a prime position to leverage the chip on his shoulder as an undrafted free agent and propel himself into the rotation for this season. He is certainly facing an uphill battle as Brown, Boykin and Moore all figure to play a large role this season, but if Wesley continues to “wow” the coaching staff, they will have no option but to get him on the field.

Because of his age (he turns 22 in October) and the limited amount of proven production in college, Wesley raises some concerns on my end as well as with some NFL scouts. However, take a further look into Bruce Matson’s Draft Prospect Profile of him, and you will find some of the promising attributes that the Ravens organization has been raving about since his arrival in Baltimore.

Wesley currently has no ADP data and is not being selected in any of the typical rookie drafts that we run. That being said, he is a true summer sleeper and a low flier who will almost positively be on your waiver wire at the beginning of the NFL season. Save a few blind bidding dollars as the season progresses for the Ravens. Wesley has the potential to see the field and show off his great hands, size, and vertical athleticism. If you play in some extremely deep leagues and have the roster spots, go ahead and give him a chance to prove himself in the preseason.